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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: 55 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $379.95
Description: High Efficiency 10-30 MHz Continuous Coverage Magnetic Loop
Product is in production.
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K3ZD Rating: 4/5 Apr 23, 2015 06:47 Send this review to a friend
Works but MFJ quality control is lacking  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This has turned out to be my antenna solution for my current living situation: living on a ground floor apartment.

I use a microphone stand and a few feet of PVC to support this rig. I stand it on the sidewalk outside of my front door. I can pretty much work anyone I can hear and get good signal reports, even though the antenna is only a couple of feet above the sidewalk. I'd say its comparable to dipoles about 20 feet up that I have used in the past at other locations.

However, I would not recommend this to anyone who is not handy with tools and fixing things. There were a couple of loose screws rolling around in the box when it arrived. One of them is supposed to be one of two screws holding a micro switch in place but the screw fell out - I think because a 4-40 nut was never attached. The other screws I was never able to identify.

Also, it would not tune to the low end of 30 meters. I observed that the tuning capacitor was about a 1/4 inch from being fully closed at the bottom of its rotation via the motor. I called MFJ and a technician there assured me this was normal and no problem.


There is a lever attached to the capacitor shaft that trips a micro switch at minimum and maximum capacitor values, stopping the motor. This was not adjusted correctly. It is held in position by a nut that I loosened. I moved the lever so the capacitor would fully close before the motor shut off. That fixed the problem.

Also, one of the set screws that attaches the motor shaft to the capacitor shaft was loose and had to be tightened.

I'm no engineer but you can see by my experience that new ham who has never built or fixed anything might find this antenna to be a frustrating experience, since many other hams seem to have had a similar experience with this antenna.

Before I purchased this from Gigaparts, I built a small loop antenna from plans on the internet. There are many good web sites with detailed plans. The one I built uses a coax capacitor instead of a butterfly or other type of expensive component. It only worked on one frequency and was ridiculously difficult to tune. But based on contacts I was able to make I was convinced that the small loop really works.

This proved to be valuable experience in learning how a loop works and getting the MFJ loop working.

Also, considering the plastic cover is not waterproof, I don't understand how this could be mounted outdoors and left there. There are RF chokes, small capacitors, micro switches and other components inside. I don't see how they would not get wet and eventually fail.

However, once I got it all fixed, the loop worked very well. I found the best way to tune it is to tune for maximum receiver noise first, then apply power and fine tune for minimum SWR.

Also, don't think you can set it on the ground and get it to tune. It will not tune if it is too close to the ground or metal objects.

In conclusion, these small loops really do work. They don't have to be mounted up in the air and are only about the size of a hula hoop. I can easily set it up, take and down and stow it in a closet in a few minutes.

It is the way to go for apartment dwellers. I suppose it would work, even indoors. But I live in a stucco building. Stucco is applied to a wire mesh which acts as an RF shield. So if you live in a stucco building like I do, forget about using any antenna indoors.

I hope my next apartment is on the top floor with an open balcony. I would think the loop would be very effective there.

VA2DV Rating: 5/5 Mar 30, 2015 11:32 Send this review to a friend
Nice solution  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this antenna with two goals in mind. Have a portable antenna that I could move around (We are planning to move in another location) and also have a high band antenna less suceptible to noise than a simple vertical. I must say that the MFJ-1786 meet those 2 requirements with flying colors. I was able to compare the performance with a multiband dipole 25' high. On the bands they share, once tuned, the loop give the dipole a run for it's money and it is better on long path (in vertical position). There is a learning curve associated with the sharp tuning but nothing really more difficult than loading an amp.
Many of my DX contacts just cannot believe I am using such a small antenna. The construction is first rate,
good weldings, controller working as expected...good packing. Overall I am very satisfied. I've just added a common mode choke on the coax line to avoid RF since the antenna is very close to the shack. So far, very happy with my purchase.
SP5DU Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2014 09:47 Send this review to a friend
Checked by 15 years, outstanding for large cities conditions.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am probably one of the oldest users and fans of this antenna produced for many years through this differently assessed but undeniably experienced American MFJ company. I live in the capital city centre and Iím using her for over 15 years. It is still the same piece of antenna, without any repairs. Never disappointed me! Perhaps in my case the MFJ quality control got 5/5 or I'm simply lucky. And for all this 15 years itís my basic DX-antenna! Certainly I can say much to her subject. Above all - enables me to establish DX-QSOís of best quality, practically with all most important DX-Peditions, at least often after the many hours' fight but Iím a very patient. One condition: to the DX-work the antenna must be installed in the horizontal position, then we are getting the maximum of his effectiveness: among others the low angle of the radiation and considerable suppressing the transmitting signal for nearby structures, what is very important in the high-housing .
To the short and medium range distances a small mast will be enough (1 m and more) and the antenna must be installed vertically (low SWR, certain profit on the direction of the radiation like at every dipole). But it isn't worthwhile doing it, or else we will lose valuable values of this specific antenna. In the big cities conditions it can be outstanding DX antenna! Similarly to me, don't be afraid to house her on the balcony (but not inside loggia, or else suppressing will be!), even if it will be rather small height, but always horizontally!
Am I pleased with this antenna? Yes, of course! Iím using QRP or LP up to 50 w and at present the antenna are installed horizontally on the balcony on 2 m/6,5 ft mast. In the current use practically I can (of course with changeable effort and at the great patience) to establish DX-contacts with very important stations and new-oneís for me. Living in the very dense capital city centre, DXCC Score (Dec 2014): CFM 329 Mixed, majority CW.
Here I am greeting all "sharkís" with 1 KW in the driver and 13 / 17-elements Yaguis. Give me the chance of establishing contact with the DX, not necessarily as the last last-minute attempt, please.

AD0AR Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2014 22:10 Send this review to a friend
Best antenna I used yet!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hello all! First off, I'll inform you of the negatives of this antenna- You will have to tune the antenna for every frequency change and have to tune it during long QSO's as any temperature fluctuation will also detune this HI-Q loop.
Now for the Positives:
After using this antenna along with the MFJ-1788 40M-15M Magloop for over 2 years, I have used them both vertically with a rotator AND horizontally.
I have settled on using them horizontally as noise on a band... well what noise? When compared to a screwdriver antenna on my car for band noise, these loops mounted above my metal roof have at least 3-5 db less noise and so much more selective in finding DX! From 30Mhz to 7 Mhz, using these two loops I have continuous and overlapping band coverage (great for redundancy!)
Yes, they are expensive and oddly shaped, but when there is a ice storm, I just say BRING IT ON! Each of these are about the size of a basketball hoop backboard so the surface area is very minimal and I have made QSO's in 40+ Mph gusts without even realizing it was windy outside, but just make sure your mount does not flex/sway much or you'll see some SWR fluctuations.
Using a Youkits FG-01 I was able to adjust the feedloops to null out their 8 foot proximity to my metal roof and the highest SWR I encounter is 1.4:1
I noticed that adding a common mode choke at the feedpoint of the antenna would slightly increase operational bandwidth while simultaneously lower the noise floor by reducing common mode noise ingress via the shield of the LMR400 coax I use to feed them.
Using this setup I attained my personal best QRPPP QSO with ON6SAT on October 15, 2013 on 15 Meters with 4327 miles using only 1.5 watts!
Amazing results!
For how small the antenna is, do not be fooled into thinking that it is a poor compromise. I am sure if not adjusted properly (adjusting the feedloop) this antenna would be another wet noodle. Get or borrow a HF antenna analyzer for your initial installation, it makes all the difference in the world!
I also noticed that when vertical I got the best antenna match when the feedloop looked like the flame of a candle, very narrow with the peak at the top. For horizontal mounting, mashing the feedloop so it looked like an egg on it's side gave me the best results and bandwidth.
Performance may vary as other installations are invariably different than mine.
I was going to go with a screwdriver antenna mounted on the house, but after reading how a magloop is ground independent, I thought I would give it a shot and that single shot was right on target!
Before mounting outdoors up high at some very hard place to reach, disassemble the antenna housing and verify all hardware is indeed tight and that the limit switches on the capacitor engage properly. Then silicone caulk around the antenna holes to keep any of those pesky bugs from making a home (once I had a short from box elder bugs -really smoky he he he) and keeping unwanted water out of it.
Using a 2mm drill bit, I drilled a drain hole in each corner of the housing (when mounted horizontally) to make sure any condensate would not pool and shorten the life of any components.
For something this small that gets me heard on 10M, 12M, 15M, 17M, 20M, and 30M, this thing ROCKS! For all that invest in this antenna, I wish you the best! Even during solar storms do I rarely see band conditions even top S-4. I hope to hear you out there, even when the solar storms are raging. 73 de AD0AR.
In God we trust, all others we monitor.
K5CPF Rating: 5/5 Oct 3, 2014 20:15 Send this review to a friend
Impressive!!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just had mine delivered today. The packaging provided the necessary protection to endure shipping.

Set-up was quick and easy. I temporarily mounted it vertically 2ft above ground on a camera tripod.

I connected it via 100' of RG-58 to a Small Wonders PSK-20. I was able to copy PSK31 stations as far away as Reunion Island (> 9,500 miles).

Transmitting less than 1 watt (into that 100' of coax to the antenna 2ft above ground), I was copied by stations as far as 2,300 miles away in Canada, according to the pskreporter website. My first QSO was to a ham in Georgia.

Needless to say... I AM IMPRESSED!!!
VE3GZB Rating: 2/5 Jul 6, 2014 20:41 Send this review to a friend
Quality control is MFJ's Achilles heel  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned MFJ products before, including the MFJ9420, an MFJ986 tuner and the MFJ936B. Both the 9420 and the 936B failed of their own accord (final output of the 9420 died and the current Xformer insulation on the 936B arced over during a first attempt at a QSO with a 3 foot diameter 1/4" copper tubing loop).

I decided to give them one more try after researching here on eHam about the 1786 loop antenna. So far reviews looked well.

I received mine through RadioWorld in Toronto a couple of months ago but due to personal responsibilities (I'm my wife's caregiver) I've only just unpacked it and set up up a couple of days ago, I kept it in the "ham shack" on the floor until I had time to set it up.

When I followed the instructions I found that it would tune UP but not tune DOWN. I removed the black plastic cover and found that the MFJ variable capacitor assembly bolts had loosened off, the plates of the capacitor were in physical contact with each other, preventing the motor from closing them in.

I tightened everything up and made sure the plates were all properly set with respect to each other, I ran it through it's paces and verified it would function on UP and DOWN tuning efforts before putting the cover back on.

I was then able to set it back up and QSO on it. Within 2 minutes I was able to QSO with a DD8 just mounted a few feet above the backyard deck.

So it seems that while MFJ has good ideas, their practical execution and quality control continues to leave very much to be desired. Buy from MFJ with care!
SM6YPE Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2013 06:12 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna for small spaces  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Hi I have now used this antenna almost an half of a year and i must say it exceeds my expectations. The antenna is mounted on my balcony. The sorroundings are not the best with concret walls and metal structures. However the antenna tunes up fine, can be a bit tricky at 12 and 10 meter the tuning point is very sharp on those bands so its easy to miss it. but on 30-15 its very easy to tune up. I always do a "cold tune" meaning that im listen to where the maximum noice point ocurres. After that i Fine tune with HF applied. I really recomend this antenna if you want to do HF but have no acsess to roof. Please also se my video for tips how to mount on a balcony.

73 de SM6YPE
DL3MGG Rating: 5/5 May 13, 2013 06:08 Send this review to a friend
Now 8 years of good working  Time owned: months
My loop is now 8 years old and it is still working like on the first day. The antenne is mounted at the rooftop with a rotary. I am also using an automatic matched longwire with 18 meter but in most of the contacts my partners could find no significant difference to my loop. Especially in the evening and
nighttime the loop can make a better job, because of lower noise from the nightbours TVs. Special modifications I did: I removed the matching Motor of mfj to a buehler motor with gear and about 2 turns p. min. Found it at ebay. The modification is very easy to do. The other mod: I closed the housing with a silicon glue, so it is better protected to rain, snow, weather. All in all Im very satisfied with this antenna, would not like to miss it.
WX4DM Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2013 17:37 Send this review to a friend
Works great in my attic  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently bought this antenna and hung in horizontally in my attic. This causes tx/rx to be omni-directional and helps prevent RFI to/from the house. Reception is fantastic - I regularly hear central Europe from North Alabama and have even heard Perth Australia. I've also been able to speak with multiple stations in Europe and reports are mostly 59. I ordered directly from MFJ and they were wonderful to deal with. I'd definitely recommend this antenna.
K8RBW Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2012 23:13 Send this review to a friend
Most Impressive  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There is a real tendency to complain about MFJ and their apparent lack of quality control. Indeed, I have found myself to be no exception to this proclivity. In most cases, however, I have found most of the things they manufacture to be adequate and the quality control acceptable. When they fall short, I have found them more than willing to honor their "no matter what guarantee" with no bickering over details. In some cases, their products are truly exceptional. The MFJ-1786 clearly falls into the latter catgegory. I have always struggled at my Wisconsin condo to put up adequate antennas that don't offend the tender psyche of the "architectural committee" for the condo association. My neighbors have graciously allowed me to toss end fed antennas over on the decks, but I have always felt like I was imposing. I have managed a stealth screwdriver antenna with capacity hat that I conceal in my patio table that performs adequately on 20 through 40 meters. Everything above 20 has been problematic, however. With improving propagation, I wanted something that worked well on the higher frequencies. After reading the reviews of the 1786, I took the plunge. I am very happy that I did as it has performed well beyond what I had expected. Mounted on a portable TV tripod on my deck at 30 feet, it is a stellar performer. Indeed, I have found that it probably works as well as a dipole at the same height. For one who spent many years tuning up boat anchors, I find the need to retune when changing frequencies to be be no real burden. Like the olden days, it just comes naturally and you give it little thought. When not in use, I simply bring it indoors and nobody seems in the least concerned. Well done MFJ! You deserve a pat on the back for a very nice product.

Vy 73 to all, de Dick K8RBW
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