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Reviews Categories | SWR & Wattmeters & Dummy Loads | MFJ-868 SWR/ WATTMETER Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-868 SWR/ WATTMETER
MFJ-868 SWR/ WATTMETER Reviews: 34 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $139.95
Product is in production.
More info: http://MFJENTERPRISES
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You can write your own review of the MFJ-868 SWR/ WATTMETER.

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N8OPS Rating: 0/5 Dec 30, 2017 12:07 Send this review to a friend
I have the newer model  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the MFJ-869 but there isn't a listing for it here. But this is my opinion. It's still "mighty fine junk" and for some reason I keep falling for it. Just trash all the way around- intermittent on average power, extremely generous readings on peak power. Very poor fit and finish. Can this company just go out of business- please?

Sent it back. I'm done with MFJ.
PE1HZG Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2017 14:37 Send this review to a friend
Good meter  Time owned: more than 12 months
I found that the peak meter would overshoot with SSB in peak signals, giving peak readings that are more than a bit optimistic.

To fix, I added a resistor 47K betweek the emitter of Q1 and the join of R11, pin 3 of U3, pin13 of U1.
This is easy to do by lifting the emitter leg of Q1 and put the resistor in series. Peak reading is not affected and the meter is a lot more stable.
W7KNX Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2017 16:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have three of these in the shack, one on each radio that has an amplifier. I initially tried it because I wanted a large display that was easy to read at a glance and I prefer single needle meters. Very happy with them.
NA1CC Rating: 3/5 Aug 1, 2015 06:44 Send this review to a friend
Easy to read, but recalibrate if possible  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Like others, I was attracted to this SWR/wattmeter because of its huge, easy to read face. Out of the box, though, wattmeter accuracy wasn't as good as it could be. I inserted the MFJ and a Bird 43 between my 100W TX and a dummy load. 160M up through 15M the MFJ read 10% lower, and on 12M and 10M it was 20% lower. Therefore, on 20M, I tweaked the internal 20W and 200W pots so that the MJF now agreed with the Bird wattmeter (meaning, of course, that the MFJ was probably around +/- 5% accurate at this point). Tweaking was done full scale on the 20W scale, half scale on the 200W scale. As MFJ says itself, accuracy is indeed better half to full scale, as opposed to below half scale. But overall accuracy even at QRP, and across all the bands, appeared to much greater than it was out of the box. This is no expensive piece of high grade test equipment, but it does provide reasonable accuracy (after tweaking), and again it's great to be able to read TX output easily.
K9ILL Rating: 5/5 Jun 27, 2015 05:56 Send this review to a friend
I LOVE Mine  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was supprised to see how well my 868b worked. I checked it with my Bird 43 meter and it was right on. The HUGE meter is awesome.
N7BOO Rating: 3/5 Dec 25, 2014 23:50 Send this review to a friend
Meter Calibration  Time owned: more than 12 months
The reason I gave a rating of 3 was not meant to imply that the MFJ meter is a piece of junk.

First keep in mind just what you're purchasing, a run of the mill SWR/Wattmeter, not a lab grade device that is calibrated and re-calibrated on a schedule to insure accuracy.

You can't, nor should you always expect less expensive meters like the MFJ, Diawa, and many others, to perform accurately.

Over a year ago I purchased a couple of MFJ SWR/wattmeters, when they arrived the first thing I did was to check them, one was within specification, however, the second one was so far out of calibration it was totally useless.

I had to, like others on this forum, found it necessary to recalibrate the device before I could put it in service.

What can make it even more difficult for the average ham, comes down to 3 things:

1. Are you technically savvy enough to work on, repair, or calibrate this type of amateur radio gear if it's out of warranty?

2. Do you have the necessary test apparatus work on amateur radio gear and accessories?

3. Do you have the necessary schematics and procedures to repair, align, or re-calibrate the equipment?

Most often manufacturers of amateur transceivers and accessories do not include schematics, drawings, or calibration procedures with the item, without these documents, the average ham is going to be totally dependent on the manufacturer for service. Even individuals with years of electronics experience don't like the idea of attempting to work in the dark without the proper documents.

Burned Out Bulbs & LED's

About burned out light bulbs and LED lamps used for illumination, this is a fairly common complaint, and most often, when bulbs, or LED's fail, it due to using "Wall Warts", you know, those little unregulated power supplies that either come with the accessory, or that you purchased from the manufacture or dealer. DON'T USE THEM, THEY CAN'T BE TRUSTED. I've seen 12V wall warts with voltages of 18V or more, and they can and will quite often eventually damage bulbs and LEDs. When you turn the switch, they may be starting up with an excessive "no load voltage", well exceeding the voltage rating of the bulb or LED..

Yes, you can drop the voltage if you know how to do it, but I simply don't trust these little boogers PERIOD, invest your money in good regulated power supplies and quality DC outlet distribution strips with surge and reverse polarity protection.

Sorry for getting so windy, my intentions were meant to help.

NR7N Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2014 17:28 Send this review to a friend
NR7N  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I actually rate this meter at 4.5 but I will give it the nudge up.

First, this is actually a pretty good meter but the main problem is that it is not calibrated correctly. After calibration it is quite good. In fact, almost all diode detector based meters (95%+ of power/swr meters that hams use) are inaccurate to some degree. I include Daiwas, Diamonds Comets, etc. and even Bird wattmeters. The Bird is generally +/-5% and are more accurate then most because they have been calibrated against watt meters that actually measure the heat produced with the applied power. They are generally more rugged as well because of the environment they are desgined to work in. They are NOT a precision RF power measurement instrument so let's get that settled right now.

Almost any diode based meter can be calibrated within +/-10% if done with proper equipment. When I got my 868B I connected it up to a good dummy load and checked it for accuracy. The 20W range was pretty close but the 200W and 2000W ranges were off quite a bit (one high and one low). Again, this is not something special with MFJ as I just went through several new Daiwa meters that were actually worse.

Also check the directivity of the coupler for SWR measurements as my 868B read 1.5:1 into a known good high power load that was measured at 1.05:1. We'll get to that later.

My power measurement equipment consists of a HP 435B power meter and the corresponding thermcouple sensor (8481H) and a 500W Bird 30 dB attenuator (8325). A friend who has a metrology lab verified calibration of the 435B/8481H and gave me the exact attenuation of the Bird attenuator. In this way I have a calibrated measurement system.

The first thing to do with the 868B or any type of diode based power/SWR meter is to null the coupler when connected into a 50 ohm load. I ran 100W into the MFJ (set to read SWR) and adjusted the null capacitor on the coupler board for a minimum reading. The directivity on the MFJ coupler is quite good and it nulled right out. SWR can now be meaured accurately.

I then ran 20W (as referenced to the 435C/8481H/8325 with the MFJ in-line) into the 868B on the 20W range and adjusted the 20W pot for the correct reading. I did this at 200W on the 200W range and finally I ran 500W into the 868B on the 2KW scale (remember the Bird attenuator is rated for 500W). The MFJ is now calibrated and works great. it has good range to range tracking and seems relatively flat from 80 to 10M. I did not attempt to check at 160 or 6M as I don't currently operate those bands.

The construction looks adequate and the coupler assembly is well constructed and mechanically rigid. It is not a piece of junk.

Several other reviewers have complained about the meter light going out after a short period of time. A little diagnostic work found that the MFJ power supply was putting 13.8 VDC into a 12VDC bulb. The remedy was easy. I clipped the blue/white + VDC lead and inserted a 1W 39-ohm resistor. Make sure and put a piece of shrink tubing on each end before soldering. The voltage is now 10.7 VDC on the bulbs, they light the meter fine and should last forever.

The MFJ-868B is not worse then other meters on the market. It just needs to be calibrated correctly. Most of the competition's meters are just as initially inaccurate as well.
WQ5B Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2014 15:57 Send this review to a friend
all I expected  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my Giant Meter for some time now and could not ask for more. It is better than a Swan Peak reading meter I owned 30 years ago but sold to fund something . This one is staying home when going to sidewalk sales . I did not know it had lights until I was playing with the ON/OFF switch and they lite up . One has now quit but I still see it . I will change them out when this one goes out but modify the circuit for a lower voltage & longer life. I would welcome any MFJ stuff some one may want to get rid of as it all sells well at flea markets .
K4SDW Rating: 3/5 Jun 3, 2014 18:02 Send this review to a friend
OK Meter  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this meter about a year now. It works good. I have had problems with the lights inside the meter. This is the 2nd time they have gone out. Not sure why. I replaced them the first time after about 2 months. 2 months later and they are out again so I will just use the meter without the lights. I did like to see that large meter lite up. I would probably spend a little more money if I had it to do over and get something more dependable. I guess you get what you pay for.
WD8FM Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2014 07:47 Send this review to a friend
Still Working Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just an update to my first review. My meter is still working great after more than 3 years of heavy usage. Still within +/- 2 watts and SWR readings almost no deviation when compared with 2 other watt/swr meters.
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