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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | MFJ-1164 Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-1164
Reviews: 3 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $150
Description: Manual Screwdriver antenna
Product is in production.
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KF9L Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2004 01:41 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Antenna for portable and mobile setups  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This antenna has worked great since the first day on it with no problems what so ever. Very easy to use and excellent reports from it. Also i am very happy I decided to get this antenna and besides for the money it costs is very resonable and affordable. I hope you decide to get it if you are interested cause it works like a charm. Thumbs up
WB4U Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2004 15:13 Send this review to a friend
A good antenna with good performance  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, I've seen it since the 2004 catalog was released. I decided to
purchase one (model MFJ-1664 80 thru 10 meter manual screwdriver
antenna). It arrived via UPS and I was able finally to get outside and play with it a bit. I used my chain link fence around the backyard to bolt it to and as a counterpoise. I also attached some tuned radials just to be sure. First I used my MFJ antenna analyzer to check it for bandwidth and make some rough adjustment markings for field use. I did have to make an impedance matching coil to get it to tune 40/60/80 meters. The coil was 12 turns, #14 enameled wire, 1/2" OD (this is approximate and anything close will work for you). The antenna tuned every band with SWR of 1.2 or less. 40 meters and above I was able to cover the entire bands by tuning for center band, 60 meters I had to tune on a per channel basis (or use the internal tuner in the 703) and on 80 meters the bandwidth was really narrow, only about 25 KHz, but this was to be expected. Also I was using the long 10 foot supplied telescoping whip. The antenna will tune 60 meters to 10 meters with the supplied 4 foot whip but bandwidth was much narrower and efficiency was way down using the 'by ear' method.

Of course, every setup will be different, but in general I would have
to say the antenna is a good buy for the money ($149.98 shipped to my
door). It is well constructed using all aluminum and stainless steel
(other than the PVC coil form and end caps and copper finger stock to
contact the coil). The antenna tuned easily, was not affected by body
capacitance (only slightly, but not enough to cause tuning problems)
appears to be rugged enough for portable use (time will tell) and is
lightweight for same. The long whip is the least durable item and can
be broken if care is not taken, but you are warned of this in the

I made contacts on 17 meters, CO8LY in Cuba, J69AN in St. Lucia, 2
stations in SC that I talk to regularly on 40 meters and less than
100 miles away at 5 pm, 3 stations on 60 meters, KA8JIL in Ohio,
WB3KDB Maryland and a local 2 miles away. I was using my Icom IC-703
at 10 watts in the back yard on battery power. All stations were 59
plus on receive and I was given 59, 51, 59, 59, 57, 59 and 59 plus
respectively from those stations. Am I happy with the antenna? Yes at
this time, but time will tell as to overall satisfaction. Can I or
would I recommend it? Well depends, not for mobile use, not for
pedestrian portable or bike mobile unless you use something other
than the telescoping long whip or perhaps the short whip (not sure
how durable it might be either). For fixed location portable or
campsite or emergency field location operation? You bet I would
recommend it. I think it will give you a good bang for the buck. It
is no more expensive than many other antennas in use and I think this
one will give better performance compared to most of them in the same
setup. It also offers the easy storage, easy portability, easy setup
features most of us look for and in most cases is less expensive than
many competing antennas.

Just my humble experiences with this antenna and I thought I would
share them with everyone.

GM7CXM Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2003 13:07 Send this review to a friend
Fits a gap in the market  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There are four antennas in the MFJ screwdriver range. All of them are supplied with two extendable whips. One whip is 10’ long, which collapses down to about 18”, and intended for portable or stationary mobile use. The other is 4.1/2’ long , which collapses down to about 28”, intended for mobile use. The difference between the four models available is the length of the coil, the longer the coil, the greater the frequency coverage. All coils are 2” diameter. The four different models are as follows:

MFJ-1661: 12” coil. Covers 6-20 with the small whip. Covers 6-40 with the large whip.
MFJ-1662: 15” coil: Covers 6-40 with both the small and the large whip.
MFJ-1664: 24” coil: Covers 6-40 with the small whip. Covers 6-80 with the large whip.
MFJ-1668: 36” coil: Covers 6-80 with both the small and the large whip.

The model I have is the 1664. I have used the antenna both stationary mobile and portable, but not mobile with the small whip. All the comments in this review are with the 10’ whip. For use on 10 and 12 metres, the whip is used on its own and the results are covered under a separate review.

To use the antenna, you will first require a 3/8” mount, plus a suitable ground plane/counterpoise. As with all quarter-wave vertical antennas, a good ground is imperative for good results, details can be found in many publications both for mobile and portable installations. If you do not use a proper ground system, the antenna will not tune properly and results will be poor. For my mobile, I use a mirror mount on the luggage rack, grounded to the car body. For the portable, I use a buddistick tripod with wire radials. If possible, I try to use a fence or similar counterpoise for better performance.

To tune the antenna:

On 15 metres, when the (fully-shorted) coil and 10’ whip are put together, the length is just a little longer than a quarter wave. Push the whip in 3” or so, and it should be fine.

On 17m and lower, you will need to use the coil. The amount of turns is achieved by raising or lowering the outer sleeve over the coil. I find that 3 turns is sufficient for 17, 7 for 20, 17 for 40, and 80 is tuned “by ear”, depending on the band segment. The instructions suggest using an SWR analyser, but if you don’t have one, checking with an swr meter is quite simple and quick once you master the technique. The instructions also mention that a shunt coil may be necessary to obtain a low swr, especially on the lower bands, however I have not found this to be necessary.

Now, the million-dollar question: does it work? In short, the answer is yes. Using it portable and running 20w, working Europe is not a problem and I suppose that with time I will manage to work farther afield. Using it mobile, I have made comparative tests with my helical whips, and although the test conditions were far from ideal, it seems clear that the MFJ does indeed work better. I have worked lots of DX, putting strong signals into Europe, the US, and Africa, and also managing to work the rare DX that has been around in the last six weeks, such as TO4E, T32WW, and 4W2, to name the ones that come to mind.

Additional notes:

MFJ make 12’ telescopic whips which can also be used with these antennas.

The power rating is 200w PEP. I have run 500w PEP from my ameritron amplifier without any adverse effects. The whips are solid, the coil wire looks to be thick enough, and I can only assume the 200w rating is conservative just in case someone melts the coil while trying to tune.


I was delighted when these antennas were first advertised by MFJ. They fill a gap in the market, offering an antenna that is both small and light for stowing either in the car, backpack, or suitcase, yet offering full size performance on at least two HF bands (depending on the whip and coil combination used) and acceptable performance on the rest. These antennas should appeal to those who travel frequently and require a set-up that is both simple, quick and effective. Mine will definitely be coming with me on my next trip to C6-land!


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