Opinion on MFJ-1836H

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by WM5TS, Nov 4, 2018.

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  1. WM5TS

    WM5TS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am considering a MFJ-1836H antenna. Does anyone here have any experience with them? How are they on receive? I can get one to about 20' to 25 feet with what I have here. Can't really set up anything higher than that at the QTH at the moment.

  2. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    The same laws of physics apply to all antennas; horizontals like the cobweb perform well at half wave length or more at the frequency of operation.

    20-to 25 feet is OK (especially for the highest bands) but if you can manage another ten feet it should put more smiles on your face when chasing dx on 17 and 20 meters.

    We make do with what can put up and a less than optimal installation is still better than no installation at all.


    Jeff (I used to have a DIY cobweb at 35' and it was mighty good for such a small antenna)
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    ARRL reviewed the MFJ Cobweb antenna recently in QST.

    Look that up, it's easy to find (I think last month, or the month before -- I'd have to go look).

    A cobweb is a cobweb; the only differences among various designs is the materials used and how easy or difficult it is to assemble. I didn't just look but recall the review article was favorable.

    At 20' it will be NVIS on 40m (if it covers 40m) and probably a pretty high-angle antenna even on 20m, but it should certainly make contacts.
  4. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've yet to see any review in QST that was not favorable. The OP is wise in asking for experienced, non-advertiser biased reviews here.

    Btw, I've read in these forums that the MFJ cobwebs are decent but lack sturdiness in the balun box and element wires/connections, FWIW. Caveat emptor. Easy enough to build one's own via G3TXQ's tutorials online.

    Good point about the 40m dipole element, too (if it is the model with one which I think it is)---barely high enough for decent NVIS at 20-25'.


  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have...lots of them.

    But also remember they buy all the products they review and it's entirely possible that if the product positively stinks, they just won't bother publishing the review at all. That might happen, and I can imagine why, but I don't know.

    I've read lots of ARRL Lab product reviews that were not favorable at all. VHF FM rigs that couldn't be programmed or had out of band spurs; HF amplifiers with poor IMD; stuff that failed under test.

    I remember the antenna tuner comparison review article several years ago where there was a clear "winner" and a few losers including some that were really quite bad, and they published all the results anyway.
  6. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have had an MFJ-1835 up for about 2 years now... (Got one of the first ones produced; price was slightly lower as well.) It differs from the 1836H in that it is the low power version (I only run 100 watts) and it does not have 6m. (I later tried adding the 6m wire which I found extremely difficult to tune and eventually I took it back off.) It first went up at 25 feet then I raised it up to 30 feet. (it replaced a small mini beam I formerly had at 25 feet) I have worked quite a bit of DX with it (Africa, Europe, Oceania including Pitcairn, Baker & Howland and the recent VP6D Ducie DXpedition) and honestly, I don't miss the mini beam that much. (Of course, that's subjective... you don't really know what you aren't hearing.) :) I have a treeless lot and a relative high spot, so your mileage may vary with terrain. But I like it... (Would I prefer a full size yagi? Sure! Performance wise... but not for cost or upkeep.) I've even done a homebrew mod and added 30m to it. There is where I can make a comparison... it hears better than my 30m monoband vertical... the the vertical always gets better reports from the RBN system (it transmits better.)

    Before the 30m add on (at 30 feet) and then after:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The thing to remember about these antennas (cobweb) is that they are more narrow banded than a regular dipole (but they are more omnidirectional)... I need a tuner to work the complete band on 20, 15 and 10m. (A rig's built in tuner should be fine.) The WARC bands are small enough that it can be tuned for the entire band... EXCEPT when it rains. Rain will detune about any wire antenna... the question is by how much. I have used several 'compromise' antennas over the years, which were all more narrow banded than and as a result the detuning from rain was much more noticeable. Bottom line... rainy days, need to hit the tuner before calling the DX. ;)

    Physically... it's held up okay over the last two years with one exception... I should have painted the fiberglass. When I brought it down to add the 30m, I had to wear gloves to even touch it as the fiberglass was splintering off of the surface. My oversight... but then again, the manual didn't mention it either. Also, lugs attached to the wire sets were shoddily done. Someone crimped too hard before/while soldering and the lugs were prone to break. I cut them all off and soldered them all to a single lug (1 per side) which worked out better anyway... easier to attach. (The 30m wire I added is aluminum, so it's sandwiched between two washers.)

    Bottom line... having earned my 9BDXCC and gotten up to over 1900 band countries on 100 watts with antennas at 30 feet high or less... this ranks near the top of anything I've used. Sure... bigger, taller antennas would be better... not everyone will have a favorable location. I'm just saying, for what it is, it works and I am happy with it. And not being a guy with a garage or workshop, I found it worth the price (and likely lighter) compared to a 'roll your own'.

    My one caveat before I say, 'yes, buy one' is that you really should have an analyzer for tuning and more than that have some patience. The wires interact with each other and you need to follow the procedure in the manual. BUT you can tune it at around 6 feet off the ground and it shouldn't change all that much once you get it up in the air. It WILL change some but not terribly much.

    73 & GL!

    Kevin N4UFO
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
    K8AMD and NH7RO like this.

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