MFJ | 9234 | manual | MFJ 9234 - QRP LOOP TUNER, 10-40M, RIG MOUNT Manual

MFJ 9234 - QRP LOOP TUNER, 10-40M, RIG  MOUNT Manual
Mini Loop Tuner
Model MFJ-9234
CAUTION: Read All Instructions Before Operating Equipment
300 Industrial Park Road
Starkville, MS 39759 USA
Tel: 662-323-5869 Fax: 662-323-6551
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
Information in this manual is designed for user purposes only and is not intended to supersede
information contained in customer regulations, technical manuals/documents, positional handbooks,
or other official publications. The copy of this manual provided to the customer will not be updated to
reflect current data.
Customers using this manual should report errors or omissions, recommendations for improvements,
or other comments to MFJ Enterprises, 300 Industrial Park Road, Starkville, MS 39759. Phone: (662)
323-5869; FAX: (662) 323-6551. Business hours: M-F 8-4:30 CST.
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
The MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM is a small, versatile, high-efficiency device that turns any wire loop
into a high-efficiency multi-band transmitting antenna system. Designed to mount directly to your
radio, it is perfect for on-the-go operation. It is designed for 50-ohm use at QRP-power input on all
modes. Two items are required:
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM (Shown in Figure 1)
Wire Loop(s) (Not included)
Figure 1: MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
The MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM resonates various lengths of wire to create a Hi-Q tuned-circuit
that functions as a transmitting loop. It uses special low-loss capacitors for high efficiency and
interfaces the Hi-Q transmitting loop circuit with any length of 50-Ohm coaxial cable.
No ground, radials, or counterpoise system are needed. The MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM functions
with wire loops of any shape -- circle, square, rectangle etc. For highest efficiency, use wires
approaching one quarter wavelength erected in the shape of a circle.
The MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM uses fixed wire lengths to cover roughly a 1.5:1 frequency ratio
(28-18 MHz, 10-7 MHz, etc.). Exact frequency coverage depends on each individual installation and
involves your choice of wire length, loop diameter, loop shape, height above ground level, plus other
stray factors in the immediate operating environment.
Passive Network: No power supply required.
Maximum Input Power: 25 Watts, all modes
Small Physical Profile: 1.5" D, 2.75" W, 4.0" H
Low Radiation Angle: Radiation pattern rivals full size dipoles.
Quiet Reception: Loops make extremely quiet receiving antennas. Hi-Q rejects overload from
out-of-band interference, rejects transmit harmonics.
Indoor Use: Perfect for portable operation or antenna-restricted locations. Sets up quickly in
apartments and motel/hotel rooms.
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
The following WARNINGS should be observed when using your MFJ-9234 MINI LOOP TUNERTM:
DO NOT touch or make skin contact with the Loop
Connectors or Loop Antenna Wire while transmitting
The Hi-Q MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM can yield DANGEROUS RF-voltage potentials during normal
operation. Even at low QRP power levels, the resonant loop circuit can produce RF voltages capable
of causing extremely painful RF-burns on unprotected skin! When tuning or transmitting, always avoid
skin contact with the loop connectors and unjacketed loop wire. Also, avoid exceeding the
recommended power limitation (25W). RF burns can be exceptionally painful and slow to heal!
You must follow all PRECAUTIONS, WARNINGS, and FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to
Radio frequency (RF) Electromagnetic Fields
What Is Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation?
Radio frequency (RF) energy is one form of electromagnetic energy. Electromagnetic waves and
associated phenomena can be discussed in terms of energy, radiation or fields. Electromagnetic
"radiation" is defined as waves of electric and magnetic energy moving together (i.e., radiating)
through space. The movement of electrical charges generates these waves. For example, the
movement of charge in a radio station antenna (the alternating current) creates electromagnetic
waves radiating away from the antenna and intercepted by receiving antennas. Electromagnetic
"field" refers to the electric and magnetic environment existing at some location due to a radiating
source such as an antenna.
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
An electromagnetic wave is characterized by its wavelength and frequency. The wavelength is the
distance covered by one complete wave cycle. The frequency is the number of waves passing a
point in a second. For example, a typical radio wave transmitted by a 2-meter VHF station has a
wavelength of about 2 meters and a frequency of about 145 million cycles per second (145 million
Hertz): one cycle/second = one Hertz, abbreviated Hz.
Electromagnetic waves travel through space at the speed of light. Wavelength and frequency are
inversely related by a simple equation: (frequency) times (wavelength) = the speed of light. Since the
speed of light is a constant quantity, High Frequency (HF) electromagnetic waves have short
wavelengths, and Low-Frequency (LF) waves have long wavelengths. Frequency bands used for
amateur radio transmissions are usually characterized by their approximate corresponding
wavelengths, e.g., 12, 15, 17, 20 meters, etc.
The electromagnetic "spectrum" includes all of the various forms of electromagnetic energy ranging
from extremely low frequency (ELF) energy (with very long wavelengths) to all the way up to X-rays
and gamma rays, which have very high frequencies and correspondingly short wavelengths. In
between these extremes lie radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light and ultraviolet
radiation, respectively. The RF part of the electromagnetic spectrum can generally be defined as that
part of the spectrum where electromagnetic waves have frequencies that range from about 3 kilohertz
(kHz) to 300 gigahertz (GHz). Figure 2 illustrates the electromagnetic spectrum.
Figure 2: The Electromagnetic Spectrum
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
FCC OET Bulletin 65, Supplement B, Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human
Exposure to Radio frequency Electromagnetic Fields.
The FCC Office of Engineering Technology (OET) Bulletin 65, Supplement B, Evaluating Compliance
with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radio frequency Electromagnetic Fields impacts directly
the use and operation of the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM. It establishes safe operating distances
from the loop antenna and associated power levels in order to permit the operator and persons that
may be impacted by operation to exist in a safe, RF radiation hazard-free environment. Guidelines
for Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) are defined in Supplement B of the bulletin.
Use Supplement B in connection with FCC OET Bulletin 65, Version 97-01. The
information in the supplement provides additional detailed information used for
evaluating compliance of amateur radio stations with FCC guidelines for exposure to
radio frequency electromagnetic fields. However, Supplement B users should also
consult Bulletin 65 for complete information on FCC policies, guidelines and
compliance-related issues. Definitions of terms used in this supplement appear in
Bulletin 65. Bulletin 65 can be viewed and downloaded from the FCC’s Office of
Engineering and Technology’s World Wide Web Internet Site:
Under some circumstances, such as an antenna located unusually near humans, an indoor antenna
in a living space, or a balcony-mounted antenna a foot or so away from a neighbor’s balcony, the
FCC could require a station evaluation or take other action. Computer models of small HF loops, for
example, yield RF fields very near the antenna that are much higher than the standard amateur radio
station outdoor antenna installation yields. Therefore, when you use the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
in your Ham Shack, at a portable location (outdoors), or one such as a hotel/motel room, you must
take care not to exceed established MPE for yourself and others who may encounter the RF field
associated with your operation.
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
Controlled population exposure limits apply to amateur licensees and members of their immediate
household (but not their neighbors - see next paragraph). In general, a controlled environment is one
for which access is controlled or restricted. In the case of a fixed or portable amateur station, the
licensee or grantee is the person responsible for controlling access and providing the necessary
information and training as described in FCC OET Bulletin 65, Supplement B.
General population/uncontrolled exposure limits apply to situations in which the general public may
be exposed, or in which persons who are exposed as a consequence of their employment, such as
hotel/motel employees or overnight residents, may not be made fully aware of the potential for
exposure or cannot exercise control over their exposure. Therefore, members of the general public
always fall under this category when exposure is not employment-related, as in the case of residents
in an area near a broadcast tower. Neighbors of amateurs and other non-household members would
normally be subject to the general population/uncontrolled exposure limits.
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
A small loop antenna is characterized by low-noise reception. It typically works well even when it is
mounted at ground level and has a conductor length (or circumference) of less than 1/3 wavelength.
An "ideal" small transmitting loop can theoretically performance as efficiently as a large antenna, and
small loops often do approach that level of performance. However, bandwidth is always more
narrow due to the very hi-Q of the tuned-circuit configuration.
Components in a resonated transmitting loop are subjected to high current and voltage because of
the large circulating currents developed in the high-Q circuit formed by the antenna. It is important
that capacitors used in this antenna have a high RF current rating because even a small 10-25 W
transmitter may develop a peak current of several amperes. This consideration also applies to any
conductors used to form the loop or connect to the capacitor (a short piece of #14 wire may have
more resistance than the entire loop conductor). Soldered or welded electrical connections always
yield the lowest resistance.
The heart of the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM is the loop-tuning capacitor. When coupled to a lowresistance loop conductor, it provides high efficiency.
As the loop antenna is elevated, its efficiency improves accordingly. When traveling, a room at some
elevation above ground level makes for a better portable operation experience. At very low heights,
close coupling to the ground causes detuning and losses due to current induced into a mirror image
of the loop below the surface -- with resistance of the image loop proportional to soil resistance.
Another loss component is caused by current flowing in the soil via capacitance between the loop and
soil surface.
An operational height equal to 1/2 diameter of the loop antenna is recommended to prevent detuning
and excess ground losses when using the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM loop antenna system. This
means the tuner should be at that recommended height, since it is connected to the bottom (ends) of
the loop, whatever the loop antenna configuration: circle, square, hexagonal, etc.
For operation on the 14 MHz band and higher, ground losses are a minimum near ground, so it is fine
to operate on the ground floor. For the 7 MHz band and lower, ground losses become significant on
the ground floor. To reduce ground losses, operate on a second or third floor.
For minimum ground loss when operating near ground, the loop should be mounted vertically. For
higher elevations (relative to the wavelength), horizontal mounting will also give low ground losses.
Using freeware-modeling programs, it is possible to improve the efficiency of the loop antenna system
by varying the parameters until you optimize your particular operational configuration, even while
portable. One source example for free programs is G4FPQ’s Web site:
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
The MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM setup configuration is simple and consists of the following
RF Generator (Transmitter or transceiver, 5-Watts minimum) with built-in SWR/Wattmeter
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM
Coaxial cable(s)
Wire cut to approximately 75% of a ¼ wavelength at the chosen resonant frequency
Figure 3 is a block diagram of the typical MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM setup configuration.
MFJ–9234 Mini Loop
Figure 3: Typical MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM Configuration
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MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
The loop can be constructed from wire, tubing, sheet, and an especially good material is 1” wide PC
board. However, finding a piece of PC board long enough to form into a circular loop for 7.175 MHz
may prove to be difficult! This leads us to the unique opportunity to EXPERIMENT while using the
MFJ-9234 Mini Loop TunerTM to resonate the loop antenna you design. Here are some suggested
lengths known to work well:
MFJ-9234 Single-Band Loop Wire Lengths
40 -M
10 -M
Length (feet)
Length (meters)
MFJ-9234 Multi-Band Loop Wire Lengths
20/15 -M
Length (feet) Length (meters)
The applications and parameters can be adjusted easily with the help of the Freeware programs
previously mentioned, and you may choose to design a totally new and unique loop antenna for on-air
experimentation. Designing an outdoor loop for a band such as 7 MHz could be a challenge and
result in a very good radiator and especially good receiving antenna for DX-ing and/or rag-chewing.
We, at MFJ, think the experimental aspects of the Mini Loop Tuner TM are exciting, and can provide
hours of quality operating, even at QRP levels.
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MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
The most important aspect of using the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM is it opens-up opportunity for
Hams to once again experiment while enjoying operating at the same time. Imagine how exciting it
can be to establish contact with a distant station using an antenna that you designed for the first time.
Even more so, what if you are just using a few watts, and the antenna is just a few feet away from
your operating position inside your home!
Operation is simple, but must follow specific steps in a specific order. Moreover, you must have first
consulted the RF Hazards section of this manual to ensure compliance with established standards for
Minimum Permissible Exposure (MPE) to certain levels of RF radiation.
DO NOT touch or come into contact with Loop Connectors or Loop
Antenna while transmitting
Step 1
Place the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM at the chosen place of operation, typically directly to the back
of your radio and connect the loop antenna to the binding posts on the front panel. (See Figure 4),
next page.
Step 2
Using a pre-cut prepared wire and fasteners (non-conductive plastic clothespins for example) form a
loop to enclose as much area as possible (for example, clothespin a wire loop to a curtain around a
window frame). A circle encloses the maximum area. Otherwise, drape it across bookcases or similar
objects to fashion a loop of sorts to use
Step 3
Complete the typical MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner TM setup configuration as illustrated in Figure 3 of
this manual.
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MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
Figure 4: Typical Setup
Step 4
Make the following preliminary settings on the controls of the Mini Loop Tuner:
TUNING control to position “Low Freq”.
MATCHING control to position “Min C”.
Step 5
Tune the transceiver or receiver to the band and frequency of interest and “Ear-ball” tune the MFJ9234 Mini Loop Tuner controls for maximum noise and S-Meter reading. “Ear-balling”, like “Ballparking” is a term often used to describe the listening process as used to hear a “peak” in reception
before actually applying a transmit signal to the tuner. The tuner will produce a peak when the proper
positions for the controls are achieved. The normal process consists of the following suggested
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MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
Slowly rotate TUNING control clockwise while listening for a peak until you reach position
“High Freq.”
If no peak is found, re-position TUNING control to “Low Freq.”
Rotate MATCHING control counter-clockwise approximately 1/16 of a full turn.
Slowly rotate TUNING control clockwise while listening for a peak until you reach position
“High Freq.”
If no peak is found, re-position TUNING control to “ Low Freq.”
Rotate MATCHING control counter-clockwise approximately 1/16 of a full turn.
Slowly rotate TUNING control clockwise while listening for a peak until you reach position
“High Freq.”
Repeat this sequence until the MATCHING control reaches position “Max C”.
If no peak is found, the loop length is incorrect for the frequency of interest.
Once a peak is found, alternately adjust TUNING and MATCHING controls until the peak is
Step 6
Apply no more than 5-10 Watts of power to the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner and adjust the TUNING
and MATCHING controls for minimum SWR on your external WR/Wattmeter. Readjust the controls
until you see no further improvement in minimum SWR. Then, apply more power if required to
maintain communication (do not exceed 25 Watts).
Step 7
Be sure that MPE distance standard as defined in Supplement B of the FCC OET Bulletin 65, version
97-01 is met. Should any arcing be detected, stop transmitting and check connections and proximity
to objects that may be suspect. If arcing seems to be inside of the MFJ-9234 tuner, lower output
power and re-check for arcing.
Step 8
You can now enjoy operating in your favorite mode. However, if you change frequency more than
about 5 KHz, you may find you’ll need to re-adjust the TUNING controls for minimum SWR. Rotate
TUNING clockwise for higher frequencies and counter clockwise for lower frequencies. Even greater
frequency excursions can cause the MATCHING control to also require adjustment.
This concludes the MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner System Operation instructions.
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MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
If you have any problem with this unit first check the appropriate section of this manual. If the manual
does not reference your problem or reading the manual does not solve your problem, you may call
MFJ Technical Service at 662-323-0549 or the MFJ Factory at 662-323-5869. You will be best
helped if you have your unit, manual and all information on your station handy so you can answer any
questions the technicians may ask.
You can also send questions by mail to MFJ Enterprises, Inc., 300 Industrial Park Road, Starkville,
MS 39759; by Facsimile (FAX) to 662-323-6551; or by email to Send a
complete description of your problem, an explanation of exactly how you are using your unit, and a
complete description of your station.
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MFJ-9234 Mini Loop Tuner
Instruction & Technical Manual
MFJ Enterprises, Inc. warrants to the original owner of this product, if manufactured by MFJ Enterprises, Inc.
and purchased from an authorized dealer or directly from MFJ Enterprises, Inc. to be free from defects in
material and workmanship for a period of 12 months from date of purchase provided the following terms of this
warranty are satisfied.
The purchaser must retain the dated proof-of-purchase (bill of sale, canceled check, credit card or money
order receipt, etc.) describing the product to establish the validity of the warranty claim and submit the
original or machine reproduction of such proof of purchase to MFJ Enterprises, Inc. at the time of
warranty service. MFJ Enterprises, Inc. shall have the discretion to deny warranty without dated proofof-purchase. Any evidence of alteration, erasure, or forgery shall be cause to void any and all warranty
terms immediately.
MFJ Enterprises, Inc. agrees to repair or replace at MFJ's option without charge to the original owner any
defective product under warrantee provided the product is returned postage prepaid to MFJ Enterprises,
Inc. with a personal check, cashiers check, or money order for $7.00 covering postage and handling.
This warranty is NOT void for owners who attempt to repair defective units. Technical consultation is
available by calling the Service Department at 662-323-0549 or the MFJ Factory at 662-323-5869.
This warranty does not apply to kits sold by or manufactured by MFJ Enterprises, Inc.
Wired and tested PC board products are covered by this warranty provided only the wired and tested
PC board product is returned. Wired and tested PC boards installed in the owner's cabinet or
connected to switches, jacks, or cables, etc. sent to MFJ Enterprises, Inc. will be returned at the owner's
expense unrepaired.
Under no circumstances is MFJ Enterprises, Inc. liable for consequential damages to person or property
by the use of any MFJ products.
Out-of-Warranty Service: MFJ Enterprises, Inc. will repair any out-of-warranty product provided the
unit is shipped prepaid. All repaired units will be shipped COD to the owner. Repair charges will be
added to the COD fee unless other arrangements are made.
This warranty is given in lieu of any other warranty expressed or implied.
MFJ Enterprises, Inc. reserves the right to make changes or improvements in design or manufacture
without incurring any obligation to install such changes upon any of the products previously
All MFJ products to be serviced in-warranty or out-of-warranty should be addressed to:
MFJ Enterprises, Inc.,
300 Industrial Park Road
Starkville, Mississippi 39759 USA
and must be accompanied by a letter describing the problem in detail along with a copy of your dated
11. This warranty gives you specific rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to
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