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Reviews For: MFJ-986

Category: Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks

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Review Summary For : MFJ-986
Reviews: 80MSRP: 330
Covers 1.8-30 MHz
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
G6NWF Rating: 2023-05-11
Good components - poor QC Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Purchased used.

The control knob for the capacitor was fitted wrongly - about 90 degrees out. Two minute fix when I found the imperial allen key set.

Amazing to think several other owners had probably thought WTF is going on with this thing, but not thought to sort it out.

Slight evidence of arcing to chassis so added some 1mm PTFE sheet to abate that issue should I ever try and tune a screwdriver or similar ;)
W0BKR Rating: 2021-04-06
Good Tuner - weak design in spots Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Couple of nits I have with this tuner. Turns counter rides off a belt of O-Ring to the main crank so yes, it slips a bit now and then which will throw off your turns reading. Should have used gears directly. Meter is glued to the front panel. WTF? Too expensive to use mounting hardware or too cheap to design it that way. Anyway, a decent tuner but could use some beefing up on the weak points mentioned.
KF5TPT Rating: 2021-04-01
Great tuner Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the 986 used in 2013 and have used it ever since with absolutely zero issues. I tune up initially at a low power setting then tune again at my operating power. I am limited to 800 watts from my 811H so I cannot comment on how it will act at legal limit but from what I see it should not be a problem. Mine seems to be well built and very reliable. In point of fact I own and use numerous MFJ products and have never had an issue with any of them. I do not understand why their reputation is so low.
WB8CAC Rating: 2020-09-05
Sorry, But I love it! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I was GIVEN this tuner by someone who hated it and was going to throw it away after several failures to sell it at swaps.

I took it apart and made sure everything was clean and tight. Put it together and on the air. I'm using it with a G5RV on all bands. Even use it on 160 (tie both sides of the feedline together and run it against station ground). The thing hasn't skipped a beat.

I made a quick reference chart for settings on each band segment I operate. I've found repeatability ( ? ) of settings to be quite good.

If I had to fault it at all it would be on accuracy of the watt meter. But then I remind myself that I didn't need a wattmeter, I needed a tuner, and got one... free.

Over the last thirty-something years I've used many tuners and like this one more than anything else I've used.

Oh yea, forgot to mention that I have not tried running more than 400 watts into it. Can't say how it works at higher levels.
KD3KO Rating: 2019-12-07
Terrible Customer Support Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
New MFJ 986 and immediately problems. Cut my hand on the front of the tuner near the Inductance knob corner after unpacking.Front edges on both sides had missing paint and metal burs. The tuner had no rubber feet. The ground post in the rear spun freely. Called MFJ and yes these are issues but " This is nothing major" Huh? Told me to return to my retailer for refund if I couldnt accept these issues. Only my 2nd MFJ item in 40 years of hamming and never buy MFJ or affilates again. MFJ didnt even care. I better keep using my Palstar. Lesson learned!!!!!!!
KC7MF Rating: 2018-06-06
Reliable and Effective Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I like this tuner very much. It tunes whatever I throw at it. It has never wavered. With two knobs it is easy as it can be to tune. I currently use it with a non resonate horizontal loop antenna and a double bazooka and it tunes both of them dead flat.

You hear a lot about tuners that will tune anything and this may just be one. I have used it with a wide variety of antennas and it has yet to fail me.

Mine is well constructed.

A word about MFJ. Others may have experienced a problem with one of their products. Indeed I did with a power strip. MFJ replaced it immediately and that was that. Without this company the hobby would be in trouble. MFJ makes good quality items here in the USA. My tuner is just one example of a trouble free MFJ item. When things work well often don't comment on them. Only when there is a problem do we hear about it. To rate a product that works well a zero or a one because it required repair is disingenuous to say the least.
G4VWT Rating: 2018-03-15
great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Had one a couple of month,from new,tunes every thing I have thrown at it ,love the fact it only has two nobs to adjust ,if you are going to tune it while transmitting high power ,more fool you,set it up on 50 watts or so and you will have no problems with it

Barry ....G4VWT
N5LAZ Rating: 2018-01-23
Update to Prior Review Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Since the review I completed on this product some time ago (it's here in Eham Reviews), my MFJ-986 has had a major arc-over/meltdown (behind my modest Heathkit SB-200) that has hopelessly carbon tracked the roller inductor's insufficient dielectric coil-form material (it ain't ceramic). No amount of cleaning can avoid re-arcing in the same area. Okay, the inductor is easily replaced (and it's reasonably priced, but all told I'll have well over $400 in this tuner); however, the coil is back-ordered at MFJ for at least 4 weeks (their estimate). I broke down faster than than a cheaply built piece of ham equipment and ordered the tuner I should have purchased in the first place. My advice: Pay more up front. You'll probably spend that regardless.
W7MHZ Rating: 2017-02-19
Had old one now bought new Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I was and still am a big fan of the old MFJ-986 but recently had a gift of a new one from my Son.
It works equally well but I found out after initial disappointment... that the red button that turns on the lights must be pushed in to power the metering system... even if you just install the 9 volt battery and have no intention of using the lights. This info was not in the manual... I learned it after sending the tuner in for repair.
KC5UUS Rating: 2016-09-03
won't tune Time Owned: more than 12 months.
had mine about 4 yrs. it incrementally over time started not tuning on 20 and 12 and 15 meters, kept on tuning on 40 so i stay on 40 now its quit tuning on 40 i dunno whats up I've had the cover off for a few days trying to figure it out,, shouldn't i be getting continuity through the blue plastic capped bundle of wires in the back? I'm not, maybe these little diodes or resistors or whatever they are are bad i dunno, but wow i sure thought it'd last longer than 4 years