MFJ 1020C Active Antenna

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WA8ZTZ

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Got a MFJ 1020C Active Antenna on Friday and was able to give it a good test yesterday outdoors away from all the noise around the house. This is somewhat amazing as it is still Winter here in Michigan but the WX was spectacular with sunshine and temps in the mid-60s.

Anyway, used the 1020C with just its small whip antenna and fed the output to my Satellit 750. Only tried it on the AM broadcast band but my initial impression is favorable. Did this test during the daytime when the signals are stable. It performed better than my expectations.

WLW 700 Cincinnati, WGN 720 and WBBM 780 Chicago were all unreadable to barely readable on the 750s built-in ferrite antenna and not much better when the 750 was connected to a 50' wire antenna. With the 1020C and its whip, all 3 stations were S9+. Similar results were obtained with other weak local and DX stations. Overall, the 1020C compared about the same as the CCrane TCA in improving weak signal reception. However, the CCrane antenna has the advantage in being able to be turned and thus peak/null various stations.

My next experiment, when time and WX permits, will be using the MFJ 1020C with a small loop.
 

ka3jjz

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For those that don't know what ZTZ is talking about...

MFJ Enterprises Inc.

There are a few reviews on the web, and I think Larry Magne did a pretty positive review on this in a past issue of the World Radio TV Handbook

Mike
 

lmrtek

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I found that for am broadcast reception, the "Select A Tenna"
with my GE super radio gave the best results

the super radio is one of the best long distance AM receivers on the market and did good job in it's own

but when I added the select a tenna, I brought stations in loud and clear that were barely readable without it

the GE super radio was $39.95
and the Select A Tenna was $49.95
 

WA8ZTZ

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Another unusually mild February day here in Michigan, so as promised, here are the results of an experiment using a small loop (Grundig AN200) with the MFJ 1020C feeding my Satellit 750.

All the stations mentioned in my original post were received as well or better with the addition of the loop than with the 1020C alone with just its whip. In fact, the gain on the 1020C had to be backed off in some cases to prevent receiver overload. An added benefit was the ability to null out the stations. For example, there is a strong local pest TIS on 1610. Was able to null it completely with the loop and could hear another station, although very weak... probably CHHA Toronto.

Speaking of Toronto, tuned in 740 CFZM Zoomer Radio and between manipulating the loop and controls on the 1020C was able to hear it crystal clear.

Actually, the performance of the AN200 loop and MFJ 1020C pair produced results very similar to the CCrane TCA antenna discussed in another of my posts in this forum.
 

WA8ZTZ

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The experiment sessions described above were conducted on the AM broadcast band. However, the MFJ 1020C covers longwave and shortwave as well.

The MFJ catalog describes the 1020C as an indoor active antenna. However, all of my experiments were conducted outdoors so as to get away from the RFI/EMI indoors. The ability to use this unit indoors is going to depend on each individual situation as far as the RFI/EMI environment is concerned.

Taking advantage of yet another beautiful WX day, took the Satellit 750 outdoors again along with the 1020C. This time an attempt was made to hear some LW NDBs with the 1020C using just its short whip. This is quite a challenge but the 1020C did manage to pull in 10 beacons. Admittedly, four of them were local (within 40 mi). Best DX was 326 VV Wiarton ON @ 175 mi.

Trying out the 1020C on shortwave, the following stations were tuned in:
WWV 10000
WWV 15000
CHU 7850
Gander VOLMET 10051
NY VOLMET 6604
NY VOLMET 10051
various SW broadcast stations 19 Meter band
In every case, the MFJ 1020C with its whip antenna produced results equal to the Satellit 750 using its internal whip alone. This had me somewhat puzzled at first, but doing some research showed that when the 750 uses its internal whip on SW, a RF amp is switched in. The RF amp is switched out when using an external antenna... in this case, the 1020C. So, the 1020C was merely making up for the switched off RF amp.

No doubt, hooking a decent wire antenna to the 1020C in lieu of the whip would have produced much improved results both on LW and SW. Nevertheless, the performance of the MFJ 1020C has impressed me overall and it will become part of my listening arsenal along with the Satellit 750 and some portable antennas for my mini-DXpeditions to local parks.
 
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