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Reviews For: MFJ-969

Category: Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks

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Review Summary For : MFJ-969
Reviews: 116MSRP: 199.95
Covers 160M to 6M, 300W
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K2ENF Rating: 2023-08-27
Inexpensive and capable, especially on the used market. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Picked up one of these just yesterday at the Roc City Hamfest, on the Flea table for $100.

I have been using the MFJ949b for some months now, and the inductor selector was giving out. So when I saw the 969, for $100 it seemed a pretty good deal. Both design and appearance are both a step up.

I'm in the process of redoing my antenna farm so the only HF antenna I have going is my iMAX2000 at about 30 feet.

Aside: For those who don't know, the IMAX is a 26 ft tall CB antenna which does very well indeed from 15-10m,(5.2dBi Gain) with no tuner, and 20-6 with the tuner and somewhat lower gain figures. It's pretty much useless below that. Still, I've made all 50 states and 138 countries with the thing. It was originally purchased for running a local 10m net every Saturday night, a purpose it still serves well. I'm told that the thing Dominates on 15-10m, locally. It's my go-to for upper HF.

The 949b tuned this antenna well from 20m through 6m, so I wasn't surprised when the 969 also did a good job with those bands, and even allowed me to get a decent transmitter match on 40 and 80m.... something the 949b wouldn't do... but of course the antenna's efficiency is so low on those bands as to make it a futile gesture. Still, it does show the ability of the 969 to tune anything, up to and including a wet noodle.... or a dry one, if I'm careful.

The induction coil adjustment is a little stiff, as so many have reported, and there's a couple of spots where it apparently needs help... possibly arc burns. I found the finger notch on the wheel useless. I've not had a chance to pop the top and see what the story is. The counter on the inductor does seem to come pretty close on the counter to the settings the manual advises, band for band.

The forward meter seems to be reading about 20w high both on peak and avg. Not sure why, or even if it's adjustable internally. (I doubt it) but it's not a biggie so long as it's a steady error.

About what you'd expect from a used unit. for the $100 I paid, I'm satisfied... and I get the impression I'll be more so once I get the inductor dealt with and a little more time with it operationally.

W2PSK Rating: 2022-01-22
Tuner won't go down to 160m. MFJ Support is useless. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought this brand new, after waiting several months due to part shortages or whatever. The inductance dial won't go down to where it needs to be for 160m. It stops in 50's and for 160m, it needs to go to around 37 or so. Tech support was useless. Sometimes took weeks to answer my responses and usually only after I pestered them a bunch. Their answers were very short and snobbish. It works great on the other bands. I just wish they'd get better tech support people. Not people friendly. Don't buy MFJ unless you expect to fix it yourself.
AB4KA Rating: 2020-04-05
Not fancy but it works. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
In the year+ that I've owned it, I've used my 969 to tune dipoles fed with coax and window line, and I've used it to tune random wires. So far the only thing I couldn't make it do was tune a 40m coax-fed dipole on 75m.

Currently I'm using it with a 102' non-resonant dipole (call it what you will) fed with 450 ohm window line and it works great. I appreciate the convenience of the built-in switch and dummy load as well as I like the cross-needle wattmeter.

The roller inductor is a little clunky to tune (which is the only reason I've giving it 4 stars instead of 5). Trying to use the spinner knob just doesn't work...I have to grab the whole knob and turn it. I've tried to make sure everything is working properly and that just seems to be the way it is.

I would definitely recommend this tuner for anyone who prefers a manual tuner and is running barefoot.
W4NNF Rating: 2019-08-31
Works just fine... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I had need of a manual antenna tuner and was examining my options when the club decided to sell off some of the club-owned gear that's never used anymore. One of these items was the 969. It looked to be in good shape, with a starting price of 40 bucks without the wall-wart power supply. I offered 50 and took it home. I probably should have offered more in retrospect.

I checked the interior and it was fine. No burns on the roller inductor, no loose parts rattling around (this was bought some years ago at a time when MFJ was awfully prone to QA problems, and the tuner had rarely been used). Decent soldering. I cleaned up the cabinet and it looked brand new. I had plenty of wall-wart power supplies here of sufficient amperage; it needs very little current. A power supply is required for the cross-needle meter to work at all, not just to light the meter. The tuner will accept an internal 9-volt battery to power the meter, which might be handy if you want to use the tuner for portable operation. Most of the manual was missing, but I was able to download it from MFJ's web site.

OK. Powered it up, tuned the tube rig into the MFJ's dummy load in bypass position, and got ready to roll. There really isn't anything to it. No different than any other manual tuner/transmatch. Start out with the Transmitter, Antenna, and Inductor controls on the values given in the manual for the band you are on. Then, adjust the inductor for a minimum reflected reading. Next, adjust the Antenna (capacitor) control for minimum reflected power. Then tweak the inductor again. If you can't get the reflected power as low as desired going back and forth between the two, you can adjust the Transmitter capacitor, but the highest capacitance possible should be used on the Transmitter control (lowest setting) for this T-network tuner to deliver the best results. As with most tuners, apply as little power as possible during tuning--the meter has a 30-watt scale. It was easy for me to get my rig matched to my 6-band vertical to the point where the reflected needle barely moved on key-down.

In addition to the 300-watt dummy load, the tuner features two coax antenna inputs and connectors for a long wire antenna and balanced feeders. The selector on the front panel provides bypass settings for all antennas and the dummy load.

Anything not so hot? The inductor on my example operates smoothly, and the counter tracks well. As many have noted, however, you won't turn it with a single finger, but that's not a big deal for me. I generally only go back and forth between 80 and 40 with the rig I'm using with the tuner and don't change bands frequently. That is, however, the reason I gave the 969 a 4 instead of a 5. It would be nice to have the free and easy movement of more expensive tuners past and present. As is usual for MFJ's gear, it's utilitarian in appearance, but reasonably professional looking.

To sum up, this has matched my rig to any antenna I've thrown at it (I currently don't have a 160-meter antenna). Would I buy it for the retail price of 250 instead of the 50 I paid? If I were in the market for a 300-watt manual antenna tuner, I might. However, I'd probably spend a little more for one of MFJ's (or somebody else's) legal limit tuner. But not because this one doesn't work well, but because more power handling would give it a little more versatility for me.
WQ6N Rating: 2017-09-09
A couple of Lessons Learned during first field trip Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
- I purchased this tuner used and did a open and inspect. I found that the version that I have had a rubber O-ring connecting the roller inductor shaft to the counter. Also noticed that the slip compression ground connection was almost off the the rear shaft and the grease was dry and crumbling. (This connection failure has been a root cause of folks loosing their finals) I did a roller inductor slip connection mini-overhaul using MG Chemicals Silver Conductive Grease 7g Syringe and re-centered the slip connection over the shaft.

- Got it back together, applied 12vdc, and it did its job. I agree that the settings in the manual were not even close to what I ended up with (e.g. roller inductor called for 6.5 6.5 116 for 20m while I ended up at 6.5 2.0 008. It all depends on the impedance that one is trying to match.).

- To do - Remove the roller inductor back plate and polish the roller shaft and roller contact surface. I am waffling back and forth regarding using the Silver grease on the roller contact and shaft. I also want to order the geared counter replacement $15.00 from MFJ.

- Bottom line, for the price paid and time spent, I am happy with the unit. It did its job. Weight and size worked well for Go-Box storage and transport.
WT4P Rating: 2016-12-03
Low Price = Low Quality Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It's inexpensive and it works. However, the numbers that correspond with the roller inductor are nowhere close to the user manual's recommended tuner settings as per "Tuning Chart" in the manual. It's not that big of a deal, but it bothers me. Personally, I wish I would have spent a bit more a better tuner.
VA3WAO Rating: 2016-10-12
Great Tuner for the Money Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Bought this tuner along with my transceiver last December after I got my certification, I was looking for something that would tune in anything down to a barb wire fence, this unit fit that bill. I have 100W to play with with my Yaesu FTdx1200 and most likely won't go up too much in power unless I have a rich dead relative leave me a pile of money to play with.

My intent was to play around with some antenna's particularly at 160 meters like the beverage and a couple other long wire's. This unit has a balanced line/random wire connector, which I plan to play around with some.

I bought my unit at Radioworld in Toronto Canada for around $300 Cnd. The unit seems to be decently constructed, everything was tight and worked correctly. Using the chart in the instructions, it was easy to tune in up to 160M on my vertical, the SWR was well over 50:1 as I did not have the vertical tuned in yet. Was able to make a contact down to Florida on it, but I suspect there was a bit of ducting involved on that one.

Yes the inductor roller is stiffer than all get out like everyone complains, the two variables are touchy and when you open up the box, it could be done a little nicer inside, but it works! It Works well and can pretty near tune in nearly anything you want to flap in the breeze as an antenna!

You get what you pay for, this is NOT a $2000 plus unit, it's just over $300 here in Canada, but for entry level from 160 M to 6 M you will be very hard pressed to beat this unit.
WA1UFO Rating: 2016-10-11
Great! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this tuner along with an Icom IC 718 for 300 bucks and that was quite a few years back. They both work absolutely perfectly and I run 250 watts through it with the Icom at 15 watts out. I have a small SS linear which matches up well with this tuner. Since I am primarily a CW op 250 watts is as good as a full gallon as far as I am concerned so this tuner will be in the radio room until I end up horizontally polarized. It seems to like my bug and straight keys too so no personality conflicts to worry about.

Earlier 5-star review posted by WA1UFO on 2011-04-21

For the money, this is an excellent value. Mine has many years of use but has been perfect since I bought it used. I think that some of the criticisms here are bogus as a certain percentage of users don't know about proper tuning procedure. I have 3 MFJ manual tuners and every one does the job.
K5JXH Rating: 2016-06-25
used is used. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Mine suffered UPS carrier damage.
When getting a tuner shipped by your avg. carrier.
expect damage.! (DHL has computer grade offering that is 100x better) but more $$$

open the unit and look for damage.
loose parts, missing parts.
burned up parts, (the main coil has a brass roller, it needs to be clean as does the coil silver plated coil.) the 2 springs for the roller must be active. (at bars end)
make sure the cap fins are not bent and shorted,
as you turn the 2 knobs.
Make sure the 2 main coil ground screws are still tight and the rear brass springs are tight and 100% clean.

Then test it at low power , to a real antenna.
make sure as you move the 3 knobs that you do not get some huge glitching of reflective power.
end to end, use the knobs and watch it.
on mine the shipper broke 2 meter wires off.
imagine the G-forces that could do that.

I'm now looking for a 500w+ tuner. PalStar AT500
But not because i don't like this one,
this one will be my backup.

I'd never give a used device a rating!, only new.
the above rating is based on a new tuner
it's just average at this price point.

Why rate a device dropped from 7 feet.?
be silly and unfair to MFJ.
MI0GTA Rating: 2016-06-05
good tuner Time Owned: more than 12 months.
works fine for me and it tunes the loop with no problem.
roller bezel is a bit stiff but I turn it by hand rather than try and use the finger indent to turn it.