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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | MFJ-1786 Super Hi-Q Loop Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-1786 Super Hi-Q Loop
MFJ-1786 Super Hi-Q Loop Reviews: 43 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $379.95
Description: High Efficiency 10-30 MHz Continuous Coverage Magnetic Loop
Product is in production.
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ON5UN Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2011 01:18 Send this review to a friend
Amazing antenna for restricted space  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the MFJ-1786 from Classic International in Roermond ( Netherlands) Got it well packed 3 days later. I packed it out immediately and found that the mains adapter for the remote control box was a USA version 110VAC, a simple mail to Classic International solved this and I got a European 240VAC one 2 days later. The finishing of the antenna is not the best and I expected that from MFJ, but a little filing solved the not perfect alignment of the mounting clamps holes. I have tested the loop at a height of 1.5 meters above ground on 29 August and compared it with my ground mounted Hutsler 6BTV with 30 radials .( Hutsler 6BTV has no WARC bands)

In general the Hutsler 6BTV has a noticeable better result, however the loop gave an unexpected result. I made that day 29 QSO with the mag loop in JT65 mode and this resulted in 15 QSO with USA, 3 with JA, 5R8UO and ZP9EH, the other QSO were all inside Europe. Pretty amazing! All with 30 Watt.
Tuning with the control box is easy ( and very sharp) Very good SWR on all bands, except 18 MHz where I cannot get it better than 1.8

Advantage is that the antenna can work on 18 and 24 MHz. If you have only a small space, a magnetic loop is the antenna to consider, but do not expect it will perform like a beam or a larger well placed antenna. And Classic International service was also perfect.
KJ4EBE Rating: 5/5 Jul 1, 2011 19:08 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna, but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well... this is a great antenna. Easy to tune, great when receiving and very good when transmitting. It is incredible how such small antenna can perform that well. This is not just a highly compromise antenna for small or restricted places, this antenna really give you a very acceptable performance even at only 10 feet over the ground. Obviously it is not a bean at 100 feet but this Loop can compare to any multiband vertical.

Now the "but" part... the mounting clamps holes... well, not a perfect matching with the antenna mounting holes. So I had to buy a Dremel and work out the mounting clamps holes until they fitted with the antenna holes. Not a big deal but I had to spend $40 on a Dremel.

Like antenna the MFJ-1786 is a 5, but the quality control needs improvement. I gave a rating of 5 because, after all, the antenna is performing great.

I recommend this antenna if you want a great performance on a small package.

If you have any particular question email me and I will be happy helping you. My email on
CT1DRB Rating: 5/5 Jun 5, 2011 06:32 Send this review to a friend
Perfect antenna for my situation.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Hello all,

since some time I have this antenna, knowing that till end of my life, since I still live in this building (it is very difficult to buy a new home up to now in Portugal), I will not have any kind of antenna on building for sure for ever.

This antenna is my gate to HF and up to now is working fine, of course I use it inside my home, signals are not that strong, but I am able to work some interesting DX's like VP5/W5CW or PZ5RA.

Best 73 to all.

5B4AIY Rating: 3/5 Oct 28, 2010 01:30 Send this review to a friend
An interesting compact antenna let down by poor quality control  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased the MFJ-1786X loop antenna because I have no room to mount a decent tower and beam. The antenna was ordered from a UK supplier, and it took months to arrive. I had originally ordered the MFJ-1788X antenna which covers from 40-15 metres, but because of a mix-up, I had to settle for the MFJ-1786 version, which covers 10 - 30 MHz. The antenna arrived well packed, but upon examination, it was incomplete. One of the threaded mounting inserts was missing as were two of the mounting bolts. As this item is of US manufacture, all its threads were SAE rather than metric, and thus replacement bolts and inserts are unobtainable here in Cyprus. To be fair, MFJ sent a set of bolts and inserts after I wrote and explained problem, but it did take some time.

In the meantime, I removed the covers and examined the internal construction, and overall fit and finish. The antenna is poorly finished, and looks more like a pre-production lash-up rather than a finished item. The quality of the soldered joints left a great deal to be desired, particularly those connecting the drive cable to the motor. The tuning capacitor's mounting bolts were loose, and the printed circuit upon which is mounted the RF isolation networks to the drive motor looks as if it was made mirror-image, the components being soldered to the track side of the board rather than through the board. At the RF input section, it was clear that the original design called for the small PC board to be mounted using 4 pillars - only 3 are present because the screw for the fourth pillar would sever a track if it was used. When I first powered up my antenna, I could not tune anywhere near the highest frequewncy. On the capacitor's shaft is mounted an 'L' bracket which trips the end-of-range micro-switches. This bracket was fouling a round-headed screw on the printed circuit panel. Shouldn't this screw be replaced with a countersunk headed variety to avoid this? I had to use a pair of pliers to bend the bracket to clear the head of this screw. The SO-239 chasis mount RF input socket is secured with only 2 screws rather than 4. The 4-piece plastic cover is a poor fit on the assembly, and is not weatherproof or insect proof. Here in Cyprus rain is not really an issue, but the bugs really do like to make nests inside these things. Considering that this item has now been manufactured for more than 10 years, is it really too much to ask that a production engineer review the current manufacture and fix these problems?

In contrast, the printed wiring assembly in the main control unit is very well made, using surface mount components. Sadly, it is mounted in a cheap bent steel box whose cover is secured with sheet metal screws. Considering that inside this box is a battery holder to allow operation from AA batteries, how long will it be before these fixings fail as they are not intended for repeated removal and replacement. Interestingly, when I measured the current consumption, even with the motor being driven at its fast rate, the consumption was only about 20 mA. If the meter illumination lamp is turned on, this consumes more power than the entire control unit and motor combined! Again, as MFJ offer a high-intensity LED replacement illumination for this particular meter, why have they not seen fit to equip all current production controllers with this to reduce the drain on the battery?

The antenna is very sensitive to the presence of objects within a radius of a few metres. I experimented with the antenna in a number of locations in the garden, and found it very difficult to achieve resonance or low VSWR if there was any metallic structure or other objects anywhere near the antenna. However, once it was mounted a few metres off the ground and clear of the house its VSWR improved. It still required a fair amount of "tweaking" of the coupling loop, but eventually I could obtain a steep resonance curve over the entire frequency range, as well as a VSWR that was less than 1.2:1 at the lowest frequencies, and no more than 1.3:1 at the highest. These measurements were made using a RigExpert AA-230Pro antenna analyzer. I found that squeezing the coupling loop into a more vertical elliptical shape narrowed the bandwidth of the resonance point and tended to improve VSWR, whilst broadening it to a more circular shape increased the coupling, widening the bandwidth, but tending to worsen the VSWR. The shape of the loop is a delicate compromise between VSWR, coupling, and bandwidth.

The antenna has now been in operation for about 4 months. It takes a little practice to learn how to use the tuning arrangements, but once mastered it is quite easy. In my case, setting my Kenwood TS-2000 to its lowest output power - 5 watts - then selecting CW mode and pressing the SEND button provides more than enough drive for the auto-band tuning to work. The manufacturer's say that there will be a beep from the unit when it stops, in may case this beep is virtually inaudible, but at least the LEDs extinguish, and the motor stops. Because there is a fair amount of inertia as well as backlash in the simple reduction gearbox used, the motor usually over-runs the desired VSWR null point, but a few deft touches of the slow buttons quickly brings the unit into tune. After a while it becaomes almost automatic.

As far as contacts, I can usually work almost anything I can hear within a radius of about 2,000 - 3,000 kms on 20 metres. The antenna is quite quiet, but in fairness, my QTH is not noisy anyway. Obviously this antenna is not going to put down a signal comparable to a multi-element beam on a tower, but considering its diminutive dimensions I am quite surprised at how well it performs.

In summary, on the plus side it certainly works, and for those requiring a compact antenna, this might well be the answer. On the negative side, its construction, fit and finish leaves something to be desired especially considering its price. On an operational negative side, this is not an antenna that will permit rapid frequency changes, and demands a certain additional consideration from its user to carefully tune it. Because it is a very high 'Q' tuned circuit there will be very large RF voltages present on the tuning capacitor, do not exceed the manufacturer's power ratings otherwise a RF arc is likely with severe damage to both the antenna, as well as possibly the transmitter as a result of the violent mismatch that would result.

MW0CVW Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2010 13:54 Send this review to a friend
Very Good  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
My first review on the loop commented on the poor construction but my comments have now changed.

I finally gave the Loop a second chance and re-ordered a second unit.

I installed the loop at 5 meters above ground on a Yaesu GR250 rotator via 20 meters of Westflex 103 coax cable.

The loop tuned up fine on all bands from 10mhz to 30Mhz with now problems at all.

Contacts into south America,Europe,with no more than 50Watts on SSB and Psk31.

One little problem I have suffered from is Bugs and insects getting into the loop via the holes in the plastic ABS cover.

The problem showed when running more than 50Watts of rf the VSWR would be very unstable.

I discussed this problem with MFJ who advised me to seal the gaps with a Window Silicon sealent.

I must admit the loop works well for anyone with antenna restrictions or a small back garden like me.

WB0FDJ Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2010 17:06 Send this review to a friend
Better than you'd think!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this antenna over two years now, having acquired it with the plan (still not entirely abandoned) to put it outside on a mast. Since being purchased it sits in a second story unused room. Had to move it around a bit to find the "sweet spot" where the SWR will be acceptable. There it is: an indoor antenna that, to look at it, shouldn't do much. My subjective experience is that it is about as effective as a well made dipole. I know thats not "scientific" but it give you some idea of what to expect.

My on the air experience with this has been amazing. I had it working a few minutes after it came out of the box. Over the years made a lot of QRP contacts on it on all bands. Once I was using the wattmeter to look at the output on my newly built Small Wonder 20 meter QRP rig (2 watts) & worked both coasts with good reports in a couple of minutes. Now its my 30 meter ant for psk31 which I am listening to while writing this review.

I see this as a specialty antenna. Effective over a wide range of frequencies, one coax, easy to stash away if you need it indoors. If I ever lived in an apartment with a balcony, this would be IT. A good product, has given me no difficulty and allowed me to make contacts when I didnt have other antennas. Still using it.
M0SUF Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2010 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Pleasantly Suprised  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got my loop from Waters and Stanton in the UK. The loop antenna is going to be used for portable work mounted on a tripod at 6 feet vertically polarised.
I initially set up in the garden - on a tripod at 6 foot to test and familiarise. Noticed that the tuning was very sharp - but I was suprised when tuned how strong the signals were on 20m. On my FT857 many were S9+ from across Europe. My first QSO on the loop was with EW1MM (Belarus) on 80 Watts and he received me 59+ through a mini pileup and we had a pleaant and easy QSO. Not bad for a 3 foot diameter loop mounted at 6 foot in the garden.
Very pleased... looking forward to the DX out on the field or beach.
HB9DUQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2010 13:54 Send this review to a friend
Impressed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got mine used in good conditions. Actually I had not much expectations, since I had to mount it under the roof of my house, with lots of man made noise and a nearby railroad. I have used a inhouse FD4 zigzag mounted so far, with fairly good results (abt. 155 DXCC the past 4 yrs, mostly in Digimodes).

The reception of the loop is amazingly well, compared to the FD4. Many times the loop signals are up to 8 S units better than with the dipole. Recently a ZL station was heard on SSB with S5 on the loop. With the dipole I couldn't hear anything else but noise. Basically I can say, EU stations are much stronger in about 90%. DX are always at least equally. Many times they can be heard on the loop but not on the dipole.

Certain local QRM from my house, such as PC's, ADSL router and other electronic devices or the railroad, are picked up (much) higher on the loop. If I turn it, one QRM goes, another comes. Hi. However, readability of incoming stations is still better, even with ATT on.

On the TX side the loop seems to be even more successful. With WSPR I could do lots of comparisons with both of my antennas. The loop was mostly remarkable better. My actual Distance record with the loop and 100mW is 8600km. Wait, I have another one: With 10mW !! my signal was decoded (and spotted)in Vermont/USA. Distance over 6000km. So I think this says everything. I'm just impressed by this antenna. If you are in a bad antenna situation like me and not running up and down all the different bands constantly, this antenna could be a good decision for you too. Now I look for another one, that goes down to 40m
2E1RDX Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2009 04:46 Send this review to a friend
Just love it  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Hi Guys my antenna is actually the MFJ-1782 not the 1786
here are my findings on the MFJ-1782 Mag loop 30m to 10m
I use it now as my main station antenna it's mouted at about 25ft on a pole and is in the Horizontal position
First thing is how quite it is compared to other antenna's I have tried very little noise that is evident on the Cushcraft MA5B is there on the loop I have switched between the 2 many times and the loop without doubt has better reception !!! sometimes a little down on signal stregth but always up on readability
The reason for this may well be my noisy location and you would have different results in a quite location I also found that a ZL station that was readable on the loop was not audiuable on the MA5B beaming either short or long path ??? now this amazed me as I expected the opposite
Best DX worked has been VK7XX, 5K5T/3, ZD7FT, 5N0OCH, ZS2I, EK6TA, FG5LA, FM5AA, YV4BCD, JA4DND, A61AS, UK8FBE, plus lots of S.America, USA, and Asiatic Russia, on 20m JA7QGT, CO8LY, EY7AD, CE4WJK, UA0BA, again USA, S.America and asiatic russia as well on 17m then onto 30m digi EK1KE, UN9M, FM5AA, YV4BCD, lots of S.America, Asitic Russia and USA agn on this band
So as you can see not to shabby with such a tiny antenna I have had plenty of contacts on 10/12/15m also but not long DX due to working when these bands are open at the moment so anyone who is limited for space or who has interference problems either received or TX this could well be the solution I have had a problem for a long time with my TX breaking through on the neighbours computer this is now cured by using the Mag loop ???
I am so pleased with this antenna that I have taken down the Cushcraft MA5B and sold it so all in all I am delighted with the Mag loop and would say whilst thay are not cheap they offer a great alternative to qrt for many ops
the wife is happy the council is happy my neighbours are happy and even I am happy
rgds Ian 2E1RDX
P.S in comparison tests the loop was 1 S point down on the MA5B on TX as a worst case and often equal but on receive many times I could hear people on the loop that were in the noise on the MA5B
AA8GK Rating: 4/5 Jun 17, 2009 07:31 Send this review to a friend
Update  Time owned: more than 12 months
I worked the Virgin Islands last night (QRP CW) on 30 meters from my home QTH here in southeast Michigan. The MJF-1786 is vertically mounted on a stand inside my second story apartment. Okay, I wasn't blasting the KP2's speakers, but my signal DID make it!

One of my greatest fears is RFI'ing / TVI'ing my neighbors. Even though the antenna is 4 feet away from my computer and 10 feet away from a smoke detector, I've had absolutely no problems. Of course, almost everyone has cable / satellite tv, so that helps. The antenna's also quite directional. The way I have it mounted allows for turning the antenna as needed.

With very little exception, I can tune the 1786 just by sound. More often than not I'm spot on, able to hunt and pounce on stations calling CQ. In general, I am very happy with this antenna and consider it an incredible alternative to going QRT because of where you live. What downsides there are with using a magnetic loop antenna really are minimal once you get used to using it.

Much has been said about the 'cheap' plastic case. I'm really not sure what MFJ could have done differently, though. I was surprised, however, a week ago when I took it apart for maintenance: wasps had started a few colonies inside it last summer when I left the antenna on the balcony! Fortunately, they were long gone before I opened it up! That would not have gone well at all if they were still 'home'! Since the antenna is inside now, I won't have to worry about that. If this antenna is used outside, I would definitely advise an annual fall / winter maintenance schedule to open it up and check for such activity.

I really couldn't be happier with this antenna. I'm sure I'll be even happier with it once we get more solar activity. If someone asked me if they should buy an MFJ-1786, I'd answer in one word: "Absolutely". It is a great apartment / condo antenn.
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