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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-986 Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-986
MFJ-986 Reviews: 77 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $330
Description: Covers 1.8-30 MHz
Product is in production.
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W5VK Rating: 4/5 Jan 24, 2011 10:32 Send this review to a friend
OK FOR ME  Time owned: more than 12 months
I read the comments...... bought a used one anyway. The ham I bought it from said it worked OK. I did clean inductor roller and contacts on antenna switch, put lubricant on switch points.. just maintenance. It's always worked fine and tunes quickly. I ran around 500 watts thru it. Most of the problems I've had w/ MFJ tuners (I've used many different models) I caused by not following directions (usually dumping RF into circuit before tuning at low pwr).
K0PD Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2010 11:01 Send this review to a friend
Works Good for me!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this tuner new from a friend i've bought from before Albert Mercado N3YV who i knew from a previous buy could be trusted. I have a early model Pal Star 1500AT from when they first started up and it work's great but have always wanted to try out the MFJ986 tuner.Don't expect a technical opinion from me but i will give you my experience with equipment and this is no different.
To sum it up as far as advertised mine definitely lives up to MFJ's claims.It tunes fast and works as good as my Pal star . Here are some things i've noticed. First off the counter is not centered as the numbers are usually slightly elevated.Every thing moves very stiff but after all it is new and do seem to be getting easier to move with use. It could stand to have the front leg's taller as the roller inducter is set to close to the base of the tuner so for easier access i've elevated the front of the tuner.Now these things mentioned are not as important as whether the Tuner performs as advertised, and like i stated earlier it definitely does that. So from my experience i would certainly suggest if your seeking a tuner that is easy to use and works great buy it.And yes mine is the newest model...
PA7KK Rating: 1/5 Oct 21, 2010 10:53 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing  Time owned: more than 12 months
With the MFJ-986 I could not tune to zero on 20 meters. I assume HF went to places inside my house where it should not be as my central heating, which has a CPU, crashed every time I was on the air. I had to reset the CPU time and again.

MFJ (More Frustrating Junk) delivers poor quality as my friend also cannot tune to zero with the same model. He also complains about the paint that is falling of the tuner. You cannot simply paint aluminum like steel. They ought to know that.

The inductor coil it seems has a silver coating. Silver not like gold, corrodes. After a while the small roller on the coil does not make contact anymore on some places, as the corrosion layer insulates. But it can be cleaned. I did it with contact spray and an old towel. You can expect strange meter readouts after a while when you don't clean the inductor. I had the old inductor coil.

The soldering is bad, not done properly.

Sometimes the meter fluctuates. At first I thought my antenna caused this, but a SWR meter of Daiwa showed no fluctuations. To me it was clear, the MFJ-986 was fooling me.

I wished they had used regular bolts and nuts to fasten.

The power readout was not correct. I think the model left the plant without calibrating.

Instead I bought a Palstar AT2K and went from hell to heaven. What a relief to experience the quality, design and finish of this product.

K8TAH Rating: 2/5 Oct 7, 2010 10:17 Send this review to a friend
Not much tuning range  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased one of these on eBay and hooked it up to my G5RV antenna. I have loaded this antenna with my MFJ-949E for many years with no problem. When I tried the MFJ-986, I could match fine on 10, 12,15,and 17 meter bands. The roller inductor was at the end limit and could not go any lower in frequency that 18 Mhz without running out of inductance.
The quality of construction was fine, but I guess I need a regular two capacitor tuner on this antenna. Sold it to a chap in VK land who is happy with it.
W6AG Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2010 13:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Tuner byr Beware!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This tuner worked flawlessly for me for months; but then I decided to go for a Dentron to feed a new open line antenna. Anyway I sold it on Ebay to some guy named: 'fasteddie.'
That name should have scared me off, but he won the auction, and paid, so I sent him the Perfect tuner. His first day he fed a KW amp into it and forgot to hook on some sort of load, so the selector switch was fried, and maybe other parts as well.
He then had the nerve to claim it was defective when he got it, and Ebay forced me to refund his money and he sent it back. I have a picture of the (removed) switch, and I wish I could upload it here; but I will put it on my website here:
WV6Z Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2010 08:09 Send this review to a friend
FINALLY I have found one that's a gem!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have managed to sweet talk a friend into selling me an 'old style' 986 that is from the estate of Harold - K4OZ.

After seeing many hours of service under right at legal limit operations by fellow reviewer here (KG4ZMC, Dale, who is now K4RXI), I knew that as soon as Harold's would be offered for sale by his dear friend Rod - W4WOZ, I would have quickly jump on it.

The former K4OZ 986 is as it was when he first opened the box and took it out to put it in service many years ago. Not a scratch, not a bump and nothing but pure pristine cleanliness under the covers. The only thing I had to do to this tuner was replace the dead meter lamp with an LED and put it in line.

My results were precisely as expected and that is flawless, smooth operations and quick tuning.

As has been said here and elsewhere countless times, if you can find an older model that has not been abused, buy it, if it's a newer model, well, you pretty much get what you pay for.

Operations on all bands coupled to my 110v mains driven Heathkit SB-200 is a walk in the park. I must also agree though that particularly with regard to operations on 10m, where the tuner is really stretched out to it's limits quite literally, I would very likely not pump 1.5kw into this big black box of magic, but at about 600w+, this tuner is capable of some long term and long winded contest operations.

I take all reviews that are initial opinions of brand new stuff straight out of the box with a grain of salt, but after seeing Dale's tuner and Harold's do their designed task for many years, I know this gem will not let me down.

Finally, a remark on 'the cost of quality'..... I ask myself not less than once a day why a manufacturer would ever skimp on their costs to try to effect their bottom line. Unfortunately, this model is a prime example of 'older is better' to the point where I would have to recommend that if you cannot find an older model in fine condition, that you need to avoid the 'newer' model like the plague.
KB4MB Rating: 4/5 May 1, 2010 05:08 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Tuner  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
It isn't a Palstar, but for my needs (and for most people), it does a fantastic job. I use an 80m horizontal loop here, and for most of my tuning, I don't even need to touch the capacitor, just the inductor! This means I can tune in less than 2 seconds! I prefer the beefy parts of this big boy, and am glad I decided to buy this tuner over an LGD or something like that.

Balun is pretty good, and construction is pretty good as well. I only use 100 watts into it, so my one complaint is that the SWR meter can't read very low power, so when I tune up with 10 watts, I need an additional SWR meter so I can tune properly - if there was another setting for QRP in addition to the 200/2000 watt scale, it would be perfect.

One thing to note though, there is a gadget on the roller inductor that shunts part of it to ground - though nice in theory, it made tuning on 80 meters very difficult and I would get radical results when I was near it. Just took it out, and no issues since.
KY6M Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2010 10:58 Send this review to a friend
Works Flawlessly  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just bought a used MFJ-986. I am using it to fine tune my homebrew multi-band dipole. It tunes fast and is very broadbanded. If you write down your settings for different bands you will be set. It's nice that it only has 2 knobs to tune. The previous owner was pumping 600 watts through it into a G5RV with no problem also.

What more can I say?
W7MHZ Rating: 5/5 Jan 18, 2010 01:14 Send this review to a friend
Great Tuner w EASY  Time owned: more than 12 months
Works very well. EASY to tune. BEST at matching almost anything for an antenna. Keep the Coil/roller/clean and lubed with liquid graphite and don't change tuning at high power levels to avoid arcing & damage. I have had this tuner for 10 years and never had a problem. Handles my SB-221 just fine.
SV1EEX Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2010 05:44 Send this review to a friend
Works ufb for me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently obtained this tunner. Previously I have seen it during tests working continuous with abt 1 KW input on a dummy load at the 160m band without arcs, smells, discontinuities of service or anything.
Even though mine was dropped down due to accidental use outwards, it still works like a charm. No damages on knobs, rollers or anything. I operate it with less than 300W and I have never noticed a thing.Tunes without hesitation, my long wire and my inv v dipole. I am sorry to see that ppl have had problems with it because mine and my friend's tuners operate without a single problem.It seems to me that mfj could have a better quality test control before letting a unit out but on the other hand I suggest that you test the unit at least at the obvious points before you buy it - even at a store.
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