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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-989D 3kW Roller Inductor Antenna Tuner Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-989D 3kW Roller Inductor Antenna Tuner
MFJ-989D 3kW Roller Inductor Antenna Tuner Reviews: 72 Average rating: 3.4/5 MSRP: $359.95
Description: Updated version of the MFJ-989C Roller Inductor Antenna Tuner.
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the MFJ-989D 3kW Roller Inductor Antenna Tuner.

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AA4AJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2015 09:09 Send this review to a friend
Good tuner  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I read eHam reviews before I buy something so, I owe the reviewers one.

I bought my MFJ-989D because my auto tuner would not find a SWR that was low enough to suit me. I also got it on sale at an excellent price from HRO. I read the reviews here and checked the tuner very carefully. The fit and finish are first rate. I opened the case to check the battery clip and the components seem to be high quality. The wiring is well done. The inside was clean and nothing was loose. The tuner works on all bands without a power connector as the power only controls the meter light. None of the components are the very highest quality but, they work well and are the same ones as on other MFJ / Ameritron products. To get that 'high quality', you pay a lot more.

The tuner works very well. The meter is bright and clear and seems to be reasonably accurate. The inductor doesnít feel the same as the one in my other tuner but, it is a different technology and has worked well. The turns counter seems accurate. The capacitor tuning knobs are directly connected (no planetary gears) so you have to be careful with tuning. Using the MFJ supplied instructions, tuning is quick and accurate. The tuner settings are very narrow and specific. Depending on the antenna, a final setting can be quite broad in frequency coverage.

First rate. You can spend a lot more ( I did that ) and will get very little extra.
K4PDM Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2015 08:55 Send this review to a friend
Good tuner for the money!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
MFJ gets a lot of flack for their equipment but if you understand its limitations and don't get a defective unit to begin with, the products are worth the money. I am very pleased with the new 989D I bought a month ago. I've made dozens of contacts with powers up to a kilowatt and had no problem. The meter is dead on with a Bird slug I borrowed at the 1000 watt level.

A used Palstar might be better...but it might not be. No way to know how much power might have been put through it, or if the meter works right, or if it had been hot-switched...Point being, unless you know the history of a used tuner, you're taking your chances. With a new MFJ, you've got the warranty.

My other tuner is a really old MFJ 986 with the split capacitor design, and the 989D will match on bands where the 986 had difficulty. One tip--it is well known that this type of tuner can show an SWR minimum at more than one adjustment. On my tuner, after tuning with low power and applying 700 to 1000 watts input, the reflected power meter will suddenly peg if I'm on one of the wrong dip points. I don't suppose it is designed to do this, but that's what happens on mine, and I know to re-tune for a dip more in line with the recommended settings.

Con: It is somewhat misleading to use a 3-digit turn counter that maxes out before the hundreds digit can change, actually utilizing only two of the digits. No problem, just a weird choice.

Different tuners react differently to different loads and I don't know if this is the perfect tuner for you. For me, with a 400-foot doublet fed with a 9:1 balun and ladderline, and an elevated Hustler 5BTV vertical, it is working quite well.
K8AC Rating: 3/5 Jan 8, 2015 10:52 Send this review to a friend
Poorly executed design  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Recently acquired one of these tuners second-hand. On the bright side, it was able to achieve a match for my ladder-line fed dipole (80M) on all bands, 80 thru 10. No arcing was observed when running 1,500 watts on all bands. Here are the things I found lacking:

1. Poor rotary inductor counter: counts full revolutions with its three digits. A good counter will count 1/10 of a revolution and have 4 or 5 digits. The result is that it's not possible to reposition the inductor without putting a signal on the air.

2. Poor resetability for capacitor knobs: In order to be able to reset the adjustments you really need dial graduations of 0 to 100. Here, the dial graduations are limited to 20 and again you have to put a signal on the air to reset the positions accurately.

3. Meter adjustments: This best illustrates the typical MFJ problem. The meter board, with its four adjustable pots, is located on the floor of the unit between the two capacitors and under the switch shaft. On the bottom of the cabinet, there's a hole through which one would suspect you could adjust the pots, but, the pots are not accessible from there because they're mounted on the top of the circuit board and there are no holes in the board beneath the pots. You'll have to pull the shaft to get to a couple of the pots. And, you'll have to guess which one does what as they're not mentioned in the manual and there's no schematic for the meter board.

You can significantly improve the operation of the tuner by replacing the inductor counter (significant front panel surgery required) and installing Jackson Brothers vernier drives on the capacitors. You can buy the dial scales for the drives from Palstar for a reasonable price and re-use the MFJ knobs. More front panel surgery required to fit the verniers. If you're thinking of buying one of these tuners new, consider instead a used Palstar.
W3AMF Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2014 06:37 Send this review to a friend
I Like It.  Time owned: more than 12 months
It is attractive, lightweight, and easy-to-use. It appears to use quality components and be well-built. The manual is thorough and easy-to-understand. The meter is easy to see and appears to be reasonably accurate. The 300 watt dummy load works, but it would be nice if it could handle more power.

I may have received a "good one" because I have not experienced any of the problems that other hams are writing about. MFJ appears to have a record of inconsistent quality, so I will not dispute those who criticize this unit.

I use it to tune a ground-mounted Hustler vertical (80-10 meters/WARC) and an Alpha Delta DX-A (160-40 meters/WARC) installed as an inverted V. I cannot tune 20, 15, or 10 meters with the DX-A, but that is not the fault of the tuner. It works well with my Mosley TA-33JR, but unless I am running an amplifier I don't use it with that antenna. I have not tried it with balanced or single wire antennas.

Maximum output power from my Yaesu FL-2100Z is about 800 W PEP SSB and 700 W CW. The tuner does not even get warm with that power applied.

I created a tuning chart for each antenna and for each band. To change bands or to make wide excursions within a band I adjust the controls to the settings specified on my chart and I have an instant match. I occasionally may make minor adjustments to get an even lower SWR, but that step is not necessary.

It is reasonably priced and is an effective tuner.
A65BK Rating: 1/5 Sep 2, 2014 08:57 Send this review to a friend
Very Bad  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Last week I received my 989D from Gigaparts and when opened found the roller is slipping from the inductor coil and so not able to use. Reported the defect to vendor and await their response and process to get a replacement.inductor and associated counter designed very badly.
W8NWN Rating: 2/5 Aug 29, 2014 12:48 Send this review to a friend
BAD COUNTER  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The counter on the inductor must have been bad from the start. It slipped and clicked right off. Nicely built unit but I could not use.

I am sure it was an easy fix for the factory, but not for me. I dont believe in working on new equipment.

Sent it back and got another brand. (for more money)
KI4DW Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2014 09:24 Send this review to a friend
11 years old and works great!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought the 989D a long time ago and have had no problems at all. Huge caps, smooth inductor, meter very accurate. Just getting ready to install LED for panel meter. I have run 1500 watts extended with no issues. This tuner is beefy and can stand up to the job at hand.
W7XY Rating: 2/5 Apr 15, 2014 17:40 Send this review to a friend
Not Happy  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had several MFJ tuners and the trouble is the meters quit after a short time. If they just used a little better quality diodes in the meter circuit is all it would take to correct the problem. When I called them they offered to send me the replacement diodes free but I have had enough of this type of doing business. I like an American Company doing their production here but I won't buy any more products from them after this practice. I have bought many of their products in my years as an Amateur and the older items seemed to work just fine until I had the experience with their tuners.
WB0AQW Rating: 4/5 Feb 12, 2014 12:03 Send this review to a friend
Would Recommend  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Granted, I just got the tuner. It was packaged very well in a good heavy box with the tuner ensconced in styro foam. My first impression was that MFJ cares about the product enough to properly package it.

Upon opening the box and unpacking the tuner, I hear a rattle inside the tuner. I had already determined that I would remove the cover and do a thorough inspection of the solder joints, nuts and bolts and all other components. So I wasn't over concerned about the rattle. While the product was still in the plastic bag I saw the source of the rattle. I found a bolt and when I took it out of the bag, I found it's accompanying nut in the bag as well.

I removed the cover and my impression was very favorable. The paint was nice, the bolts were threaded into threaded holes as opposed to using metal cutting screws. Well done, MFJ. The source of the loose bolt and nut was found to be one of the four bolts that mount the Antenna capacitor. It probably didn't get fully snugged upon assembly and rattled loose during shipment. A pretty understandable slip through QC. I will give them a semi pass on it but did lower my rating.

The rest of the interior was immaculate. The solder joints were well done. The capacitors moved smoothly with just enough drag to hold a setting easily. The roller inductor was also very smooth and turned quietly and accurately. Checked other fasteners all of which appeared to be snugged down properly. So far, my opinion is that this is a nice piece of equipment which seems to be well built.

Now was the time for the rubber to meet the road. I like to work 3.740.00 Mhz for rag chewing with a group. So trimmed my antenna for resonance on this frequency. But I also enjoy BPSK31 on 3.580.15 Mhz and at this part of the band, my antenna exhibits a 5:1 SWR. Tuning this portion of the band to 1:1 was absolutely effortless. Using the manual's suggested starting points, it took less then a minute to have my TS850S loving that portion of the band. Other bands I've set up on were just as easy and on 75 Meters I applied my SB-220 Linear into the MFJ 989D and everything just worked to perfection.

I can't say yet what things will be like in a year or so. But I know how I treat my radio equipment and I'm convinced that a year from now I will say the same thing.

Are there better tuners out there? Of course, but for the money, the 989D is pretty hard to beat. I also own the MFJ 4245 power supply and if the 989D performs like the power supply I will be a happy camper.

If you aren't independently wealthy and you would like to have a tuner that can handle way more than just what your transceiver puts out, the MFJ-989D is an highly recommended option in my opinion.

There have been many unfavorable reviews of this tuner but to date, I have been unable to discover their foundation.

Remember, a tuner doesn't fix the antenna. It only makes your transceiver happy by having it feeding a proper load. If your antenna sucks, after tuning your tuner for minimum swr, the antenna will still suck.
KG2S Rating: 2/5 Dec 25, 2013 16:42 Send this review to a friend
Repeat Meter Problems!  Time owned: more than 12 months
For the second time in less than a year, the meter on my MFJ-989D has stopped working. I sent it back under warranty to MFJ for the first repair. Now the meter has failed again and I am out of warranty. From what I can see on the schematic and the numerous user reports from other owners, I believe that D202 (1N34A) is the problem. When I removed the cover to look over the circuit board, I noted the components are facing the rear of the tuner case and you canít easily check for problems. It looks like a bit of work just to troubleshoot the meter circuit and repair it. As you have probably guessed, I am not too impressed with a tuner that needs repair [again].
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