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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | MFJ-1788 Super Hi-Q Loop Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-1788 Super Hi-Q Loop
MFJ-1788 Super Hi-Q Loop Reviews: 45 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $429.95
Description: High Efficiency 7-21.5 MHz Continuous Coverage Magnetic Loop
Product is in production.
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VE3OOM Rating: 4/5 Oct 17, 2014 10:04 Send this review to a friend
Not bad-could be better  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The MFJ-1788 was purchased on 17 Mar 2014 and after using it since then, I found mostly pros and very little cons with this antenna.
As a stealth antenna itís great for apartment dwellers like myself.
I have tried both horizontal and now vertical and because of high powered lines in my area, I find the vertical works best especially with an added rotator.
Now the Cons:
At one time I could not tune it since the clamp inside the loop that stops the capacitor had come loose preventing the capacitor stopping at the precise location.
On the horizontal, I had to use several tie wraps to prevent the clamp from giving way.
Now I find the screws that are holding the loop housing is stripping away. That was quickly remedied by adding silicone.

For the price of the unit, all-in-all MFJ could do a better job of quality control or lower the price.
VE6EFR Rating: 5/5 Aug 21, 2014 19:01 Send this review to a friend
Update to my previous review  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wanted to update my original review, copied below.

After using this antenna for a while, I am still very impressed. As of this writing (August 20, 2014) I have confirmed 39 countries and 41 states on Logbook Of The World using this antenna and 100 watts. This antenna has worked flawlessly and I have not had any mechanical issues or otherwise.

After seeing how this antenna performs, a friend of mine that is working toward getting his license has also purchased this antenna for use at his house. Being in an antenna restricted area, we installed the MFJ-1788 in the rafters of his garage. His antenna also works like a charm. It is relatively quiet and we are able to work DX stations with little difficulty. If we can hear them, we can work them.

Once you have the antenna installed, tuning does take a little practice to get used to. But over all you can't go wrong with this antenna in a limited space environment.

73 - Jeff VE6EFR

Original Review:

Living in a 16th floor apartment I thought that HF was beyond my grasp. That is when a friend let me borrow his MFJ1786. After using it for a few weeks I was hooked.

I decided to purchase the MFJ1788 because I wanted an antenna that I could use 24/7 instead of being confined to the higher daytime HF bands or running CW on 30 meters.

This antenna does not disappoint. SWR is 1:1 on all bands even though I have a lot of metal nearby such as the balcony rail, rebar in the concrete, etc. So far I have worked 29 countries and counting. Granted, having it mounted on a balcony 160 feet above ground doesn't hurt. I am able to get very similar signal reports as several nearby friends running a G5RV or a full size dipole. If you would like to see a picture of this antenna and how it is mounted look me up on QRZ.

As stated before tuning is a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it it's a snap. This antenna is a great investment and one I would not hesitate to recommend.
N6MV Rating: 2/5 May 26, 2014 17:50 Send this review to a friend
Operating with an MFJ 1788 and MFJ 1786 Loop   Time owned: more than 12 months
Have used both a MFJ 1788, that covers 40-15 meters, and an MFJ 1786 that covers 20-10 meters. Both loops are 3 ft in diameter, and whereas the MFJ 1788 works great from 20 to 15 meters, and the MFJ 1786 works great from 20 to 10 meters, the MFJ 1788 is a "wet noodle" on 40 meters -simply because the loop -at 3 ft diameter - is way too small on 40 meters, with a radiation efficiency of less than 10% ! The ARRL also found this out when it reviewed the MFJ 1788 in the March 1998 issue of QST,where the ARRL stated: "On 40 meters the MFJ 1788 just did not cut the mustard with other antennas". In sum,
definitely recommend purchasing an MFJ 1786 which works great - only 3 ft off the ground -on 20 to 10 meters, but that's not the case with the MFJ 1788 on 40 meters, for the diameter of the loop needs to be 5 to 6 ft in diameter - and at 3 ft at 40 meters, it is a wet noodle, that simply doesn't cut the mustard.

73's Jim (N6MV)
M3UHQ Rating: 4/5 Apr 22, 2014 16:24 Send this review to a friend
Ive only had it a few days.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had this antenna a few days now, and whilst it has got its QC issues it does a mighty fine job, I heard Hawaii on the loop using it indoors, Ive not yet had any real DX, but certainly can hear other stations, its pricy but if like me you have antenna problems outside or you have a noisey neighborhood because of QRM/N. Get it, you wotn regret it. 73

I will write some more when Ive used it more and have had some confirmed qsl's/
VA3TKO Rating: 4/5 Mar 18, 2014 08:56 Send this review to a friend
Initial findings of my MFJ1788  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
MFJ 1788
Recently purchased the a new MFJ 1788. When the box arrived from the supplier, I noticed one side of the box had been opened and re- taped with clear tape.
I first mounted the antenna on a 8 FT galvanized pole away from any objects in the back yard. I carefully read and followed all the instructions from the operating manual provided. Yes....I had to widen the holes on the vertical support brackets so the hardware would fit properly. That took 10 minutes with a cordless drill.
When I first powered up the control box, I could not get my " FAST" DOWN LED on the right to illuminate. First thoughts were of the quality control at MFJ. AFTER TRYING OVER AND OVER, and failing to get the antenna tuned on 20 meters I decided to take a look inside the plastic covers of the loop itself. I had read some blogs suggesting the checking of solder joints if the antenna was not working. So off the covers came. Within a few minutes I noticed one side of the internal loop wire had a cold solder joint. The end of the internal loop could be moved in and out of the solder joint freely. I resoldered the joint, remounted the antenna and presto.....all LED's were now working. I managed to somewhat tune some of the 20 M band but the SWR at best was 2:1. I had read in another blog that if your internal loop was turned out on one side compared to your 36" loop you may improve your SWR.. I tried it and WAALA," got an SWR OF 1:1 at a full 100 watts. Now the test...( I live in Florida) I heard a station about an S9 on 20 meters. I retuned to that frequency and attempted contact. Immediately I get as response back ...a clear 59 signal to Richmond Virginia. Happy I had made a contact I wondered what the antenna would do closer to the ground. I placed the antenna on the top of a plastic garbage can ( approx 24" in height) in the vertical position from ground. I went back to the radio found another station on 20 meters, retuned, gave out my call and again got a 59 response. He also was located in Virginia. When I told the contact about my antenna and that it was sitting on top of a plastic garbage can he laughed and said I can't believe it. ....that I was a little stronger than another Florida station in FT Lauderdale that was running a beam pointed at him. He was quite excited and started talking to others in his group asking if the could copy me as well.
Pretty cool. In closing despite the few hiccups...I am glad I purchased the antenna.
I just wish MFJ would place some emphasis on Quality Control. Oh yes one other thing.
I called the MFJ Technical Support number listed on the instruction manual for the 1788....A lady answered and told me that I had the wrong number and that MFJ has a new number and has for some time.
She seemed a little irritated.
Anyway, I hope this review helps. 73. VA3TKO
W9JY Rating: 5/5 Nov 19, 2013 10:22 Send this review to a friend
Great for Small Spaces   Time owned: more than 12 months
I have both the 1786 and the 1788 from MFJ. They are the same design but they cover different bands. I have them each mounted on MFJ 1918 antenna stands.

I live in a townhouse in the city. I've tried lots of compromise antennas. I've tried verticals. I've tried indoor random wires with tuners. I've found that nothing beats the magnetic loop in terms of performance and convenience for small spaces.

The loops are about 3 feet in diameter. They don't require any radial wires like a vertical antenna does. They are easy to set up and put away when not in use. The tuning is semi-automatic using a control box. I found the tuning procedure easy to master. The tuning box sends the control signal over the same coax as the rf signal. This eliminates the need for a separate control cable. The control box requires power. It comes with a wall wart power supply. It also has an internal battery holder for AA batteries. I use the wall wart power supply when I'm operating from inside. When I'm outside I use AA batteries in the control box.

I've made contacts using PSK31 on HF all over the country as well as internationally with these antennas.

The only drawback to the design is narrow bandwidth. If you move up and down the band you will have to retune again. Retuning is pretty easy, though, so for me it is not a deal breaker. It is a small compromise to make considering the convenience and performance of the antenna.
AD0BL Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2013 09:10 Send this review to a friend
Works great - small learning curve.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First off - my antenna and control box was received in perfect condition. I didn't need to do any "fixes" to anything. My antenna must not have been made on a Monday.

When I first received the antenna, I set the antenna on the floor, connected the coax, and went through the tuning instructions. I couldn't get the control box to "beep" (indicating a tune). After reviewing the troubleshooting guide, I realized that the antenna must be mounted correctly for it to tune (duh). I mounted the antenna vertically on a 4 foot mast and stand in the house. I was able to tune the antenna 1:1 or very close on all bands by transmitting a CW tone at 5 watts. I set the antenna on the stand on my deck outside about 10 feet from the house at about 8 feet. I started working PSK using 45 watts. I worked several European stations on 20m. I could see on WWW.PSKREPORTER.INFO that my signal was being received well into eastern Europe by 10 stations or so. This is much more potent than my 40' end fed wire at 35 feet.

Here's what I learned:

1. Mount the antenna correctly and it will tune.

2. The antenna takes a little bit of practice to tune. You can tune the antenna 1:1 or very close using low power and a CW tone.

3. The antenna puts out a potent signal.

I plan on mounting the antenna on a chimney. I have a place that is both high up and unobtrusive.

I'm delighted that I now have such a capable antenna!

W5XE Rating: 5/5 Jul 29, 2013 10:19 Send this review to a friend
excellent  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased the 1788 in March and installed it
on a fence at the 6 foot level. Worked very well
even at my normal qrp level of less than 5 watts.
I use it mostly on 30 and 20 where it does an
outstanding job. Wanting to see how well the
performance was at a higher level, I moved it to
25 ft over the top of my mobile home. I saw no
difference in performance or signal levels, so
relocated the antenna to the fence location.
I hear many dx stations when the bands are open
and it hears as well as my vertical and dxcc
dipole. Well satisfied.
G6YEK Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2013 22:18 Send this review to a friend
GREAT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Owned now for only 3 days,FANTASTIC only 6 feet above the ground.
VE3MCA Rating: 5/5 Jan 15, 2013 11:39 Send this review to a friend
Great low profile antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This past weekend (Jan 12/13, 2013) I installed the MFJ-1788 outside in my yard about 7 feet above ground on a metal pole. The antenna is setup vertically with the loop ends in a NE/SW direction. The antenna is about 15 feet away from the main house and 8 feet from the carport (brick, vinyl siding with some metal trim). Coax cable run is about 50 feet of RG-213. During the installation, the only issue that came up was when I was attaching the brackets to the base of the antenna. The taps were slightly off and it took some time and patience to get the bracket to screw in flush and straight. Once that was done, the rest of the install and setup was a breeze. Ensure you read the instruction manual, especially when it comes time to tune the antenna. It takes some practice and patience to get the tuning down. First few attempts to tune, I was wondering why is it taking so long to tune and I would stop short of a proper tune thinking there was something wrong with the antenna or the location of the antenna. It is normal to wait 30 seconds or longer to see the SWR needle begin to drop (guess I was used to automatic tuners that only take a few seconds to tune). I have also posted a video on youtube on the tuning procedure to help others out. Once I got the antenna to tune, I was on the air making PSK31 DX contacts in no time. Some of the contact made within the first day..from my QTH in London, Ontario, Canada -- Czech Republic (OK1EP); Austria (OE9PCJ); Estonia (ES3RM); Sweden (SA7BWV); Dominican Republic (HI8CAR); Slovenia (S52UF) and many local North American contacts. Signal reports were mostly 599 to lowest 469. Running between 30 to 80 watts using Kenwood TS-480HX. Overall, I am pleased with the performance of the antenna. The workmanship on the head unit is fine, everything works and cabinet is square and set well. Again, the only issue was when attaching the brackets/screws to the pre-drilled holes which were slightly off making it a chore to set the bracket straight. Considering the size of the antenna, the performance is awesome and a relief for me as I am in an antenna restricted neighbourhood. I have tried the MFJ apartment antenna with the base coil and clips, and Buddipole antenna (vertical config.) with only satisfactory results. Sure, the price of the MFJ-1788 is on the high end, but that includes a tuner which provides easy calibration to an antenna that is a fraction of the size of many other HF antennas and it gets out with great signal reports.
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