Farewell MFJ

We were sad to hear that after 52 years in operation, iconic ham radio supplier MFJ will close next month. On the one hand, it is hard not to hear such news and think that it is another sign that ham radio isn’t in a healthy space. After all, in an ideal world, [Martin Jue] — the well-known founder of MFJ — would have found an anxious buyer. Not only is the MFJ line of ham radio gear well regarded, but [Martin] had bought other ham radio-related companies over the years, such as Ameritron, Hygain, Cushcraft, Mirage, and Vectronics. Now, they will all be gone, too.

However, on a deeper reflection, maybe we shouldn’t see it as another nail in ham radio’s coffin. It is this way in every industry. There was a time when it was hard to imagine ham radio without, say, Heathkit. Yet they left, and the hobby continued. We could name a slew of other iconic companies that had their day: Eico, Hammarlund, Hallicrafters, and more. They live on at hamfests, their product lines are frozen in time, and we’re sure we’ll see a used market for MFJ gear well into the next century.


Maybe you aren’t a ham and wonder why you would care. Turns out MFJ made things of interest to anyone who worked with RF transmitting or receiving. If you were a shortwave listener, they had antennas and related gear for you. They also made antenna analyzers and network analyzers that were very cost-effective compared to other options. If you wanted clean power supplies, MFJ had quite the selection of those. They even had a great selection of variable capacitors and inductors, which are tough to find in small quantities. You could even get air-wound coil stock, knobs, meters, and toroids.

Sure, most of what they sold was things only hams or other radio operators wanted—that was the nature of the company. But their loss will be felt by more than just the ham community. Someone, of course, will step into the void as they always do.

So farewell MFJ. We will miss you, but we look forward to meeting your replacement, whoever that might be. While you can spend a lot of money on ham radio, you can get started for $50 or less. Oddly, we haven’t directly featured much MFJ gear on Hackaday over the years, but we have mentioned a few.