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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | MFJ-986 Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-986
MFJ-986 Reviews: 74 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $330
Description: Covers 1.8-30 MHz
Product is in production.
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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.
KA6MLE 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.
KN4MC Rating: 5/5 Jan 6, 2010 15:39 Send this review to a friend
Works Great for me!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used mine for over a year now, and I have used it to tune a home made windom on 10 to 80m and a Van Gordon all bander (135' wire) from 10 to 160m.... I only run 600 watts (ALS 600) into it but I has worked fine for me! I have not had any problems!
K9DXL Rating: 5/5 Nov 11, 2009 20:25 Send this review to a friend
Solid and reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's a real shame when people who admit they have no experience with other tuners and say they don't know how to rate this product still go ahead and call it junk. Perhaps they have unit that was misused by a previous owner.
I've had my MFJ-986 for over 16 years now. I've used it with random length wires, multi-band dipoles and currently with a G5RV. I appreciate this tuner's ease of operation. I can return to the control settings for any band and get a perfect match with just a little tweak of the inductor. The front panel switch alows selection of two coax fed antennas with or without the tuner in line or an external dummy load. Very convenient. I haven't run more than 600 watts though this tuner, so I can't comment on how it handles higher power levels. Likewise, I have not used the balanced line output.
My MFJ-986 has given years of good service, and should continue to do so for a long time to come.
NB3K Rating: 2/5 Nov 11, 2009 09:01 Send this review to a friend
I think we can call if JUNK  Time owned: more than 12 months
OK I bought this antenna tuner back in 2006. It is the 80's or early 90's model from the looks of things. Within two years of owning, the roller inductor's barrings fell out while being cleaned. I replaced the roller inductor with the new air-core design. No problems since, but every now and again I need to re-glue the meter back into place.

I have never owned any other tuner so I do not know how to rate this one. I see that QST did an review a caouple of years back and said that this tuner is the most ineffiecient tuner among the five they tested.

I want to get either a Ameritron ATR-30 or a PalStar. I know that MFJ owns Ameritron now and I am leaning towards the pal-star.

If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to leave me one.

73's DE _. _... ..._ _ _._
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