An Antenna Switch that works for me: MFJ-1700C

SwitchRight

The MFJ-1700C Antenna / Transceiver switch. Position ‘A’ at front right connects to the HT-37 tx / HQ-170 rx vintage station. The black coax in position ‘5’ is the lead-in to the Gap Titan DX vertical antenna. Note the ‘COM’ port that joins selected rig and antenna.

An antenna switch is a must have item for any ham who has more than one antenna. A really great antenna switch is a must have for a ham who has more than one transceiver. I needed a ‘really great’ antenna switch and I found one.

A little background, first. My old antenna switch was a 1:3 switch. You either attached one transceiver to up to three antennas or one antenna to up to three transceivers. It just depended on how you turned it around. This worked OK until the day I decided to transmit with one transceiver while having another one connected and turned on. My old Swan Cygnet (tube unit) no longer hears so well on 10 and 15 meters. Oh well, I learned. I also threw the switch out eventually when it failed. So much for cheap ($25) antenna switches.

Then I saw the MFJ-1700C. This unit looked too good to be true. It allows the operator to hook as many as 6 antennas and 6 transceivers simultaneously. You can simply dial in any antenna/rig combination you want. Of course it is still unwise (stupid) to have two rigs turned on at the same time. Otherwise this switch answered all of my requirements.

This view clearly shows the rotary switches, ground post, and the various SO-239 connections. I label the coax (see Ten-Tec at port 'E') so I can quickly and accurately dial in the current operating position.

This view clearly shows the rotary switches, ground post, and the various SO-239 connections. I label the coax (see Ten-Tec at port ‘E’) so I can quickly and accurately dial in the current operating position.

It comes with two rotary switches, one for antenna selection (positions 1-6) and one for rig selection (A-F). Just dial in the current operating setup and you are ready to transmit. You will also find on each side of the switch a connector labeled “COM”. You must either run a jumper between the two COM positions or attach them both to an accessory such as a SWR or power meter. The one meter can then be used for all of your transceivers. I elected to just run a jumper between them.

The MFJ-1700C retails for $99.95 (in latest print ads anyways; the MFJ website says $119.95) and is worth every penny. I purchased mine on Ebay from a private seller (estate sale, never used) for a nice discount. If you look around you may also find them discounted. The switch has worked without a problem for over a year now. I love it!

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4 Responses to An Antenna Switch that works for me: MFJ-1700C

  1. Lee Ratliff says:

    Very nice article. Thanks Ken.

    • Ken Carr says:

      Thanks, Lee. If you decide to get back into regular ham activity, this is a nice unit. I like MFJ equipment and refuse to join the crowd that enjoys making fun of it. They are priced way below competitors and are quality designs. Any problems I have ever experienced have been minor stuff that I was able to correct.

  2. pat says:

    hi ken nice article I managed to purchase one of these the other day to use with my six antennas with my yaesu ft920 was wanting to ask you about the com ports how would I set this up with my ft920 which has the atu built in
    and im also thinking of linking my old ft101e to it as well any onfo and pics would be appreciated
    yours
    pat
    in scotland

    • Kenneth Carr says:

      Pat; You just connect the antenna connection on the FT920 to one of the ‘TRANSMITTER’ ports on the switch and set the ‘ANTENNA’ switch on the 1700C to the port that has a connected antenna. The two COM ports must be connected by a jumper coax cable. Your internal ATU, when selected at the rig, will now be inline between the 920 and the antenna. It works the same as if you had no switch. The switch just allows you to select which rig is paired with which antenna.

      The COM ports must be connected to each other by either a single jumper cable or two cables with a meter or tuner in between. Placing a tuner across the COM’s would allow you to use an external tuner with a rig that does not have an ATU such as the FT101E. You could leave that tuner in place when using the 920 ATU but would have to select the BYPASS switch on the external tuner. If all you plan to run is the 920 you just connect the two COM ports with a jumper.

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