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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
DG8VE Rating: 2004-12-13
200W? No way! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the MFJ 971 for QRP. But I've chosen this one, because of its capabilities up to 200W. But with my TS520SE with 30W output, no way. The 30W burnt the Inductance switch, with the power switch switched to 300W. Really awful!

As I said, good performance for QRP here 4 out of 5. But overall a clear1 out of 5!
KB3JLZ Rating: 2004-09-20
Works fine! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Bought mine "used" on ebay to go with my SGC-2020. This guy works really well! So far, it has loaded up anything I have thrown at it. from verticals to a doublet with 300ohm ratshack twinlead. No sweat! I just make some notes as to the settings for the band/freq and use that as a guestimation for the next time.

Only thing I would like to see is a bypass switch. Makes it kinda fussy when I use my MP1 portable screwdriver. Need to see the meters but I can get the swr pretty darn close with the MP1.
K7VO Rating: 2004-09-15
Small, convenient tuner. Construction isn't great. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought the MFJ 971 when I picked up a Patcomm PC-9000, a rig capable of putting out 40W, a couple of months ago. The Mizuho KX-QRP tuner I was using (brilliant--see my review under QRP accessories) only handles 10W through power. The Patcomm rig is gone but the MFJ tuner is a keeper.

The MFJ-971 is a nice, small package with a lighted cross-needle SWR meter built in. Rated maximum through power is 200W. It's a conventional T-match design and so far I haven't found anything I can't tune with it. The meter has three scales: 300W, 30W, and 6W. A push button switch on the back of the tuner selects between 30W maximum and one of the other two scales. Two internal jumpers are used to set that second scale to either 6W or 300W with the latter being the default. The meter is roughly an accurate in an "in the ballpark" sort of way. For checking SWR it's fine. A precision instrument it's not. Frequency range of this tuner is 1.8-30MHz. If you need 6m capability you should consider either a larger tuner or something like the Mizuho KX-S9.

The MFJ 971 is designed to stack in a bracket with their HF QRP rigs and D-cell power pack. It can also be used stand alone and it's a good looking piece either way.

The tuner has inputs for coax, wire, or balanced line antennas. You can only use one antenna with this tuner unless you have a separate antenna switch. There is no switch built in. There is also no bypass switch: the tuner is always in line. When you have an antenna that is resonant somewhere you want to operate this is a bit unfortunate.

All in all the tuner is easy and quick to operate. I did take a look at the internal construction when I opened it up to change the aforementioned jumpers and this thing looks like a kit inside, and one that wasn't put together terribly well at that. The cheesy construction and lack of a bypass switch force me to rate it no more than a "4".

Considering the going price (under $100 new, about $60 used) this isn't a bad choice. The small size and the cross needle meter make it ideal for portable operation if your rig doesn't have a built-in SWR meter.
GM6LYJ Rating: 2004-06-26
Good Little Tuner Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have found this to be a good little tuner, it is my first. When I went HF after 22 years on VHF I needed a tuner and SWR meter, this proved a very ecconomical answer, and it has tuned most lengths of wire I have thrown at it, both mobile and homebase. Like another review here I found within a week that one of the capacitor tuning knobs was rough feeling, plus it was arcing internally, I opened the box to find that the red positive wire from the internal lamp was rubbing on the vains of the antenna capacitor as it was adjusted and had worn through. Potentially disasterous, but moved the wire asside and used a hot glue gun the fix the wire into a better position, "BE WARNED IT'S WORTH CHECKING", overall though a good buy, I would certainly buy more from this company
HP1KL Rating: 2003-11-07
Very good buy! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had my 971 a couple of years now. I used it with my FT-747 and now with my brand-new TS-50. It works great, but agree a bypass switch would be a great help, considering I also do a lot of SWL. I feed the meter light from the 13.8 VDC power supply through a couple of resistors to "save" the bulbs, avoid the glare, and to give it that "old time" radio look. I'm very satisfied with MFJ and their service.

Tony Conte - HP1KL
WR8Y Rating: 2002-12-08
PA3GMP is right.... Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought my 971 after first buying another MFJ tuner (I think it was the 949E). I wanted something to use mobile in a Ford Ranger with an Alinco DX-70. The other tuner was just too big, so I took it back and got the 971.

Good move, first off, it fits in the Ranger (attached to the ceiling ahead of the 2FM rig.) Second, this is the first cross-needle wattmeter I"v ever used. I like seeing the forward and reflected power at the same time (like with my Heath 2060 at home.)

The way these new radios cut back when they encounter reflected power, the 971 is like having an amplifier in the truck! (Without it, the Alinco is quick to reduce to about 25 watts with even an SWR of 1:8 to 1).

The first thing you'll notice about the 971 is that there is no bypass switch. I cannot live without one. Also, the balun isn't needed for coax-fed mobile antennas. So, I took the balun out and expanded it's mounting hole to install a DPDT swich in the back panel. This way, I can look around on several bands and see what's out there, then throw the tuner in line and tune up when I figure out where I want to be. It took just a bit of practice to learn to throw this switch while driving.

With the 971, I found that I can load a 20 meter hamstick on 20 and 17, and a 10 meter 95" whip on 10, 12 and 15.

As for the quality of MFJ products, I'v owned (let me think...) 6 of their products. I haven't had a problem yet, and this tuner is no exception. $99 for a tuner and dual wattmeter seems a good deal. One thing about the wattmeter, it shows 160 watts out on FM/CW on 10 meters - not likely!!!!! But, for the money, I"m happy - the purpose of the 971 is to get a good match for the Alinco, and it does that well.

K4ZAU Rating: 2002-12-02
Very nice Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Not long after getting my General Class ticket, I went across town to MFJ and purchased this tuner to use with my new privileges. I have tried it with several antennas and it is always easy to get a match, often 1:1. Inside the layout is clean and well-built. The manual is clearly written also. The knobs are a bit touchy, but I suppose this is because the tuning capacitors are small. For best results, it is necessary to turn the knobs very slowly, so be patient when making adjustments. Other than that, I am very pleased. Plus, the price is right and it's made in the good ol' U.S. of A.
N9XBG Rating: 2002-11-22
Great for the cost Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Hey they are cheap and they work, I had mine for 2+ years then did a stupid thing I sold it! Now I am looking for another one. It worked great in all the applications I used it in the QTH, at Field Day, Mobile, and Portable. What more can you ask for, and what more can you expect for something in its price range. I did not have to tighten a thing all was well when I got it and had it. If you want a great portable antenna tuner for a reasonable price this is what I would recommend...
N2XE Rating: 2002-10-24
High Q, Unit and the Inductor Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Let me say right from the start that I'm a big MFJ fan. I know all about the complaints but I really give this company credit for putting out innovative products at affordable prices.

I normally expect what I pay for from MFJ and have always been pleased. But this tuner really surprised me. It's pretty gosh darn good quality. Both the components used, the cabinet and fit and finish. What really pleased me was the beefy high Q inductor!

This thing actually matches the line rather than just dissipating power like the "autotuner" I have with ferrite inductors.

It handles up to 200 watts with a built in SWR crossneedle meter. WOOO WHOOO!

Nice job MFJ, thank you!
KC8HXO Rating: 2002-05-31
Nice little tuner!! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
No complaints, other than I do not think it should be advertised to cover 1.8 MHZ. I have run 100W thru her with no problems. Now in my truck with an Alda 103 (bet that's a new one on you- check reviews!). works to fine tune my bug-catcher on excursions across a band.