PDA

View Full Version : Another MFJ "semi-kit"



W1GUH
05-19-2007, 05:30 PM
I just finished with the preliminary check-out of an MFJ 974HB balanced tuner, and, yes, this one needed some "finishing." There was an intermittent connection somewhere, so I pulled the cover off and tracked it down. It was the end of L2 that connects to the main coil where the solder connection had broken. (Well, that was in the most convenient location to fix...right on top!) It was an easy, 10 minute fix, and now it's fine.

I noticed in the warranty section of the manual...
"This warranty is NOT void for owners who attempt to repair defective units."

So, again, if you get an MJF tuner, you'll probably have to fix something like this. But it's usually a simple thing, and in the process, I got to see the inside of the unit.

PA5COR
05-19-2007, 05:55 PM
The MFJ 993-B tuner me and an fellow ham bought the same day worked very fine, looked inside and nothing wrog, working better as advertised.

Took both units an day to develop an busted lightbulb behind the analog meters.
Put in an spare 12 volt bulb running on 6 volts now...

I was wondering already an MFJ tuner without some D.I.Y http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

The tuner itself is an miracle, no roblems with that, just an 2 cent lightbulb they skimpt on...

Cor

N4AUD
05-19-2007, 06:17 PM
If you ever have a problem you can't figure out, give them a call and they have some very knowledgeable people there that will help you troubleshoot it over the phone. Great customer service, but QC needs a little work. I like their products, though. They just aren't "appliance op" friendly.

KE4YGS
05-19-2007, 06:20 PM
I bought an MFJ tuner back at the end of April. #On May 02, they sent me an email it would be coming off the line in 2-3 days. #On May 10th, they responded to my request for status and sent another email, it would be coming off the line in a couple days. #I emailed them for a status this past Thursday and there is no reply. #So here it is the 19th and I have no tuner and no status, but I also am out the money I paid to them for the product. #I was about to ask if MFJ is a real company or a front to scam money from unwitting hams. #They certainly can't deliver an accurate status and thats for sure and for certain.

Scotty

AG3Y
05-19-2007, 07:06 PM
To give the other side of the story, though, I bought an MFJ Mobile Tuner 945-E from E-Bay. It came with the usual, expected scuffs and scratches ( the seller was honest and warned buyers ahead of time ) , but I took the opportunity to look inside the unit and was amazed at the quality of the worksmanship! Each solder connection was smooth, round and solid, and all the wiring, etc. was laid out in a precise pattern that I would have been proud to have assembled!

Sorry about some of you who get poorly assembled equipment from MFJ, but I can truly say that that has not been the case for me! Maybe mine was the exception !

73, Jim

NA4BH
05-19-2007, 07:17 PM
I stopped by MFJ in Starkville, MS, in my travels and met Martin F. Jue (MFJ). Extremely nice guy. I was taking back a mag mount 2/440 antenna that failed out of the package (they replaced it with no question). I have a 993 Intellituner, never had a problem with it (still don't trust it). When used in conjunction with my Diawa CN-801, there is a big difference in SWR. My next purchase will be an amp, guess who owns the one I want?

MFJ does stay on the cutting edge of technology, that is to say, neat new toys. I personally refer to them as "Mississippi's Finest Junk". But, they usually have what you need. Oh well !!

KY5U
05-19-2007, 07:24 PM
I have 6 of them. One 962D 1.5KW, Two 3KW Differential T tuners, two 949Ds, and a 941D. I got the 962D used from a so called Ham who likes to "tinker". He said he dropped it and sometime is arcs and sparks. I opened it and found a bent fin on one of the big caps. Disassembled the cap, straightened it out and removed the burn marks with sandpaper. Put it all back together and it has worked (as all the others have) perfectly. Have run as much as 1KW thru it with no problem.

My favorite MFJ product is my antenna tester. Worth it's weight in gold as far as I am concerned. I use their TX/RX switch as a doskey on my AM rigs. My only complaint is the logic output for external switch is NC. If you switch something you need a DPDT relay to reverse the level. I also have their 300W dummy load, 300W watt meter, and larger 2KW watt meter as well as a freq. counter. Getting ready to buy one of their two port remote antenna switches. Every item has held up under heavy use.

KR9D
05-19-2007, 09:09 PM
Quote[/b] (NA4BH @ May 19 2007,12:17)]I stopped by MFJ in Starkville, MS, in my travels and met Martin F. Jue (MFJ). Extremely nice guy. I was taking back a mag mount 2/440 antenna that failed out of the package (they replaced it with no question). I have a 993 Intellituner, never had a problem with it (still don't trust it). When used in conjunction with my Diawa CN-801, there is a big difference in SWR. My next purchase will be an amp, guess who owns the one I want?

MFJ does stay on the cutting edge of technology, that is to say, neat new toys. I personally refer to them as "Mississippi's Finest Junk". But, they usually have what you need. Oh well !!
I wouldn't worry about Ameritron. I just received my used 811 ebay special, and opened it up to remove the tube packing and so on. I have no complaint at all with the assembly; the workmanship is quite good. Yes, there were some compromises in the design, such as shared circuit boards, wiring between components that is soldered instead of plugged, and so on. But it's quite nicely made for a budget amp. I was looking also for a Heathkit SB-200, but I'm glad I ended up with the 811.

But I ahve indeed had to resolder MFJ stuff. I bought a PowerPole 12-volt powerstrip, and when I pulled one of the blade fuses out of it, the connector came with the fuse. Someone had forgotten to solder it down. And the speaker on my keyer was virtually inaudible until I took it apart. It had been glued to the case using a bit wad of sillycone, most of which was gobbed onto the speaker cone. It was fine after I peeled off the excess, heh, heh.

Rick "who likes the term 'semi-kit'" Denney

W1GUH
05-19-2007, 10:29 PM
One tip, considering how the factory can be less than accurate as to when you'll get what you ordered. #Buy from a dealer. #If they've got it in stock..you get it immediately. #I got mine from Jun's Hamcity. #They had the stock, a good price, and I didn't have to worry about when it would be shipped.

KQ9J
05-19-2007, 10:42 PM
Quote[/b] (W1GUH @ May 19 2007,10:30)]I just finished with the preliminary check-out of an MFJ 974HB balanced tuner, and, yes, this one needed some "finishing." There was an intermittent connection somewhere, so I pulled the cover off and tracked it down. It was the end of L2 that connects to the main coil where the solder connection had broken. (Well, that was in the most convenient location to fix...right on top!) It was an easy, 10 minute fix, and now it's fine.

I noticed in the warranty section of the manual...
"This warranty is NOT void for owners who attempt to repair defective units."

So, again, if you get an MJF tuner, you'll probably have to fix something like this. But it's usually a simple thing, and in the process, I got to see the inside of the unit.

The fact that they will let you attempt to repair it and still make good on the warranty says a LOT about MFJ. They are selling to HAMS and they know HAMS will be able to fix a lot of the little stuff like the occasional loose solder joint. I have several MFJ items from over the years. All but one worked perfectly from day one. One didn't but by opening it up and checking components I isolated a diode that was open. They mailed me not one, but two at no charge.

WB2WIK
05-19-2007, 10:43 PM
MFJ stuff has been semi-kits for many years, but that can be part of the fun, if you expect it.

My Ameritron AL-80B arrived in non-working condition, also. I installed the tube and stupidly installed the cover with its 28 or so screws, only to find the damned thing wouldn't key. Silly me.

I had to remove the 28 or so screws and the cover to find one unsoldered connection, right on the STBY/OPR panel switch. Little #22 gauge or so wire, looped through the switch terminal, no solder. It might have worked at the factory, didn't work here.

A ten-second soldering job fixed it, which I didn't mind. I did mind having to install, remove, and re-install the 28 screws! http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mad.gif

Part of the "MFJ Experience." http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

WB2WIK/6

W1GUH
05-19-2007, 10:53 PM
Well, yea, it was 10 seconds to fix the solder joint, plus 9 minutes and 50 seconds to find the soldering iron, plug it in, wait for it to warm up, etc. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

I don't consider this a negative...it was actually fun, especially since I'd been clued into it here.

BTW, they shipped their catalog in the box. Man, what a lineup! How many tuners, analyzers, etc. do they need to make? They've sure got the bases covered.

And now that they're making Ameritron and Mirage amps...they must be doing something right!

Also, they're also selling components...caps, inductors, etc.

KE4YGS
05-20-2007, 03:50 AM
Quote[/b] (W1GUH @ May 19 2007,15:29)]One tip, considering how the factory can be less than accurate as to when you'll get what you ordered. #Buy from a dealer. #If they've got it in stock..you get it immediately. #I got mine from Jun's Hamcity. #They had the stock, a good price, and I didn't have to worry about when it would be shipped.
Good avice, I'll never go to the factory again just to save a few bucks. I assumed (and that means its all on me really) they would be faster and cheeper. When/IF I ever get it I shall at all times in the future remember you'r advice. Good words.

Thanks
Scotty

KA8NCR
05-20-2007, 12:56 PM
I've never had a problem with MFJ gear. Sure, the tuners might not be the most efficient thing going, and I've had a few of the memory keyers that were not the most RF immune devices going; but the gear strikes a balance between function and price.

I'm especially affectionate toward the "fix yer own gear" policy.

WB7DMX
05-20-2007, 01:04 PM
I also can say I have never had any problems with MFJ equipment that I have had over the years.
and yes the antenna analyzer is probly the best pice of gear I have ever seen for ham radio use. I use mine all the time.
it even survived a 20 ft drop on a concrete floor without any damage.

W1GUH
05-20-2007, 03:17 PM
An ironic twist to this story...as I was fixing it, the round red inspector's sticker fell off! http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

KA5PIU
05-20-2007, 06:09 PM
Hello.

I find that MFJ stuff to be an excellent "Semi-Kit".
The antenna analyzer has been the cats meow for years, 1.8 t0 170 MHz pretty much covers everything.
I would have liked to see the new one do 220 as well as UHF, but there are so few 220 users, that is another issue.
The antenna tuners are fun, find the fault.
Somebody said something about connectors inside the unit, I do not understand the point.
And, light bulbs? yes, mine burned out within a few days.
I took that as an opportunity to tinker.
What I did was to replace the incandescent bulb with a set of LEDs, white, red, and blue, as well as a regulator board and extra connectors.
Now when I key up, the thing lights up red.
Normal mode is blue or white, switch selectable.
Input voltage can be 5 to 32 volts for 5 and 12 volts regulated, 2 USB connectors and 2 coaxial power, to recharge talkies and portable devices.
I am thinking of putting in a pre-amp, the tuner acthing as the preselector.
If I do this I will add an RF sense, to eliminate a keying line.
As this is being used with a Canadian model 19 mk III, and gets its power from the radio, it just looks right together.
The radio has an IC chip SSB balanced modulator that replaces one tube, unplug the module and replace the tube and it is original, along the lines of the "tubesters" or "fetrons" of old, but a bit larger, perhaps this is the reason for wanting connectors everywhere?

WA2ZDY
05-21-2007, 02:58 PM
Yes, MFJ makes interesting stuff and the antenna analysers are fantastic. But how many of you saw in their ads where it says "some troubleshooting and/or assembly may be required?" Right, it's not there.

Consumer protection laws say what you buy has to work when you get it. Sure it's nice that they don't void the warranty when you fix it yourself. And if you can't fix it yourself, they'll fix or replace it with no question. And it's fun to troubleshoot stuff for some of us, but . . .

It's supposed to work when you get it. It should at least be properly assembled, which seems to be the major failing of Mr Jue's factories. While they take care of warranty issues you're still without the item AND your money. No matter how you cut it, it's wrong and shouldn't be tolerated. Mr Jue has a heck of a racket going and we're the dupes. For a bunch of otherwise intelligent folks, that's a damn shame.

AG3Y
05-21-2007, 04:05 PM
Chris, I agree with you about the need for good QA, but I have to ask the question, would you be willing to pay that much more for your stuff if a knowledgible, skilled workforce were hired to assemble Mr. Jue's beloved products?

I have worked in electronics product factories where the people didn't even understand what the purpose of the wires was! Example: when one device failed to work, the wire that was supposed to carry the signal was traced back to where a neat square knot had been tied in the two broken parts to hold them together! The insulation wasn't even stripped back where the knot was located. When the assembler was asked about this, she replied ,"Should I have used a different kind of knot ? http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif " Honest to God truth!

Many of these people get minimum wage to put this stuff together, and hiring skilled laborers to do the job would probably double the price of the products.

Part of the problem. What is the solution?

73, Jim

KL7AJ
05-21-2007, 04:08 PM
I think MFJ intentionally inserts a bad connection into every piece of equipment to encourage the art of homebrewing. This can be the only explanation, because in all other regards MFJ is so well-designed. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

eric

KE4YGS
05-21-2007, 05:22 PM
Assuming that indeed the current MFJ assembly folks are paid minimum wage.

Knowing what, in Florida anyway, knowledgable people who work in component level electronics are paid.

It comes to me that MFJ products might actually be cheeper at retail than they are now if they hired knowledgable elecronics workers.

I continue to be baraged with how there is no demand of component level electronics knowledge in todays world. I just sigh and go do something else, its a mindset ya just cant fight. Sure glad I'm retiring soon.

WA2ZDY
05-21-2007, 07:15 PM
I understand your point Jim and I guess it could be said that I DO pay more for properly assembled stuff. I buy other brands, mostly Kenwood and Motorola.

WA3KYY
05-21-2007, 08:08 PM
Quote[/b] (W1GUH @ May 19 2007,18:53)]Well, yea, it was 10 seconds to fix the solder joint, plus 9 minutes and 50 seconds to find the soldering iron, plug it in, wait for it to warm up, etc. # http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

I don't consider this a negative...it was actually fun, especially since I'd been clued into it here.

BTW, they shipped their catalog in the box. #Man, what a lineup! #How many tuners, analyzers, etc. do they need to make? #They've sure got the bases covered.

And now that they're making Ameritron and Mirage amps...they must be doing something right!

Also, they're also selling components...caps, inductors, etc.
They are also HyGain antennas too. The fact that HyGain was bought out by MFJ has not hurt the value of HyGain antennas. You can still get repair parts for just about every HyGain antenna ever made and the new installation manuals are better than the old ones.

73,
Mike WA3KYY

KA4DPO
05-21-2007, 08:54 PM
Just to add to the chorus, I have had a very good experience with MFJ over many years. I have never gotten anything from them that didn't work exactly as I expected it to.

The antenna analyzer was by far my best MFJ investment.

K9STH
05-21-2007, 11:32 PM
The antenna analyzer manufactured by mfj is definitely a good product. All that aside, I had a friend bring one by that was very intermittent. It was an "easy fix" because the mfj employee who built the unit hadn't soldered the wires to the battery holder!

Glen, K9STH

AG3Y
05-22-2007, 01:27 AM
Doesn't make one feel "warm and fuzzy" regardless of their own personal experience with the product line, does it, Glen ? http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

K9STH
05-22-2007, 04:07 AM
I must say that I have never had one bit of problem with my mfj 24 hour digital clock. However, it was made "off shore" and mfj just put a "sticker" on it!

Over the years I have "acquired" several mfj items that didn't work and after making the necessary repairs I traded them off. The only mfj thing besides my clock that I still have is a mfj-401C "Econo-Keyer II" that I recently retired. I got it after my home-brew CMOS keyer that I had built over 20 years before I got the 401C "gave up the ghost". There was one questionable solder joint in that particular "semi-kit" as well as several machine screws "rattling around" inside the cabinet that had nothing to do with the unit. The keyer still works fine. I just "upgraded" my CW system about 6 months ago.

Glen, K9STH

KA5PIU
05-22-2007, 07:47 AM
Hello.

What are the other options?
A made in China unit, yes, it will work, but will be produced to meet the exacting specs that low grade consumer electronics from China are noted for.
Each one being built exactly the same, by people who understand what is going on.
Or, a built in the US job, built by bubba who has no idea of what is going on inside the box.
The educational system within the US has produced some real winners as of late.
Most people in the US have no concept of what goes on in an electronic circuit.
In China, education is the key to happiness signs everywhere will proclaim.
But than again, things like Oprah and Rosie O' are not on.
The Chinese do not have to worry about gay rights, nobody has rights, problem solved.

AG3Y
05-22-2007, 07:39 PM
PIU, where I used to work, the employees were divided into two groups, "Essential", defined as "those who were paid to think", and "Non-essential", those who were NOT paid to think. You can imagine how popular THAT policy was !

Bottom line, you pay people to think, and the cost of the product is going to go up dramatically!

I'm sure glad I'm not working any more ! 73, Jim