Hello Mike (and reflectorites),
I have used an Autek RF-1 for a bit over a year. I've used other
Ham's MFJ 259 at various times too.
In my opinion the Autek RF-1 is the better value for the money but
the MFJ might be considered easier to use in some cases. The controls on
the MFJ are definitely easier to use, as the "fine" tuning control on the
RF-1 is too fast and I seem to spend time "tweaking" to get just the
frequency I want for a test. So for quick SWR tests the MFJ seems much
easier to me. Another nice thing about the MFJ is being able to look at
the SWR and frequency at the same time. On the RF-1 you must alternate
these readings although there is a trivial setting to get automatic
The RF-1 will make some kinds of measurements that the MFJ will not,
allowing you to create your own custom inductors and capacitors tested at the
frequency of interest (but with accuracy to just get you into the right
range prior to trimming) On the other hand I think the MFJ can be arranged
to function as a crude dip meter with an add-on accessory and this isn't
available with the RF-1.
Another thing is that the RF-1 is very compact. I've spent a
lot of time hanging off the top of a ladder with the RF-1 stuck right into
an antenna's feedpoint and I can't say I'd like to try that with the MFJ.
I've even hooked up my RF-1 to an antenna, hoisted it up, and read the
display with binoculars. This is conceivable with the MFJ (especially somebody
else's <g>) but the extra weight would make me nervous.
The RF-1 uses up its battery pretty quickly. I get perhaps 3-4 months
of use from one 9 volt battery by turning it off whenever I'm not using it
for more than a few seconds.
Overall, the RF-1 has drastically improved my ability to figure out
what is going on with my antennas. I've also switched it in place of my
transceiver to work out tuner settings without having to transmit.
FAQ on WWW: http://www.contesting.com/towertalkfaq.html
Administrative requests: towertalk-REQUEST@contesting.com
Sponsored by: Akorn Access, Inc. & N4VJ / K4AAA