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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | MFJ 1886 Receive Loop Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ 1886 Receive Loop
MFJ 1886 Receive Loop Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $$249
Description: The MFJ-1886 Receive Loop gives you tremendous power to copy weak stations through impossibly strong levels of QRN or QRM. Covering AM broadcast through 30 MHz and beyond, its superbly directive element and bullet-proof low-noise preamplifier dig out buried signals normally lost when using wire antennas. With the MFJ-1886 you get:

[] Perfect loop balance for deep precise nulls
[] Dual-MMIC push-pull pre-amplification for wide dynamic range
[] Indestructible aircraft-grade 36-inch aluminum loop
[] Great portability -- weighs only 2-1/2 pounds
[] Mounts using standard TV-style hardware
[] Tough molded weatherproof enclosure for outdoor installation
[] Phantom powered with AC adapter and Bias-T included

Unlike many ADF loops, the MFJ-1886 is weather-sealed, very ruggedly constructed, and mechanically stable under all weather conditions. In fact, you can mount it permanently on any inexpensive TV rotor and direct it from the comfort of your shack. Weighing only 2-1/2 pounds and measuring 36-inches in diameter, it also installs easily on a tripod or handheld mast for portable use.
Product is in production.
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K4FMH Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2018 09:17 Send this review to a friend
Outperforms my Wellbrook Loop!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a review that I didn't thing I'd ever write. I've been a Wellbrook Loop fan for over 10 years. Still am. My 1530+ NA model receive loop paired with my Perseus SDR has been the best receiving combo on HF that I've experienced in over 50 years of listening. No challengers. Until now.

The MFJ Receive Loop (MFJ-1886) spent a couple of years in design and prototyping, according to Martin Jue. He says the earliest LNA was fraught with issues concerning RF and static buildup so they kept at the prototype revisions until they were satisfied. MFJ tested the production version of the LNA (in a box at the base of the loop itself) with simulated lightning strikes to less than a mile away. It shows. Here's what I've found in using it with my Perseus SDR and Wellbrook 1530+ that I've had in service for 10 years now.

Residing in an HOA, my HF antennas are in my attic. I've mounted the Wellbrook loop outside in an alleyway, hidden by a couple of evergreen trees. I've wrapped the aluminum loop with dark green plastic tape to help hide it. If my neighbor say they saw a bush moving in my yard, I'll tell them that they have been drinking too much!It's mounted on a Hygain AR-500 rotator one foot above ground. It's largely outside the RFI envelope of my house. I mounted my recent acquisition of the MFJ Rx Loop above my shack in the attic, about 30 feet above ground. It's 15 feet from an on-demand water heater and some other routine house electrical wiring. This puts the Wellbrook at a decided advantage and the MFJ at at disadvantage with regard to the noise floor. This loop uses a supplied Bias-T for the 12vdc power to the LNA. It attaches in the coax feedline near one's operating position or anywhere along that line that makes sense to the user. A wallwart power supply is provided. The manual and schematic diagram is available at the manufacturers' website for downloading in PDF.

Using an A-B switch, a few months of listening with the band conditions being not so great at this point in the cycle, shows the following.

The noise floor is about -10dbm higher on the attic-located MFJ loop vs the outside Wellbrook. However, the SNR is so much better with the MFJ loop that it almost always (discounting virtual ties) gets a better receive signal! I have each loop mounted on the same model AR-500 rotator with bearing degrees programmed. I've tried to get each one oriented within 10 degrees of one another for each A-B test. Neither loop has sharp nulls on the receive signal itself (versus, say, the Quantum Loop) but each is good at nulling out noise or a splattering signal while keeping the desired signal with my ear's bandwidth.

This is far from a Lab test. But it's a user's direct experience with both on the same receiver and the same station signal. This includes both SW Broadcast and the ham bands. The Wellbrook 1530+ that I have is 10 years old and works fine. But it is not the latest and greatest HF loop model that Andy Ikin now sells. At the price point with shipping, the MFJ Receive Loop is several hundred dollars cheaper for the US market. Unless I'm able to compare Wellbrook's latest and find out differently, getting the MFJ Receive Loop on a price-performance basis is a no-brainer.

In addition, the MFJ is just built more sturdy than the Wellbrook which has always been somewhat plagued by the flange mounting. I've found that irrigation piping from Lowes or Home Depot et al. works well for this mount point if you lose the supplied pipe from Wellbrook. The MFJ uses the conventional U-bolts for a very sturdy mount. Can't beat that!

I'll continue testing for a month or two more as the Spring comes in. I may connect both loops to my Quantum DX Phaser device to see if there's significant improvement in getting weak signals out of the noise with both loops in the mix. Barring a significant improvement on that front, I'm likely going to move the MFJ outside and use the Wellbrook for portable ops as a separate receive antenna and a RF sense switch. (MFJ sells a model of this receive loop with the receive switch built in.) It's a very good loop antenna still. With today's RFI issues, a receive loop like the MFJ at $249 is worth considering for the new lowest bands through 40 meters or so. Highly recommended.

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