Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: MFJ 1886 Receive Loop

Category: Antennas: VLF/LF/HF Receive only

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : MFJ 1886 Receive Loop
Reviews: 10MSRP: $320 USD
The MFJ-1886 Receive Loop gives you tremendous power to copy weak stations through impossibly strong levels of QRN or QRM. Covering AM broadcast through 30 MHz and beyond, its superbly directive element and bullet-proof low-noise preamplifier dig out buried signals normally lost when using wire antennas. With the MFJ-1886 you get:

[] Perfect loop balance for deep precise nulls
[] Dual-MMIC push-pull pre-amplification for wide dynamic range
[] Indestructible aircraft-grade 36-inch aluminum loop
[] Great portability -- weighs only 2-1/2 pounds
[] Mounts using standard TV-style hardware
[] Tough molded weatherproof enclosure for outdoor installation
[] Phantom powered with AC adapter and Bias-T included

Unlike many ADF loops, the MFJ-1886 is weather-sealed, very ruggedly constructed, and mechanically stable under all weather conditions. In fact, you can mount it permanently on any inexpensive TV rotor and direct it from the comfort of your shack. Weighing only 2-1/2 pounds and measuring 36-inches in diameter, it also installs easily on a tripod or handheld mast for portable use.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N1JDH Rating: 2021-11-27
A Decent Receive Loop Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have been using the 1886TR for a few weeks now. It provides additional receive capability. Normally I use a full size 80M loop elevated at 7M for receive, as it is quieter than my vertical array. I find it most useful on 30-160 meters. I gave it 4 stars because the 1886 is another tool in the toolbox when dealing with QRM or weak signals. It is not a magic bullet, but it does help in some circumstances. I am retired communications engineer and have designed many antennas both professionally and for ham radio and in my opinion appears to be built well, but only time will tell. My QTH is less than 100 yards from the Atlantic Ocean and experiences high winds, and salt spray, so I will update this review in a year or so; if needed.
K7HN Rating: 2020-11-02
Use This Loop For RX And You’ll Be Amazed! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The MFJ 1888 receive only loop antenna is a fantastic antenna for any ham shack or shortwave listener.

I reviewed it on my YouTube channel here:

Mine is mounted at 15’ on a wood pole. I like to use wood poles for receive loops so the only piece of metal in the air is that loop antenna.

It’s well built with quality materials and is really light. Not hard to put up anywhere.

The MFJ 1888 simply knocks the noise floor down and will reveal signals hidden in the noise that your vertical or dipole misses because it picks up more noise than a receive loop does.

I use it on my Yaesu FTDX 101MP on a receive only “antenna 3” position and transmit on whatever transmit antenna I want to use on “Antenna 1 or 2”

It’s a fantastic device. I used loops for decades when I was a shortwave DX’er and found them to always be superior over a wire or vertical antenna because they knock the noise floor down significantly revealing signals that otherwise are lost.

It’s well-built out of aircraft grade aluminum. It’s light, easy to install and you’ll hear the difference right away.

Just make sure that you don’t transmit on it otherwise you’ll destroy it.

If you want a receive and transmit loop, opt for the MFJ 1786 or 1788. They’ll handle up to 150 watts! Great antennas. Just understand that they must be tuned and there’s a “sharp null” you’ll have to tune to when tuning for good SWR on transmit.

Both are great products. I have the 1788 and through horrendous fire conditions made a coast to coast QSO from Northwest Oregon to Southeast Florida. Amazing.

I’ve found the MFJ 1888 Receive Loop Antenna to be a big help in my shack to find far off signals because it lowers the noise floor considerably. For me, it’s been a FANTASTIC antenna.
K7LNP Rating: 2020-09-12
Outstanding Antenna - Makes Listening Enjoyable Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have nothing but great things to say about the MFJ 1886 Loop.

I put up the loop @ 14 feet and I am using small tv antenna rotor to turn it. I frequently us it as my receive antenna as well as noise antenna, and use a 120' Inverted L for transmit.

I really have found a huge difference in noise after going to a loop. I also have a DX Engineering NCC-2 Noise reducing system that works outstanding with the MFJ Loop. It can be used in combination with several antennas when fighting noise.

I use the loop quite a bit of the time for AM Broadcast DX'ing.

The MFJ 1886 Loop allows me to listen to Shortwave, 160 Meters, and AM Radio setting all the electrical environment issues aside.

Thank you MFJ for another great product!!!!


N6PG Rating: 2020-06-16
Great compliment to remove city noise! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I live in San Diego on a small city lot. I use an inverted L antenna that is tuned with an SGC-230 remote tuner. It's a great antenna, but at certain times I have a lot of QRM from neighbors. In the day of plasma TVs and all the other RFI, my noise floor is too loud to receive quiet signals.

The MJF-1886 TR is a great antenna to reduce the noise floor. I got the TR model that has a transmit receive relay. If the unit is off, it is just using my inverted L, if it's on, then the loop is used for receive. I'll let you read on mag loops, but in the vertical, it can be directional with nulls to reduce or eliminate noise. It's a quiet antenna.

I do find the signals louder with my other antennas, but if there is a big noise floor, it doesn't matter. I am better off with a quiet signal and no noise.

I mostly do CW, and I haven't really tried SSB with this antenna... so I may have to report back... but for my situation, this is a nice addition.
VE3WGO Rating: 2020-03-23
MFJ-1886TR - nulls noise, and is a very good performer! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought the version of this loop with the TR switch built in. It uses an Amplifier control line or a manual switch to ground the control input for Transmitting and switch over to the Tx antenna. It is great for nulling out noise and interference, especially local noise sources at my QTH on 160 and 80 meters. The 2 main lobes seem to be somewhere between about 90 to 120 degrees in width, and the nulls are very deep. I have a TV antenna rotator that I am going to add to it soon.

On my multiband dipole I have constant noise on 80m at about S7 to S8+ all the time, and only a noise blanker can make reception possible. Similar problem when listening on 160. However with this loop I can actually turn the blanker off most of the time! On 40 and 20m this loop is able to dig signals out of the noise floor better than my dipole can. I am surprised how such a small antenna can do such a good job on those low bands.

All in all, this is the best receiver investment I have ever made.

73, Ed
N2DTS Rating: 2019-08-08
very good... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Cheap but sturdy, put it up (temp) next to the house at about 8 feet high, 2 feet from the rain gutter and gave it a try.
MUCH less noise on every band, signals are often stronger then the 80 meter dipole or zero 5 40 foot roof mounted ground plane vertical.
Seems great for the price, an all band RX antenna is handy for jumping around bands and it kills 85% of the noise I pick up.
It IS bi directional so some signals are stronger on it then the other antenna's, some are weaker, and sometimes when one is up, the other is down and then it reverses.
My next step will be to get it above the roof line and away from the gutter.
It was nice making a contact on 20 meters using the loop on RX and the noisy vertical for TX.
It seems to do great on the broadcast band as well, removing a lot of trash the flex 5000 picks up there.
Its not large, its not expensive, and it works.
K4TB Rating: 2019-04-22
Only Satisfactory Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My anticipation was that the MFJ-1886 would provide me with another tool to help in pulling out stations under noisy conditions. However, in comparing it on the 40m, 30m & 20m ham bands with my 33' vertical antenna with 16 radials and remote tuner, I found the loop consistently had about 2 db less signal-to-noise ratio than I got with the vertical once the vertical was tuned properly. I used my Icom 7610 with it's identical dual receivers to compare the two antennas. After adjusting gain levels of the dual receivers to provide similar signal levels I would find the noise floor of the loop to be about 2 db higher, or in other words the S/N ratio was about 2 db lower on the loop. I experimented with mounting of the loop closer and farther from the shack, turning the loop in different directions,and elevating it between 3' to 10' above ground (base of antenna), but I always got similar results. Interestingly, outside the ham bands, like when tuning in WWV on various frequencies, there was little difference between the antennas. I didn't find any differences in the type of noise on either antenna, except perhaps a few more "birdies" appeared on the receive band scope for the loop antenna.

In conclusion, I have to think that the lack of pre-selector tuning for the loop in front of it's broadband amplifier results in a higher noise floor and a few more "birdies", which gives the advantage to the vertical antenna with remote tuner and the RF tuning in the front end of the Icom 7610, when tuning the ham bands. Nevertheless, that fact that the the loop can be used at lower overall height with no ground plane and do well on general shortwave reception makes it worth considering if you have serious constraints on your size and location limits for a receive antenna. It is especially well suited to broad band Short Wave Listener use.
W7MCK Rating: 2018-10-13
I'm Impressed Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
So, after reading the reviews and watching the YouTube videos, I decided to buy one of these MFJ-1886 recieve only loops and put it on top of my roof sitting at about 15 feet.
I also have an endfed sloper with the feed point at 36 feet.
I have to admit, the first day I used the loop I was disappointed because my signals were always about 2 S units lower than the endfed (either because it was at a lower height or because my endfed is 72 feet long).
Then, I started looking at the noise floor.
Wow, compared to the endfed the loop was at least 3 S units lower.
So, it's definitely finding its place with my setup.
If I can hear them on the loop, that is what I use.
The audio is much more pleasant and clearer.
Just point it in the right direction.
If you don't have a way to put up an antenna at a decent height to get a decent signal, seriously consider on of these.
I'm impressed.
The loop has an amplifier in it and it's really powerful.
N2PQQ Rating: 2018-05-25
Excellent antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I was reluctant to try the MFJ 1886.
I was using a pixel pro 1B that had one of the
components go bad.

The 1886 receives just as well as the pixel if not better.

This is my new favorite receive antenna.
Great job MFJ .

K4FMH Rating: 2018-01-24
Outperforms my Wellbrook Loop! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This is a review that I didn't thing I'd ever write. I've been a Wellbrook Loop fan for over 10 years. Still am. My 1530+ NA model receive loop paired with my Perseus SDR has been the best receiving combo on HF that I've experienced in over 50 years of listening. No challengers. Until now.

The MFJ Receive Loop (MFJ-1886) spent a couple of years in design and prototyping, according to Martin Jue. He says the earliest LNA was fraught with issues concerning RF and static buildup so they kept at the prototype revisions until they were satisfied. MFJ tested the production version of the LNA (in a box at the base of the loop itself) with simulated lightning strikes to less than a mile away. It shows. Here's what I've found in using it with my Perseus SDR and Wellbrook 1530+ that I've had in service for 10 years now.

Residing in an HOA, my HF antennas are in my attic. I've mounted the Wellbrook loop outside in an alleyway, hidden by a couple of evergreen trees. I've wrapped the aluminum loop with dark green plastic tape to help hide it. If my neighbor say they saw a bush moving in my yard, I'll tell them that they have been drinking too much!It's mounted on a Hygain AR-500 rotator one foot above ground. It's largely outside the RFI envelope of my house. I mounted my recent acquisition of the MFJ Rx Loop above my shack in the attic, about 30 feet above ground. It's 15 feet from an on-demand water heater and some other routine house electrical wiring. This puts the Wellbrook at a decided advantage and the MFJ at at disadvantage with regard to the noise floor. This loop uses a supplied Bias-T for the 12vdc power to the LNA. It attaches in the coax feedline near one's operating position or anywhere along that line that makes sense to the user. A wallwart power supply is provided. The manual and schematic diagram is available at the manufacturers' website for downloading in PDF.

Using an A-B switch, a few months of listening with the band conditions being not so great at this point in the cycle, shows the following.

The noise floor is about -10dbm higher on the attic-located MFJ loop vs the outside Wellbrook. However, the SNR is so much better with the MFJ loop that it almost always (discounting virtual ties) gets a better receive signal! I have each loop mounted on the same model AR-500 rotator with bearing degrees programmed. I've tried to get each one oriented within 10 degrees of one another for each A-B test. Neither loop has sharp nulls on the receive signal itself (versus, say, the Quantum Loop) but each is good at nulling out noise or a splattering signal while keeping the desired signal with my ear's bandwidth.

This is far from a Lab test. But it's a user's direct experience with both on the same receiver and the same station signal. This includes both SW Broadcast and the ham bands. The Wellbrook 1530+ that I have is 10 years old and works fine. But it is not the latest and greatest HF loop model that Andy Ikin now sells. At the price point with shipping, the MFJ Receive Loop is several hundred dollars cheaper for the US market. Unless I'm able to compare Wellbrook's latest and find out differently, getting the MFJ Receive Loop on a price-performance basis is a no-brainer.

In addition, the MFJ is just built more sturdy than the Wellbrook which has always been somewhat plagued by the flange mounting. I've found that irrigation piping from Lowes or Home Depot et al. works well for this mount point if you lose the supplied pipe from Wellbrook. The MFJ uses the conventional U-bolts for a very sturdy mount. Can't beat that!

I'll continue testing for a month or two more as the Spring comes in. I may connect both loops to my Quantum DX Phaser device to see if there's significant improvement in getting weak signals out of the noise with both loops in the mix. Barring a significant improvement on that front, I'm likely going to move the MFJ outside and use the Wellbrook for portable ops as a separate receive antenna and a RF sense switch. (MFJ sells a model of this receive loop with the receive switch built in.) It's a very good loop antenna still. With today's RFI issues, a receive loop like the MFJ at $249 is worth considering for the new lowest bands through 40 meters or so. Highly recommended.