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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | MFJ-225 GRAPHICAL ANTENNA ANALYZER Help


Reviews Summary for MFJ-225 GRAPHICAL ANTENNA ANALYZER
MFJ-225 GRAPHICAL ANTENNA ANALYZER Reviews: 12 Average rating: 3.6/5 MSRP: $398.00
Description: Basic analyzer functions plus a host of advanced features like builtin LCD graphics, two-port VNA measurement, PC-Interface using IG-miniVNA freeware, and precise DDS frequency control.The MFJ-225 simultaneously compiles and displays all important parameters you need on a single screen, giving you a wider range of results at a glance.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-225
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WD4ED Rating: 3/5 Sep 15, 2017 11:52 Send this review to a friend
Calibration Issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my MJF0225 for about a year now. It is my second unit. The first one died for no reason right after receiving it. MJF replaced it after about 3-4 months of waiting.

I've maybe used it 5-6 times for projects. While working on a project recently I noticed that an antenna was tuned considerably differently with the MFJ-225 than several other devices indicated. Including how it actually performed with a radio. On 20m the antenna dipped at about 14.085 Mhz vice 14.185 Mhz where all of my other equipment shows. This is the same on both the graphic display and the serial output. BUT... when used as a "Signal Generator" the output is almost right on. I tried calibrating both with application software and with the "knob spin". It's DDS output appears to be right on. The problems appears to be how the data is displayed and output via serial.

I also noticed that the Phase indications are almost never accurate. Enough to simply notice. Using an antenna tuner you shouldn't have any problem reaching resonance at 50 ohms Z. This is indicated by Reactance and Phase be reaching 0 at the same time. These values do "dip" minimum at the same time, but the Phase value never gets anywhere near actually converging with the reactance. Now this is odd, because I believe Phase is a primary factor in calculating Xs.

I do like the dual port capability of the MFJ-225. Which is primarily why I bought it. For checking filters and other sweep related measurements. It seems to work fine if you can live with the fairly slow sweep rate.

While portable it works fine. It works with most of the available MiniVNA software applications. Not just the one recommended by MFJ.

It's an "okay" device that with a firmware update would be a great device.

Interested if others are seeing these "calibration" issues.

73s,Ed WD4ED
 
KG4RUL Rating: 5/5 Nov 28, 2016 14:07 Send this review to a friend
Worked Right Out of the Box  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I installed the NIMH batteries, attached my power supply and fought the urge to try the unit out until the charge LED went out. It worked perfectly with no problems on battery or USB power. Downloaded the VNA software and it also worked right the first try.
 
KQ4KK Rating: 5/5 Nov 28, 2016 12:29 Send this review to a friend
Been working great  Time owned: more than 12 months
This Analyzer is the same as the AA-100 Analyzer by Gulf Stream Electronics. Tho, I think they are not selling direct, now that MFJ has them.
Saw the review on HAM Nation. Seems like a neat product. Back Ordered it. Down loaded the FREE FRENCH PC software...yea. FRENCH.

FORTH REVIEW, NOV 2016>
Been working great the past couple of years. The software on the PC is what makes this thing great. Using it standalone in the field is good. Gives you everything you might want standing outside. But the PC software gives you the world of data. Batteries, charging, all working fine

THIRD REVIEW>
Just got a brand new 3rd unit direct from MFJ. It powers off of USB fine. It charges and runs internal nMH (provide your own) fine. The SO-239 is solid and does not make the unit reboot if you touch it. Seems to works as advertised. Is it better than the 259 or 269? Not sure yet, it is different approach. Of course it does not go over 180mhz.

SECOND REVIEW>
Second one showed up from HRO in less than 5 days turnaround. Would not run on internal batteries, nor charge batteries. Ran fine on USB power. SO-239 worked fine. Powering it from USB power, it seemed to do everything it is advertised to do. Called MFJ, talked to Jimmy. He emailed a return label and said he was sending me one that worked. I UPSed the second dead one back to MFJ. Waiting for the 3rd one.


FIRST REVIEW>
The BROWN truck delivered my 225 today. Put batteries in it. Charged it. Turned it on. Screen came up, then the menu. Attached an antenna cable. As I attached it to the SO-239 the screen flashed back and forth from opening screen to menu, then faded dead. Turned it off, rechecked the batteries, looked for loose screws (it is a MFJ label), and shorts/opens on the SO-239 board. Could not find anything. Back to HRO. They are sending me a shipping label. Hope this story turns out for the better.
 
VE3JMX Rating: 4/5 Jan 11, 2016 08:09 Send this review to a friend
Good for the money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the analyzer for a discount price and so far so good.
I am a RF/microwave engineer and wanted a VNA on a budget that would do reflection and transmission vector measurements.
The unit itself works OK but to me it's best when coupled with the VNA software and USB interface to your computer and even better when also used with Zplots.
The lgVNA program does the capture for both reflection and transmission and you can then export a .csv file to Zplots for data massaging and graphics including Smith Charts for S11.
I'm still investigating better calibration methods largely to establish an accurate reference plane but even without it the results are useable.

I have to give a big thanks to Zplots as it really is a great asset when used with this analyzer.

I'll probably update this review as I progress more with the analyzer and software but it appaers to be good value for the money.

73, VE3JMX
 
N7LUF Rating: 2/5 Feb 6, 2015 04:31 Send this review to a friend
Getting the MFJ-225 to be recognized by the software  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I go to the file-menu bar and select "Com Port". In the list, I see "None!"
How do I get it to work?
 
KD8SSS Rating: 5/5 Jan 4, 2015 12:29 Send this review to a friend
I like it a lot so far!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I hate to be one of those people who just got a new item and waxes ecstatically about it, so I won't yet, as I've had it for only about five days. My main reason for posting is to give some help to the community who may buy or have bought one of these and finds themselves not able to get the IG-MiniVNA program to respond once they plug their unit in via USB.

1) Obtaining the IG-MiniVNA program.
Forget the link that MFJ and some others provide to download the program - those link are old and no longer on the french site. Perform a Google search for the filename "ig_minivna_v_2010.06.11.zip". Once downloaded, unzip the files to a folder of your choosing. Double-click the file "IG_miniVNA.exe" to launch the program.

2) Getting the MFJ-225 to be recognized by the software.
Go to the file-menu bar and select "Com Port". In the list, you'll see "None!" and whichever comport your computer forwarded for your 225 after you plugged it in to USB. In my case it was COM4 on my Win7 Machine and was COM3 on my WinXP machine. click the comport in your list and then click "Ok". Your MFJ-225 is now communicating with the IG-MiniVNA program!

3)Using the program. There is a wonderful Welsh ham GW0JXM who has a YouTube channel, "AndyDaviesBytheSea". He has many wonderfully informative videos related to ham radio. Andy created a video in 2011 about the mRS Mini-VNA which also uses the same IG-MiniVNA software. He does a nice walkthrough in the two videos of how to use the software to measure his home-made 80m and 20m antennas.

4) Calibration. In the near future I will look more into this. If I remember correctly, the mRS MiniVNA has a calibration kit available for us that are curious about such things. The software has provisions in it to accomplish this using a short plug, an open plug, and a 50-ohm plug.

Anyway, I like this unit a lot so far as it will make quick work of actually "seeing" your antenna.

P.S. I also added a lock-washer and nut to the encoder on the side of the unit as another reviewer here recommended. Mine wasn't sloppy wiggly, but I did it just to be safe as accidents do happen.

Cheers,
Dan KD8SSS
 
AF8JC Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2014 01:00 Send this review to a friend
Great Value - Works for Me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had used a borrowed MFJ-259B analyzer on & off for the last year and a half. After returning it, I felt lost without an analyzer, as it seems I'm always fiddling with an antenna. After looking at various reviews and internet videos, I thought I wanted a Rig Expert, but I didn't like the price. I finally decided to give the MFJ-225 a try.

This unit was designed by folks that think much differently than I do. There is nothing intuitive about what the controls do and how the thing operates. That's OK, I just want to get that out there from the beginning. The buttons remind me of many of the newer radios that are menu driven: the buttons function changes from one screen to the next. After a quick read-thru of the manual, I thought I'd do some quick SWR checks on a long-wire antenna. I pushed and fiddled and occasionally got some good information, but I had no idea how I got there. I finally sat down and attempted to write my own "cheat sheet" of quick instructions that made sense to me. I took a few pictures and inserted them into a WORD document and got to feeling good about what I had done. I then re-read the manual, and the manual made perfect sense to me. I'm 63 and I guess I don't grasp things as quick as I think I used to. My own instructions still make more sense to me, but there is nothing inherently wrong with the MFJ manual.

Once you understand how to use the analyzer, the information it provides is very good. Using the "G" mode (for signal Generation?), you can quickly see the SWR, impedance, and other parameters. A few turns of the knob will show how "broadband" the antenna is and where the minimum SWR lies.

The "S" mode (for Sweep) takes a little more fiddling, as you have to get the bandwidth scale right in order to get a meaningful graph. It seems there may not be enough plotted points to show resonance over multiple bands (for example 40m & 15m), so you do have to focus the range you really want to analyze. Once you get the hang of it, you get some really nice graphs.

I have no way to check the accuracy of the unit, but for the kind of antenna work I do, and the bands that I operate, it seems just fine. It ells me more than I need to know. I have only used the "S" and "G" modes thus far, but I have downloaded the ig minivna software and look forward to hooking the analyzer up to the PC and see what other features are available.

I gave the unit a "5" because it does everything that it is supposed to do. Just because the method of operation and choice of buttons and sequence is not intuitive, doesn't seem to warrant a "downgrade" in rating. The documentation is fine, once you understand it. I didn't find the Kenwood TM-D710 manual any easier to understand - I think it's just the way things are headed.

Lastly, there is much ado about the batteries and how to power this thing. A couple of points: if you use rechargeable batteries they must me NiMH becasue that is what the internal charger regulator circuit is programmed for. When the batteries are fully charged, the red LED that indicates charging is in progress will extinguish. When you insert the charging plug, the battery pack is disconnected from the analyzer circuitry. You cannot power the unit from the charging port. You can, however, operate the unit from the USB port. Any power source that is USB compatible can be used to power the unit during operation. However, you cannot charge the internal battery pack thru the USB connection. You can't power the unit thru the charging port and you can't charge the batteries thru the USB port - clear enough? Again, once you understand it, you say "no big deal, I'm glad I have choices".
 
WB0KZB Rating: 3/5 Apr 21, 2014 17:08 Send this review to a friend
Works, but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got the 225 shortly after the March 2014 QST review came out. From that review, I was not expecting professional grade instrument or deadly accuracy. All I want is something that will get me in the ballpark reliably. It works, I've used it to adjust all the antennas in the shack an in the truck. The reason it is a three is the switches bounce (pressing a button once may get 0-4 steps), the screen flickers, and it's just slow and awkward.

I can't speak to the calibration, but the QST article does mention how to calibrate it. The instructions that come with it are a little light as well, but who reads instructions anyway.

Bottom line: It works, but it's just not ready for Prime-Time. If you are used to professional equipment operation, get one of their other analyzers. If you want an affordable graphic analyzer, get this one and stand by to be a little frustrated with the operation.

It's worth what I paid for it and I'm keeping the one I have but I'll be looking for a better one in a few years when they work the bugs out.

73,
Jim
 
G3XOU Rating: 3/5 Dec 19, 2013 13:36 Send this review to a friend
Has a few issues  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the MFJ-225 from a UK Ham Radio equipment supplier (Martin Lynch & Sons Ltd). On unpacking it I noticed that the rotary encoder knob had quite a bit of lateral movement.

The power ON/OFF push button and the power source selection push button are mounted to far back inside the unit. This results in them having a tendancy to stick in the down position against the front panel.

On taking the cover off to fit the batteries noticed that the thin grey coax from the DDS RF Source was touching the inner connection of the SO259 output socket.
Whilst this cable is insulated I found that its proximity to the centre pin affected the SWR reading on the higher frequencies by its capacitive shunt effect to ground.
This was easily fixed by moving the coax.

The lateral movement (wobble) of the rotatary encoder is due to the encoder not being secured to the side panel with a nut on its threaded bush. It is only secured by the soldered connections to the main PCB. As there is a gap between the encoder body and the side panel I fitted a 1/4" washer to take up the gap and secured the encoder to the side panel with a 1/4" thin nut. Having resolved these two issues I then decided to check its performance in more detail.

Whilst the MFJ-225 cannot be considered as a lab quality instrument I found that its performance in terms of SWR/Return Loss accuracy falls away rapidly after 130MHz which gave me concern. This is mainly due to the DDS RF output source rapidly reducing in level which limits the dynamic range of SWR/Return Loss measurement at the higher frequencies.

Here are the results:

MODE: ANT-G

BATTERY VOLTAGE: 4.77v

RF LEVEL MEASURING INSTRUMENT:
RACAL-DANA 9301A TRUE RMS RF MILLIVOLTMETER
USING ITS INTERNAL 50 OHM LOAD.

MANUFACTURES RF OUTPUT SPEC: -5dBm

FREQ O/P Level DISPLAYED
MHz dBm SWR
1 -3.2 1.10
2 -2.8 1.08
10 -2.5 1.07
20 -2.5 1.07
30 -2.8 1.07
40 -3.0 1.08
50 -3.0 1.08
60 -3.0 1.08
70 -3.0 1.11
80 -3.0 1.12
90 -3.2 1.15
100 -3.6 1.18
110 -3.8 1.19
120 -3.9 1.20
130 -4.1 1.20
140 -5.1 1.19
150 -6.5 1.19
160 -7.0 1.20
170 -15.2 1.39
171 -16.6 1.46
172 -18.0 1.56
173 -19.0 1.65
174 -20.3 1.76
175 -21.5 1.91
176 -22.8 2.13
177 -23.9 2.41
178 -25.0 2.72
179 -26.0 3.17
180 -27.4 3.66

At this point I wondered if I had a faulty MFJ-225 as I expected the RF output to be stable within +/- 1dB across its measuring range like the MFJ 259B which I also have. I contacted Martin Lynch & Sons Ltd who checked the three of the units they had in stock and confirmed my test results and reported their findings to MFJ.
However, it appears that this is how the all current production units will be until MFJ fix this issue.

Maybe MFJ will sort out this design defect in the "B" model together with the other mechanical issues mentioned above!

I also checked the frequency accuracy of the DDS RF source:

FREQUENCY ERROR AT 1MHz = +8Hz
FREQUENCY ERROR AT 90MHz = +632Hz
FREQUENCY ERROR AT 145MHz = +1.01KHz
FREQUENCY ERROR AT 180MHz = +1.3KHz

The link in the manual to the IG-miniVNA software no longer exists. I eventually found it at:

http://clbsite.free.fr/downloads/Ig_MiniVNA_v_2010.06.11.zip

In summary:
I like the MFJ-225 with its flexability to use as a stand alone VNA when working outside on antennas together with its ability to connect to the IG-miniVNA software but it needs a bit more work done on the product design before I could give it a higher rating.

Things that need fixing by MFJ:

1. Fix the Rotatary encoder to the side panel to stop the wobble!
2. Make sure that the DDS RF Source output coax is routed away from the SO259 socket.
3. Reposition the Power ON/OFF and Power Source selection buttons further out when they are in the "IN" position.
4. Redesign the DDS RF output levelling amplifer to make it as good as the MFJ-259B RF output level stability. (My MFJ-259B measures 8dBm flat +/-0.6dB across the frequency range).

 
KQ4KK Rating: 4/5 Dec 5, 2013 08:22 Send this review to a friend
Third one works  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This Analyzer is the same as the AA-100 Analyzer by Gulf Stream Electronics. Tho, I think they are not selling direct, now that MFJ has them.
Saw the review on HAM Nation. Seems like a neat product. Back Ordered it. Down loaded the FREE FRENCH PC software...yea. FRENCH.

THIRD REVIEW>
Just got a brand new 3rd unit direct from MFJ. It powers off of USB fine. It charges and runs internal nMH (provide your own) fine. The SO-239 is solid and does not make the unit reboot if you touch it. Seems to works as advertised. Is it better than the 259 or 269? Not sure yet, it is different approach. Of course it does not go over 180mhz.

SECOND REVIEW>
Second one showed up from HRO in less than 5 days turnaround. Would not run on internal batteries, nor charge batteries. Ran fine on USB power. SO-239 worked fine. Powering it from USB power, it seemed to do everything it is advertised to do. Called MFJ, talked to Jimmy. He emailed a return label and said he was sending me one that worked. I UPSed the second dead one back to MFJ. Waiting for the 3rd one.


FIRST REVIEW>
The BROWN truck delivered my 225 today. Put batteries in it. Charged it. Turned it on. Screen came up, then the menu. Attached an antenna cable. As I attached it to the SO-239 the screen flashed back and forth from opening screen to menu, then faded dead. Turned it off, rechecked the batteries, looked for loose screws (it is a MFJ label), and shorts/opens on the SO-239 board. Could not find anything. Back to HRO. They are sending me a shipping label. Hope this story turns out for the better.
 
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