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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-956 LW/MW/SW PRESELECTOR/TUNER Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-956 LW/MW/SW PRESELECTOR/TUNER
MFJ-956 LW/MW/SW PRESELECTOR/TUNER Reviews: 11 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $49
Description: Preselector for LW/MW/SW receiving. Reduces spurious responses in a receiver's front-end.
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KBDXW Rating: 4/5 Jan 18, 2004 11:36 Send this review to a friend
Best $50 ever spent for DX'ing hobby.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Without my MFJ 956 preselector, even my best radios would be almost worthless for dx'ing. I live within 7 blocks of a 5KW MW transmitter that is directional, in my direction, after sunset. Furthermore, I use a 175 foot random wire antenna.

With my two table top radios, and with the preselector between my antenna and the radios, there is not a single spurious signal on LW or MW, and very few between 1.7 and 5.0 MC. With my Sangean ATS-909/DX-398 and the preselector, there is only one spurious response on LW, and on almost all the MW frequencies careful adjustment of the preselector will eliminate the spurious signal. However, even with the preselector, the DX-398 has many spurious signals on SW-- too many for serious SW dx'ing. To do SW DX'ing with this radio, I would probably need a BCB filter like the one KIWA Electronics sells in addition to the preselector.

If you do not live near strong MW signals, you might find that the 956 doesn't do much to help your reception. When I bought mine, I had hoped that it would also increase weak signal strength. In a few situations, the 956 will give you a slightly stronger S meter reading in comparison with the BYPASS setting. But it is best to think of this little unit as a filter. If your random wire antenna is only 50 to 100 feet long, you would be more likely to experience a higher S meter reading on SW frequencies than if you have one greater than 100 feet in length.

Also, the design of the 956 makes it effective mostly under 2MC, according to the instruction manual. This has been my experience.

Lastly, there is another use for this little unit. Most portable receivers attenuate the MW sensivity from an outside antenna, so if you hook up your outside antenna directly to the radio, you don't get the full amount of signal transfer. You frequently get better results on MW by using inductive coupling (winding a coil of 100 or so turns, connecting the coil between the antenna and ground, and placing the coil near the ferrite bar of the radio). Unfortunately, when you do this, the poor quality circuitry of the radio results in the front-end being swamped and getting spurious signals all over the dial.

Here is how the 956 helps. Hook the outside antenna to the 956 and the coil to the 956. Adjust the position of the coil for maximum signal transfer to the radio, and adjust the preselector to peak the frequency you are tuned to.

The results with a portable set are amazing. With this method, my DX-398 nearly keeps up with my much more expensive table tops for pulling in weak MW signals, and in most cases the spurious responses can be eliminated by careful adjustment of the preselector.

The MFJ 956 is what you want if you care about LW or MW DX'ing, as well as SW. If you are interested in SW only, you might want to look at preselectors that work between 1.6 and 30MC only. If your conditions are even worse than mine, the PALSTAR MW550P, which I tested at the factory, will give you performance many times greater than the 956. However, it costs $275, and it's filtering action is only designed to help you while you are tuned to MW frequencies.

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