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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Watkins Johnson 8718A/MFP Help

Reviews Summary for Watkins Johnson 8718A/MFP
Watkins Johnson 8718A/MFP Reviews: 3 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $1000+
Description: Multiprocessor version of the venerable WJ8718A
Product is not in production.
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N1KPR Rating: 5/5 Jul 15, 2011 09:52 Send this review to a friend
Hard to beat  Time owned: more than 12 months
Although the title description is incorrect, the MFP (Microprocessor Front Panel) version of the 8716 and 8718 is near impossible to beat. Since the Cold War days when I got to play with Uncle Sam's finest and newest toys, to the present, I'd have to rate the "MFP" right up there near (very near) the top. My consideration of that statement is based on practicallity, rather than idealism: Availability, Serviceability, and street price.
Of the many W-J radios I own, I don't think I ever paid more than 3 to 8 cents (US) on the dollar (based on the tax payers' original cost). The radios are very service friendly, parts substitution isn't usually a problem and MTBF seems to exceed whatever the Government longevity requirement was.
Performance is so "right up there" that to nit-pick it against a Racal or Harris would be almost silly (provided they are working properly ate aligned correctly). The noise floor, dynamic range, and recovered audio are superb. The filter skirt shape and ultimate rejection may be subject to some purists' comments who compare performance to SDR/DSP black boxes, but there are other qualifying issues that surely can mitigate those claims ... unless, of course, all you care about are the various digital modes.
The MFP is rugged, the front panel is an ergonomic delight and if mounted in the right cabinet, may even pass the "spouse/family room" test. They are adaptable for Ham or SWL use, and really make a difference when used in a Ham station with a T/R relay. My MFP radios have a permanant home.
W4EWJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2005 20:47 Send this review to a friend
excellent rf performance  Time owned: months
Trying to be objective about the review...but
having owned Collins, Racal and used many other
high end rcvrs...the 87xx series is (considering
3 criteria) in my opinion the best ... the
3 criteria are:

1. RF performance
2. ease of repair/maintainability
3. build quality

The 8718A/MFP is a dream to use...scan, memories, keypad entry, BITE, and with
RS232 option PC controlable. The RF performance
is equal to the best modern commercial rcvrs with
the exception of effective DSP and SAM if you
listen to AM...but in all fairness the AM fidelity of the 8718 is pretty damned good. At
< .4microvolt at 16db the factory spec sensitivity is supurb. The MFP option is a little
rare and considered very desireable by those of
us who like WJ rcvrs...

Like all WJ products this was a surveillance/intercept rcvr and the build quality
exceeds most other rcvrs with the possible exception of R & S and the pre Racal 1772 series.
The mere ease of repair (if you're lucky enough
to own extender cards) is outstanding...although
synthesizer pblms, fortunately rare can be trying
but thats true of all other modern rcvrs as well.

The next generation of the 87xx series is the
8711 and the 8712 which is a PC radio but does
come with an optional front panel.

See my review of the 8709 half rack version of the 8718A

DAROBIN Rating: 5/5 Jul 16, 2004 16:34 Send this review to a friend
Powerhouse Oldie  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Those familiar with the WJ8718 series of receivers are certainly familiar with the MFP version. This stands for Multiprocessor Front Panel, which essential means you have a radio that, although many years older than the latest wonder sets by Ten Tec and JRC, can probably give them a good run for the money.

The MFP is a multimode wonder, with FM, USB, LSB, AM, ISB, and two levels of CW reception (V for variable and F for fine). AGC options are Manualo, Slow and Fast, with five selectivity buttons below (sorry no DSP). There are also 100 memories with Recall and Store buttons next to a double LED digit bank at the bottom.

The keyboards on the 8718 MFP and 8718A differ. I have a 8718 formerly in service with the FAA, and its buttons are demonstrably different, but almost preferable to the changed design in the A version, which are kind of "spongy"

At the top above the main WJ tuning knob, which is famous for its heft, you have a separate three digit LED display for CW fine tuning, next to the main LED display. My 8718A has 1 hz readout option installed. To the right of the knob, the tuning rate buttons, which on the non MFP 8718 versions were large mechanical buttons with small red colored inserts that show in the button.

If you're looking for a receiver built like a tank, that cost when it was new in the multi-kilobuck range (I think the WJ price sheets are still out there on the web) this is the one for you.

MFP versions are probably the rarest of the WJ HF receivers right now, but they have varied widely in price. Usually they will go for 1200 - 2000, but recently one went for $999, which says more about the strangeness of ebay than anything else.

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