The MFJ-1886 is an “entry level” amplified receiving loop that offers an amazing bang for the buck.
The build quality is simply outstanding. It is even beefier and I think better than the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP in this regard.
The amplifier is very respectable. Its certainly low noise and really makes a big difference. At $200 on an open box never been used sale – this was a big score. FUN.
But the amplifier on the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP is its “secret sauce”. The signal level on the Wellbrook is about twice the MFJ, but I will say, both have a very low noise floor. I am extremely impressed with both loops – and for different reasons:
I’d love to have the MFJ loop with the Wellbrook amp – that would be Nirvana . . .
OK, NOW I Finally have the NCC-2 living up to its hype (and I think pretty darn high price).
With the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP and MFJ-1886 as receive only mode inputs into the NCC-2, serious magic finally happened. I need to mention that having each RX loop on a rotator is a YUGE deal. I can completely switch between the Oakland Airports TSA 10 watt radio station to a high powered ESPN AM station in San Diego on 1.7 mhz. This is even better than a K9AY loop for sure – and is at least as good as a SAL Array, probably better.
One of the things I did was put the MFJ-1886 up higher and above the roof than the Wellbrook – which is next to a creek and not near anything man made for at least 30′. The combinations of XY and Z are mind boggling. This is such a great RX solution for the low bands, I am very surprised that others haven’t crowed about this. It really is a way to get near beverage performance on a small lot – and where you can use a couple simple antennas with rotators to electrically and physically steer the nulls and signal. The NCC-2 gives you the phase angle you need depending on the direction the DX is.
I just checked the EZNec model, and the RDF is just a tiny bit better – from 8.8 dB to 9 dB. I don’t know if this means anything, but the model for a loop up as high as the MFJ is does add 1 dB gain over the Wellbrook that is just above ground by 3′ or so.