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Reviews For: MFJ-864 Cross Needle Meter. 1.8 - 60/144/440

Category: SWR & Wattmeters & Dummy Loads

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Review Summary For : MFJ-864 Cross Needle Meter. 1.8 - 60/144/440
Reviews: 12MSRP: 84.95
"This new MFJ Cross Needle SWR/Wattmeter covers HF thru VHF 1.8 - 60MHz, 144 MHz and 440 Mhz bands -- for an incredibly low $84.95! 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. This lets you connect your HF and VHF/UHF transceivers at the same time. You can then monitor SWR and power of either transceiver at the flick of switch. Others have a single set of connectors -- you have to plug and unplug to use separate HF or VHF rigs.

Power ranges: 30/300 Watts forward and 6/60 watts reflected Each power range for each band is individually calibrated. Schottky diodes are used for best accuracy. Single knob operation makes it easy to use and the meter is lighted for easy reading. " (from MFJ)
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
5B4AJG Rating: 2017-11-02
Over twenty years young..... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my MFJ-864 new from W&S (England) on 17th May 1997 it cost me 68:00 sterling (I still have the receipt) it has the crappy cream coloured facia! OK, it's MFJ and we all know their quality history with that agreed, this meter isn't the most accurate BUT it has stayed stable for over twenty years. With 0-30w and 0-300w power and vswr ranges I can say it works. I've never had to re-align it and it's been used on many field trips over the years. I had to replace the lamp last year and today I resprayed the top/sides, other than that, all I personally can say is "here's to the next twenty years!" Damn I never thought I'd say anything like this about a MFJ product........
73, M1EAR aka 5B4AJG.
K7DWO Rating: 2011-06-16
Doesn't Work Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Got this a couple of days ago. When I first saw it I felt like a kid getting his first decoder looked smaller and cheaper than the pictures. Ok, as long as it works, looks aren't everything. Tried to hook it up, couldn't do it, the inner socket of the chassis mount SO-239 is too small! I tried several plugs, got one part way in but pulled the pin out trying to disconnect it. I don't think I've ever had that happen before. Oh well, live and learn.
KF5FNI Rating: 2010-06-30
good wattmeter for the price Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Bought this wattmeter a few months back, didn't want to spend alot of money at the time. The readings are slightly off (measures 31 forward watts when the radio actually puts out 30), but it's good enough for measuring SWR's if you aren't testing for a precise reading. The meter is very small, if you have a hard time reading fine print I wouldn't recommend buying this one. I mostly use it for monitoring drastic changes in my SWR's in case of an unseen coax/ground or antenna failure, it serves it's purpose. The meter works smoothly & the accuracy is good compared to other meters within it's price range.

Remember, you get what you pay for. Obviously, a cheaper wattmeter isn't going to be as good as an expensive one. There's really no reason to complain, unless this economy meter is malfunctioning out of the box.
KC9MXZ Rating: 2009-02-15
Don't waste your money Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Calibration was way off when I purchased it. I checked it with 3 other meters which proved the MFJ-864 was defective.
After 4 days of use on 2 m and 70cm the meter simply stopped working. (yes it was hookup correctly)
I sent it to MFJ for repair. After waiting 3 months for it to be repaird I called them. After searching they found it but had no idea why it had not been repaired.
They fixed it but the fix only worked for about 20 min.
At that point I decided it wasn't worth wasting more money on, so I threw it on the shelf. I have since bought a used meter (different brand)at a swap meet which has been working great for more 6 months.
Now I know why my friends say MFJ stands for:
Mighty Fine Junk
It looks nice, has nice features, but probably won't work.
KC2VOB Rating: 2009-02-07
A wasteful product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Toast on 70cm, somewhat reasonable on 2 meters. Haven't tried HF on this one, so that's a maybe and we'll give it a 3. I exchanged mine for Diamond SX-400.
KM5TC Rating: 2008-03-09
Great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've borrowed a friend's 2mtr swr meter a few times, and thought if I could find one at a
fair price I should get one.
Bought the MFJ 864 for $30.00 at a recent hamfest,got it home and hooked it up. Worked as it should. Very happy with the buy after looking
in the MFJ wish book and saw that they sell for
$99.99 new. All though my use will be minimal,
now I don't have to borrow one.73's
W7SPK Rating: 2007-11-18
Works like it should! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Never had any problems with mine. I've got the older version with the off-white faceplate. Only use it on HF though, never tried on VHF/UHF.
I've always had good luck with MFJ stuff. I keep hearing these horror stoies but never had one myself. Good Wattmeter, highly recommend.
VA6CLA Rating: 2007-08-27
Mighty fine Junk! leaky! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Inaccurate first of all. When I fired it up on 144Mhz it splattered everything in the shack and house. It actually made me nervous standing next to it! Leaky junk, what else is there to say.

VA6CLA - Clay
KPAX1 Rating: 2006-04-18
Great on all 3 bands!!! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This meter is awsome. Picked it up at Universal Radio for $76. I still use a CB in the truck and this meter is very accurate on HF. I have a dual band in the shack that I run on a Comet GP3 and the VHF/UHF bands are very accurately read compared to my many SWR/Power meters. (Think I will sell those on Ebay since this MFJ-864 is all I need). You do not need the power adapter unless you really need the pretty meter light.
I think the previous poster blew his up reversing the input connectors. (You know, they are marked accordingly) My UHF band reads right at 1:5 but would expect it since my particular antenna is bench tuned to this rating.
Best equipment I have bought in quite awhile.
N8FJ Rating: 2006-02-05
Not Directional on UHF Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased this cross needle wattmeter back in 2001 as a general purpose resource for my ham shack. I have used it on HF on many occasions, as well as 2m because I had a 2m only antenna. I recently purchased a base station dual band antenna and used it on UHF. The SWR was really bad (as much as 3.5:1 in places on the 70cm band). I was ready to return the antenna but first I borrowed a friends UHF/VHF cross needle wattmeter which is known to be good. My friend's meter said the antenna is fine (1.5:1 or lower over the band).

Then I did a little investigation with a dummy load known to be good over the entire frequency range. The known good wattmeter indicate nearly 1:1 with only a hint of reflected needle movement. With the MFJ-864, HF and 2M were also fine with only a hint of reflected needle movement. However on 70cm the indicated SWR into a dummy load is 2:1 which is a reflected power of 9% to 10% of the forward power. Then I tried swapping the antenna and transmitter connections (forward power now on reflected scale and vice versa). NOTE, MOST MEETERS HAVE A REFLECTED SCALE WITH FULL SCALE 1/5 OR 1/6 THE FORWARD SCALE SO TRANSMITTED POWER MUST BE APPROPRIATELY LOWER. IN MY CASE I WAS USING A 50W MOBILE ON THE 300W SCALE AND, ON LOW POWER, 5W ON THE 30W SCALE. What an eye opener with connections reversed. The same forward and reflected power (e.g. 5W forward, 0.5W reflected, on UHF) was now indicated on the "opposite scales taking into account the swaped connections". 2M and HF were as before with negligible reflected power on the "swapped forward scale". The directional couple (for VHF/UHF, 3 parallel microstrip lines with the outer two including diodes, capacitors and resistors for forward and reverse coupling) IS NOT ADEQUATELY DIRECTIONAL ON UHF!!! By the way, I used it once or twice when originally purchased, with my mobile dual band antenna and attributed the higher SWR (do not remember exact vaules now) to the fact "that mobile installations are less than perfect". Also the problem seems to be poor directional coupling and not the strip line impedance. With the good wattmeter "in series" ahead of the MFJ-864/dummy load, the indication is 1:1 SWR (and the MFJ is still 2:1 as before)

Upon contacting MFJ support, the response is to "adjust" the calibration to indicate proper values without specific details about doing the calibration. One possibility, "desensing" the reflected reading to indicate 1:1, would work if the less than ideal coupling had a minimum at the perfect 50ohm match. However it does not. It is more like 25 or 20 ohms. In fact desensing at the 50ohm load I could only reach a lowest reading of 1.5:1 at the trimpot stop limit.

Bottom line. Thought I was buying a cross needle wattmeter good for 3 bands but in reality it is only good for 2 bands.