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Author Topic: chushcraft A3S triband antenna  (Read 1177 times)

Posts: 11

« on: February 16, 2008, 05:22:34 PM »

Anyone have or used the A3S cushcraft tribander ?? Im thinking of buying a new one, and wonder if they are worth the time and money to put up, also the A743 40 mt add on.

Posts: 23

« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2008, 05:38:06 PM »

I have its brother (the A4) and love it.

Posts: 21758

« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2008, 06:22:44 PM »

The A3S is a fine antenna.  The A4S is better, as it's longer, has more gain and defintely has improved performance on 10m because it's optimized there with a separate dedicated reflector.  The 40m add-on kit works well: No gain, but makes a very good rotary dipole.

As for whether it's "worth it," that's hard to answer...but I always recommend putting the $$ into the antennas.  You can't make a better station improvement any other way.


Posts: 2264

« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2008, 07:15:29 PM »

It's a good antenna.  Simple dipole style feed, easy to tune.  Couple of things if you should get one.  Cover the trap caps with a couple of turns of electrical tape or better yet, silicone tape used for fixing leaky garden hoses.  The vinyl caps split after a number of years in the sun.  Secondly, and most important:  Scratch the trap letter into the aluminum body of each trap BEFORE you put up the antenna.  Several years from now, if you need to take it down for a refurb, you'll be able to identify which trap goes where.  Two elements use traps that look identical, but resonate different frequencies.  The paper stickers that are on them quickly weather off.

Posts: 364

« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2008, 06:39:35 AM »

I had an A3S up for quite some time and liked it. With its 14" boom it suffers in front to back ratio as will other tri-banders with this boom length, but that was ok for me with ragchewing, nets, and casual DX. But a 14' boom tri-bander seems neighborhood friendly in the city where I live. I replaced it with a Mosly TA-33 which I found hanging in a barn and dirt cheap. Performance wise they are very similar. These are the only two HF beams I have had and I know both very well. The A3S has lighter duty but adequate tubing. However, with careful assembly it will last a good while. The torqueing down of the element to boom clamps is critical to keep them level and in line with each other. Too much torque can damage the boom, but they need to be very tight. I learned the hard way with an element getting out of line from ice and heavy wind. K3GM makes a good point with taping the vinyl trap caps. Penetrox or Noalox on the tubing joints is a MUST to prevent corrosion and freezing. I put a coax coil of about 8 turns, 6" diameter at the feed point for an RF choke. Used A3S's are available. I sold mine to a guy up your way. If you get a used one give it a thorough cleaning including inside the traps. And get new vinyl caps. With the telescoping tubing on the elements you can set them to any part of the bands you choose and have the SWR pretty flat for that portion of the band. Cushcraft and John David were very helpful with parts and advice. And with any tri-bander you will want to try and get it 38-40 feet high. It will work lower and at the same time I was advised that I would have to go to about 60 to 65 feet before I noticed an appreciable improvement  over the 40' I had it at. My email on the QRZ look-up is correct and you are welcome to contact me about me experience with the A3S. Since I have no experience with alternatives others have mentioned, I can't offer comment there. Bottom line in my opinion is that the A3S it's a decent beam for the cost.

My best to you and 73,
Russ, W8ATA

Posts: 45


« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2008, 07:36:40 AM »

Bought one in 1983. It has moved 4 times, been hit by a tree once, never been really cleaned or adjusted, and it still works like a charm. Can't say enough good about it.

Posts: 13

« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2008, 10:13:28 AM »

I purchased a used Cushcraft A3S tri-bander for $50 about a year ago. The cap boots were completely gone but the antenna was in excellent condition. I refurbished and optimized the beam for the PSK portions of each band. The antenna sits at 45 feet with the recommended coax choke balun. I have experienced excellent results with this antenna, and have been amazed at its performance for its limited size. I have worked the world with this antenna on PSK-31 with 25 to 45 watts and I am very happy with it.

73 de KE7MYL

Posts: 8911


« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2008, 10:32:39 AM »

I had an A3S up 30 feet at my parents' house back in 1999-2001 and worked the world during summer breaks from college with it and 100W.

It's a good antenna.  I didn't buy mine new... so I don't know about bang-for-the-buck but I always felt like I had a big signal on 20/15/10.

The fact of the matter is if you put up a halfway decent tribander at 30, 40 feet and compare it to simple wire antennas you'll be totally blown away!

Unfortunately mine was pretty badly damaged in a tilt-over tower accident (winch let go, be careful out there!) so it's probably not going to go up in the air at a future QTH at least not without some tubing replacement, but I'd be happy to have it up if I could.  

I kind of love the WARC bands so I'd probably go with a log periodic or a SteppIR or something if I put up a tower today, but that's in a different price class...

I think so many people have these and so many people sell them when they upgrade antennas that you really should consider looking around for a local-ish used one.

I'd probably pause and think before spending $500 on a new one just because there are so many perfectly good used ones out there that you could pick up for cheap.

It does a good job anyway... kind of of wish I had it up now, apparently some are hearing VP6DX on 10m SSB and I just have a dipole ;-)




Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.

Posts: 98

« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2008, 05:53:13 PM »


I used an A3 for a while with the 40M kit everything was great until the joints for the 40M kit started getting flimsy, it will need to be pinned for best results.
And yes do mark the traps....

I have since gone to mosley antennas and the A3 has been retired to my 50' portable tower.

73  DE  AJ4CU

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