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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-929 Compact 200-watt Auto-tuner Help


Reviews Summary for MFJ-929 Compact 200-watt Auto-tuner
MFJ-929 Compact 200-watt Auto-tuner Reviews: 29 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $220
Description: The MFJ-929 IntelliTuner-CompactTM lets you automatically tune any coax fed or random wire antenna 1.8-30 MHz at full 200 Watts SSB/CW. It can match 6-1600 Ohms (SWR up to 32:1) - - that's a 50% wider matching range at a higher power level than lesser competing products.

You get a digital SWR/Wattmeter with backlit LCD, antenna switch for 2 antennas, built-in radio interface and built-in internal BiasTee for remote tuner operation.

Product is in production.
More info: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php?prodid=MFJ-929
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IK1WGZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2011 15:19 Send this review to a friend
what else?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've changed in the past many tuners. If it continues to work as now I think that I will not buy another tuner in the future.
 
VE3EGA Rating: 5/5 Oct 19, 2011 15:08 Send this review to a friend
Better choice for me than an LDG  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I know that MFJ gets bad press from time to time but you have to remember that manufacturing processes can be affected in many ways by both automation and the human element. Name any Electronics Company that has a perfect 'Six-Sigma' or 'ISO' record?

Back to the 929: Lightning fast tuning, two antenna inputs - no long tuning cycle issues with this tuner (returned my LDG 817H) and lots of features you will probably never use!

IMHO - 'best bang for the buck' - I use mine solely with my FT-817ND but plan to buy another two for each of my other rigs!

With MFJ's warranty, what have you got to lose?

73



 
KC2KCF Rating: 2/5 May 19, 2011 06:42 Send this review to a friend
false adertising. defective firmware  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I believe this tuner has a lot of potential to be a great product. (That's why I don't give it a 0). But it definitely needs help (that's why it got a 2). Or, more precisely, MFJ needs a major kick in their rear end.

I ended up buying this tuner rather than an LDG product, one of the factors being that I felt more confident about an U.S. made ham radio product than the LDG stuff which is Made in China (R.O.C.). It certainly told me something about American quality engineering (not).

First off, MFJ advertises this tuner as being fitted with 10 A/1000 V relays. This is a lie. The tuner I bought is fitted with 5 A/250 V relays. OK, so the contacts may be paralleled to arrive at the 10 A rating, but they're nowhere near 1 kV.

Second, as described by others, I had to clean the tuner from a lot of solder balls that someone had lovingly sprinkled all over the PCB. OK, this is not a major deal, and I'd say I expected to have to do this even before I bought the product.

Third, someone compared MFJ products to the work of a blacksmith. I can see why after looking at the solder joints on the underside of the PCB (though I might be doing injustice to blacksmiths). Aesthetics aside, several component legs/wire ends were cut off rather long and bent over on the solder side of the PCB so that they were fractions of a millimeter away from shorting out. For a tuner that encounters high voltages during use, not good.

Fourth, and this is the main issue that pulls the rating down: the firmware is defective and obviously got never tested properly. I got curious why the match changed in "random" ways when incrementing the capacitance step by step. My initial suspicion got confirmed once I measured which relays got energized: instead of counting up the bank of capacitors in a sequential fashion (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, ...), the tuner counted: 0, 8, 4, 12, 2, 10, 6, 14, 1, 9, 5, 13, 3, 11, 15, ... In other words, the 4 lowest bits of the binary counting word are reversed, which is clearly a firmware bug (the firmware mixes up the pin assignments). The capacitors were soldered in accordance with the silk screened labels, so it's not that MFJ soldered them in in the wrong order.

The easy fix (apart from reprogramming the PIC microcontroller, for which no source code is provided) was to swap the affected tuning capacitors around. After this, the tuner behaves properly in manual mode and also hunts less is automatic mode.

The product concept is great. But I've never encountered such shoddy engineering practice before from a U.S. company. And the firmware is clearly not an issue of QC during production, but evidence that the firmware was never properly tested and debugged even in the development lab.
 
CT2IPG Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2010 14:34 Send this review to a friend
never had better  Time owned: more than 12 months
i buyed two mfj-929 2 years ago. i'm using one in my ft857d running 160 watts on a vertical CB ANTENNA!!! it work's fine, from 20, 17,15,12 and 10 meters, with only one second of tuning! i've made contacts with almost over the world including the most dificult country's like australia, japan, indonesia, new zealand, etc. the other one is conected to my ft100d running 100 watts on a windom antenna, with very good results too. about software menus...nothing to say...it's so easy to use, that i never took the manual out the box! buy it! i recommend it! i never buyed two of it if they're not good. believe me on that! 73! i'll meet you on the frequency!
 
KC9HVA Rating: 3/5 Dec 11, 2009 11:05 Send this review to a friend
power switch failure  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchesed one of these auto tuners two weeks ago later the on/off push button switch decides to go south on me . I took the little switch apart and fixed it . so now it works again
as with all electronic the power switch failed again. got on the phone to mfj and a very nice lady sent me two replacement . now working again i cant complain about about mfj.
 
KU3X Rating: 5/5 Oct 30, 2009 09:00 Send this review to a friend
Thumbs up for MFJ 929  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
AD9P said it right when he said, "it sure beats the heck out of the LDG Z11 PRO !" I use shortened dipoles for both 75 and 160 meters. The Z11 PRO could not couple those bands from one end to the other. On 75 meters it was good for about 250 KHZ and struggled to match it at the 1.5 to 1 SWR level. On 160 meters, I think I got around 130 KHZ. I put the MFJ 929 in line and I could work the entire band with an SWR of less than 1.5 to 1. I then set the 929 to stop tuning at an SWR of 1.2 to 1 or less. I could couple both antennas at an SWR of 1.1 to 1 over the entire band on both bands. If you couple the Z11 PRO to a dummy load to fool the tuner into thinking it is trying to match a resonant antenna at 50 ohms 0J, the Z11 PRO actually makes the SWR go higher. It can not think and go into bypass. I did the same test with the MFJ 929 and it knew it did not need anything to make the match. The tuner went into bypass and the rig saw a 1:1 match. There may be times you don't remember where an antenna is resonant and hit the tune button on the rig. The Z11 failed this test. That's why I made the dummy load test.
I really like the LCD on the unit. It give you a lot of information.
The 929 has too many features to talk about here. The previous reviews tell it all.
I have not found one thing that I do not like about this unit.
Barry, KU3X
 
KC6RHE Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2009 13:33 Send this review to a friend
Works great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am getting into more HF after passing my general and bought a IC-718 and the 929 tuner, I am happy with the results and plan to take it to my cabin to use with my Yaesu FT100D when there. for the price and compatibilty of both radio's its all good. It tuned up my Antron 99 to 20 meters and I was making contacts witin 5 minutes.
 
W9OY Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2009 11:44 Send this review to a friend
I made mine remote  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I decided to build a stealth 45ft vertical hanging out of a tree. I ran a wire up to an eye-bolt I had placed up in the tree, ran out a few radials and connected the wires to a S0-239. Rather than tune the vertical through the coax back in the shack, I decided to tune the vertical at its base. I bought this tuner, and a .50 cal ammo box for 10 bux to use as a water proof container. The tuner fits nicely in the box. I punched a hole for threaded barrel coax feed through and ran a short 3 ft separate piece of coax out of the ammo box to the base of the vertical.

The 929 has built in power injection so you can run power to the tuner from inside the shack on the coax. You need a separate power injector box to do this which is easy to build or you can purchase from MFJ. This thing works great. On 40 the 45ft vertical even with just a couple of radials is only down about 2 to 3 dB from my 1/2 wave end fed vertical with 4000 ft of radials into Europe.

To tune I change bands and hit the tune button on my radio with about 10W The antenna clicks to resonance and I'm ready to go. If the tuner is tuning I can watch the tuning progress on my LP-100 power meter and when every thing is stable and the SWR is under 1.5:1, I know I am tuned. I do not have covenants but if I did, and I had a tree, I would stick up this antenna using this "tuner in a ammo box" in a heart beat. If I wanted to be real stealthy I could bury the ammo box wrapped in plastic and NO ONE would be the wiser
 
K4MSG Rating: 5/5 Jun 1, 2009 17:41 Send this review to a friend
Great tuner, great price!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Very nice, easy-to-use, wide-range antenna tuner. I have not tried tuning it by manually setting L and C, I just let the tuner “do its thing” automatically and that works fine with my wire antennas. The default target VSWR of 1.5 keeps the radio happy (and it’s usually much lower than that) and the tuning time is quite short.

Since I’m using the MFJ-929 tuner with an IC-756PRO transceiver I also bought the Icom interface cable and it was well worth the extra money. The tuner gets its power directly from the transceiver and the transceiver defaults to using the MFJ-929 when powered up, which is exactly how I want it to operate.

I noticed one deviation from the manual description: The manual states that pressing (for 0.5-2 seconds) and releasing the TUNER button on the radio will cause the radio to key at 10 watts momentarily while the tuner tunes the antenna, and this is correct. However, the manual also states that this same kind of tuning function works on Yaesu radios by pressing and releasing the TUNE button on the MFJ-929, and I found that it works with the Icom radio the same way. It doesn’t seem to matter which button is used (TUNE on the tuner or TUNER on the rig) as they accomplish the same purpose of tuning at reduced power – which, by the way, is very convenient. MFJ states that the tuner should only be tuned at a power level of 20 watts or less so this single-button tuning functionality eliminates the need for fooling with the power setting on the radio before and after tuning the antenna. Press the button for about a second and release, the antenna is tuned at 10 watts, and voila, you’re ready to transmit.

The packaging is modest but attractive, the display is easy to read, the button & menu sequences are easy to learn (but I had lots of practice with that using my IC-706MkIIG, HI-HI!) and the tuner overall works great. I highly recommend this unit as a great way to “graduate” from a manual transmatch.
 
W2NLS Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2009 19:57 Send this review to a friend
Great With Icom 746Pro  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had this for a couple months and am a big fan now. I originally bought it because my G5RV could not be loaded on the lower part of 80M by the Icom 746 Pro's built-in tuner. So, I bought this unit with a cable for Icom transceivers.

The cable simply attached to the back of the Icom via a molex connector and then a modular-style plug on the back of the tuner. The cable supplies the tuner with power and allows two-way communication between the tuner and the transceiver using Icom's AH-4 tuner commands.

So, once connected, all you need to do is to push the TUNER button on the 746 Pro and it uses the MFJ tuner instead of its internal tuner. Oh, one thing the manual was not clear on -- first thing after you connect and power it up is to go to the tuner's setup menu and choose to change from the default of no radio interface to the Icom/Alinco choice. Until you do that the tuner powers on but doesn't know the rig is connected.

I originally set this up with an antenna switch to split its output between ant1 and ant2 of the Pro. My original idea was that I would just use the MFJ on 80M off ant1 and then switch to ant2, bypass the MFJ, and use the Icom's internal tuner which did load the beam on 20-10 and the G5RV on 80-40 except for the low half of 80. Well, that worked but it wasn't long before I just decided to use the MFJ tuner on every band and every frequency instead of the 746 Pro's.

The MFJ tuner is FAST, maybe two to three times as fast as the Icom on solving a new frequency. And, of course, the MFJ's rampant memories ensure that most often-used bands will almost immediately tune up. And, the MFJ's digital metering of both forward and reflected power as well as swr is just a great addition to the shack and to knowing how my rig is doing. The metering alone, really -- by itself -- would be worth the cost of the tuner!

You really can't go wrong, I think, buying this unit. I think it is one of the best ham accessories I have ever purchased. I may be getting an amp in the future and, if I do, I'll spend the additional money to get the higher-power intellitunernas well.

MFJ -- Compliments to the chefs!
 
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