[TowerTalk] Some MFJ 259B Notes (FYI)

Dr. Richard W. Musicer n6cr@ix.netcom.com
Tue, 10 Nov 1998 18:19:13 -0600 (CST)

I am relating my recent experiences with the MFJ259B so that those of 
you who also own one of these units can check them while they are still 
under warranty.  If you are considering buying one, don't do it unless 
you test it first.  I personally checked more than 20 different units 
between the MFJ booth at a recent local hamfest and at HRO.  Every unit 
tested had one or more of the following three problems:

1.  Defective Tune Control–where just a light touch would cause the 
frequency to jump as much as a full Mhz.  In some cases, the tune 
control was just unstable and the frequency would wander around both up 
and down regardless of which way the control was gently turned.
2.  Frequency Counter will not reliably lock up on a frequency.  Your 
unit can be tested by putting a rubber helical VHF antenna on the top 
BNC connector and checking the output frequency of a KNOWN and 
CALIBRATED 2m HT. Some of the units I looked at showed everything from 
the 60 MHz range to 230MHZ on the LCD display when an HT was keyed.  
Some units would not lock on any frequency at all and just kept hunting 
around.  And those that did lock-up...(read #3)

3.  Frequency Counter is not calibrated. The BEST unit I could find, of 
the over 20 that were tested, was wrong by nearly 6 Khz on 2 meters.  I 
never could find one more accurate than this except one that had such a 
flaky tune control that it would not work accurately for any of the 
other test modes.  MFJ claims that their 259B's are not able to be 
calibrated by users.

HRO customer service here in Atlanta has been excellent...they have 
gone out of their way to attempt to help me find a properly working 
unit...one did not exist in their inventory. This is not meant to be an 
overall MFJ bashing exercise.   I own an older model 259 that worked 
perfectly out-of-the-box and is properly calibrated.  I also own four 
MFJ TNC's that have worked perfectly for many years; some have never 
been turned off in over five years of continuous service.  The quality 
control standards of MFJ on these new 259B's is worse than deplorable 
however, and other owners of these units would be well advised to take 
a close look at their purchases.  HRO took the best of the units we 
could find and has returned it to MFJ for evaluation/calibration.  I 
will be interested in what comes back.

GL/73 de Rick, N6CR in Atlanta

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