- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | Butternut HF5B Mini Beam Help

Reviews Summary for Butternut HF5B Mini Beam
Butternut HF5B Mini Beam Reviews: 11 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $595.00
Description: 10,12,15,17,20 Meter Butterfly Beam
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Butternut HF5B Mini Beam.

Page 1 of 2 —>

NK8L Rating: 5/5 Nov 8, 2012 16:07 Send this review to a friend
Big Bang for the Money  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the HF5B in 1992 and just rebuilt it this Spring. I used DX Engineering aluminum blocks and new teflon coated wire for the spreaders...the results can be seen on my QRZ page.

The antenna has performed beyond my expectation as it had replaced an older Cushcraft A3. Good gain on all the bands except 17M and good FB & side rejection. Even on 17M I get good side rejection. My unscientific results are compared to an Alpha Delta inverted Vee.

I use a solid state amp with my OMNI VII putting 500-600W to the beam for DX and get through most of the time even in large pile-ups.

The difficulty in setting up has been covered in other reviews, but if you take your time and follow the written instructions it turns into a great beam for it's size. No regrets on my part for buying this mini-beam.
K2PAL Rating: 5/5 Sep 28, 2012 05:39 Send this review to a friend
A good compromise antenna.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A good antenna.
Be careful when installing, check that all the parts in stock.
I have two small parts are a different size.
I recommend to all who have little space.
M0KCM Rating: 4/5 Mar 13, 2012 13:27 Send this review to a friend
Remarkable antenna for its size.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Having a small plot for antennas, I'm unable to put a normal 'triband' yagi in the air, so for many years I'd been using a Mosley Elan Trapmaster for 10 & 15M. My DXCC scores on these two bands have pretty much peaked, so it was time to look at improving my scores on 20, and starting to work the world on 12 and 17metres. Having looked at the options for several months, I decided that the HF5B was the one for me, and as luck would have it a second hand one appeared for sale close by. It was partly assembled, so it didn't take too long to finish the build process.

Tuning. I can not add any more to this lengthy and tiresome process that the others havn't already said. After manually raising my mast 8 - 10 times, I now have swr 1.5:1 or lower across all five bands.

Everything I'm working on 12 and 17 is a 'new one' and to work St Helena with a couple of calls was a pleasant surprise. Even better was cracking a huge pileup on 15M into PJ7.

I'm sure in time I'll see that on 10 and 15 it's not as good as the old Mosley, however the benefits its already giving on the 12, 17 and 20 metre bands mean that its already proving its value.

If I had more real estate, then I would be looking at a bigger antenna. But for now it's the best option by far.
NU4B Rating: 5/5 Sep 22, 2011 04:08 Send this review to a friend
Always worked well for me  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used this antenna and the older HF4B for close to 30 years. It has done the job for me when living in a townhouse and when living in my own home. The antenna, like other mini beams are for those that are unable or don't want to fool with a full size tribander.
One thing that is nice about the HF5B is that it is also a 2 element beam on 12 meters rather than a rotating dipole like some of the other products out there. And the driven element/director set up on 12 is a real kicker. It is a rotatable dipole on 17 meters and that is helpful compared to a wire dipole that may be hitched to 2 unmovable objects or a vertical. You can easily hear the difference when you turn the antenna toward the received signal.
I have not had any problems tuning it. The instructions are straightforward. The antenna holds up well in bad weather. Its lightweight so its easy to move around.
As always the higher the better but I've had good success mounting it on the roof with a 10 foot mast. I've literally worked the world running 5 watts to this antenna with the set up I mentioned (39 out of 40 zones and well over 250 countries). Its done everything I could imagine a mini beam doing.
M0BHN Rating: 5/5 Sep 21, 2011 15:25 Send this review to a friend
Great little beam a little more than a compromise antenna .  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Having a small plot dictated that i needed a 5 band beam with a small foot print,i purchased a ma5 mini beam by cushcraft some 7 months back,however i was not happy with it's performance mainly the forward gain was to say the least lacking somewhat.I am not knocking the cushcraft it did serve me well over the 7months that i used it.Anyway i decided to try another HF5-B so bought a new one three weeks ago,i can honestly say that this little gem beats the cushcraft on forward gain & front to back,in the three weeks i have used it i have worked many dx stations including Brazil,Indonesia,India,Middle East, North America & all over Europe.all on 100watts pep.I did have a problem with the 17/12 mtr capacitor on the driven element arcing,it seems that the rubber boot had leaked in a heavy down pour,however a few emails to Joan at Bencher & this is now being replaced free of charge under their 12 month warranty.
My overall verdict is that this is a great little 5 band beam with useful forward gain & back rejection,unlike the cushcraft MA5B that did not show that much forward gain or back rejection.

VE6KK Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2011 16:36 Send this review to a friend
Excellent small size HF antenna.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my HF5B up for over three years. In this time I have worked plenty of DX with 100 watts despite almost no sunspots and living in a gully with a poor view of Europe. Heard about 7 strong EU countries in 10 minutes this AM on 20 during a CW contest. I certainly had better performance from my TH3 at 53 ft. but in a better location and during the 70's! I keep forgetting to treat the Butternut as a real beam and wonder why I don't hear more until I turn it :) even on 17 m. the dipole has some directivity.

It is very true that the HF5B requires care in tuning it is a basic RF principle that reduced size antennas have a higher Q! I needed a couple of tries to get all bands to unacceptable VSWR but it is well under 2:1 across the 20 through 12m bands and much of 10m. I let my MFJ-993 tuner do the rest. Be sure to use a balun when tuning and a use very short (under 2 ft) coax jumper. I found that a junk box W2DU type balun was inferior to the recommended coax loop. I stood on the garage roof under the beam for tuning where I could reach the stubs.

My HF5B is on a Create CR-18 6 ft. roof tower and about 9 ft. of lightweight TV mast atop the garage about 25 ft. high. I turn it with an old CDE AR22 rotator. It has withstood 70+ mph gusts, ice, -45C and yet the tower is not guyed only screwed into the roof trusses and weighted by sidewalk block spacers on the 2x4's used across the legs. The HF5B is very rugged.

My review ratings are always based on how well a product does what it is supposed to do not whether it is suitable to my purpose. This has filled the need for a small antenna and it is accepted by my neighbours. I do plan moving to a 48 ft. tower and resurrecting the TH3 eventuallly, but I hesitate to lose even the 17m. dipole action of the HF5B. I worked several DXpeditions with it.

The HF5B nicely fills a need for a light (~20lbs) directive antenna with only 6 ft turning radius and 3 sq ft wind area. Be patient during setup and it will give many years of service.
N0JYC Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2010 19:17 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had this antenna up at 2 locations over a 10 year period in Minnesota. I bought it used for $150 and made the mistake of selling it when I relocated to OK. I found it tuned easily and was very directive. I had it mast mounted supported by the chimney. I worked over 250 countries with this gem. I highly recommend it.
N5GLR Rating: 4/5 Sep 9, 2005 08:42 Send this review to a friend
Works well for me.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My small backyard dictated a beam with a very small footprint. After researching all of the small HF beams, I decided to buy the HF5B when I found a used one for a good price. Mine was less than a year old when I bought it about 6 months ago. It's mounted on a push-up pole at 45 feet and the weight at the top is less than 30 lbs. (i.e. CDE45 rotator, short mast, and beam). "Wing span" is a bit over 12' so, I'm inside my property lines ... not hanging over my neighbors yard.
I heartily agree with other owners concerning finicky tuning. I'm still fiddling with 10 and 15 meter trying to get the SWR below 2:1.
This antenna has certainly highlighted the inadequacy of my wire antennas. The gain figures for this beam are given dbd (e.g. .3 dbd on 20 meter) but, I'm consistantly seeing at least 1 S unit (i.e. 6 db) gain over my inverted V on 20 meter. I'm very satisfied (and pleasantly surprised) with the performance. Of course it can't rival a full size tribander or mono-bander but, it has certainly improved my signal and I'm happy with it.


WN3VAW Rating: 3/5 Oct 8, 2001 18:01 Send this review to a friend
Finicky... but could be worse  Time owned: more than 12 months
Assembly of the Butterfly is straight forward. But you will find that tuning of it can be a bit of a pain. Precision is important, which is not surprising considering that it is a compromise antenna (to get the kind of coverage it has in that small a space). If you lack patience, then this may not be the antenna for you -- if you are patient, and especially if you are real estate challenged, strongly consider it. But keep in mind what it is you are buying -- it is a very good antenna within the limits of it's size and design, but don't expect more than you should from it.

When I assembled mine, I dealt directly with the old Butternut (pre-Bencher purchase) and the owner, Don Newcomb W0DN. He was of great assistance in tweaking it.

The Butterfly series came out a few years after the old Mini-Quad (yagi/quad hybrids) went out of production. Now that a new company is making what appears to be a direct knock-off of the Mini-Quad (or did they buy the rights to it? if so, why don't they use the name?), a direct comparision of the two antennas would appear to be in order!

73, ron wn3vaw
N7FFO Rating: 1/5 Oct 8, 2001 15:21 Send this review to a friend
Not very good  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have not been at all happy with my HF5B. The construction was somewhat straightforward, but tuning was a headache. Probably the biggest problem I had was with Butternut Customer Support. The gentleman I talked to was surly and acted as if I was interrupting him from something more important.

The antenna is somewhat directional. I think there are better antennas out there by far for a similar price. One is the hybrid quad sold out of Canada. Additionally, a small 3 element beam will get you more bang for the bucks with much better performance. In short, don't waste your money.
Page 1 of 2 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.