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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-989C Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-989C
MFJ-989C Reviews: 151 Average rating: 2.6/5 MSRP: $360
Description: Handles 1500 watts PEP SSB output power
Product is in production.
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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
K4VUD Rating: 3/5 Sep 29, 2013 06:39 Send this review to a friend
in defense of MFJ  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had the 989C for six years; used it twice on G5RV and worked ok on 1KW. The drive belt on the roller inductor which drives only the counter broke.

The problem with antenna tuners of this design is that they will show some kind of match (lower SWR) on a WHOLE LOT of dial settings, most of which are not the best settings. Op should start with 50 watts and the book standard dial settings and then start tuning from those points, and turning the knobs in the sequence given in the book. This should give an arc-free setting, but if this 1.5 kw tuner arcs, 99% chance it is not tuned correctly. Experiment with many different dial settings and see you get what appears a good match with the dials in many different positions.

This is a draw back of this design tuner (note the Differential T from MFJ claims ONE best setting is easy to get but this is a different internal design.) Best way to learn is to use 50 watts into an external dummy load of 50 ohms and start with book dial settings. Then experiment to learn the complicated tuning needed because all three dials interact and op can be easily fooled by what looks like a correct setting but is not the best.

Always re-tune a bit when applying full power.

Everyone knows MFJ sells products that are at the lower edge of quality and assembly (designs are very good). However, MFJ offers full money back, no questions asked, and supplies replacement parts well. Think of an MFJ product as a kit which you resolder if necessary and tweek in other ways. Also, think of ham radio without MFJ; many people would just not be on the air. So, lay off Martin, pse.
W6YDE Rating: 3/5 Feb 10, 2013 05:26 Send this review to a friend
OK, but not great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased two MFJ-989C tuners years ago. They have both broken due to the rubber belt used for the roller inductor coil counter. I purchased a gear drive from MFJ at Dayton Hamvention. To make the change over was not for the average ham to attemp. There was a lot of cutting of the front panel and alinement problems with the shaft drive. Roller inductor is still not smooth and jumps around.

Capacitor drive knobs are direct drive and require a fine touch to find the correct setting. I also installed calibrated dial tunning knobs on the capacitor drives. But this has not worked out due to existing capacitor are very had to turn and required a larger drive knob than I could find room to install.

The MFJ-989C work, but are not a fine piece of equipment.

KD5OEI Rating: 3/5 Jan 16, 2013 07:21 Send this review to a friend
OK for some; watch the power!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine is the original 989 (plain). It had been OK for use with a 100-200W carrier on AM, and for all SSB up to the 900W my amplifier will make. It is easy to use. I found the ceramic switch to look 'small' but it had not caused problems.

1.) The first time I used the MFJ-989 on a decent size plate modulated transmitter, that was the beginning of trouble. One star deducted for it blowing up with a 350-400W carrier AM transmission.

2.) One star deducted for being caught in a public lie. The lie is silk screened on the front panel "3KW" (oh, apparently that is "input to the RF amp or stage", and apparently there is some kind of acceptance test @ "1.5KW for 1 minute". Ok this is not in any way "3KW", but it is a public lie.

So, overall, 3 out of 5 because it is good for most people, but if you are going to run legal limit AM, RTTY, SSTV, or CW through the thing, and the transmissions are going to last more than 1-2 minutes or so, choose another product or do as I am doing now, make your own tuner from bigger parts.
KJ4WS Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2012 16:31 Send this review to a friend
Great Tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I honestly believe that the folks who are writing bad reviews for this product. Have NO IDEA as to how to install a proper antenna or how to Properly use the Tuner. I bought my Tuner in 1993. Except for One blown 1N34A Diode in the Meter Circuit I have had NO Problems. My guess is that the Keying of 1300 Watts into a Bad Mismatch is the reason for the Blown Diode. If you have a problem with this tuner.... Why not read the WELL WRITTEN Manual and solve your Antenna/Feed Line problem and then enjoy Ham Radio with no problems.
WU2M Rating: 0/5 Dec 10, 2012 09:53 Send this review to a friend
I should have known better!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Like a lot of other reviwes state, this thing is a piece of garbage! I purchased this new and it feels very cheap. Don't even think of trying to run an amplifier with this as it will arc every time. At about 500 watts it arcs and trips the fault protection on my amp.
I cut my losses and purchased a better tuner and never looked back. You get what you pay for and the way this thing performs it should cost about $24.95. My advise to anyone thinking of buying this tuner would be to move on. There are better options out there!
KJ4WS Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2012 04:14 Send this review to a friend
10 years no problems yet!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Brought mine 10 years ago or more. We were on a trip to Atlanta and that night at the motel I used 50 feet of coax and a clip lead to match a Guard Rail to a 1:1 reading. Talked all over the States that night on several bands. Now running a Flat Top 63 feet each leg fed with Ladder Line and the tuner will work on all bands 160 - 10 Meters. Used as Random Wire on 160. I have used this tuner with a Dentron Mla-2500, SB-220, Henry 2K, and currently a SB-200. My only problem is that after over 10 years of use and being on 24/7 that Darned Cheap light bulb in the meter went out. It was a 14 volt bulb. I am in the process of doing an LED Conversion. Upon opening this tuner for the first time there were no Arc Scars on the Caps nor the Roller Inductor. Always tune at Low Power and then Pour on the juice...... No problems here except those Cheap Bulbs that only last about 10 years or so.
N4ZAW Rating: 5/5 Sep 27, 2011 12:02 Send this review to a friend
Nice tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don't know if I trust the peak-reading feature. It might be fine, but it just looks way-high to my eyeball. Outside of that, I have used this little tuner for over a year with no problems, even at full legal input.
KB4JKL Rating: 2/5 Jul 17, 2011 19:33 Send this review to a friend
Not good at all  Time owned: more than 12 months
To be fair, I have the 989B which is the earlier model. Its identical to this model with the exception of the PEP meter reading. Where do I begin, well I gave it a 2 only because of MFJ's support in dealing with the issues at hand. They never charged me for parts or repair! The tuner started out with a heavier roller inductor and one day while trying to go after a DX station on 20 meters, I turned the Roller Inductor and it turned so easy. It was easy because the shaft broke at the bearing point inside the tuner. This happened 3 more times until MFJ brought out the Air Wound Inductor. They sent me this and I had to retro-fit it into this tuner. Once I got this in, I thought my problems were over until I got an amplifier, an Ameritron 811H to be exact. When I tried to use the tuner with the amp, it started arcing internally and I could not stop it as long as I was in transmit. Please bear in mind, this is an 800 watt amplifier and this tuner is rated at 3KW. Is there something wrong with this picture? I sent the tuner back to MFJ and they said there was nothing wrong with it. It still continued to arc and it looked like an electrical storm coming from inside the tuner. From this point on, I was very reluctant to operate my amplifier with this tuner. I finally broke down and got a Palstar AT2K. Bottom line, to be fair, the MFJ tapped inductor tuners for 300 watts work OK. I have used them. I would stay away from any of their roller inductor tuners. That's just one man's humble opinion. As they say, you get what you pay for!
G0MMI Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2011 14:01 Send this review to a friend
Still going great that I bought another one!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Since my last review there has been no changes with the 989C. No flash overs, nothing falling to bits or smoke coming out of it. Another 989C came up cheap and I bought that as well. Much older and the only problem was the bulb went qrt. Instead of whinging about it I went to town and bought another bulb. Works %100 on my spare IC-765 and 400 watt amp.
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