Telescoping Whips and Their Uses: A Focus on the MFJ-1979

By: Marius Lubbe ZS1ML

Hey there, radio enthusiasts! Let’s chat about something we all love – telescoping whip antennas. These little wonders have been around for ages and are a big hit because they’re portable, versatile, and super easy to use. Now, there are tons of options out there, but one that’s been getting a lot of love is the MFJ-1979. It’s been getting rave reviews for its quality, performance, and bang for your buck. Without fear of contradiction, I can say up front that it is the most common 5-meter whip in use and the one example I have has stood the test of time in build quality. So, let’s dive in and get to know it a bit better, shall we?

What’s the Deal with Telescoping Whips?

So, telescoping whip antennas are pretty cool. They’re like little radio magic wands that you can extend or retract, just like a telescope. They’re usually made of tough stuff like stainless steel, which means they can take a beating and keep on ticking. Plus, their design makes them super easy to carry around and store. That’s why they’re a big hit with amateur radio enthusiasts, or “hams” as we like to call ourselves. They’re flexible and can adapt to all sorts of radio communication needs.

Let’s Talk About the MFJ-1979

The MFJ-1979 is a 16.5-foot (5-meter) stainless telescoping antenna that’s been getting a lot of thumbs up for its quality and performance. It’s sturdy, well-made, easy to carry around, and built to last. The antenna is made of stainless steel and can stretch out to 16.5 feet (5 meters), but when you’re done, it collapses to just 2 feet (0.61 meters) for easy storage and transportation. It’s got standard 3/8 X 24 threads on a solid brass base that’s 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) in diameter by 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) long. Fully extended on a suitable base with some radials, the whip is a perfect 20m antenna all on its own.

One of the best things about the MFJ-1979, to my mind, is how tough it is. The stainless-steel construction means it can handle outdoor use like a champ, and the solid brass base gives it stability and strength. This makes it a great choice for hams who need a reliable antenna that they can take with them wherever they go.

What Are People Saying?

A lot of folks have had success using the MFJ-1979 as an alternative whip, with various coil-based antennas as a ground-mounted vertical antenna. This combo has been getting props for its flexibility, compact size, and affordability. The better coils have lately become a popular coil for portable and mobile antennas, and when you pair it with the MFJ-1979, you get a powerful and versatile antenna system.

There are also a bunch of videos on YouTube that review the MFJ-1979. One video by “Spotter Jutting Amateur Radio” calls the antenna a budget-friendly option for those looking for a 6m-20m antenna. The video gives a rundown of the setup process and shows off the antenna’s performance, which just adds to the MFJ-1979’s reputation as a reliable and cost-effective choice.

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

When you’re shopping for a telescoping whip antenna, you’ll find everything from super expensive models to cheap knockoffs. But here’s the thing – the price tag doesn’t always reflect the quality or performance of the product.

On one end, you’ve got so-called high-end competitor models with a hefty price tag. Sure, these antennas might have a fancy brand name, but in my book, they don’t necessarily give you any more value in terms of quality or performance than the MFJ-1979. Just because it costs more doesn’t mean it’s better or more durable, so these pricey options might not be the best choice if you’re looking for good quality at a great value.

On the other end, you’ve got cheap copies, especially those made in China, which are sold at a fraction of the cost. They might seem like a steal at first glance, but they often fall short when it comes to construction and durability. These antennas can be flimsy, non-rigid, and might even fall apart after a few uses. The poor construction quality of these cheap alternatives can lead to poor performance and a shorter lifespan, which could end up costing you more in the long run due to replacement or repair needs.

But here’s where the MFJ-1979 shines. It strikes a perfect balance between cost and quality. It’s reasonably priced, but offers the durability, performance, and reliability that rivals the more expensive models and far outshines the cheap copies. As a user, with a little common-sense care, this antenna will last a lifetime without breaking the bank. It just goes to show that you don’t always have to spend a fortune to get a product that performs well and lasts long. So, in my book, the MFJ-1979 is a real winner when it comes to value for money in the world of telescoping whip antennas.

Wrapping Up

All in all, the MFJ-1979 is a hit among amateur radio enthusiasts for its quality, performance, and affordability. Its robust construction, ease of use, and excellent performance make it a worthy investment for anyone interested in amateur radio. Whether you’re a seasoned ham or a newbie just getting started, the MFJ-1979 offers a combination of quality and value that’s hard to beat. So, why not give it a try? You might just find it’s the perfect fit for your amateur radio needs.

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