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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | MFJ 94-Series Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ 94-Series
MFJ 94-Series Reviews: 75 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $239.95
Description: SSB Travel Radio (CW optional)
Product is in production.
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WB2LKO Rating: 1/5 Sep 12, 2013 07:35 Send this review to a friend
Very Disappointed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the MFJ 9420 to use on my sailboat. My band selection was 20 meters to enable me to check in to the 14.3 maritime net. In addition, 20 meters made it possible to use an end fed antenna that fit perfectly, suspended from my mast to the stern of the boat.

I made several contacts and could immediately determine the receiver is superb. I was amazed at signal clarity and sensitivity.

Audio output was also very strong and the tuning knobs had a "heavy duty" feel when turning them.

HOWEVER: I received consistently poor reports on my transmitted audio.

I took the unit home, connected to a dummy load and listened to my transmitted signal. First, I noted that when pushing the mike button, the unit transmitted a carrier.

The transmitted audio was terribly distorted. I am amazed anyone bothered to make the effort to contact me. Perhaps it was because I had been operating on a net.

I spoke with someone at MFJ and was told they had reports of bad microphones and a new one was sent to me. The new mike made no difference. Transmitted audio was still almost useless.

By now I was quite disgusted. I called MFJ again telling them I wanted a refund. Since the second mike came with a return shipping label for the original mike, I was told to use that label to send everything back.

I complained that the total charge for the unit had been on my credit card for several weeks and I did not think it fair for me to wait until the shipper came to retrieve the package, return it to MFJ and wait for MFJ to process before giving me my refund.

The service rep at MFJ agreed, reluctantly, and told me he would issue an immediate refund. Further, he agreed to send me an email confirming all issues.

A full day has passed since this discussion with MFJ.

I have not received any emails from MFJ.

I have not received the refund.

I left the unit outside my front door for two full days before the shipper came and never received any notification of when they might come.

As an additional note, when I first received the unit, the painted on words, "Tune" and "Fine" on the front panel were already partially scratched off.

I still believe the MFJ 9420 is most likely a terrific radio and I am most disappointed that it was necessary to return it.

My greatest disappointment is with MFJ.

While their equipment seems to be electronically first rate, their quality control is obviously very poor. If they already had received other "reports" of bad mikes, which I also saw in online discussions, then why send one without testing it?

If the radio was bad, which may be the case, and the panel was scratched, why send it to a customer?

Also, why promise actions to a customer and not deliver?

Purchasing from MFJ is a gamble. It might work, they might follow through on promises and you might be satisfied.

Or you may have a poor experience like mine.
IZ0FYS Rating: 3/5 Aug 5, 2013 04:45 Send this review to a friend
THIS RADIO DON'T RUN AT 10-12 watt as declared  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Perfect receiver, but please stop saying MFJ9420 run at 10-12 watt....
At 13.8Vcc it goes only 3-5 watt PeP !!
I checked all the voltage on circuit and all the test points are OK like indicated in the technical manual.
So.....whay MFJ declare much more power output?
MM0LBX Rating: 4/5 Jun 15, 2013 21:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
A lovely little Transceiver, lots of fun using it in my garden.

With a Dipole cut for 20m, 8m asl on a fibreglass mast this little bundle of magic has managed me some nice DX, PR, CE & HI all SSB, yeap, surprised me too, all last year, not much happening DX wise this year yet, conditions have been terrible last few weeks but plenty of EU while outside in my garden in the sun.

Stations are surprised with only 7W output, comments on the strong audio.

As mentioned, CW sidetone is terrible as I have the add-on and the speaker isn't great but more than adequate.

Hook this to the main shack antenna and plenty of interest from stations worldwide.

Great for what it is and highly recommend for portable.
WB4JHS Rating: 5/5 Apr 12, 2013 15:02 Send this review to a friend
Works great mobile  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was a bit skeptical of th 9420 but I need an innexpensive mobile for 20M that won't break the bank if it gets stolen. This looks like a CB to most who would look though the window. I use it with a hamstick and great results. I have worked Dx from SA to EU and the Caribbean to greater USA. The radio will drift for the first 15-20 minutes and the ignition noise of my 2012 Chevy Equinox is a problem but not a show stopper. If you have suggestions on how to kill the whine of the alternator please advise. I hope to take to Panama C.A. this June to DX from the balcony of the resort over the pacific coast. Folks on 20M give me S9 to 10 over often. The stock mic works better than the Workman replacement that I read about in this thread. Email if you want to discuss the 9420. John
KF7RCM Rating: 3/5 Dec 12, 2012 20:55 Send this review to a friend
I purchased a 9420 with the mic.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The reason I gave it a 3 is due to the fact that the mic that came with it in a word "sux". I recomend that if one were to get one, get it with out the mic. No matter what I did to make it function, it only distorted the audio output. I got a Super Star DM-507-5r 5 pin din mic off ebay for about $10 and it works great. That said, coupled to 2 MFJ's 20 meter hamsticks and the bracket that allows one to make a horizontal dipole out of them, mounted a little more than 30' up, I easily made QSOs on the eastern seaboard. Not bad since I am north of Phoenix, AZ and desert soil is'nt very good for this sort of thing. Set it up on my F-150 in a mobile configuration and made it to the southern states. I dont have the CW mod and not going to get it. I would like to have a digital freq counter mod available though. Not a bad little radio. Will update this review as needed.

The connection is a 5 pin din for a radioshack/realistic radio.
VE3GZB Rating: 1/5 Dec 9, 2012 09:56 Send this review to a friend
Waste of money  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my MFJ9420 over a year now and even on a dipole 35 feet up in the air, where my TS2000 or TS820 on 10 watts can QSO over to France and Italy on the same antenna, in all of this time I've only ever had one successful QSO with the 9420 and it was only on the North American contintent.

It does receive ok, and according to the SWR meter in my tuner it is putting something out and the SWR is unity.

I would not recommend this radio at all, unless you have cash you can afford to waste.

73s VE3GZB
VE3GZB Rating: 2/5 Dec 7, 2012 05:57 Send this review to a friend
Ok but....  Time owned: more than 12 months
I finally managed to QSO with my MFJ9420. I did run into a problem however.

Since I use it with lightweight rechargable Lithium batteries, their output voltage will fall as they discharge.

What I've found is that a given mic gain setting that works at a lower DC input voltage will cause trouble if a freshly charged battery pack is used with the radio, and it is a pain to have to fiddle with it to get it to behave.

My solution was to install a standard TO-220 Non-plastic case 7812 voltage regulator within the case of the '9420.

It's not hard. Here's how you do it.

First prepare the 7812 with suitable bypass capacitors on the input and output side. For the input side I used a 220uF in parallel with a 0.1uF cap.

On the output side I used 10uF in parallel with a 0.1uF cap.

Now on the circuit board? From the DC connector look for a zig-zag skinny trace. This is a fusible link. Cut it with a knife somewhere in the middle. That breaks the unregulated DC input.

Loosen and remove one screw and nut from the RF output connector and use that as a mounting point for your 7812. By grounding the tab of the 7812 to this point, you complete your grounding.

At this point, tie your regulator input to the DC input connector V+ pin and your regulator output to the other side of the fusible link which you previously cut.

Now your radio's mic gain and performance will be consistent despite variations in your rechargeable battery voltage.

73s VE3GZB
VE3GZB Rating: 1/5 Oct 30, 2012 12:52 Send this review to a friend
Not much luck  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a 9420 last year in hopes of taking it into the forest and working some clandestine DX QRP.

But first I connected it up to my 20/17m homebase, with a helical dipole, balanced feedline and balanced tuner which I've successfully worked multiple countries.

I could hear plenty of activity on 20m. I know I was tuned up for minimum SWR. I know the transceiver was drawing current as I spoke into the mic.

But even at maximum output I was not heard.

I disconnected the radio and put my TS-2000 back, fired it up on 5 watts and managed QSOs.

So while the MFJ-9420 seems like a novel and cute idea, it would help a lot if it would actually work. To this day it just sits under my bench, gathering dust. It seems to be well qualified to do just that.

VE2BXJ Rating: 3/5 Oct 9, 2012 16:11 Send this review to a friend
SSB fine, CW board awful  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's fine for SSB and I have made it work for digital modes using a mod to make SSB work on the lower portion of the band (needs the CW add-on board).

But for CW, don't even bother. The side-tone alone is enough to make you go nuts. It's more like a squeal than a tone. Don't buy this radio if you're planning on using it for CW. I sold my MFJ-9420 and used the money to get a FB1B.
EA1HFI Rating: 5/5 Sep 24, 2012 23:39 Send this review to a friend
Un QRP Excelente!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
El 9420 se describe como un "equipo portátil" pero es sobre todo un transceptor de SSB, aunque se le puede añadir CW con un modulo plug and play. Con esta pequeña belleza y sus 10 vatios PEP es fácil de lograr muchos contactos agradables, ya sea desde base, móvil o lugar de vacaciones. Funciona con un voltaje nominal de 13.8, y un consumo de 2 amperios en transmisión, por lo que una pequeña fuente de alimentación o unas baterías de NiCad pueden ser utilizadas.
El micrófono es de la impedancia habitual de 600 ohmios y del tipo dinámico, el único requisito extra para estar en el aire que es algún tipo de antena de 20 metros.
He utilizado este equipo desde la estación de casa con mi dipolo y he tenido varios contactos DX, entre ellos EEUU, Canada, Japón o Kasajistan, también he tenido muchos contactos por Europa.
Al ser una plataforma compacta es ideal para el uso portable ya que con solo una pequeña batería o fuente de alimentación, un balun 9:1 y 17 metros de cable puedo salir al aire desde un prado, montaña o el balcón de un hotel .Con esta configuración he realizado muchos QSOs entre ellos Escandinavia, Alemania, Irlanda, etc.
Con una antena telescópica de 2 metros de largo reciclada de un Walky y un balun de 10:1 LMZ-50, también he realizado varios contactos por Europa!
La calidad de audio en transmisión es excelente, debido sin duda a el procesador incorporado, he tenido excelentes informes de audio no solicitados.
Hay pocos controles en el panel frontal, el VFO, volumen , conector de micrófono, un medidor analógico, un par de LEDs, un interruptor de encendido y otro botón para "sintonizar" que lo que hace es emitir una portadora de baja potencia para poder ajustar con el acoplador externo las estacionarias. El receptor de audio y la selectividad es muy aceptable.
En la parte posterior, sólo se encuentra la entrada de CC y el conector de antena, sin embargo, hay agujeros para la placa opcional de CW (que yo tengo instalada) también hay un pequeño orificio por donde se accede al potenciometro interno de ganancia de micrófono… Y ya está! No hay DSP ni memorias, ni frecuencimetro digital, ni nada mas! , usted sólo tiene que enchufar el equipo y operar, es tan simple y sencillo como eso y funciona muy bien. Hay un poco de deriva al encender el equipo en frío, pero después de un par de minutos la frecuencia es de roca sólida.
El PA es un robusto MRF477, pero hay que tener cuidado, por supuesto, y darle una carga de 50 ohmios.

Ninguna modificación es realmente necesaria, pero yo le he realizado (por ahora) un par, he puesto una salida de auriculares en la parte frontal del equipo y es muy útil para lugares ruidosos o escuchar mas "fino". La otra modificación fue agregarle un portafusiles exterior en la parte trasera.Esta modificación fue un poco forzada ya que en un descuido se invirtieron los cables de alimentación y le dije adiós al fusible interno que viene en la placa PCB (realmente no es muy buen sistema). Afortunadamente hay un diodo montado en paralelo, seguro pensaron en mi!, así que no hubo ningún daño en el equipo! ¿Crees que nunca lo harás verdad?, yo pensaba lo mismo !…
Estoy dispuesto a recomendar el MFJ 9420 como un eficiente y pequeño equipo SSB para la banda de 20 Mts., aunque el precio es un poco alto en Europa (alrededor de 300 euros). El principal proveedor en Europa se encuentra en el Reino Unido y se llama Waters and Stanton (tel: 01 702 205 843), con la que no tengo ninguna relación comercial, ni tampoco con MFJ.

Especificaciones técnicas:
•Cobertura de 14,150 a 14,350 MHz transmisor-receptor superheterodino de simple conversión
•OFV: 4,150 a 4,350 MHz
•SI: 10 MHz (acceso por escalera de filtro utilizado)
•SI selectividad 6 dB a 2,5 KHz
•AGC - derivados de audio
•Audio: más de 1 vatio en el altavoz incorporado de 8 ohmios
•TX picos de 2 amperios (13.8 voltios)
•Consumo en RX, 50 a 100 mA
•Salida de 10 vatios PEP
•CA 03:01 tolerancia
•TX de audio: la compresión de RF del procesador, 600 ohmios micrófono
•Medidor analógico, unidades S en modo receptor, y potencia / ALC en transmisión
•CW disponible en forma opcional en formato plug and play
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