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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | MFJ-949E Help


Reviews Summary for MFJ-949E
MFJ-949E Reviews: 145 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $149.95
Description: 300 watt 1.8-30MHz antenna tuner
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php?prodid=MFJ-949E
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<— Page 2 of 15 —>

MM0HRL Rating: 4/5 Jan 19, 2015 10:20 Send this review to a friend
Does its job!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is my first antenna tuner and it came as a used unit from my local radio shop in Scotland. I'd absolutely no idea how to use one but several YT videos provided via other operators' kindness was worth more than the manual for this device.
It's got its design faults, yes, but as for its absolute functionality I find it fairly hard to fault.

As to its design, I think the inductor control is too hard to grasp with older hands like mine, positioned as it is sandwiched between the other two rotary controls. And the design of the knobs with their matching scales - they are far too far apart for accurate repositioning of the controls. On my second day of use I realised that I'd want to note the band edge and centre knob settings to let me quickly retune after a QSY between bands etc, but it's too hit and miss as things are - the knob bases must be about a half inch away from the face with the silkscreened match-scale.

That's just lazy design.

However, as for functionality it seems to me it can tune my ridiculous half-size G5RV antenna (that's all that will fit in my loft) to being usable, even beyond its design limits.

IE I've tuned it to work (after a fashion) on 80 metres and the antenna's only intended for 40-10.
And I have the QSOs to prove it. Only two of them to be sure, but I'd been told that all/most of the power would be dissipated in the tuner/coax going longer than 40m. However much was attenuated, it still operated well enough at the time!

So to me, this tuner works well enough but if MFJ would listen to users and try to improve its products from constructive input, then their stuff would, I'm sure, be better viewed by their public. The quality issue I keep reading about hasn't been evident to me while using this tuner.
I deducted that one star because of the careless fascia design, not because of any malfunction.
 
VE7REN Rating: 4/5 Dec 20, 2014 18:44 Send this review to a friend
good tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I did a review here in 2006 on this tuner,but since then I will say it has done everything mfj says it would.tunes any antenna I have put into it,good antenna switches,smooth knobs,etc.. would I buy another.......after 8 yrs owning this one,yah,, I would,although the meter crapped once after it was 3 months old.... good tuner for the price
 
MM0HRL Rating: 3/5 Oct 3, 2014 08:01 Send this review to a friend
Bought used, still using it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm new to using kit like this so perhaps I've missed the point slightly here, feel free to say so if you wish.

Practical design point 1 - the inductor control needs a good fist-grab to enable turning as the spring-detents are a bit strong for a feeble grip. To make this easier, if this control was one of the two outers (I'd choose the extreme right) then grasping it tightly enough would be easier as access to a fisted grip would be less crowded, not having adjacent controls on both sides.

Practical design point 2 - I myself appear to have enough "presence" which I take it is probably inductance (or other witchcraft-grade component) to affect the controls during adjustments, particularly the "Antenna" knob. Get near the knob with my hand, watch the reflected wattage rise... like magic. Perhaps it's my electric personality?

Practical design point 3 - the white dots on the knobs are so far away from the numeric scale on the casing that it's impossible to take ACCURATE readings so previous readings can be reapplied without repeat tuning. This means that to ensure optimal settings, it's needful to touch up the tune before use, particularly on a peaky antenna like my half-size G5RV. If the designer had given this more than 10 seconds consideration the numerics would be at a greater radial distance from the shaft centres, and given marked quarters or maybe tenths between - and the knobs given either a sharp pointer or a clear flange with a line to let alignment be accurately restored from the tune session that produced the settings.

These considerations would have cost next to nothing to implement at design stage.
Having said that, it appears capable of tuning my peaky antenna reasonably well - but with reservations as above detailed. I lack lab quality meters to compare with, so I can't comment on the meter's accuracy.

To get rid of the aforementioned interference caused by; - well, Me! - I would imagine that this could have been foreseen and guarded against at design stage? I'm not competent to suggest how - so won't.

As an overall comment on its construction quality, I'd suggest that for its relatively flimsy look and feel it is overpriced, not massively different from CB-grade kit in construction type.

And if I'd had the chance to have used it beforehand I'd have most likely bought something else - unsure what, but it would hopefully have a better-designed control interface than the 949E.
 
YY2ACA Rating: 0/5 Jul 25, 2014 14:06 Send this review to a friend
THIS is an EXPENSIVE SWR Meter  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
No better way to say ...
I did not even get a change when tuning for increase in noise level as described in the manual. no change from any setting with the inductor or antenna tuning controls. I am thoroughly disgusted with this piece of worthless trash.. NO More MFJ !!!!
Mostly F,,, Junk i.ve heard about
 
VU2FR Rating: 2/5 May 3, 2014 00:03 Send this review to a friend
Jump is SWR on higher bands  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought the 949E and promptly connected it to my two tuned dipoles for 20 and 40 m. IN the by-pass mode, both show a SWR of between 1.0 to 1.3 and hence there is really no need for the antenna tuner. However, using the 40m dipole on the 3rd harmonic for 15 m, I get a SWR of 1.7. Using the tuner I get a SWR of 1.0 and start operating. Suddenly, the SWR jumps to very high, the power shoots up momentarily and the finals of my IC 718 shut down (thankfully!!!). The same thing happens on the 10m band as well. Opening the tuner, I did not find any obvious reason for this - no shorting of the capacitor plates, no arcing. So I use the tuner as an elaborate antenna switch and am still not able to use the tuner for the 15 and 10 m bands.
 
N2UJN Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2014 04:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellent low power tuner. Independent calibration capable.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I own the MFJ-901B, MFJ-949C and MFJ-949E.

All function well relative to their design targets (low power, reasonable impedance matching applications).

I would like to highlight the (very positive+not well known) fact that the MFJ-949E (not 949C or 901B) power output, and SWR, can be calibrated to an independent reference (e.g., Bird 43) for both the low power (30W) range and the high power (300W) range. Please refer to the below electrical diagram for highlighted resistor pots to adjust.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0vWCdopJOr6WFlIazVHaXluUkE/edit?usp=sharing

To calibrate forward power: Remove the cover and place a reference power meter like Bird 43 between the radio and the MFJ-949E, with MFJ-949E main switch set to dummy load. Press the power range (red) switch to desired range 30W or 300W. Set radio to RTTY mode, and, transmit briefly into the dummy load to set the forward power on the Bird 43 to a target value Example, for the 300W range set power to, say, 100W on Bird 43.

CAREFUL at 100W power level, the dummy load will heat up rapidly. I first calibrated 50W power output for 300W range, then, tested briefly at 100W (it remained accurate to Bird). Less stress on output transistor, and, less heat into dummy load.

Once the Bird 43 is set to desired power ouput target for the appropriate range (30W or 300W) adjust resistor pot R7 (30W) or R8 (300W). Refer to posted diagram at link above. 30W resistor pots in blue, 300W resistor pots shown in red. For the selected range, and, the target reference set on the Bird 43, adjust noted resistor pots so that the MFJ-949E needle matches the Bird 43 reference while transmitting into dummy load.

To calibrate SWR to a reference value, I chose to match the SWR to my radio SWR meter (which I had already validated as accurate using Bird FWD/REF. To set a reference SWR I utilized a RigExpert AA-54, and, set the MFJ-949E to the Tuned mode, selected a resonant antenna, then, carefully tuned the capacitors to a radio output SWR of 2.0:1 at both 20W and 80W out. Then, for the 20W range, with that known 2.0:1 SWR in line, I adjusted resistor pot R5 until cross needle read SWR of 2.0 exactly. Similarly, for 80W and the 300 range selection, I adjusted resistor pot R6 to obtain exactly 2.0 on cross needle.

After completing the above calibration procedure, my MFJ-949E returns power output (peak and average) and SWR as accurate as my Bird 43! And, I can recalibrate if that ever changes.

The ability to calibrate the MFJ-949E to a known good reference sets this instrument well apart for its price range.

Also, for everything else the tuner does, dummy load, wide range impedance matching for two coax inputs, balanced line input, single wire input, lighted meter, reasonably easy adjustment...it is great AND, it works. I have a Solarcon Max 2000 that ranges between 1.3 SWR and 2.8 SWR for 10m-17m (partially tuned with custom radials). I tune that antenna flat for those bands easy with the MFJ-949E. However, I ALSO tune the Solarcon for 14.070 where its native SWR is 13.0:1. MFJ-949E tunes it flat easily. Also, I tune 20m on a 40m resonant dipole easily.

The directions offer: Do not tune 80m on a 40m dipole etc. So, the tuner does not support tuning one resonant antenna on the next lower frequency band (tuning 80m on a 40m dipole for example). I have experimented with my antennna analyzer+MFJ-949E, and, it's true, the tuner will not bring 80m into tune on a 40m resonant antenna. Tuner can come close at a residual SWR of around 3.7...but...no dice. (IF you try this at 100W you may damage the MFJ-949E). Can test easily with the tiny power output of an analyzer though.

I will offer: I tune my antenna system through the MFJ-949E with a RigExpert AA-54 analyzer iteratively, and, only then, hook up to my radio. Without an analyzer to show SWR minima during optimizations, I think it would be difficult to locate global optimum settings just transmitting, and, that approach also causes interference. I recomend acquisition of an SWR instrument in conjunction with the tuner to avoid damage to your radio while tuning.

For me operating at 100W output on partially resonant antenna system? Perfect tuner. Looks good too. That never hurts. Can see my setup at http://www.qrz.com/db/N2UJN.

Nice job MFJ. Keep it up.
 
KB9NGX Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2014 06:46 Send this review to a friend
Worthwhile.  Time owned: more than 12 months
This unit has provided my Station with a capable and easy to use, Tuner, SWR/Wattmeter, and Dummyload. Within a single Feedline intrusion. The Instructions are helpful and thorough. I find the utility,quality, and price of this unit; make it a good value.
 
KI5WW Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2014 12:19 Send this review to a friend
Older Version  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the older version. Black face. Purchased in about 1988. Never had a bit of trouble with it. Kepp it lubed up and works great. Meter lamp still works. But its got an off switch. Easy to say "its been my best tuner".
Also it still looks new.
 
WD9DUI Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2014 09:57 Send this review to a friend
Works great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This tuner replaced a Murch UT-2000 which I had for years. I obtained mine used for a good price, it works just fine and I have no issues. I use it with a G5RV –mini- and matches the bands I use just fine. Make sure this box is well grounded and read the instructions, start out with using the settings they suggest and go from there.
 
KG4LLQ Rating: 3/5 Nov 8, 2013 17:16 Send this review to a friend
Fair  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my 949E since 2002. I use it exclusively in the BYPASS mode now. Why? Because I finally realize that an antenna should be resonant. I use the tuner because of the convenience of easily & quickly switching between my two antennas and being able to get a somewhat rough idea of the transceiver's output. I guess I've been lucky in that it hasn't shorted or arc'd resulting in damage to my rigs. I am now exclusively a CW operator who concentrates 90% of the time on QRP and QRPp. If you continually feed 100 watts through this tuner in the "tune" mode.......GOOD LUCK!
73, Ken
 
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