Farewell MFJ

MFJ have announced they will be shutting down their operations in May 2024. It came as a surprise to me, mainly because of the vast array of products they continue to produce in-house these days. They had bought up other brands along the way (in some cases rescuing them) such as Ameritron, Hy-Gain, Cushcraft, Mirage, and Vectronics.

MFJ have been around for more than 50 years, and I can remember MFJ from the very beginning of my involvement in the hobby in the mid 90’s. I had bought a Vectronics HF tuner, an MFJ dual band whip antenna for an HT, and my first TNC was an MFJ.

Brands come and go, but perhaps not many as widely known as MFJ. As I look around to see just how many MFJ products I have and use, it is more than I realized:

  • Two MFJ-2012 OCFD HF Antennas
  • MFJ-260C 300 Watt Dummy Load
  • MFJ-969 HF Tuner
  • MFJ-945E HF Tuner
  • MFJ-921 144/220 Tuner
  • Vectronics HF Tuner
  • MFJ-1128 Powerpole Distribution Block
  • MFJ-1724B Dual Band Mobile Magmount Antenna
  • ASQ-6 6-Meter Squalo Antenna

I’m sure there are alternative sources for many of the products above, but in many cases, there are unique features or configurations these MFJ products provided which will not have an exact match. For me, MFJ products served as a good reference, basic, and fair priced. There are definitely “better” alternative products out there in some cases, but at a higher cost.

For example, the MFJ-969 HF tuner has performed so well that I would buy it again without hesitation. Sure, the incandescent bulb for the meter burned out quickly, but I was able to replace it with an LED. Most of their products such as tuners for example, were easy to fix or repair. Yes, there have been quality issues over the years, but I would argue that MFJ’s value was excellent.

If I needed to purchase another HF tuner (for a 100-watt radio), I would need to spend almost double what I spent on the MFJ-969. Sure, the alternatives might have a better build, they handle more wattage, but the MFJ was more than enough for what I needed.

Unless someone else takes over manufacturing of the MFJ designed products, I doubt there will be a newcomer to the niche market of amateur radio products MFJ produced.

This leaves a big gap in my opinion for those entering the hobby and for those who do not or cannot spend double or triple the money on alternative products MFJ produced. I do think that this raises the bar of entry into the hobby unnecessarily if another brand does not step in to fill this gap. Yes, used MFJ equipment will continue to be sold at ham-fests and on eBay for years, but not everyone lives close enough to attend a ham-fest and not everyone wants to pay the premium eBay prices.

MFJ exiting the market is not nearly the same as a major transceiver manufacturer exiting. The transceiver market is competitive and nearly every major brand puts out really great products. MFJ produced many items that really have no comparison, either at price, features, or both. They will be missed.

Leave a Reply