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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Butternut HF9V Help

Reviews Summary for Butternut HF9V
Butternut HF9V Reviews: 76 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $604.95 USD
Description: Work 9 popular bands; 80 thru 6 meters with a single, highly efficient vertical radiator only 26 ft. tall!
Product is in production.
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KF7RNL Rating: 5/5 Jan 2, 2012 17:42 Send this review to a friend
Most bang for the size  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have had my butternut HF9V up for about 5 months now, and wow the stations I am able to receive and talk to. I recall at one time, I had a station on Argentina and a station in Alaska on the same frequency and was talking to both on a 100 watts! This antenna works DX from Europe one way and Australia the other way. Take care of it, feed it well and set up a good ground counterpoise and it will reward you with some remarkable DX. Lube the connecting pieces with a good conductive grease.

No need for an antenna analyzer, just tune it the way the factory recommends and the SWR should drop to less then 1.5. I tuned mine and I use a auto tuner. I have less then 1.2 across all the bands.

I live in a HOA restricted area, so I am unable to put up giant beams on towers as are most people or dipoles. My goal by this September is to work 200 countries with 100 Watts on SSB and I am almost halfway there.

Matthew Kent
KD8EZU Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2011 13:27 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna but needs an analyzer to tune initially  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My first and main antenna which is still hung up in the tree's ( at about 35 feet ) is a G5RV. It has served me well since I got my ticket in Feb, 2007. I would still be using it had not this Butternut HF9V "fell into my lap" for about $50 dollars. I hammered a 8 Ft copper coated rod into the groung and put 40 35 Ft. radials to help enhance radiation a ground conductivity. I initally had the antenna about 18 inches off the ground but was told ( by the Butternut forum group) to ground mount it with the " Q" coil no more that 2 inches off the ground. I then cut the antenna removed the antenna from the galvanized pipe and groung mounted it ( "Q coil is just about touching the ground but not quite touching) lashing it to the remaining " stub" of the galvanized pipe that was cemented in in the ground ( remember this sentence ). I then tried to tune it but could not manage better than 2.0 to 1 on 40 and 80 meters and the rest of the bands were " don't even ask" ( 3.0 + to 1 or worse!) The only band it seemed to work better on than the G5RV was 40 meters. I did all the tuning according to the manual but still no luck. The antenna was lousy. It was not until, by accident when upright AND supported by its four guy ropes that while tuning I noticed the VSWR that was previously terrible, was now excellent.I noticed that when I lashed it back to the cemented galvanized support pipe that the VSWR immediately went sky-high again. VOILA!,it turned out ( DUHHHH!!) that the short piece of pipe was detuning the entire antenna.... stupid me. I then wrapped rubber around the support piece of galvanized support pipe ( insulating it ) and lashed back the antenna ( with super big cable ties) to this support piece. Now I had decent VSWR on all bands except 17 meters, but still knew I could do better. Once again I followed the instructions in the manual but as, I'd get one tuned, it would affect the others. Back and forth I went to the antenna, so many times that there was a 'wear path" in the grass. Finally a fellow ham KC2MIB , took mercy on me and generously sent his MFJ antenna analyzer for me to use. With this analyzer it took me about four hours to do what two WEEKS had not done.....TUNE THE ANTENNA ON ALL BANDS. All bands are now between 1.7 to 1.2 to 1 with the exception of 17 meters which is 2.0 to 1 ( and I'm told that I'm lucky to get that ) .

How does the antenna work?

Well I can tell you that it's noiser, but in a GOOD way. What do I mean? You simply hear more that before. I was doing a A/B comparison between it and the G5RV and the signal strength difference is in most cases 1.3 to 2 Db . Because it is Omnidirectional ( with no directional lobes as a wire antenna or beam has ) you hear from all directions. I hear stations that others with Dipoles do not hear. On transmit I have worked more stations ( particularily Japan, than I ever did with my G5RV. It has great use on 10m and 6 meters which were just about impossible on the G5RV . Oh and all of this WITHOUT having to use an antenna tuner. No power being lost there. I can even use 17 meters without one but it probably would help. Now 80M really is resonant within a very ( VERY!) narrow window of about 100hz so if you live on 75\80 you'll need a tuner or have to make an antenna specially for that band.

The constuction of this antenna is first rate. Heavy duty tuning coils ( no wasteful traps ) and grade A aluminum. I do have mine guyed off , halfway mainly because of the tremendous winds we have in the mountains of WV that in my are blow 30-60 mph for hours on end during the winter months. Most people say it does not need guying.

Do you need radials?

In my opinion ( and Bencher's) ABSOLUTELY. The antenna is end fed and that means that one half of this "vertical Dipole " is the earth. With the earth being a piss poor conductor, you need to help it with not only a ground rod, but with radials. Bencher sells a counterpoise kit that many claim works well ( with just 8 radial ) but I'd go with a minumun of 16 or 30+ ft. radials being 26 or 30 feet long each. I eventually hope to get up to 80 once Spring comes and my 40 odd radials ( #20 wire stapeled into the the lawn ) have just about disappeard and I can run my riding lawnmower over them without contact. It is however tedious to initially lay them and staple them. Ross Radio's staples make even that do-able, and are really easy to use, affordable, and stay put. Great service from Ross also.

Is a analyzer needed for tuning?

OK, I will get flamed here but YES!. Without an analyzer the interaction between one tuning coil and the other will drive you to drinking. Very frustrated to get one band tuned and the a slight tune of another throws the overall tuning out of whack. The problem is, antenna analyzers are expensive and aside from antenna builders, what do you do with it afterwards? Borrowing one from a club or another ham is the only way. I tell you this, without an analyzer , YOU WILL spend days trying to get this antenna tuned. It is worth it though once you get resonance on most bands .

In summary, to have one space saving antenna ( well with radials you need space ) that does 80 to 6 meters without a tuner ( 80M needs tuner ) is just so nice. It is expensive new but lots are available used, probably because people gave up on tuning them!. You must run radials and the more the better.
K3ROJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2011 15:21 Send this review to a friend
160 through 6M  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
We have a vacation home in WV at 2300 feet and decided to get a good vertical which could also work on 160 meters. The 160 meter kit detuned 80 meters somewhat but was able to bring it back. The ground in WV is rather rocky but were able to lay a few radials and also tie into the water supply line. I have no problem at all working CW on 160 meters and since we use a Flex Radio 5000A with the second receiver, we put up a 43 foot DX Engineering vertical so as to work dual diversity reception which makes a big difference in contesting. The antennas are only 125 feet apart but work well indeed. With my old Heathkit Roller tuner, we can now use dual diversity on all bands. The Butternut seems expensive but if it works, buy it.
VA3DTP Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2011 16:51 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice Antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Very nice vertical HF antenna all around, about 26 feet tall. Easy to assemble, instructions supplied were very clear. Solid construction. Covers HF bands 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30, 40, 60, and 80 meters. SWR generally 1.50 on resonance or better on HF bands. Transmission and reception is excellent. Note: Results acheived with no tunning (but assembeled exactly per manufacturesr instructions) only (4) #6 AWG ground radials installed and (2) 3/4" 10 foot ground rods. Fine tunning and setup slated for this summer. Purchased brand new, and was worth the money !
VK5KLT Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2010 21:06 Send this review to a friend
Seriously good multiband vertical  Time owned: more than 12 months

I've found the Butternut vertical a consistently good all-round DX performer over a period of now 3 years. The HF9V is my principal HF antenna at my space constrained QTH and this antenna has allowed me to earn my DXCC during the past couple of years while the sun spot cycle and solar flux has been stuck and languishing around its cyclic minimum.

The antenna is elevated roof mounted in the middle of a large expansive galvanised steel decking roof ground-plane that's some 9m above ground level, and augmented with 60 insulated radial wires that capacitively couple to the metal roof. I use a DX Engineering stainless steel radial plate and tilt-over mount to fix the antenna to the roof via a short stub mast. A description of the mounting installation and coax feed details can be found posted on my page.

My only complaint about the antenna construction is the relatively poor clamp hardware supplied, and the rather flimsy decoupler stub wires and fixing arrangement that do not retain their tensioning. These are minor points that are easily fixable by the resourceful ham.

I machined up a thick polyethylene doughnut disc that slides over the vertical element to attached a set of guys just above the 30m coil assembly. This provides adequate structural support and has ensured survival through some strong winds and storms.

The VSWR bandwidth covers the whole of the 40m, 20m, 15m and the higher bands. An antenna tuner is used on 80m where the bandwidth is narrow.

In summary, the late Don Newcomb W0DN and the Butternut team have got a lot of things right with this design; it is a competent performer and a highly recommended vertical antenna!


AE5QU Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2010 13:05 Send this review to a friend
Best Performing Vertical on the Market  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had the HF9V installed for three years now and believe I can give it and honest evaluation.
The antenna is not difficult to assemble if you take your time during the construction, and do some pre-planing prior to that. "Sort it out before you start". An antenna analyzer is not mandatory, but I do recommend you utilize one if at all possible. Your tuning time will be cut down drastically. My HF9V is ground mounted with 21 radials. I have found that at least 8 radials is a must. Just make them as long as you can, as straight as you can. You wont see any significant improvemnts over 21 radials until you get to 36 or more. So don't get radial crazy if you have decent ground to work with. However the first 8 to 12 are the most critical and a absolute must. My ground mounting was accomplished by driving a 1-1/4" X 48" piece of "Hard Draw" copper tube into the ground until only 8" was left exposed. Around the copper tube I dug out a 24" X 24" square about 4" down. Into this I placed a home brew radial plate simular to one offered by DX Engineering. The lower section of the antenna that is utilized for mounting was slid into the copper tube and adjusted for proper depth by triming the copper tube a bit and filling the copper tube with pea gravel and soil to fine tune things. After this I drilled (one) hole through the copper tune and antenna mounting tube and installed (one) 10 X 32 X 2" bolt & (two) nuts with washers for both security and an attach point to the radial plate via a jumper wire. I installed (two) 8' ground rods and attached them to the radial plate. At this point the radials were layed out , which were contructed of 14 AWG THHN copper wire, and buried in trenchs 4" deep. The radial were attached to the radial plate, and all trenchs and holes were covered up. The remainder of the contruction was carried out in accordance with the manufactures instructions.

The antenna has been through many South Texas storms with winds exceeding 70 mph. I have had no failures at all. The antenna performs well on all bands, with exceptional performance on 20 & 40 meters. It can handle legal limit with no problem at all. The HF9V is not the least expense vertical by any stretch, but I believe it to be on par with the Hy-Gain Hy-Tower as far as performance goes. Its not a beam, but it is a lot of bang for the buck when you consider the cost of towers, rotors, etc.

Kevin Santine - AE5QU
ON4YVO Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2010 00:51 Send this review to a friend
Performance on 80 meter  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I tried the antenna during the UBA winter contest on 80m. I also set up a G5RV antenna as I knew its performance and I did contests with this one in the past.
With the HF9V I could not work stations near me, about 40 km, which I could contact easily with the G5RV. But, suddenly I heard an hongarian station with the HF9V which I could not copy with the G5RV. I worked several others stations from France, Netherlands with the HF9V where the G5RV let me down.
The HFxV does need radians.
G0VQW Rating: 4/5 May 3, 2010 13:39 Send this review to a friend
Good antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I would have given it a 5/5 if 17 and 12 meters would play ball!I just cant get them below 2:1 swr and when compared to a dipole the dipole is 4 s units better on RX when compared with the butternut!(on 17 meters)
Other bands work well.I tend not to us it on 80 meters prefering my inverted dipole for that band,but 40 meters up and it works fine.I have installed about 100 radials each about 5 meters long and keep adding as time goes by.
I would recomend this antenna but feel it is quite expensive.Also I think it needs to be guyed.I have used nylon rope for this and it stands up to the UK weather pretty well.I should add that it's not the easiest antenna to put together.The instructions and photo's were not that clear and for some time I did use the antenna with the 17 and 12 meter capacity strips not attached to the correct place.(When I corrected that it didn't make much difference)
K8ALM Rating: 3/5 Dec 4, 2009 07:48 Send this review to a friend
Good performer, very medocre construction  Time owned: more than 12 months
Very decent performer but after two northern Ohio winters I could not keep this antenna operational and replaced it with a DX engineering 43 foot vertical which is much better constructed. During the first winter the mounting tube cracked during a snow storm and down it came. The second winter I experienced charring on the insulator between the 40 and 80 meter coils when I applied 500 watts to it and the 40 meter capacitor cracked. I could actually see the sparks fly!
KT9B Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2009 14:31 Send this review to a friend
Performs well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Iíve only had this antenna for a few days but got it installed in time for the IARU-HF Contest which gave it a work out.

To begin with assembly is everything youíve heard it is. I got through it with no serious errors but a manual with pictures and having some of the parts identified would have easily reduced the assembly time by a third in my opinion. This is particularly true of the wire hold offs which there is no way of telling what is what by the manual. I plan of photographing the entire antenna and getting it on my web site just so others can avoid the same issues. My best advice for now is take your time and donít get in a hurry.

Most things are fairly easy to identify such as the coils, lower the freq, the bigger the coil and the tubes go from big to small/bottom to top. But you will spend time trying to figure it out for sure which would have been saved if Bencher would label the parts. Nuff said.

In my case the antenna is ground mounted with 12 ground radials for now which are currently not buried. I do plan to bury them but I want to play with it a bit and add radials to check performance then rent a wire trencher from Home Depot (thereís a hint) for $40. It is fed with low loss buried coax. I put it up by myself but extra hands would be, well handy.

I went through 3 tuning iterations with a antenna analyzer and let me say youíll need to buy, beg, borrow one with this antenna. The antenna was pretty well dialed in on 15m, 20m, 40m out of the box and per instructions. Here are the SWR readings at the radio end of the coax. Measurements were taken and plotted every 25khz. Hereís the summary:

15M 1.2-1.3 to 1 across entire band
20M 1.2 to 1:1 across entire band
40M 1.3 to 1.2 to 1 across entire band

6M runs 1.6 to 1.4 to 1 across entire band

30M runs 1.6-1.5 across the band

17M is 1.5 to 1.6 to 1 across band. 17 is a bit unusual because in most case on the bands the SWR runs higher in the lower segment and drops as you go up. 17 is the opposite, there it goes low to high up the band. Not enough to be a bother, just a curiosity.

10M runs from 2.2 to 1 across band but I havenít adjusted it as yet. I intend to adjust it so the SWR is lowest around 28400. Out of the box it now resonates around 29550 up.

12M runs at 2.2:1 flat across the band. Iím not sure what if anything will bring it down.

I have the 160M coil on so my 80/75 results may be influenced by that. The tuning on 80 is narrow and sharp with SWR running from 2.8 to a low of 1.6. I adjusted mine to be lowest between 3700 and 2800.

160M is very narrow with SWR running from 3.8:1 to 1.5:1. There is maybe a 50khz notch where it is below 2:1, but you can adjust to get that notch about where you want it mid to upper band but I suspect that trying to tune it for 1800-1825 would be difficult. If you expect the same performance as a 160M dipole youíll be disappointed but it will get you on 160M. I havenít had time to spend any time there as yet.

As always this is an impression, mine to be exact. I operated during the 2009 IARU HF contest for a few hours and made 103 contacts. They included from SW Indiana, 3 Hawaii stations, 2 Alaska stations including the HQ station for ARRL and IARU which were jammed. Australian HQ, New Zealand HQ (Chatham Is), Brazil HQ, Ecuador, 3 Argentina, Aruba, Trinidad, Ireland, Russia, Germany, Italy, Canary Is, Monaco, 7 Canada, Guatemala, Costa Rica and several others and 32 states, MT, WY, ME, WA, ND, SD included with 100 watts on 4 bands.

In a number of occasions I would get a station on the first or second call over other stations pushing some serious power. Didnít happen all the time or perhaps even the majority of times but enough to show the antenna can punch through the pileups.

Of interest to me is that the antenna also did well close up. States like TN, KY, SIL, OH and even MO had been very difficult to contact or hear previously but I made contacts in all those states. Then along the same path I would hit a station anywhere from 1,000 to 11,000 miles away.

I gave the antenna a 4/5 which doesnít reflect the performance of the antenna at all but rather the overall package which includes the manual. The manual has great information in it and the instructions are accurate but for lack of a better description it is an analog device in a digital world. A few pictures and 50 cents worth of labels and things would be 5/5. For the antenna itself, Iím impressed.

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