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Reviews For: MFJ-971

Category: Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks

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Review Summary For : MFJ-971
Reviews: 55MSRP: 99.95
1.8 - 30 MHz 200 watt portable antenna tuner
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
M0KFO Rating: 2015-03-26
Good, easy to use & compact. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Okay, it's my first ATU, so I've nothing to compare it to, always having used resonant aerials.

First, it does the job, for my G5RV. I get 1:1 from 10m - 80m and 160m. Yes, I hate to think of the losses on 160m, but it does tune down, and not just for RX but TX as well.

It's easy enough to use (it's a base unit for me), even if the inductance switch is a bit agricultural, tunes quite quickly and it looks decent. I haven't run it anywhere near its quoted power, so I can't make comment on that, which also means no RF exposure (or very little if you're going to nitpick).

No, the meter isn't massive, but it hasn't shrunk in between the dealer and my shack, so I knew what I was getting.

For UK buyers, it was £120 from Nevada through the online people named after a big river.
WA6MOW Rating: 2014-11-14
Another great value from MFJ. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I own two of these small tuners. They work great. I love the size along with the built in meter. For a little over $100 bucks you can't go wrong.
EA5IGC Rating: 2014-11-01
Good enough Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've used this tuner on various wire antennae (including a G5RV mini) for a couple of years. It's OK, but doesn't have a lot of bells or whistles. Changing between QRP and QRO modes means opening the box and changing jumpers. Now that I'm using a MFJ-949E, I do have to question the value-for-money of the 917. The 949 offers 2 coax antenna connections + balanced line wire switched from the front panel with bypass on all, dummy load, QRP/QRO switch on the front panel and peak/average reading. With all of these extra truly useful features, albeit for more money, I'd recommend the 949 over the 917 any day.

In summary: if you're backpacking or really on a small budget, this is a good tuner. Otherwise get a 949E.
K7RVX Rating: 2013-06-24
Great Little Tuner Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought this tuner in early June 2013. It worked perfectly out of the box and I have been very successful this month on 80 through 15 meters. I use the MFJ-971 with my trusty old FT-817 and my Tokyo Hy Power 50-watt linear driving an 80 meter horizontal loop at 10 feet up. I operate at the 5 watt and 50 watt levels most of the time. If I get the "QRP or nothing" bug again, I will try the tuner's QRP jumper setting. So far, I can work about 90% of the stations I hear, even with all the QRN on 80.

I love all my MFJ products, especially the tuners. I've owned about a dozen MFJ products over the years and never had any difficulties with poor engineering or poor assembly. I had to get under the hood only once. An 1N34a diode got zapped by some ESD on the homemade ladder hooked to my 949E tuner. A 15-minute fix got it back on the air. That same tuner has been on line since 2003. My son (a new General) is now using it.
N6AIR Rating: 2013-01-24
Performs better than it looks Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This little tuner consistently works well. I've used it mobile, portable, and base and it does its job.

There are a couple of compromises you make for the smaller size. As stated in other reviews, there's no bypass feature which is sometimes nice to have. Also, the meter is a lot smaller so you are not able to fine tune as well as you would with a larger tuner.

It would be preferable to use a tuner with a larger meter if you are adjusting the length of an antenna during initial installation. But if you've done that already and all you want to do is set it for low SWR, this tuner will do the trick with little effort.

With a larger meter, you can fine tune, which for some strange reason is enjoyable, but you have to keep in mind once your SWR is reasonably low, getting it a micro-notch lower isn't going to make any noticeable difference.

If you want to eliminate loss due to SWR, this tuner will do it without a problem. If you enjoy plain around to see if you can get a long needle dip further than it's ever dipped before, get a larger tuner.

One nice feature of this tuner is that you can feed it directly with ladder line.

If you have the SG2020, it makes a nice portable package because they're the same size.

If you are going portable with the FT 817 and you just want to eliminate loss from SWR, get the Elecraft T1. It's a lot smaller.

On a couple of occasions I was in the field with the MFJ trying to tune a very poor antenna and I just couldn't do it but I've found that if the antenna is simply mediocre, tuning it is no problem.

I like my MFJ-971. I'm glad I got it.

AF2DX Rating: 2012-11-22
Best little tuner I ever had Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I had this tuner but I had all matching items for the FT 901 and the FT 902 so I sold the MFJ tuner.
I found that the tuning was very smooth and there was just about no loss through it.
Now that I have the ULTMAX -100 antenna and it works fine with a wire just hanging out of my window so I feel when operating under covert operations at night the MFJ tuner will do a better job So since I had one I have to give it a 5+E
It's a great little tuner and I used it with my 20 meter SST and the tuner was in line but I sill worked Canada and Germany.
One thing I hear from many hams, is the soldering is poor on some tuners so always check them and go over questionable solder joints.
I will be ordering one from HRO tomorrow.
I had the first one for about a year
WP4OEK Rating: 2012-08-27
It Works... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I'm using this tuner as a base setup on my Icom 718 and it works.
G1YGJ Rating: 2012-06-20
It works well! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had mine some time. Bought used and quite cheaply.
There was a connection problem at the transmitter SO239, turned out to be a loose soldered joint, so that was a quick and easy cure.
I've also had RF burns through the grub screws in the tuning knobs. I cured this by pushing Blu Tac into the holes which now insulates my fingers from the offending item!
The unit works very well and is fairly quick to tune at low or high power.
I use it in my small shack and also for portable/holiday use and for club special events etc.
I am in fact so pleased with it that I'm looking for a second one to save me having to take this one out of the shack every time I want to go and use it elsewhere.
Yes, I am very happy with it.
KC8JWA Rating: 2012-04-03
Works for me Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased used from Ebay. Tunes my antennas well, use it for both my PSK-20 and my MFJ-9420.

Took a bit to figure out how to read the power meter correctly:
Divide the readings by 10 if you have the meter set for low power.
For example if the meter is reading 50 AND you have the push button switch in the back set for low power it will read as 5 watts (50 divided by 10 equals 5)
M0UKD Rating: 2011-06-01
OK QRP tuner with a few negatives... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Iv'e had this tuner for a few years and use it almost exclusively with the FT-817 @ 5w or less. It's good for 80-10m operation but not really 160m as advertised. It does not have a bypass switch, which is annoying when you just want to listen around the bands. It can give RF burns from the tuning knob grub screws or the nuts behind the knobs, so care should be taken there, especially at higher power levels.

I see the MFJ-971 as a QRP portable tuner, where it works OK. If I was going to do 100W portable, I'd rather take something like a MFJ-949E.

My review is based on the standard MFJ-971, although I have modified mine to cover 160m and included a bypass switch, of which details can be found at:

After these mods, I'd give it 4/5 but as standard it is over specified and lacking the bypass switch, so I say 2/5 - Needs help!