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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - 6M/VHF/UHF+ | Mirage BD-35 Dual Band HT Amplifier (144/440) Help

Reviews Summary for Mirage BD-35 Dual Band HT Amplifier (144/440)
Mirage BD-35 Dual Band HT Amplifier (144/440) Reviews: 26 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $159.95
Description: The Mirage Dual Band Handheld Amplifier, which includes the 144/440 MHz segments. At 1-7 watts in, it will put out 45/35 watts respectively. It is also capable of full duplex operation, allowing the user to transmit on one band and listen on the other - provided that the handheld you're using is capable of this function. Listed frequency ranges are 144-146 on 2 meters and 430-450 on 70 centimeters. It is described as having an automatic band select, on-air indicator, and reverse polarity protection.
Product is in production.
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W2MB Rating: 4/5 Oct 7, 2013 12:42 Send this review to a friend
TH-F6A Caution  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I drive this device with a Kenwood TH-F6A tri-band 2/220/440 HT. The device feeds a Comet SBB-224 Tri-band Vertical. It is designed for and works well on 2 meters and 440.

It indicates both VHF and UHF signal presence and makes strange sounds if driven with a 220 signal.

Mirage support says that it should be powered off and that it will pass the 220 signal. This is not true, even with the device powered down, it does not pass much 220 RF signal through to the antenna. It appears that the band sensing/ switching circuitry attenuates the 220 signal.

It works well for what it is designed, but doesn't tolerate or pass a 220 signal
KF4AX Rating: 0/5 Jun 14, 2012 17:20 Send this review to a friend
poorly built  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
KF4AX here. Just paid $110 for a mint used BD-35, arrived AOK, worked for 2 days. I was only on the air with it maybe 10 minutes each day with 2 watts in and the VHF side quit. UHF is still fine.

It seems there is only one schematic in existence and it is a horrendous multiple-photocopied version of a hand drawn diagram, apparently made by someone with a dull pencil and a full blown case of Parkinson's. MFJ is useless, they offered me the same handwritten schematic!!!

I pulled the board and the foil side looks like it was soldered by a drunk monkey with a 10 watt iron. Can't make head nor tail of the schematic, guess I'm just stuck with a UHF-only amp.

Comments seem to be a case of 2 extremes, either they've had it for years and it works like a champ, or it arrived dead or dies shortly thereafter. Run, don't walk away from this amp!
DL3GAZ Rating: 3/5 Nov 27, 2011 09:35 Send this review to a friend
Good design - Factory spoils it.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Smart amplifier concept: one transistor for both bands, competitors use two transistors and are more expensive. Unfortunately, the realisation in Taiwan is less than smart: the board is a mess, some cruicial components are low quality, the builders don't seem to know what they are doing.

All issues mentioned from the reviewers before can be still reproduced in 2011, especially when operating UHF in the cold. Definitely nothing you would rely on for amateur radio emergency communications.

The good news is, all can be fixed and after modification the amp is a reliable piece of equipment for FM and GMSK (D-STAR). Contact me for instructions. Good soldering skills are required.

I rate this amp 1/5 for out-of-the-box performance and 5/5 for performance and reliability after modification.

Thanks go out to WA0LHB and the folks from MFJ support for their help.
KJ6PQG Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2011 20:31 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Well this is my first experience with an amp. and I chose this one after reading reviews here and exchanging some emails with another ham. So far it works great and I have no complaints. I use it in my car with a Yeasu FT60 and a mag mounted antenna. I have had it for only a few months.
KJ4QAN Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2011 13:15 Send this review to a friend
It's a good amp, but don't overwork it.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had mine for two years and always pushed to full power. My SWR meter indicated that it would put out 55W on VHF and 45W on UHF. That was with a j-pole and Yaesu FT60 set on HIGH. I checked it with a dummy-load and it read the same. That's somewhat higher than the specs say, but I was happy. I noticed that during nets it would get quite hot, but not so hot that I couldn't keep my hand on it. Well I killed it yesterday. I was on a simplex net on 2M and had been talking pretty continuously for about 20 minutes (at about 80% duty-cycle) and it just quit. I took it apart and decided it wasn't worth repairing. They're not that expensive. In other words, it's a trow-away.

I'm going to buy another one because it's a great little package and I liked how I could use it with a battery when the power went out. I live in Florida, the lightning capital of the US and I used it during SKYWARN nets. But I'm not going to push it to full power anymore unless it's necessary, and then for only a couple minutes. If you take yours apart you'll see that the power MOSFET is bolted directly to the heatsink and with a good amount of thermal compound. To make the heatsink that hot it has to be working really hard. Don't do that if you want yours to last.

My recommendation is that; if you need to use 50W all the time, then use a mobile rig or buy one of Mirage's more powerful single band amps.
KJ4FGI Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2011 23:50 Send this review to a friend
Good Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had it in the car to complement my HT worked great than put it in the house using a Diamond base antenna, great again, I am now using it portable coupled to a 12 volt portable battery for satellite work out in the yard. again works great, had it for three years now. Very versatile.
GD1MIP Rating: 3/5 Dec 22, 2010 17:25 Send this review to a friend
Average  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Bought from a stall at a hamfest to add to my FT817 in the car. I did not even unpack it for 6 months due to a change in circumstances.
I got it out this week and found no TX OP on VHF, UHF was fine. On investigation I found the preset variable capacitor plates were stuck together. One new Vari cap restored it to working order. By then I realised it was class C and I need it for SSB so its off to ebay. Can't help being concerned re quality control.
KJ4FGI Rating: 5/5 Sep 1, 2010 02:38 Send this review to a friend
Great !!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use this amp in my Mobil with a Yaesu Ft-60r, it might not be as good as a dedicated 2m or 440 radio but it gives me the option to take my Yaesu FT-60 out of my vehicle for HT use alone or take the amp and radio from my car add 10 feet of cable to my removable auto antenna put it up in a tree by fishing line (like one would do at a picnic) plug it into mu battery pack and I'm getting great repeater coverage. The portable aspect of this concept is being creative and portability whether a quick release for Hand Held or portable base station for fun or emergency.
N5DXL Rating: 0/5 Apr 26, 2010 06:46 Send this review to a friend
Mirage/MF "Mississippi's Finest Junk"  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Oaky the Mirage BD-35 as we all know is made by MFJ now first
of all I can not say it's all MFJ "Mississippi's Finest Junk"
as I got the amp used off of QRZ. As soon a I received the amp
I found it was dead, double checked everything and still couldn't
get it to power up. Tried to call seller and his phone had been
turned off, tried emailing and needless to say no answer he was
gone in the wind. So I shipped the amp off to Mirage/MFJ and $60
later I got it back. put it in my pickup and yes it did work the
1st and 2nd day. On the 3rd day I couldn't get it to power up,
checked everything and it was dead. Now it was only used maybe
15 minutes before both days
Got hold of Mirage/MFJ and they. said to ship it back. I am still
waiting for them to return it. Once I get it back I'll do a test
then set it on a shelf were it'll stay.
I know MFJ makes a lot of stuff some good and more not so good.
I am very happy with my MFJ-259B ever a my MFJ-989D tuner before
ever hooking it up I found cold solder joints and had to spend
2 hours just going over it before I would even try to test it.
What do I think of MFJ "Mississippi's Finest Junk", it's better
to spend a few more dollars and get something that works as it
should. I'll do my best to stay away from MFJ at all cost.
KB3DVS Rating: 0/5 Apr 9, 2010 09:35 Send this review to a friend
Doesn't work for me. Can't get it fixed.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased a Mirage BD-35 RF amp for HT's that I found was not working properly. I couldn't get it to light up and amplify, though power seemed to be working fine.

Sent to MFJ, they "repaired" it. This means $2.04 in parts (a capacitor and a trimmer cap) and a $62 bill.

I got it back and tried to use it again, connecting it to one HT (an older Icom Z1A) I could hit the local repeater on key up and the amplify light glowed bright on the BD-35. Tried to key up a second time and it wouldn't work. HT indicated full output power but it wasn't tripping the BD-35 into amplify.

Put a meter on the HT and the output power had been reduced to about half a watt, on high power. Low power barely moved the needle on the RF meter.

Thinking this was odd, I dug out my trusty Yaesu VX-5R. I can sometimes hit repeaters with this by itself, so adding the amp should make this a cakewalk.

First key up was solid. Then I couldn't get the radio to light up the amplify light on the BD-35. Fearing the worst, I connected my HT to the meter and saw the output had been terminated just like on the Z1A. I was furious.

The repaired amp had ruined two good HT's.

I called MFJ. They said send it back in, I wanted a refund on my repair because they had clearly not troubleshooted this amp properly and it ruined my gear. Moreover, I couldn't ever see myself hooking anything else up to the BD-35 for rear of it ruining that gear too.

I spoke with Bob Ellis, in Service, several times over weeks, to no satisfaction. He said to send a letter to MFJ president Martin Jue, which I did, and never received a reply. I called Mr. Jue's office and was handed off to Richard Stubbs, in Customer Service, who flat out told me that he told Bob to take of this. They would do nothing but send my amp back to me. I tried to explain that the repair I paid for was bad, that I wanted my money back– but as I was speaking, Mr. Stubbs said that he would send my amp back, goodbye, and he hung up on me while I was speaking.

I called back and left a message on Martin Jue's voice mail but after several days it has had the same zero response as the letter I wrote him. I've since received the amp back, and the service note says it was tested and required no repair.

I don't want the amp. I have no more HT's to even try and amplify. The two I have don't produce enough RF to make the amp work. I wanted my repair money back. I wanted them to take back the amp. They did neither.

So anyone who wants a BD-35, e-mail me. You can have it at a really good price. I'm not an engineer and it probably has some electrical or technical issue that I don't have the time or wherewithal to diagnose and repair. Many have good results with it. It may be a good amp. But MFJ damm sure can't repair & test it right and I damm sure ain't going to hook it up to anything else I own.
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