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Follow-Up Interview with Martin F. Jue from MFJ Enterprises

Discussion in 'General Ham Radio Discussion' started by Moleculo, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

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    I had an opportunity to ask Martin, the owner of MFJ Enterprises a few questions that I was curious about. Hopefully you'll find the questions and responses interesting, as well. MFJ Enterprises is the parent company of the the MFJ, Ameritron, Hygain, Mirage, Vectronics, and recently Cushcraft brands of amateur radio product lines. As you would expect, Martin is a very busy man. It took several weeks for him to respond to these questions, but he was also very gracious in doing so. Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to meet him in person soon.

    Here is a transcript of the questions and responses:


    1. What are your plans for the Cushcraft company and associated product lines as a result of the recent acquisition? Should we expect to see any new Cushcraft antenna products anytime soon? (Martin) We moved Cushcraft to Starkville and have started production on several products and expect to cycle through the entire product line before long. We are improving and simplifying the production processes. We expect to bring back some of the more popular Cushcraft antennas that have been discontinued and we will be developing new products once we settle in. The engineer who developed many of the Cushcraft antennas is with us now.
    2. There seems to be quite a bit of overlap in products between the different MFJ brands. For example, MFJ has antenna products, Ameritron has antenna products, and Cushcraft has antenna products. That is just one example. Is there any plan to separate the product lines into the specific brands to create some brand differentiation? It seems like this would be less confusing to consumers and strengthen each brand name? (Martin) Many of the products serve different consumer levels such as price points and usages and degree of robustness. For example, Ameritron's mobile antennas complement its line of mobile amplifiers.
    3. Last year at Dayton, one of the big products that were announced and shown was the Ameritron ALS-1300. How have sales of the ALS-1300 been and what can we look forward to being announced at Dayton this year? (Martin) The sales of the ALS-1300 has been very brisk and we are having some difficulty keeping up with sales. Let's keep the suspense up and wait for the announcements at Dayton.
    4. A lot of amateur radio operators are also MARS operators that can use greater power output equipment for MARS operations. Are there any plans for solid state Ameritron amplifiers that will produce greater output figures, say, in the 2.5KW range? (Martin) We have had some talk about producing a higher power solid state amp.
    5. Has MFJ been able to stay profitable during these troubling economic times? (Martin) These times have had an effect on MFJ like everyone else but we have still been profitable.
    6. On your personal Amateur Station, what equipment do you run that is non- MFJ brand (other than transceivers)? (Martin) I am a tinker and builder and most of my equipment is home built but I do have a variety of transceivers from sophisticated radios to simple QRP rigs. I also have on office literally full of vintage transmitters, receivers, transceivers and accessories. Many of them work fine.
    7. What do you see as an area of opportunity in amateur radio products that MFJ should be exploring over the next 5 years? (Martin) I really don't want to go into what products we are thinking about building but many of the products will continue the trend of microprocessor controlled products with lots of software to automate the things we are used to doing manually.



     

  2. GLR

    GLR Keeping It Good Natured

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    well done
     
  3. kc9owm

    kc9owm Guest

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    At least there is a ham running the company.(y)
     
  4. mackmobile43

    mackmobile43 Jock Supporter

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    I bet if you ask he has a cb radio also.:pop:
     
  5. N0NB

    N0NB Active Member

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    Nice hear direct from the founder and owner of MFJ Enterprises. Although some of his answers are necessarily cagey, I do think he is careful not to reveal too much as is probably expected as competitors will scrutinize his words carefully. Make no mistake, MFJ is a tough competitor and whenever someone springs something new on the market, it's not long before MFJ releases their version of the same. That said, MFJ has also been innovative with certain products.

    I can only think of three MFJ items I have now, a 949D tuner that I use mostly for testing as it has a dummy load built in and I don't have to disconnect my station load and a 1270B TNC that I bought years ago for packet node use. I had a differential T tuner that I bought in 2002 that served me very well. I sold it after replacing it with a Palstar AT1500DT differential T tuner. The Palstar offered much more tuning range and tunes my 200' doublet on the low end of 160m without complaint, something the MFJ could not do. Finally, I do still have the 1500 Watt dry dummy load.

    I've had other MFJ gear over the years and all did what they were supposed to do. I've replaced most of them with products from other manufacturers over the years that offered either more features or a better value. Still, I look through the annual MFJ catalog and see what they're offering and some items are compelling.
     
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