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Reviews For: Nye Viking MB-VA

Category: Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks

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Review Summary For : Nye Viking MB-VA
Reviews: 43MSRP: 830
3KW, Pi impedance matching network, makes a tuned RF circuit
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K5YY Rating: 2000-07-07
Many of you are comparing apples to oranges Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have 2 NyeViking MBVA tuners.. Those of you who belittle a tuner because it won't load a wet string or 6 inch vertical or a door knob and then say the tuner is over rated based on that fact, don't really understand what you are buying.. Some inferior tuners will load into anything almost but the efficiency is less than 10% or radiation resistance at the antenna is still one ohm and you DON'T GET OUT ( But you are "tuned" up to 1:1 aren't you?!).. Showing a matching ability to 1:1 is one thing, handling the power is another... I suggest to you that the price of most tuners is NOT based on design but, rather, COMPONENT PARTS and their ability to withstand their 2-5 KW rating under matched or near matched conditions. Just because your MFJ or other tuner presents a 1:1 SWR TO THE RIG does NOT mean the antenna (or "thing" on the other end) will RADIATE POWER!!!! Nye makes a GREAT tuner,component wise, and will handle more power than most other tuners mentioned in this forum. And, yes, there are times that a perfect match can't be achieved. More often than not, the antenna design itself is poor and won't radiate well, even with "matched conditions" at the rig. If an antenna was perfect, it would not require matching at all.. For multiband antenna purposes, many tuners lack on 160 meters and even on 10 meters when it comes to 1:1 final readings. So what if we are left with a 2:1 or so SWR? At freqs below 30MC and especially at 160 thru 40 this is no big deal because coax losses are SO LOW anyway. Before the days of solid state rigs and no pi networks, the old rigs loaded and dipped right thru 5:1 SWRs. Still the antenna didn't radiate any better. Nor will that door knob or mattress springs or dog collar that you get a 1:1 reading on with a tuner that, by design, will match almost anything, but one that can't handle any power without MELTING down. So lets face the fact that we are talking about paying for POWER handling capabilities when we buy an expensive tuner , and we HOPE it will load into MOST PRACTICAL metal antennas at near 1:1 MOST of the time. I would like to see the guy who loads a 10 meter whip on 160 and "happens" to find a 1:1 SWR with his tuner and THEN applies 1000 watts to the highly REACTIVE system with very little RADIATION RESISTANCE..... Then he will wish he spent the money on a tuner with BRUTE COMPONENTS.. The MFJ will evaporate as will others.. The Palstar and TenTec 238 are great tuners as is the Nye Viking. Just don't equate the value of a tuner as to whether or not it will load a golf club perfectly, but consider if you want that club radiating anyway! I will take the inverted V with 3:1 SWR anyday and with my 2KW PEP will beat you out anytime anywhere.... And I can increase the power to 5 KW if need be because my components will let me do it!! The flames are dying out now ------ I am just protecting my Nye Viking MB-VAs integrity here. 73 San K5YY
W3GJD Rating: 2000-06-27
OUTSTANDING Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Outstanding product: My NYE is the MB-IV-A, now over 10 yrs old. Had the same problem loading a G5RV on 160m. However, when tuning a 260' square skywarmer it matches OK. High dollar,high quality, never have to buy another tuner, ever.
K1JD Rating: 2000-06-27
Heavy Construction, Nice Meters, Limited 160m Matching Range Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned a NYE MB-VA for many years, having purchased it used for under $500. At about a KW out it runs cold. The auto-SWR and Power meters are a neat feature that allow the user to get information at a glance but require about 10w to activate. The internal construction is robust and obviously built to handle very high RF power levels.
The most critical shortcoming of this tuner is its limited matching range on 160m, but all other 80-10m bands including WARC are matched perfectly using a 105' G5RV. This tuner would rate a "5" with increased matching range on Top Band.
The only problem I have had is with the roller inductor. There is a spring-loaded contact "wheel" mechanism that presses against the silver plated inductor ribbon and travels back and forth to vary the inductance. The mechanism can loosen up causing the wheel to make poor contact in spots. I removed the inductor completely to clean it, readjusted the contact pressure during reassembly and all is well again.
WB6DNR Rating: 2000-06-26
Nye MB-VA vs. $$$ Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I agree that this tuner can handle the power under difficult circumstances, such as my 402-CD on the high end of 40 being just around 3.5:1. Never once have I worried about driving the AMP full out and this tuner failing. I also have a pair of phased Verticals on 80/160 and the same can be said for them too. However, for the price my Drake MN-2700 is a more user friendly tuner, just not under full load. This tuner does take a bit getting used to.
G4VGO Rating: 2000-06-09
Anything but a Nye tuner Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have had both the Nye Viking IV and the V MB tuners. Both are not as good as anything I have homebrewed. I hate to say it, the MFJ line of tuners is more flexible on all bands I use (160m-40m).

Inside it is impressive, but the range of tuning and the QC from the factory both make it 'Not Worth The Price'.
RobertKoernerExAE7G Rating: 2000-04-03
Works every time, for 15 years Time Owned: unknown months.
Been running an Alpha 77DX, some times full tilt, through my MB-V-A for many years now, and never had a problem. I use it mainly on 40 and 80 into a variety of antennas via coax. I took all of the tunning stubs off my HiTower years ago; just didn't need them that much when using the tunner. I have easily loaded an 11 meter "Big Stick" on 40 and 80, but simple wire antennas do much better on those bands. Even though its not designed for 160, I've loaded an 80 meter inverted Vee and worked a few stations. 2 coax inputs are very handy, especially the bypass position, as is the watt meter, which I use to load-up tube type transmitters, and amplifiers. It gets a four 'cause nothing gets a 5 out of 5 unless it is extra special, a real rarity.
KA9GME Rating: 2000-03-16
NYE MB-V-A JUNK Time Owned: unknown months.
I purchased one of these marvels with the intention of using it with an Alpha 89,and a Yaesu 1000MP connected to a Force 12 C-4 and a Butternut vertical for 80 meters. The C-4 runs about a 2.5:1 SWR on the upper portion of ten meters, 3.5:1 on 12 meters and 3:1 on 17 meters. No matter how much I begged and cursed the tuner would not tune at all on 10 or 12 meters. You could not get a match on either of these two bands. 17 would match but it required retuning every 10 to 15 khz. This antenna is a far cry from the CB whip on 160 meters mentioned by another reviewer. The Nye did operate on 20, 40, and 80 meters with no problems. I ended up borrowing other tuners from local hams and they all worked fine on the C-4 with no hassles. I purchased a Ten-Tec 238 and for half the price and none of the aggravation. I can now keep my Alpha happy on all bands. If you only need a $800.00 tuner to operate on 20, 40 and 80 meters the Nye is the one. In my opinion the Nye was a major disappointment and a total waste of money.
K2MME Rating: 2000-03-15
overrated and overpriced Time Owned: unknown months.
The MB-va is definitely overrated. I can not reduce vswr on my r 7000 on 40 ssb(tuned for cw).Even my basic mfj cheapy will do that. I was unable to load various wires for 40 and 80 on 160.
I do like the automatic watt meter though. No knobs or buttons to touch. I mainly keep the mb-va for the watt meter and will investigate their other watt meters. I plan to replace the tuner with a Ten Tec 238 shortly
K0RS Rating: 1999-12-30
I STILL don't like it! Time Owned: unknown months.
KE4WY likes his NYE because it's better than an MFJ. Hmmmmm. Damned by faint praise? And KG2IC just thinks the individuals who have had bad luck with the MB-V-A just don't understand what a tuner is. I guess I don't understand what "quality control" is either. I went back and reread all the reviews and couldn't find anyone who was disappointed that they couldn't match a CB whip on 160m. An inverted vee, 265 feet on each leg, fed with open wire isn't exactly a CB antenna is it Bruce? And making excuses for features left off of a supposedly premium unit sounds like just that, making excuses. Sometimes I think it's just difficult to admit that one got taken, especially after paying a premium for an overrated piece gear. A useful (read: not a "guess") PEP function could be added to the existing meter at the manufacturing level for about 5 bucks, yet NYE chooses not to do it. As K2WE points out, NYE already builds quality watt meters. Why not incorporate one into the tuner? Bruce, not everyone operates AM these days (although I do, occasionally). And I guess if I really understood what a tuner was, it would include poor ergonomics, eh? Anyway, I'm glad it's as good as your 50 year old Johnson. AND 160m too, such a deal. Actually, the Johnson is probably a BETTER tuner, as it uses a more efficient circuit that can match open wire without a lossy internal balun. I may not know what a tuner is, but I know what this one ISN'T... It isn't worth the money. If one feels compelled to spend the big bucks on a tuner, get an XMatch, truely the most efficient tuner money can buy. And if you only need the capablity of the NYE, get better quality with a TEN-TEC for half the price.

Earlier 2-star review posted by K0RS on 1999-09-18

I never liked this tuner from the day it arrived. I bought it on the advice of a (very experienced) friend who loved his. Out of the box the variable capacitor bearing was siezed. I had to disassemble the capacitor and dress the shaft with fine emory cloth before it would even turn. Even with lots of work, it never felt smooth. The variable inductor was stiff and high effort also. The push buttons for switching in and out fixed capacitances always felt fragile and failure prone, though they never did. They are awkward to use though as the tuner slides around the desk as the operator attempts to depress a button. Either a two handed affair, or block the tuner from the rear. Since it is necessary to provide an external source of 12 V for the meter lamps, why not provide PEP meter readings? Or better yet a peak and hold function. The one thing that can be said for this unit is that it does handle power comfortably. My Alpha 89's and 87 never fazed it. This tuner has gone on to another happy home, and I don't miss it. It has been replaced with a venerable and more operator friendly Heathkit SA-2050.
KE4WY Rating: 1999-12-25
Excellent tuner Time Owned: unknown months.
I have owned this NYE MB-V-A for two years now and it has not given me any problems. It tunes anything I need tuned and never any flashover. This is the 2nd one I have owned. I previously owned another for 5 years and it also gave me good service and sold it during a weak moment since used MB-V-A's command a high dollar on the used market, later buying a top of the line MFJ unit that I kept less than a week and came back to the reliable NYE.