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Reviews Categories | Digital Multi-mode decoders | MFJ-464 Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-464
MFJ-464 Reviews: 20 Average rating: 2.7/5 MSRP: $179.95
Description: Code reader and sender
Product is in production.
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N5IIA Rating: 5/5 Jan 11, 2019 03:16 Send this review to a friend
A useful tool  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received my MFJ-464 today. I picked it up used for a reasonable price. Eventually, I will probably use it to it's full potential, but for now, I will use it strictly as a reader to supplement my ear, and save on paper and pencils. That said, here are my early findings. The unit does a wonderful job of decoding CW, even very weak signals. The key is to use this "tool" properly. Input volume needs to be carefully adjusted to provide adequate signal, but not so much that you begin decoding noise. The tone of the CW signal must match the tone you have chosen the decoder to decode. If you have a noise reduction or DSP on your radio, use it. This unit works. I honestly believe all of the low ratings here are due to user error. My guess is that the folks that hear CW signals, but complain it won't decode, or decodes random letters are failing to do a few things. Properly adjusting input level, tuning to the proper CW tone in Hz which the decoder is looking for, using a narrower receiver filter, and not using noise reduction if available. I have my MFJ-464 set to decode 700hz. My radio is set to pass a 700hz CW tone, I use a narrower filter once I have the signal tuned in, and use noise reduction. The result? 90-100% decoding barring QSB and sloppy fists. It's a keeper in my book, and if you can buy one used at a better price than new, buy it. Just look for someone without the patience to set it up correctly. You might get the deal of the century. :)
W9RAC Rating: 1/5 Jun 21, 2018 17:47 Send this review to a friend
NO help for reading code  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well I thought about giving this a 2 but I was afraid someone might consider ording it if I did. I have a mild to medium hearing impairment, so I wear headphones, always. I copy code to about 16 or so. Head copy to 14. I purchased this as a backup on a letter/number or two I might miss. Good thing I do not have to count on it. If your proficient with code, you don't need it anyway, its a novelty. If your not, this won't help. It takes basically a perfect CW sent message, with full quieting signal to even consider decoding anything. Then buy the time you might have gotten it set and going the QSO is over, I just hope you not in it. If you do not CW, and want to use this as a reader, I would liken this to trying the Atlantic in a inner tube and not being able to swim, your going to get into trouble FAST!
KA9QWC Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2018 23:01 Send this review to a friend
Primary use is sending only  Time owned: more than 12 months
I give the MFJ-464 a 5 based on sending. My fingers do not work well now days on either a straight key or paddle keys. Never tried it on receive as I copy with a stick & scribble on my paper tablet. I just use an old guess they call it a AT keyboard, adapters were free in junk box at a ham fest. The memory message storage works as it should for me. Keys up perfectly with my Kenwood TS-480. Also have the older MFJ-452 KEYER stored for camping. Again I only use the 464 to send. And I am a traffic handler and sure makes it easy passing radiograms. And did use memory at times for events.
W4HH Rating: 1/5 Jan 23, 2017 19:04 Send this review to a friend
Decent keyer; code reader is junk  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The MFJ464 is a decent keyer, however, as a code reader it just doesn't cut it. After fiddling around with volume settings, level settings, RF gain, audio gain, and God only knows what else, it will copy ARRL code practice but that's it. I'll probably send it back for a refund.

KM6AXC Rating: 3/5 Jul 20, 2016 19:02 Send this review to a friend
My 2nd Review and Final Comments  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I gave this product a preliminary review earlier. I have since gone through the product with a fine toothed comb and also page by page through the operators manual. I stand by my earlier comments in that in does indeed power in the CW signal. Here are the comments I made to myself during the detailed review. (1) There are times that when you play memory 1, memory 2 will come in right behind it without you telling it to do that. (2) The manual tells you to adjust the "Level" and "Tone" buttons if necessary. But, there is no mention on how to access the respective adjustment gizmos that are depressed inside the device (why are they not flush with the outside of the box so one can actually do an adjustment?). I had to get a flashlight to look into the respective holes to see how it was to be done. The adjustment turns out to require a small screwdriver to make the adjustment. I just prayed that the tip of the screwdriver was not heading for an internal voltage source that I could not see. I tried first to get into the box to visually observe the adjustment screws but to my horror, I COULD NOT REMOVE THE TWO SCREWS ON THE TOP!! Four screws are used to hold the device's cover in place. The two on the side were screwed in at an awkward angle from the factory to where quite an effort was required to get them out. The two top screws would not budge - had I continued, they would have stripped for sure. Bad design/workmanship!! (3) The on/off switch sometimes does not work!! Some of my attempts to turn the device on were met with nothingness. Just had to keep trying until it finally came on (on = the red led light illuminating).
(4) The "Set" button is very sensitive. One needs to turn it sloooooooooowly when adjusting stuff. (5) The instructions say there are 19 set-up modes - in reality, there are 20. (6) They say that the units' "Reader Speed" can be adjusted. WRONG!! There is no way to make that adjustment. At least, none that I saw in pouring over the instructions. It remains at 00 all the time. (7) Under "Keyboard Operation", one is supposed to press "Pause" during transmission to.......problem is, there ain't no pause button:):) (8) The message memory section is wrong, wrong, wrong. Did I say it was wrong? :):) Ignore all the instructions and do this (a) press the message button you want (the machine will say "GA" - not "GO" like the instructions say. (b)Next type in your message - remember to include the "K/KN/AR/" or whatever. Then (c) simply hit "enter" and you are done. (9) In the Self Test section, they tell you in step 2 to connect a paddle to the "Key Input Jack". Just be aware that is the input jack on the device - not your radio.
Bottom line in terms of "Does it do what it is supposed to do"? The answer is yes. For Reading code, you need to have a good strong signal with the green led light flashing like mad in sync with the signal. With that, it will read fine. It will not read weak signals (but what reader does?). For keying/sending code at various speeds, it shines big time. Does an excellent job there. Is it worth the money? I think yes but they sure could use an upgrade in terms of workmanship upgrade in preparing a decent set of instructions.
KD5JAA Rating: 3/5 Jan 23, 2013 10:09 Send this review to a friend
OK to GOOD  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The CW decoding has to have the audio level set appropriately to give good output if the signals are good quality(little QSB, noise etc). I set back the 7410 rf gain to keep the LOCK indicator off with about half audio level out and then tune in a signal raising the audio level until the decoder starts to display characters. It does take a little time. I did find that putting a DSP audio filter between the receiver audio output and the unit's audio input does help somewhat . The ear may be better because it seems to ignore poor code with timing slightly off.

As a keyer it works well with the keyboard or key(bug). It does allow you to check your sent code timing so you can see it as others might. The tone out of the radio is probably best to use because the setups might be incorrect if you dont check them. Having 4 extra message buffers is useful if your rig only has 4. Sometimes pushing the buttons can result in hitting the adjacent one.

Terminal mode is really needed if you want to read the mail. I found it difficult to bring up but i got it to work ok with a USB to serial interface. The unit works fine without extraneous feeds or characters. Basic problems were getting a USB interface to work. COM ports are probably not used anymore so it would be nice to have a USB interface in the unit if the software was available. I had one cable with the miniplug signals reversed and another radioshack USB to miniplug cable just didnt work properly tho it worked ok for my radio interface. I used serial port software that you can get off the web. I did find out that Hyperterm and Realterm dont have the same performance. It was worthwhile to use Realterm to find out about the cable. Realterm communicated with the unit at first with consistent bad data where Hyperterm didnt at all but it was an older version.

The PS2 keyboard works ok without the PC if you can find the adapter for a PS2 keyboard if you dont order MFJ's keyboard.
If your into CW its a worthwhile unit if you dont expect perfect code.
WA6BTH Rating: 4/5 Oct 22, 2011 08:54 Send this review to a friend
Worked Great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered and received a open carton model from AES Las Vegas. Took only 2 days.
1. As others have stated, only comes with a power plug with wire ends. You supply your own power supply & audio hook up.
2. Plugged it in and hooked up to my Icom 718, (no cw filter, has standard wide one).
3. Decodes great, if no other signals close by. Makes sense, I am going to hook it up to my other HF radio with all the filters and see how it works.
4. Screen is easy to see if you mount it up on a shelf above the radio.
5. Im using this to polish up my cw. By leaving it on and tuning it in, I am copying the cw and watching when it makes mistakes. Helps keep the interest.
6. I do recommend this as an aid,not as the only way to copy cw,the ear still works better with QRN, and QRM
I gave it a 4 because you really need some kind of
filter on the RF or Audio into the unit.

KA4AIY Rating: 4/5 Apr 30, 2010 11:48 Send this review to a friend
Worked FB For me  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I found that it performed superbly with a SCAF-1 audio filter... the ability to tune out QRN makes it for me. I found that the narrow CW filter in my ICOM 718 was not necessary... the SCAF-1 was all that was needed to get clean copy via the 464. I think the critics think that MFJ should have built in filtering rendering external filtering un-necessary. All I did is add the SCAF-1 to the audio input with the rig's IF filter set to wide... worked for me. It copied well for a signal that was a 439... from a DX station that was in Antarctica... received on my MFJ-loop up 22 feet.
KC2SPX Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2009 22:40 Send this review to a friend
Two Thumbs up!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my MFJ 464 for a little over a year and haven't had ANY Problems With reading code, or the unit itself.
I remember being frustrated the first couple of days trying to get it to read reliably..but I blame myself and not the 464, ya know me,
I was never one to read the manual. Anyway, I found that by adjusting the VFO on the radio to get the 464's green LED at it's brightest then adjusting the volume on the radio so that the green LED only flashes with CODE and not NOISE, would result in good copy. Tone not to your liking? you can adjust that too on the 464. Also, it's important to allow the 464 a few seconds to readjust to any changes you make. The only reason I ever had to take the top off was to adjust the readout's contrast, other than that I'm happy with it. It reads as well as anything else I've used. It doesn't do well on weak signals below the static level. or high level of QSB, but I haven't found anything else that does better! That's my two cents.
PE1PAL Rating: 3/5 Feb 13, 2009 14:31 Send this review to a friend
not bad  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I used the decoder with a Kenwood ts570 and nice small keyboard. On nr-2 the decoder give good results (much better than my bad morse practise)
The decoder does not have a backlite display. Possible there is a modification for this?
Paul - PE1PAL
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