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Any opinions on the MFJ MFJ-826B?

Discussion in 'CB and Export Equipment and Accessories' started by Greg T, Sep 27, 2021.

  1. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    I'm looking for another meter that gives me a quick readout of my station. I'm currently using the Daiwa 901 HP but I question the accuracy. I kinda like the readout of the MFJ. Has anyone had experiences with this thing, good or bad?

    Thanx!



    https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-009547
     
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  2. NightThumper

    NightThumper Sr. Member

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    Greg T, first off I’m curious as to why you question the accuracy of the Daiwa 901 HP? With regards to Eham reviews it scores 4.5 out of 8 reviews and the MFJ 828B 3.3 out of 24 reviews?

    Make sure you’re meter isn’t in PEP when measuring SWR.

    I’ve never owned that particular MFJ product. However I have owned several other MFJ meters and the same Daiwa 901 HP you currently own. All of them needed calibrating which was either done against a Bird watt meter or a Telepost LP 700. None of them was so far out of calibration as to cause me concern. In addition they were more or less accurate based on frequency, power output and whatever scale I was using.

    Personally I think any MFJ product is a crap shoot with regards to build quality, longevity or accuracy. Since you’re already at $185 to $200 for the MFJ I would suggest spending $200-$250 more for a nice second hand LP 100 or LP 100A from telepost or a used Array Solution Power Master or Power Master II. I’d even consider a used Bird 43 with a single element for your current setup and using it to measure forward or reflect power…however it won’t do both at the same time. You could add elements over time as your needs vary. These meters do show up on QTH, QRZ and Eham from time to time.

    I just don’t think/believe the MFJ 828B is going to give you anything over your current Daiwa 901 HP other than digital readout and a relative frequency counter.

    Do you have someone local that has a bird meter to verify/confirm the general accuracy of your Daiwa 901 HP?

    PS: Say hello to my brother in LeRoy Michigan just south of Cadillac. LOL

    Brad
    KE0XS
    South of Pittsburg
     
    #2 NightThumper, Sep 27, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
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  3. fourstringburn

    fourstringburn W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member K5KNM

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    I used to have the MFJ-998 tuner which has a similar if not the same digital read out information. It also had a cross needle and the 2 readings agreed.

    Accurate? Good enough I suppose as I don't have a way to scientificly test it.

    The frequency display will jump around on SSB but this is to be expected on this mode. AM/FM with a carrier will stay steady.

    That meter like the tuner will have user choices of display info from digital numerics to a bar graph. That's what the numbers below the meter window refer to.

    Your Daiwa 901 should be accurate enough and is the most used and recommended on this forum.

    You can make your own quick dummy loads to check SWR accuracy by using 50 and 100 ohm resistors to reference 2 points within the SWR scale.

    For power, you need an accurate source. Remember, on cross needles like your Daiwa, the more accurate power reading is when the power needle is at half scale or more. The power scale of the meter needs to be in range of the power source at the mid point of the meter.

    You might just need a lower wattage meter for better accuracy.
     
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  4. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    Thanks for the responses. The quick story is that I run Yaesu ft 990 and about 2 years ago had the meter extremely accurately calibrated in a lab setting. When I tested the radio it was within 1% of a bird meter I used to have. That's a story for a different day, but suffice it to say I no longer have that meter. I have a Radio Shack meter that is identical to the readings on my radio. I also borrowed another bird meter with the pep kit and found that my radio was also within 1% of that meter. Now, today the Daiwa 901 I have doesn't read anything close on the lower scale, it's rather close midscale and again not even close in the upper scale. And it doesn't seem to matter what range I use whether it be 20 watts, 200 Watts, or 2000 Watts. I like the idea of the cross needle and the swr portion of the Daiwa is dead nuts. I just don't know where to calibrate my Daiwa, although I do know which pots inside will adjust what scale. If I adjust, say, the 200 Watt scale so that it's dead nuts accurate mid-scale, it's way off on both ends. I just can't trust it.
     
  5. NightThumper

    NightThumper Sr. Member

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    Definitely understand the calibration issue with the Daiwa as I experienced the same thing. My power output calibrations were done at full scale. So I did 20 watts full scale and then checked it at the 10 watt level. Did the same thing for the 200 watt scale and did the same thing on the 2000 watt scale all into a dummy load. That procedure seemed to get me better accuracy than calibrating each 20, 200, and 2000 at half scale. Before beginning I zeroed the needle on the meter. When I desired better accuracy I moved to a Bird 43P with 12 total elements. In fact I ran two Bird meters with one showing Forward and the other showing reflected. I then moved on to the Telepost LP-700. In truth the relative forward/pep readings from the Daiwa would be sufficient for most individuals…beats a Dosy.

    Good luck in your quest.

    Brad
     
    #5 NightThumper, Sep 28, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
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  6. fourstringburn

    fourstringburn W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member K5KNM

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    Here's a nice video on how to adjust your Daiwa meter


     
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  7. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    Well, I know my Radio Shack meter is calibrated to the radio which was dead nuts on target, so I guess I'll use that and calibrate each scale at the 2/3 mark.... roughly. I won't be able to hit the 1500 watts so I'll calibrate it at whatever my RS meter says. Also, I'll have an issue with average power because my radio is too hot for AM into my amp. But, the vid gives me something to go on anyway and I'll be able to get close to what I need. This info is much appreciated!

    PS; Although, I could throw a 100+ W carrier into the meter using FM or CW. I am assuming these calibrations should be done on average power setting
     
    #7 Greg T, Sep 28, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
  8. Low_Boy

    Low_Boy Sr. Member

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    Daiwa will send you the calabration instructions. Diamond antenna handles the warranty. I own both meters. I am not too sure about the MFJ very happy in wattage display, high SWR alarm is not too accurate. To me it seems like the display is getting a bit hard to read is seems like it is starting to wash together. Like everything else I buy that is made by MFJ there always seems to be some sort of problem. My Daiwa seems very close to my bird. My first Daiwa did have to get exchanged it was way off calibration. So I guess there is bad quality in most everything these days.
     
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  9. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    Well, at the time I received the Daiwa, yes I had it checked with a bird. My radio and my RS meters were both nearly dead nuts with the bird. The Daiwa was only close on the extreme ends of the scales. The problem is that the Daiwa's inaccuracy is not linear. In that I mean, if I calibrated the 20 watt scale to be dead nuts at 20W, it may show about 7 watts at mid scale feeding it 10 watts. BUT, if I cut the feed down to 2 wats it would be showing 4 or 5. If I calibrated the 20W scale to 10 watts, then both ends would be off. Feeding 20W would show about 16 and 2 W would show 5. Again, 10w would be dead nuts. I found this to be true on all three scales. The thing is, I can learn it's idiosyncrasies and compensate, but I'm a bit OCD about this stuff. I just think when you pay good money for something it should do what it was designed to do. I think what I may do is calibrate the 20w scale to midpoint and then take note of how far the extremes are off. Then I'll calibrate the 200W scale to about 1/3 scales because it would be close to where my radio is barefoot. I'll calibrate the 2k scale using my DX-500 but wil have to use pep mode because my radio is too hot to drive a carrier into the amp.

    BTW, LeRoy is over 300 miles from here! LOL. I'm up in the U.P.
     
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  10. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    Possibility I did get a bad one, but that's water under the bridge now. I guess I'll just make it work the best I can for me and call it good.
     
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  11. NightThumper

    NightThumper Sr. Member

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    That’s a shame about your Daiwa. When I owned mine I noticed the same thing when measuring lower wattage however not to the degree you are experiencing. You could order the MFJ from DXENGINEERING or HamRadioOutlet and give it a try. If it’s not up to snuff then return it although they may charge a restocking fee…that said if you’re careful you could re-pack it and return it and may not get charge a restocking fee. So far I’ve not been charged a restocking fee by DXENGINEERING.

    Best suggestion is what you said, “learn it’s idiosyncrasies” limp by until you’re able to spring for a Bird, LP100A or something else.

    You’re really up there in the U.P….don’t they call you folks Upee’s or something like that? I think you folks are tired of all your tax dollars going to fund Detroit.

    Brad
     
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  12. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    Yea, I'm 150 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge. Cross the bridge, head straight on US2 for 2.5 hours and never turn off. Comes right thru us.

    I'm going to see if I can find a happy medium in the scales and leave them at that. As I said, I like not having to screw with setting and flipping switches to check reflect. The cross needle is handy. Over all, I love the meter, large, lighted, peak holding, etc.
     
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  13. Slowmover

    Slowmover Elmer

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    Yoopers
     
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  14. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    Yup. Yoopers vs Trolls!
     
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  15. Greg T

    Greg T 945 (Jazz Singer) Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    UPDATE!
    I did manage to get the Daiwa pretty close. On the 20W scale now, the radio on 10W the Daiwa shows 11W. That's fine. On the upper end of the 20W scale, the radio showing 20W and the Diawa shows about 18.5. Close enough.

    The 200W scale was not so cooperative. I calibrated it in the middle (100W) and the upper end at 200W shows about 175W and the lower end at 30W shows about 20W. That's too much difference for me.

    The 2kW scale I could only calibrate in the middle, since I only have a max of about 500W. I calibrated it with my RS meter, which was calibrated with my radio, which was calibrated at a lab. The average and the pep settings are not the same though, even with no modulation. But! All is okay for what I need. Thanx for the input, guys!
     

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