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Reviews For: MFJ-226 Graphical Antenna Impedance Analyzer

Category: Antenna Analyzers

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Review Summary For : MFJ-226 Graphical Antenna Impedance Analyzer
Reviews: 12MSRP: 329.95
A Vector network Analyzer that runs a 2 AA batteries, covers 1 to 230 Mhz continuous, or selected portions thereof.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KA8GKT Rating: 2023-06-30
I'd like to see an Improved MFJ-226/7 in the same form factor. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Yes, it has problems.
However, when the 226 came out,
I'd been waiting 30 years for it !!
Light years ahead of anything at the time.

In 2023, I hot glued 3p 32700P LiFePO4 batteries
to the case for long battery life; plus it adds weight
for it to stay put, and made some, but later bought,
MFJ OSL (open short load) calibration terminations.
I compared them against the Anritsu's OSL...
they work just fine.

Using the Anritsu 331D for a living, calibrating is
non stop with that unit. I need the 60dB of RL
accuracy, so the insta-cal is generally out of the question;
so, doing this on the 226 is SOP for me.

The absolute game changer for me back in the day

the SWR sweep feature
the R±jX information
the frequency coverage
the computer connection.

This is still my goto unit.
It does not suffer from CONSTANT recalibration
the Anritsu 331D requires making changes.
Still the 331D is the King with all the professional
features I require, like seeing past a bad
connector at the top of a 450 foot tower through
the ten foot jumper to the antenna. This is the King.
And DTF features.

But for mobile radio installations, the 226 is just
awesome !
Especially on low band (29.7 to 50 Mc).
With the information at the end of the cable,
with a Smith Chart and matching stubs
I can make that antenna sing.

On VUhf, it can help me differenciate between a
bad piece of cable or the antenna.

Yes, it does need some improvements, but
I am super happy to have it in the tool box !
I loved it so much I bought a second one
as they were being discontinued to my chagrin.
Plus the 227.

I wanted to say thank you to Times for
ALLOWING us consumers to have such a powerful
device. It seriously has been a godsend for me
working in the NRQZ, where it's always 1980.

On the poor side:
it just eats AA batteries;
forget the battery door.
Needs a FDR DTF feature.

its small !
it does NOT need calibrated everytime you
make frequency adjustments.
The sweep is just great, zooming etc.
It's FAST and easy to use with some practice.
It shows plus and minus reactances.
Can use a computer with it.
And its RL to tune duplexers if you have
to do it the hard way. Especially between
300 watt ampliers to a cavity. You can tune
the jumper and cavity for the Best RL looking into
the cavity. It is just a life saver.

Plus, it has four calibration memories !
Lable your jumpers 1, 2, 3; 4 so you know which
cable and adapters to use !

I just love this thing. Someday,
I'll check out the newer stuff;
but for now, if you're a serious HF or LB
two-way guy, this thing will save your life.

It will need a bucket of good alkaline batteries
when you get started on your first fleet of
LB cement trucks, but its light years ahead
of only having a 43 to do that job with.

Treat it with care,
don't throw it around in your truck.
Take care of it and it will take care of you.

Get a nice bag for the units, plus adapters,
the OSL, jumpers, extra batteries, a charger,
wall cube, the computer cable with adapters
to usb-c, the manual, etc., two good small
dummy loads say 35 to 50watt, a thumb drive with
the softwares to use it where ever you land
if you need it.

K1FQL Rating: 2021-06-21
Okay, but not great Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned the MFJ-226 Graphical Antenna Impedance Analyzer for more than two years, and it continues to perform satisfactorily. If you are going to use it for more than casual VSWR measurements, it would be a good idea to invest in three calibration kits of commercial manufacture, one that is type N male, one that is UHF male and one that is UHF female. The latest firmware build appears to have addressed most of the issues of earlier builds. If you are familiar with S-parameters, you may want to create an Excel spreadsheet that makes use of exported .csv data files to convert S11 magnitude and angle to complex impedance, impedance magnitude, VSWR and return loss. This data manipulation utility has not been provided and assumes some expertise on the part of the user. Another annoyance appears to be control from a PC. In PC mode on the bench I have not figured out how to access the calibration registers. The analyzer appears to default to the Global calibration when operated with a PC. That places the reference plane at the type N connector. For use on the bench it would be useful to call up a calibration made at the reference plane of any input adapter used. This is not possible without performing a Global calibration at the plane of the input adapter used. In Single Frequency Mode the calibration registers cannot be applied. Instead, the analyzer defaults to Global calibration. In the field the analyzer is sometimes plagued by AM broadcast stations, however, filters may remedy this problem. MFJ manufactures the MFJ-731 Analyzer Filter, but they warn that it might be difficult to use with any but a select group of analyzers of which the MFJ-226 may not be a member. Local calibration to move the reference plane of the analyzer to the end of coax is essential for making meaningful measurements of antennas. Otherwise, the complex impedance will be rotated around the Smith Chart in a confusing way by coax of random lengths. Use of the Smith Chart view and the Reactance view are often all that are required to break any ambiguities that develop from real axis crossings once local calibration has been completed. Another annoyance is battery life. I can usually get by with a single alkaline battery change for a morning of testing. Battery life can be extended by turning off the backlight function. A provision is made for using rechargeable batteries of the NiMH type, too, but DC power via the USB port is lacking, a feature found in other analyzers of similar price. The housing of the analyzer is fragile and the battery compartment cover falls off at the slightest provocation. Like anything else, this instrument has some limitations, and it really pays to become familiar with all of its capabilities before going into the field with it. On balance, this meter is just OK. If I knew then what I know now, I would have chosen a different manufacturer, maybe a NanoVNA. For example, the NanoVNA can measure S21, so it can be used to characterize filters.
WA4JM Rating: 2020-03-20
Great Hand Held Device! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I originally purchased this to sweep the LPFM antenna system I engineer. I love the storage capabilities and the ability to dump the plots to a PC.
A bit tricky to operate at first but once I got things down it was very easy to use.
No complaints!
N5WOI Rating: 2017-12-26
So far it works great! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just got mine today and so far it is giving me exactly what I wanted from it. Got it connected to the PC and all of that works OK on WIN7 64bit.

I use Energizer Lithium AA batteries as these are lightweight, last a long time and do not leak like Alkaline's can.

So far I am pleased with the Analyzer.
W9HAM Rating: 2016-12-09
Junk Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had mine replaced three times now. Enough said.

Earlier 3-star review posted by W9HAM on 2015-10-23

I purchased mine at the 2015 Dayton Hamvention. I noticed right away that the battery cover fits loose and slides off very easily. It turns off from time to time and it might be due to the light tension on the battery contacts. My biggest issue is that it does not work across the entire 10 meter band. I believe that MFJ will be replacing this unit though. I like the small form factor and the features. It's nice for tuning my Buddipole portable antenna.
W4DEF Rating: 2016-05-17
Great tool for Ham Radio use. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased the MFJ-226 in March. The build quality and feel of the analyzer is excellent. The screen is large and readable. It is accurate and easy to use. It is especially useful when connected to the computer. The software controls the analyzer and enables you to save or print your file for future reference.

The MFJ-226 is more than an antenna analyzer. It is a VNA that can be used to test many other components used in our hobby. I use it mostly on Return Loss measurements and have found the results very close to measurments taken with more expensive test equipment.

One word of caution: Mine came with an earlier version of the manual and firmware. Be sure to download the updated manual with the new firmware from the MFJ website before updating your unit.
2M0LDT Rating: 2016-05-07
Great ! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
WOW, what an EXCELLENT Analyzer !
Super stable, but i had bought the Feature Tech AW07A as i was "TOLD" it was the same .. it is NOT!
the cheaper Feature Tech LOOKS the same but man O man its not.. ive ready many spurious stories of MFJ re badging etc etc.. it contacted MFJ direct, and its all nonsense !, however they are aware of Feature Tech and are also aware of the tales that they are the same..

I have both and have examined them in detail.. they are Totally different internally. the MFJ is far superior in every way, components, soldering etc etc..
you get what you pay for !
KB1PFL Rating: 2016-02-20
Nice compact Analyzer Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Got this as a Christmas gift."Nice way to get permission from XYL for an expensive ham related tool".LOL.Anyway been fooling with it for a while now ,seems pretty good compared to my trusty 259B.
Shows graphs and is capable of downloading to a PC also got a windows 10 RCA micro tablet PC had some trouble getting drivers down loaded but MFJ finally had an update to their software and got it loaded seems goood to go now. very pleased with it so far.Jim KB1PFL.
WB2YVY Rating: 2015-10-31
It does Smithcard Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I updated the Software from MFJ. Finely the MFJ-226 is working as it suppose to do. The SYS update File hat to be where it wanted to go. Great unit for the Prize. The early software had problems that are solved now

Earlier 4-star review posted by WB2YVY on 2015-09-26

I got the Software to work on an Vista Computer with the Anti virus checker and Internet switched off. On the smith chard you have to move the dot one place, 14MHz reads 140.
This is a precision Instrument normally you can't buy under $1000. Software could be better

Earlier 2-star review posted by WB2YVY on 2015-09-22

W3UEC Rating: 2015-08-26
Good Instrument, Limited software Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I had no problem saving data to any of the 29 internal files; however, I could not recall the data to the instrument screen; and the Wiindows ( 7 and up) program I downloaded from MFJ, was limited in how the data could be manipulated. My (hopefully temporary) work-around is is described at the link . Now I need to get out my old C language compiler and try to do something more elegant :-}