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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-989C Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-989C
MFJ-989C Reviews: 150 Average rating: 2.6/5 MSRP: $360
Description: Handles 1500 watts PEP SSB output power
Product is in production.
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WB0KWJ Rating: 1/5 Jan 1, 2017 07:51 Send this review to a friend
Low quality, poor manufacturing  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my MFJ-989C tuner for about 10 years.

It now works decently. However, to get to this point required tightening and replacing some internal screws, soldering and resoldering connections, and putting some glue on the meter to hold it together. That, the MFJ-989C came to me as many MFJ items come to their owners: not quite finished.

The case construction is flimsy, although it remains reasonably sturdy if everything is screwed tightly. The meter works, as do all the functions (now that I've finished the build). The variable capacitors are serviceable, although of low quality. The roller inductor is poorly constructed of inexpensive materials. I had to clean the roller and coil with a light polishing cloth to remove an oily surface film. This is not one of those robust rollers of days gone by. It works, although there are enough mechanical failure points that some part of the roller is likely to fail in a high-use situation. That is, the MFJ-989C a "light duty" device. If you're tuning a lot, I would suggest checking and aligning all the parts of the roller. Better yet, get a higher quality tuner. Don't tune the inductor with high power applied.

This unit is rated at 3000 watts PEP. We must suppose that this means 3000 watts PEP into a reasonably well designed antenna with a reasonably low SWR. Those familiar with antenna tuners know that due to odd resonances it is possible to get arcing at relatively low power with what might appear to be a tunable antenna. The included instructors allude to this, saying that there are limitations to what the MFJ-989C can tune. However, given the dimensions of the MFJ-989C components, I believe a more honest rating would be no more than 1000 watts PEP.

If you are lucky, and your MFJ-989C is reasonably well built, or you finished putting it together yourself, you will have a serviceable, discount, light-duty 500-1000 watt PEP tuner, with the possibility that it will work at higher powers if care is taken with antenna design. However, if you are a QRO operator, the best advice would be to spend the money on a better tuner, or, better yet, on tuned antennas.
K5RCR Rating: 4/5 Nov 24, 2016 19:02 Send this review to a friend
Owned for many years - works fine  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this tuner for so long that I have forgotten when I obtained it. I have never experienced arcing with this tuner with power levels up to 600 watts. I normally tune up the load at low power first, then switch in the amplifier. I can imagine that attempting to tune a load at high power without first "getting close" at low power would cause a lot of the drama described in other reviews. My only "problem" with the tuner is that the diode in the SWR meter blew many years ago. I have a large SWR - power meter that is easier to see and I have been too lazy to replace the one in the 989.
W8NIC Rating: 0/5 Feb 22, 2016 15:43 Send this review to a friend
I'll never own one again.  Time owned: more than 12 months
this was my very first tuner in 2008. ran an ic-746 and an sb-200. for what it's worth, it works good with 100 watts but as soon as I turn then amp on even with just 400 watts, IT'S ARC GALORE!!!
I don't know why I kept it, but it has been in the basement since 2008 I happen to come accross it while cleaning up. So I decided to hook it up to my IC-775 dsp using 200 watts and guess what? ARC GALORE AGAIN!!! So instead of selling it I just decided to put her to sleep (garbage can).

I've been using a Palstar (another low quality tuner) and it does not arc with 1k watts but the meter works when it wants......

Oh well.....
AC6CV Rating: 4/5 Sep 16, 2015 10:31 Send this review to a friend
No problems in 23 years of use.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've used the MFJ-989C tuner since 1992. I bought it new. I have never had any of the problems indicated. After 23 years of use I do suspect the belt may be slipping a little. Not surprised. It has been in storage for a few of those years with temps of over 120 degrees. Never encountered arcing.
KZ4USA Rating: 4/5 Jul 25, 2015 16:23 Send this review to a friend
It seems to be a good tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I think most of the people having problems don't
build their antennas right and feedline length is
not right. They need to read some antenna books.
K2CD Rating: 4/5 Sep 20, 2014 10:01 Send this review to a friend
Long Lasting Without any Major Issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
What can I say? I've owned this tuner for 20 years. Got it second hand at that. It's been very reliable outside of the little wheel that makes contact with the roller inductor coil jumping past the stop in the 000 position on the counter once or twice. I fixed that years ago with a new blob of silicone and it hasn't jumped off since. No arcing observed on any band with 1300 watts. I took the time to learn the dial positions for each band so I'm not tuning blindly each time. DXLab Commander allows you to input the tuner settings so they're there for each band, antenna, etc. at a glance.
WB6TOM Rating: 4/5 Jul 28, 2014 12:50 Send this review to a friend
I LIKE IT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purches a MFJ-989c not long ago knowing that the belt was broken as it was a old 989c,
I purchest 2 new belts from mfj to install soon as I could get them, well after waiting for 2 weeks never received them. so I went to the local NAPA store and low an behold there the belts were, Just "O" rings for .59 cents a piece, well for about $1.20 for (2) I was ready to rock & Roll and they work great. oh the part # 727-2034 at NAPA. and by the way I cancel the order at mfj it was $8.58 with shipping for 2, to summup I like the mfj-989c it sure is better than some of my homebrew tuners I was useing back in the 1950 an 60.I feel like an applience operator now. Hi Hi .
73s WB6TOM
F5TZN Rating: 1/5 May 14, 2014 03:42 Send this review to a friend
BAD TUNER  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Poor quality, overpriced, for an occasional use, undersized for 3kw or tune on a 50 ohms load !
W8NIC Rating: 0/5 Mar 10, 2014 04:28 Send this review to a friend
ARC ARC ARC ARC  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
ARC ARC ARC ARC ARC - Oh, did I tell you that all mine did was ARC? Works well with 100 watts but as soon as I put at least 600 watts to it? ARC ARC ARC.
Didn't bother selling it, it's in the garbage now.
K6XN Rating: 4/5 Feb 20, 2014 13:28 Send this review to a friend
I LIKE IT  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had two non-working MFJ-989C tuners *given to me* by unhappy users over the years. Both tuners were easily fixed by me, are in use now and I have not had any problems with either tuner after fixing them. I use these on occasion up to full legal limit power with no problems whatsoever. The problem with one tuner was a broken drive belt which I replaced with a much stronger drive belt designed for use with the old Heathkit SB series linear amplifiers. These stronger drive belts are often available new on E-Bay for a very modest cost. The second tuner had a poor solder connection and severe carbon arcing on the roller loading coil. I cleaned and resoldered the bad solder connection and cleaned the coil and replaced its original drive belt with a stronger "Heathkit" drive belt and both tuners have worked flawlessly now for over three years. IMHO these tuners only need some TLC, modest parts replacement and care in using them. It is possible that carefully first reading the manuals for these tuners would be helpful to many who have had problems. I hope this is helpful. 73, Ted, K6XN
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