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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | MFJ 90-Series Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ 90-Series
MFJ 90-Series Reviews: 35 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $189.95
Description: Mono-band HF QRP CW Transceiver
Product is in production.
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KD7MTI Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2010 06:59 Send this review to a friend
Great fun!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have two: 9020 and 9040. The 9040 has the audio filter and keyer. I never use the keyer. The filter is surprisingly good. One issue with the filter is that there is some ringing which is evident when you transmit.

The good:

They don't draw a lot of power. The receiver is quite good -- very open sounding. The side-tone is pleasant although its volume cannot be separately adjusted. Alignment is very easy.

The bad:

They're a bit big by today's standards of small. They're single band -- to work 20 and 40 meters, I need to take two rigs (so I end up taking my ft817). I haven't found any published modifications.

Why I keep them?

They're fun! Right now it's summer, twenty meters is open day and night. A small battery and a 20 meter dipole will make for a fun evening.

Should you buy one (or two)?

I think so. I find myself using them quite often. The side-tone is pleasing, the tuning knob is big, and the receiver quality is pretty good -- you can listen for hours at low volume.

I highly recommend getting one.

Robert - kd7mti/4z5sw
N7JBH Rating: 5/5 Oct 22, 2009 11:37 Send this review to a friend
Simple as it gets  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great little CW rig, I also have an MFJ 9020 for 20M. Use them at work with a random length long wire antenna strung between two HVAC units on the roof. I don't even use an antenna tuner, the SWR must be horrendous, haven't even checked it, afraid to know how bad it really is. In spite of this, the radios don't seem to care, they put out the full 5 watts, made contacts all over the CONUS on 20M, not so far on 40M. The only problem I had was with the 9020, the RX audio was a little low. Replaced the audio amp LM386 chip from Radio Shaft for under $2.00, didn't even have to solder anything, the chips are in 8 pin sockets.
K8JD Rating: 4/5 Dec 26, 2008 11:56 Send this review to a friend
Plleased with this little rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the 9030 because I had a Non-WARC Kenwood for my main opperation. I wanted to get on 30M and this seemed to be a cheap way to do it. This was about 8 years ago and the price was still 149.00.
During the better solar years I worked Many European countries and most of the states using the 9030 with a ground mounted Butternut 6-band vert and a fullwave horizontal 30 M loop.
The VFO did have some drift but a good warm up settled it down and over the period of a QSO it was not noticable.
The selectivity was about 700 Hz and usually is narrow enough for the not-so-crowded nature of this band. the sensitivity seems nearly as good as my newer TS440s.
Speaker audio is ok under quiet surroundings but plugging in earphones is plenty loud.
Oveall, the rig rates a GOOD, for performance and ecomnomy.
M0JHA Rating: 4/5 Dec 10, 2008 06:55 Send this review to a friend
great kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well i got the 40m version and on opening the packets was quite pleased. The project is an absolute doddle to complete with even the first time constructor.

Took me 1 hour on monday night and another hour on tuesday night sat in front of the telly with the missus casually placing the components in place. All components were clearly marked and so were the markings on the board.

The manual was written well enough and had no probems understanding any of it. If i had to put my finger on the hardest piece to complete it would be the winding of the toroids.

Not because the job itself was hard, far from it ,but simply because the toroids were a little fiddly due to the small size.

Fitting the completed board in the case was a little tight but not a problem. I also fitted the optional bnc connector.

All thats left to do is align and test but already heard lots of signals and the vfo seems nice and smooth .

highly reccomended for the first time builder and even the more experienced of builders for a bit of easy construction that will leave you with a cool little cw tranciever.

i will post again after alignment and on air test.. well done mfj
WA6MOW Rating: 4/5 Nov 30, 2008 20:46 Send this review to a friend
Fun Little Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There are lots of these rigs floating around eBay for around $100.00. They all seem to drift slightly for about 30 minutes. After that, the rig is quite stable. Putting out 4 watts, you can easily make lots of contacts. I have worked JA and ZL stations, receiving great reports using a simple antenna. The receiver is quite good for a simple radio with few components. It is a great knock around radio for dirty environments and will provide you with a lot of great QSO's

K1KUZ Rating: 4/5 Aug 22, 2008 18:24 Send this review to a friend
Mines pretty good!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got a pretty good deal on the MFJ9015 off of e-bay, paid $77.00 for it. After reading the reviews on it I certainly was'nt going to pay $200.00 for one! I immediatly hooked up power to it and put it on my Qrp power meter. Had a solid 4 1/2 watts output. I then listened to it on my Kenwood TS570, and it had a nice sounding tone, no chirp or anything strange.I did notice it drifted a bit, but that settled down after a couple of minutes. I also listened to the receiver by keying my big rig into a dummy load, and that was working fine also. Switch over from Tx to Rx was a bit noisy, but I can live with that! I only needed to calibrate the tuning dial on it! So maybe I'm one of the lucky ones!
VK2IMM Rating: 5/5 Jul 7, 2007 12:51 Send this review to a friend
Rather impressive  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have a 20 m version with optional CW filter and a keyer. This is a single conversion radio with a 4 pole X-tal filter. Power output can be up to 7 W in my case when used with a 13.8 V power supply, this can be rather useful for portable work. I reduced it down to 5 W to comply with QRP standard. Receiver in this radio is rather good, it has high sensitivity and reasonable selectivity. The AF based optional CW filter looks like a very useful addition as it makes selected signals sound louder by 1-2 S units. Comparing with my regular Kenwood transceiver I could hear most of the stations on this radio too although this is a bit harder to tune onto them. VFO has some initial drift when powered up but it comes down considerably after some warm up time. This drift did not cause any issues during 15-20 min QSOs I had. Transmitted signal has very good sound and no defects in keying have been noticed. In fact, some stations commented that keying was very good.

Apart from the optional plug-in boards this transceiver is built on a single high quality PCB. Although the design may look simple it offers plenty of performance and it reminds me some analog home made radios I used 20 years ago, with the difference that those did not even have any ICs.

Overall, this transceiver is certainly more than just a "fun" radio. Good DX can be worked with it. People seem to express some interest when I mention a "MFJ QRP Radio" during a QSO.
OE3SGU Rating: 4/5 Jun 13, 2007 13:07 Send this review to a friend
Better than expected  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought mine 2nd hand for a bargain including the optional keyer and CW-Filter. Didnt really expect to much because of the reviews here. I was surprised about the clear audio the rig delivers, especially with the filter switched on. I could not see any drift and the dial seems amazingly accurate according to my frequency meter. Made several nice contacts with it. Guess I will keep this one and add a few more band models.
WA0ZZG Rating: 3/5 Sep 7, 2006 10:53 Send this review to a friend
Consider it a project Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
The MFJ 90 series radios are based on a good design, but not the best for a production radio. It can be made to be stable, sensitive, filter QRM, and produce a clean CW signal, but it also requires some component selection and tweaking. The factory does an inconsistant job of both. The alignment section, in the manual, is accurate, but is incomplete. There are service notes on the internet to help you complete alignment. Do not expect a factory aligned radio to function properly. That doesn't mean you don't have a good radio. It can produce one of the best CW notes you have ever heard. If you find an inexpensive source, and don't mind the bench time, it can be made into a good instrument. See you on 40M. WA0ZZG
G7IDJ Rating: 2/5 Jan 13, 2006 06:22 Send this review to a friend
Not the best -  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought the 9020 and wanted something not too expensive to leave in the car. The main problem is that it picks up any interference. RF immunity seems to be right down.
I know that the ignition in my 20 years old car is a a little bit noisy but using other rigs I can still use them providing the incoming signal is reasonably strong. With the 9020 no chance, all I hear is the sound of the ignition.

So I tried to use it at home. The problem: computer noise and other emc related things.

I think it may be ok to used in the field providing the engine is not running or you have got a reasonably clean ignition system and not too many sources of emi around.

I would not buy it again and I am thinking to trade it in now and give it up as a bad job. Pity the design concept is quite good. A nice simple no frills functional rig yet the inside doesn't meet demands or at least my demands.
If you consider buying it make sure you are going to use it in an emi free environment.
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