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Reviews For: MFJ-1979 16.5 foot stainless telescoping antenna

Category: Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile)

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Review Summary For : MFJ-1979 16.5 foot stainless telescoping antenna
Reviews: 25MSRP: 59.95
A telescoping antenna made of stainless steel that extends
to 16.5 feet and collapses to 2 feet. Has standard 3/8 X 24
threads on a solid brass base that is 1 inch diameter by 3
inches long.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
AF6TP Rating: 2023-04-07
Had this for several years Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased this direct from MFJ. It's very solid and well built. It's fallen over several times and was never damaged. It works great on all bands 20 and below. Just throw several ground radials approx. 12 feet long.
Can't beat it for portability and durability.
KB3NWU Rating: 2022-08-05
For portable/temporary use. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had some fun with this telescopic antenna. I set it up ground mounted for Field Day a few times with MFJ's 40M coil and 8 16' radials on the ground for use with my FT-897D. I'm sure any 16' suspended wire would perform as good as this on 20M but the telescopic sections make it easy to adjust for higher bands and the coil gets 40M and even 60M. I've only used this a day or two at a time so I haven't had any durability issues, but I would not use this or any other telescopic antenna for permanent installation. Wind and weather would probably wear out the joints pretty quickly. Why did I not give it 5 stars? Well, the first one I ordered came unthreaded! Just a plain, smooth stud at the base. The MFJ rep sent me a new (threaded) one right away and didn't even want the first one returned just saying, "Oh boy, that's the first I've heard that" probably fearing a whole batch was sent out that way. This system is not as quick a throwing an EFHW over a limb but, verticals do have great range with their low angle radiation.
AA2SD Rating: 2022-03-14
Excellent Antenna for HOA Stealth Operation Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Excellent Antenna for HOA Stealth Opertaion
This is an excellent portable antenna. I mounted this on white vinyl fence with a ground rod. I live in a restricted HOA environment and can not put up a large antenna. I did add (6) ground radials in the yard which made a big difference. I was able to make contact on 20 meter and 15 meter to Germany, PR, Antigua, Italy, Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. The antenna has a very slim profile and can easily be folded down into the stealth position when not in use. These contact s were made with no coil, I am adding a Wolf Coil to the antenna to help with the other bands.
VE3EQP Rating: 2022-01-22
Tip section rusts! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The top solid rod tip section on mine has been rusting since I bought it in November. I've been wiping it with rust preventers such as WD-40, some silicon sprays and oil wipes with no slowing down of the rust. It will soon be unable to move in and out of the rest of the whip which is still pristine with NO RUST! I am using it on a balcony next to the Atlantic Ocean, but the telescoping sections are still good.
Original post was 2015, update 2022! This antenna completely froze up and would not pull out about 2017. Just this year I attempted to 'carefully' extend it to full height and leave it there. No go! It collapsed and crushed and will not open completely. Interesting, since I have had many vehicles where the stock AM-FM antennas worked well for the life of them, pulling out and retracting perfectly.
KC3OLR Rating: 2021-09-07
Still working, but needs stable off-vehicle mounting. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
An issue arises outdoors with its size for portable, off-vehicle mounting - finding a tripod (or quadrapod) adapted to the 3/8-24 fit providing the necessary stability against wind gusts. MFJ mount 342T does not fit on masts wider than 1.18" diam., when converted to vertical (3 cm screw spacing), so inexpensive roof tripods with staked feet are ruled out unless some kind of adapter and thin mast is used. So to keep the 1979 from being tipped by the wind, I poke it through a maze of tree branches while it's on the too-small SuperAntenna TM1 low profile tripod, but use 3 20m Hamstick coil sections as feet for better stability. The 1979 is resonant on 20m nearly fully extended. Three various radials coming off of the TM1 collar, laid on the ground, lowered SWR well.

Additional testing stumbled on the obvious: 1) collapsing is not the same as shortening. I tested it on 6 meters collapsed to 56" and 58", and SWR never went under 3.0. It may best be used at full length only, with an ant. tuner. 2) Steel is not copper. Copper is a better conductor of AC than steel. A copper core random wire may make more sense in some portable outings where trees provide sufficient height, and save a lot of $$. The current issue of On The Air (ARRL) discusses this antenna.
WD4ELG Rating: 2021-04-18
Sure looked great, but appearances can be deceiving Time Owned: more than 12 months.
First one I ordered in 2018, it was slightly bent after falling in a windstorm...and the top section no longer collapses.

So I ordered another. Right out of the box the top section would not hold and remain extended (just like a previous poster).

MFJ doesn't make these things...someone else does and MFJ resells them. Is there no verification of the product before passing it on to the consumer?

Returned for refund.
W5NM Rating: 2021-02-01
Typical MFJ Junk Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My new mfj-1979 was stuck together upon arrival.
Finally, using much force was able to extend the
antenna somewhat, but most of the sections would
not move. Later I notice that some of the brass
shims were coming out. I managed to push some
of them back into place. All of this occurred before
I had a chance to even use the antenna. $70.00
down the drain.
I had high hopes of being able to use this whip
on 20 meters when going portable up in the mountains.
If MFJ would manufacture fewer variations of its
products and put more careful effort into good
product quality, they would be a better company.

Carmine W5NM
AI4UN Rating: 2020-10-07
Good for portable home-brew vertical use Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Over the last 3 years I have purchased 3 of these whips to use in home-brew portable antennas and all three are still in good condition. While I am generality not fond of MFJ quality control, the 3 that I have purchase have been of good quality. When used as a quarter wave vertical with appropriate radials, the antenna performs very well. The design and construction of the antenna is appropriate for a temporary portable antenna, however, it is not suited for long-term or harsh environment use. Care should also be taken to make sure that the antenna does not get bent enough to deform permanently.
N0AN Rating: 2020-01-08
Excellent Basis for Ground Plane Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
After nearly a year, it has physically failed twice. I repaired it once (bent over), and then it did it again. At that point, I decided to make my own out of a CB whip and an extender, using the same ground plane setup.

If used on 17m, it is simply not strong enough to stay in one piece over an extended period of time. While it stayed in one piece it was a very fine performer.

Price vs RF Performance is Excellent. Heavier than I thought it was going to be, which is a positive, but apparently not heavy enough as it has foled over twice now. I bought a cheap CB Mirror mount (3/8 x 24) and clamped it to the boom of a 70cm yagi (no longer in use) about 7 or 8 feet off the ground.

After I secured the mount, I attached 4 elevated radials 13 feet long at a height of about 8 feet (same as antenna), and spread them as nearly every 90 deg as possible, but they aren't perfect.

At this point I made the antenna about 13 feet long by telescoping the smallest diameter section all the way in for mechanical strength. The slid each bottom section out fully, and using only the last section diameter as little as possible for the final tuning.

After a little tuning of the radiator (I did not tune the radials, leaving them cut at 13'), the VSWR is about 1.5 : 1.

The antenna is near a lot of metal, as the cross boom is part of a satellite array, and coax parallel to it going up to a 70cm/2m J-Pole. (about 5' from it)

Performance on 17m using FT8 has been very good. It outperforms my Carolina Windom 160, except in early afternoon to Europe. Late afternoons the Ground Plane is clearly superior.

Because of the layout of the radials, it is most likely not omni-directional. The CW160 has some wicked high gain lobes that I believe explain the CW160s superiority to Europe around noon.

Results with GP @ 7': (one morning and late afternoon)

CO8, LU4, ZS2, KL7, KH6, JA5, ZL2, ZL4, 80 watts.

Fed the antenna with LMR-400, no choke, no balun. If available, I would use a choke/balun.

The entire antenna was fabricated in a couple hours (making the radials, stringing them out, mounting the CB Mirror mount) . After that it was a simple matter of stretching out the vertical and taping the joints...I taped them so they would not slip. They had very good self resistance, but since this antenna is intended to stay up a while, I secured the sections with black electrical tape.

Anyone wanting a quick 1/4 Vertical or Ground Plane for 20 meters or above would find this antenna suitable. Make sure you have a mount that accepts the "standard" 3/8 x 24 stud. ...and expect that it will not stand up to wind and ice.

73, N0AN
NR7Z Rating: 2018-10-13
woked fine twice Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The MFJ-1979, for me, worked fine twice. On the third outing something broke, inside, on the bottom section and now that section collapses down when the antenna is extended. I have to use electrical tape to keep that section from collapsing. On the fourth outing the next two sections up broke like the first. So now I have to bring electrical tape with me to keep the bottom three sections from collapsing.