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Reviews For: MFJ-860 Wattmeter

Category: SWR & Wattmeters & Dummy Loads

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Review Summary For : MFJ-860 Wattmeter
Reviews: 8MSRP: $44.95
This new MFJ Cross Needle SWR/Wattmeter covers HF thru VHF
1.8 - 60MHz-- for an incredibly low $44.95!
MFJ-864 Cross-Needle Meter reads forward and reflected power and SWR simultaneously at a single glance. It features separate HF and VHF/UHF directional couplers, each with its own SO-239 connectors.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
AE6ZW Rating: 2011-10-28
DUAL Cross Meter FB Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
meter reading is about same as my HF radio power meter reading, I posted pictures at my web site
W6CAW Rating: 2011-05-16
Excellent buy Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have 2 of them. Naturally you need to check all the screws are tight. You check your coax don't you? After you calibrate them they hold the calibration well. Great size for a go kit. I think those who expect lab grade performance from a meter in this price range are plug and play Hams with little real world experience. Keep coming back! I have lots of MFJ equipment I could not replace for 3 times the price I paid for them.

Earlier 5-star review posted by W6CAW on 2008-02-20

I can't believe everyone expects a $50.00 meter to compare to a Bird. I use mine between the tuner and antenna to get a relative idea on the condition of my antennas. The power and SWR levels I read are roughly equal to other meters I have which are also not Birds. I mean, once you tune your long wire to dip where you want it everything is what it is.
ON3RE Rating: 2011-02-06
Junk Time Owned: more than 12 months.
its a indication on a flat swr, nothing more.
if you youse it in this pupose its okay.

swr and watt is totaly nog accurate.
KB0SFP Rating: 2010-06-01
So much more junk! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
First, it has two scales 300 & 30 watt. The meter movement also has two scales, 300 watts & SIX watts! Someone installed the wrong meter movement. As has already been said, forget the numbers on the meter & just tune for max(or minimum), BUT WAIT you can't even do that!

MFJ is two cheep to use screws. Instead they use aluminum pop rivets that work loose the more you screw/unscrew the connectors. If that wasn't cheap enough, though the SO-239 has 4 mounting holes MFJ will only spring for TWO rivets. How many fractions of a cent can a 1/8" pop rivet cost? Pump 100 watts into one of these that the rivets are loose & see what happens. I've noticed this same technique on two of my later model MFJ tuners(MFJ-945 & MFJ-949). Both required repair.

DO NOT EVER buy an MFJ product without first checking the reviews on eHam!

Dennis Starks
Monitor(all USB):
3996, 5403.5, 7296, 14342.5, 18157.5
AG0AT Rating: 2007-10-15
Once again MFJ lives up to the moniker: Mighty Fine Junk Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought this meter on the advice, and against my better judgement, from the local Ham shop. I wanted something a little more accurate than the meter on the radio. It goes back tomorrow.
W6UXB Rating: 2006-03-25
You get what you pay for Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought this meter because I needed a small meter to go with my LDG Z100 auto tuner, I think I made a mistake out of the box it gave me a 1.5 : 1 swr on a 50 ohm dummy load on 40, I found it extremely inaccurate compared to my calibrated and tested many times KW 107 tuner/swr/dummy load. I re-calibrated it for 100 watt range but find that like the other gentleman that posted that it was very un-linear, looks good but performs bad. You get what you pay for.
KG0WX Rating: 2006-02-16
Meter quality? Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've been comparing my MFJ-860 to a Bird and a Radio Shack meter. The Radio Shack (#21-534) has a more even response to varying power levels - in other words, over it's range the MFJ-860 has more trouble keeping accurate with the other two meters.

I don't think it's the design of the 860 that's at fault here - IMHO I think the meter movement is at fault. If I adjust the 860 for a proper reading on the high end of the scale then the low end is off by 100%. My solution is to calibrate the meter for accurate readings at 75% of max reading then use the 30w scale for lower readings.

In another example, I calibrated the meter for accurate readings at 230 watts and at the same scale with 12 watts it says 25. If I calibrate it to read accuratly at 25 then 230 will show up as 200. The reflected scale does the same thing - a 1:1 reading on all the equipment can be calibrated but then a 2:1 shows up as a 1.7:1.

The Radio Shack and the Bird show none of these issues.

IMHO the meter is OK to keep an eye on your system so you can spot serious SWR problems but for accuracy the Radio Shack or (if you got the $$$) the Bird are much better tools.

I would have scored this a 1 but the price value makes it a 2.2


W8KQE Rating: 2005-02-15
Basic cross-needle meter does the job. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is a basic, functional, inexpensive dual scale (30/300 watt) HF cross-needle wattmeter. It works OK, and I have had no problems with it. MFJ does it again!