“Last week I purchased the MFJ-1026 ‘noise canceling signal enhancer’ and I posted two blogs with video about it. Initially the device seemed as useless as it is good looking but then I found a configuration where the device is not only pleasant to have but also useful for radio listening.”
Part 1: MFJ-1026 deluxe noise canceling signal enhancer
Using a GRAHN antenna, (a VENHORST wire antenna for noise reference), the iCOM R8600 radio and optional bhi DSP audio noise canceling, trying to see what’s the best way to cancel noise — on the antenna entry point of the radio or at the speaker output end.
In this case the MFJ-1026 seems ineffective. The DSP at the audio output end works well and easy.
I have also tried two GRAHN antennas on the MFJ-1026, one for MAIN and one for AUX but that was also not noticeably effective yet.
I will also try the little whip antenna that MFJ supplied with the box. Further tweaking may turn out to be helpful on some other frequencies / signals.
Before installing the MFJ i used the little TECSUN H-501x to scan the room for any devices producing radio noise. It turned out that the two Apple Homepods sit in a dense cloud of radio noise, the Macbook Pro also radiates noise, EVE smart plugs controlling lights also produce radio noise, two little label printers s well and the HP printer/scanner too. So I moved those to the other end of the toom or to another room.
So far the MFJ-1026 does not do any harm and it looks good on the desk so as a box with buttons it is very pleasing in itself.
The MFJ-1026 arrived with some odd tiny ‘spider hair’ inside over part of the circuit board. I checked with the dealer and they explained it’s web threads left there by the glue gun that was used to fixate some parts on the board.
Part 2: MFJ-1026 can actually work
It can be a challenge to find antenna configurations where the MFJ-1026 actually improves the radio listening experience. The first few days of trying the device seemed transparent and switching it ON or OFF did not make any difference to the radio. Neither did any of the settings of the front panel dials change the signal at all. I tried a wire antenna as MAIN and the MFJ whip as AUX, the wire as AUX and one of the GRAHN loop antennas as MAIN, both GRAHN’s next to each other on the desk, a GRAHN away from the radio and the whip as AUX. None of that nor any dial combo made a difference and it seemed the MFJ-1026 was transparent / indifferent.
Now I found one configuration that works on a frequency that I tried.
Both GRAHN antennas are somewhat distant from the radio. One is on MAIN and one on AUX of the MFJ-1026. While alternatively dialing MAIN and AUX to the max exclusively, I tweaked the direction and toggle options of the GRAHN antennas to each their optimal signal. Next I used them both and used their dials on the MFJ-106 to have them deliver an equally strong signal. Next I turned the PHASE dial and it turned out the most clockwise position had least noise.
Next, switching the MFJ-1026 to the OFF position (this feeds the MAIN antenna direct to the iCOM IC-R8600 radio) delivered a noisy signal as can be heard after a second or two. Switching the MFJ-1026 back ON considerably improved the signal as can be heard after a second or two.
Still, the most significant ‘cleanup’ of sound is done by activating the little bhi DSP device 😉
Thank you for sharing your experience with the MFJ-1026, Frans!
I recall John Fallows (VE6EY) speaking about how to optimize noise-cancelling devices when he was a guest on the Ham Radio Workbench podcast; click here for more info. The topic was on diversity reception, but if I remember correctly he also spoke about noise-cancelling devices like the MFJ-1026 as well.
Readers: Check out more of Frans’ radio work at his blog Kostverlorenvaart.
If you have an MFJ-1026 or similar device, please share your experience using it in the comments! Click here to check out the MFJ-1026 at MFJ Enterprises.