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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-986 Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-986
MFJ-986 Reviews: 74 Average rating: 3.6/5 MSRP: $330
Description: Covers 1.8-30 MHz
Product is in production.
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N5LAZ Rating: 1/5 Jan 23, 2018 11:08 Send this review to a friend
Update to Prior Review  Time owned: more than 12 months
Since the review I completed on this product some time ago (it's here in Eham Reviews), my MFJ-986 has had a major arc-over/meltdown (behind my modest Heathkit SB-200) that has hopelessly carbon tracked the roller inductor's insufficient dielectric coil-form material (it ain't ceramic). No amount of cleaning can avoid re-arcing in the same area. Okay, the inductor is easily replaced (and it's reasonably priced, but all told I'll have well over $400 in this tuner); however, the coil is back-ordered at MFJ for at least 4 weeks (their estimate). I broke down faster than than a cheaply built piece of ham equipment and ordered the tuner I should have purchased in the first place. My advice: Pay more up front. You'll probably spend that regardless.
W7MHZ Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2017 17:58 Send this review to a friend
Had old one now bought new  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I was and still am a big fan of the old MFJ-986 but recently had a gift of a new one from my Son.
It works equally well but I found out after initial disappointment... that the red button that turns on the lights must be pushed in to power the metering system... even if you just install the 9 volt battery and have no intention of using the lights. This info was not in the manual... I learned it after sending the tuner in for repair.
KC5UUS Rating: 1/5 Sep 3, 2016 23:09 Send this review to a friend
won't tune  Time owned: more than 12 months
had mine about 4 yrs. it incrementally over time started not tuning on 20 and 12 and 15 meters, kept on tuning on 40 so i stay on 40 now its quit tuning on 40 i dunno whats up I've had the cover off for a few days trying to figure it out,, shouldn't i be getting continuity through the blue plastic capped bundle of wires in the back? I'm not, maybe these little diodes or resistors or whatever they are are bad i dunno, but wow i sure thought it'd last longer than 4 years
W1XWX Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2016 16:43 Send this review to a friend
No issues after 4 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my MFJ 986 used at a good price back in 2012. Since then it has been used almost daily and has never failed to tune any of my antenna which include a 127 ft end fed long wire.

Lots of comments in the thread about "build quality" -- the real test of BUILD is if something works 100% for a long period of time. I also like the fact that it is a roller inductor type tuner with only 2 knobs to adjust. This makes for very fast tuning.

It will tune a short which it did once when the coax failed on my Mosley 33 up on the tower.
However the short was immediately noticed because the "normal" settings for that band suddenly became vastly different. Very satisfied with the tuner.
ND4MR Rating: 4/5 Mar 15, 2015 08:38 Send this review to a friend
years of dependability   Time owned: more than 12 months
This ATU handles a full KW without any problem and successfully "flattens" any load I've connected to it. For about 7 years it consistently tuned my ladder line fed 160 loop on all HF bands and (now that one of my tree supports has fallen over) it tunes my 180 foot long end-fed long wire on all HF bands as well.
The only reason I gave it a "4" instead of a "5" was a very disconcerting Quality Control problem. I bought this ATU brand new, and when first hooked up it would not tune anything. Taking the cover off the chassis I discovered an obvious problem right away: two internal wires that shouldn't have been touching each other were pressed together (and thus shorting all RF to ground). Separating these two wires solved the problem, and the '986 has worked flawlessly and dependably for many years ever since.
K4HYJ Rating: 4/5 Feb 18, 2013 14:50 Send this review to a friend
Its a trooper!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought this at an estate sale with no real history - only verification it was being used by the now SK up until he was no longer able to use his shack.

It is old enough to have the 1/8" power jack on the back - not the newer coaxial style.

Upon inspection, the belt that drives the counter for the inductor was rotten and had almost disintegrated in the bottom of the case - not really a complaint because of its age. Besides a little dust, everything else looked fine.

I hooked it up to a ic746pro and AL-811H. It tuned anything I had to throw at it - its SWR readings were identical to the SWR meter on the 746pro. My amp had been checked out earlier this year at a good shop - and it produces a solid 625 watts on 80, 40, and 20 meters. The watt meter in the MFJ unit registered just a hair over 600 watts. Close enough for tuning up and keeping an eye on things.

The peak function will grab the peak, but for just a split second and starts falling off so it may work, but I can't catch it! However, tuning up with a CW carrier - the peak/average is the same! On phone when tuning up I always back it off a bit to protect the amp anyway - I'm not using the tuner for lab measurements anyway - hi hi.

I gave it a 4 simply because of the quality of construction - it is built OK and works. There are other tuners in the same (new) price range that would have an edge with build quality.
WV9E Rating: 4/5 Feb 21, 2012 20:19 Send this review to a friend
Tunes anything  Time owned: more than 12 months
Tunes everything, but arcs easy on mismatched loads.
KC8Y Rating: 3/5 Jan 7, 2012 13:30 Send this review to a friend
new ones definitely not like old ones  Time owned: more than 12 months
I definitely agree with what AD4GB had said...I bought mine over 17-yrs ago, and had to only greese the inductor-tuning bearings twice. The person (now SK) who I purchased it new from, totally & fully checked it out even before he sent it; the unit had no loose connections/wires and just had to recalibrate meter...

As of about 6-months ago, because of my disability, bought bigger tuner with a crank-arm for tuning..

I'm selling my MFJ-986 (which still works perfect) to my ham-long time friend...
AD4GB Rating: 3/5 Jan 7, 2012 10:02 Send this review to a friend
New ones not as good as older ones  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is the second one I have owned. The first one I bought used at the Huntsville AL. Hamfest back in 1993 and I loved it! The roller ind. was smooth and stable, I used it for several years, I wish I had kept it. I sold all of my gear due to a divorce, so after a 8 year absence from ham radio I bought another one new in the box expecting it to be as good as the first one, WRONG!!! the roller ind. binds, it is unstable and the quality is poor. Wish I had my old one back! What happened MFJ??
DL1TTX Rating: 5/5 Jun 22, 2011 07:55 Send this review to a friend
That's it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Nothing to complain , easy to handle, matches any peace of wire,
even a titanex GP 160/10 on 160m ( twin com feed )
My noisy Automatic - Tuner is now for sale.
( not a MFJ )
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