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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Butternut HF6V Help

Reviews Summary for Butternut HF6V
Butternut HF6V Reviews: 87 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $522.95 USD
Description: 10,15,20,30,40,80,Vert.
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VE7ALQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 16, 2013 19:35 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a Butternut HF6V in 1992 and have had it ever since. This 26 foot antenna, mounted on the roof of the apartment building with the RMK-II Roof Mounting Kit (includes STR-II Stub Tuned radials) has served me very well on 40 meters and higher frequencies, where it is more than 50% efficient and covers the bands with less than 2:1 SWR. On 80 meters, the bandwidth at 2:1 SWR is 50 kHz. Wide bandwidth on an electrically short antenna indicates a high loss, which is expected because the RMK-II does not cover 80 meters. I tried the TBR-160-S kit for 160 meters - forget 160 meters unless you have a very good ground system which I do NOT have.

Rated wind survival 80 miler per hour (unguyed) - I have had mine up for over 20 years...

For your information, the radiation resistance of a short (less than 1/6 wavelength) vertical antenna is given by the formula:

R = .00041*(L*F)*(L*F)


R is Radiation Resistance (Ohms)
L is Length of Vertical (Feet)
F is Frequency in mHz
AK6ZZ Rating: 4/5 Jan 1, 2012 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Updated review: a year later  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wanted to give an update for this antenna after a year of ownership. I bought my HF6V used one year ago around the same time I obtained my first ham license (extra class). I wanted to post a couple observations since it is my primary antenna for 80m and 40m. I think that these may or may not be interesting to someone considering purchasing the antenna.

1) The HF6V is a challenging antenna for a fresh out of the box new ham operator. It is pretty tricky to tune especially if a new ham or someone unfamiliar and more of an appliance operator than technician purchases the antenna. If purchased used be sure to check the conditions of the doorknob capacitors (I had to replace two of them), check and test the matching section, (it didn't come with one so I tried using cable Tv 75 ohm cable and then eventually purchased the section from bencher), and remove and rewind the coil for 80m with 12 gauge solid wire. Be ready to replace the capacitors, the matching cable and the 15m wire.

2) Anyone considering the purchasing of this antenna must have an antenna analyzer or have access to one (and frequently). I tried tuning this through trial and error without an analyzer and i was able to get the antenna to work but was not able to get I tuned properly without an antenna analyzer. Tuning can be an arduous adventure but hang in there and ask questions on the yahoo group which is very good and you will get through it.

3) Corrosion if you live close to the ocean like I do was a huge deal for me to overcome. I live on a canyonside 4.5 miles from the Pacific ocean. I can see the ocean from my backyard. In a year's time, I cleaned and scrubbed the antenna at least four times and had to put noalox and/or butter its not on the antenna and it's joints or connections about every other month. The fast corrosion at my qth with this antenna seems to accelerate it going out of tune more than some of my other antennas including aluminum yagis.

4) Elevated mount yields amazing DXing results but also makes it more difficult to tune. I built a set of 300 ohm radials as per the design in the instruction manual and had it elevated, moved it to a ground mount, and then moved it back in an elevated mount. When you get this bad boy tuned on an elevated mount canyonside this baby sings. I worked over 125 new entities in the first four months of last year with the butternut. It works awesome when it is tuned properly. However, the elevated mounting seems to be very sensitive to any changes to external environment for example wind, rain, corrosion (see #3).

5) I spent a lot of time researching on how to fix and troubleshoot the antenna. The yahoo group with Scott as the moderator is one of the best ones available to a new owner. The knowledge available on the web especially from the yahoo group for this effective but tricky antenna is immeasurable. There is no doubt that I would have given up on this antenna without being able to obtain key information on dealing with challenges and issues this antenna posed for me as a new ham. The yahoo group ranks up there with the Elecraft reflector and Fox Tango group as a well moderated information and troubleshooting zone.

In conclusion, I think the HF6V antenna is a very good antenna overall if installed properly and it requires more care and feeding than the other antennas I own but when installed properly it can yield excellent results. This is definitely not a plug and play antenna and I was seriously considering moving on from it but the technical challenges with the antenna appealed to me and I felt great satisfaction as well as some intermittent frustration keeping it operational.

I believe that if one lives near a large body of salt water like an ocean or bay or salt water lake you may want to do some benchmarking against other verticals that might be less susceptible or influenced by corrosion caused by proximity to salt water. Besides that issue I would recommend the antenna to the more technically oriented or those that like a challenge. It definitely has been a big part of my leanings in the hobby. For a point of reference, I was at one time in the late 1980s an electronic technician in the US Navy so I had some familiarity with radios and antennas as part of my training.. However I have been out of that field for about twenty years.
F8FFV Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2011 00:01 Send this review to a friend
Robust Design  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine is off the ground with 16 x 10m radials in the middle of a small grass field close to my house in the netherlands.
Bought it in a fair in Germany 1.5 years ago.
I was amazed by the small size of the box. So easy to transport.
Assembly and raising took me about 3 hours. Instructions are clear enough. However I am sure I won't be able to put it back in the box in the way it was originally packed.
I used the recommendations for pre tuning and could operate immediately with a simple manual tuner. Some days after I devoted 2-3 hours for accurate tuning and I really gained efficiency. I find it a bit touchy on the 80m though.
We sometimes have heavy winds here, loaded with rains, this is not frequent but quite powerful.
It easily survived and after the first one I just helped the antenna resist with a single small nylon rope and diy insulator towards the usual wind direction. I do not see it "oscillating" anymore.
On the waves, the report are generally very good and for a vertical and I can say it's a good/v. good performer. Nice to see the settings do not vary in time and I do not not feel the need to adjust it anymore.
From a RX point of view I find it not really noisy although I find my beam quieter in my second qra.
On reliability, the build is really good. I am from engineering side and a diy man , you can see the components used are here to stay. The aluminum quality is great, it really keeps shining after frequent rains over here.
No problem since I bought it.
I am a promoter and would buy the same if I needed a new vertical.
KY7F Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2010 19:58 Send this review to a friend
Happy With Mine  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had my HF6V up for 6 years now. Actually, I've turned it into an 'HF9V' from adding 6m, 12m, & 17m to it. Use mine ground-mounted with about 16 radials buried in the ground, each about 26' long. Really enjoy this antenna for dx-ing. Within 200 miles on 40m it can be a bit deaf, but that's to be expected. Mine has been thru ice storms, heavy thunderstorm winds, etc and still stands tall. Did have to repair some damage last year when I discovered something had flown into the very top 5' of it and bent it quite a bit. (buzzard, owl, etc?) Easily bent back into shape. One thing you want to do with this, besides have a good rf ground plane, is to take it apart every couple of years or so and coat the joints with dielectric grease, or some similar product. Keeps her singing along!!
K6QT Rating: 4/5 Oct 27, 2010 09:33 Send this review to a friend
Better!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm having more success with the antenna now. The sole difference between this review and my last seems to be my ground system. I called Butternut and asked them about radials (the ever-present mystery). They said, "30 ft. max, around 32 radials max" (don't go with this information -- I think it's just a pat answer and after actually doing work on it, I don't believe that's the sole simple answer) and a few other things. I have found some other information on radials, supposedly new groundbreaking information on them, but I have decided to go with the advice given in the ARRL Handbook for 2010, Antennas section, p. 21.27, entitled "Optimum Ground Systems for Vertical Antennas". It's a sidebar. As mentioned in the chapter, as well as some of the new literature, "even on 160 or 80 meters, effective vertical antenna systems can be made with as few as four 1/4 wavelength long radials elevated 10 to 20 feet off the ground." I chose to go with around 45 radials. One thing to be aware of with radials, which I did not before realize is that you need some for each band. And the length of the pairs should be equal and buried 180 degrees apart from each other.

I've had QSOs on 80 M, 40 M, 20 M (and even 60 M, believe it or not, with a tuner and an antenna which wasn't made to work on those frequencies), as far away as TX, CA, NM, ID, OR, SD, IL, CO, and other places (home QTH is UT) with just this many radials. Maybe with more, it will increase my gain even more. I don't seem to get any contacts toward the north, but I assume this is because I can't put in radials in that direction (the house is in the way :) ), so the lobe does not work in those directions at all. That's OK. Maybe when I put in my new antenna, a Hy-Gain AV-18HT, a 53-ft. high antenna which can work (with extra hardware) on 160-10 M.

So, could be better than contacts only up to 1400 miles away, but I can't complain about that either. It's just that I'd be interested in doing some DX work. Maybe I need to get some really high-powered hardware -- superior antenna and amp -- in order to do that.
W5DDW Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2010 14:29 Send this review to a friend
You Get Back What You Give  Time owned: more than 12 months
Like any 1/4 wave vertical, you must invest time into your installation to make it work.

What I like:
I measure about 8-10db stronger receive signals with my Orion over a Cushcraft R7 and 6db over a full length doublet dipole 0n 80m @ 40'. It handles 1.5Kw with no problem. If I can hear them on 80m, I can work them. Covers 40m end to end, even with top loading for 80m. Well made and robust.

What I don't like:
The 160m coil adapter is too narrow to be of any real use. The 30m adapter will not work with top loading. All this is a matter of physics, not build quality.

What you need to know:
You MUST have a good quality ground system as with any 1/4 wave vertical, to realize optimum performance. Top loading expands 80m bandwidth out to 100Khz, but makes tuning 40m a bit fussy. I use taps on the 80M loading coil to adjust operation from the CW sub-band to the SSB DX window at 3.775mhz. I had to jumper most of the 40m coil to get it to resonate between 7.000 and 7.300mhz while using top loading. Although mechanically sound, yearly maintenance will insure top performance over the years. A little WD-40 goes a long way! Consider using two HF6Vs and feeding them out of phase to get forward gain. It's a good low band vertical that has given be good performance for 10 years.
KH6DC Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2010 12:02 Send this review to a friend
Great Vertical  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well it's been up for 3 months right now though noisy, stations on the East Coast USA can hear me but I couldn't hear them. So far compating with the Custcraft R-8 that's 150 feet away in another yard, the Butternut seems to perform slightly better as I can work my friend in Pennsylvania on the Butternut HF6V using the same rig. though not a scientific comparison, it's real life for me. Took the Cushcraft down to repair the band switching box which developed a crack so the Butternut may stay up permanently.
WA7KGX Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2009 22:41 Send this review to a friend
Good after ~25 yrs  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine has been continuously up for 20-25 years. It has been moved three times.It has survived windstorms and ice storms without guys. Fortunately it hasn't been too windy during ice storms. The other day I separated it into a few sections and cleaned the green stuff off. It looks and plays almost like new.

As for performance, it generally beats a 130 foot doublet fed with ladder line on 40 meters and above. It should work better with 30 radials instead of a dozen or so.

A dipole antenna is quieter than a vertical,
but the ladder line picks up local RFI. Running one or both antenna wires over the house picks up noise and gets into sound systems. So the vertical may be quieter after all.

A T2FD receiving antenna 150 feet away is a good complement to the hf-6v.
XMWUF Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2009 04:02 Send this review to a friend
Great Vertical  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I ground mounted this antenna using the DX Tilt mount and radial plate. I used 20 - 25 foot radials, buried in the grass. It was slick to assemble and tuned up very well without much problem. I had to stretch the Q coil all the way out! I have worked Japan, Norway and Australia (59)from my QTH in B.C., Canada.
NB: I did have one glitch which was a bad solder job on the factory 75 ohm stub at the PL259 connector. This showed up in the first week as "jumping" of the SWR on any band. I asked Bencher to replace it, which they said they would, but have yet to receive a warranty replacement, even after a kind email reminder from me! Good thing 75 ohm coax is available near by!!
AC8DE Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2009 05:01 Send this review to a friend
SUPER Vertical. Does it get any better?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I received my butternut HF6V from a friend who had it in storage for a long time. (Mine is the –X version, but operationally and overall dimensions are the same as the standard version, so the review applies. The only difference between the X version and standard are the X is made from 3’ sections of tubing while the standard is made from 4’ sections of tubing.) It was covered with mud, mud packed into the ends of the capacitors, coils all bent up, corrosion, you name it. I spent a many hours one evening disassembling, getting the coils reformed, cleaning and polishing it a bit with metal polish. It looked great after being rebuilt. I had to buy a new mounting “A” post from Butternut, as this had been lost. I also bought the optional mounting sleeve, as I didn’t want to set the A post in concrete and set the sleeve in concrete instead.

I installed a large bed of radials (64 @ 40 feet long), pulled a feedline into some conduit and tuned it up with a MFJ-269 analyzer. It looked decent from the start, although the bottom “Q coil” had to be adjusted quite a bit. Tuning instructions are good, although I would say to start with the 10M tune first then go back to 80M as the instructions suggest, but this is splitting hairs. The biggest issue I had was the fact that the Q coil has to be opened up more the better your ground plain. With a really good ground plane, this coil has to be opened WAY up, reducing its impedance. This adjustment is made while looking at 80M, but it affects all the lower bands. What I found is that with a really good ground plane, you will have to take out turns from this coil or make a new shorter and/or larger diameter Q coil out of standard 12 gauge solid wire of any kind. The original would work, but is so stretched out, it looks hideous and is weak mechanically.

The other thing that you may notice is that with a really good ground plane and the Q coil set correctly, the bandwidth on 80M and 40M WILL NOT be as wide as advertised! The tuning on the lower 80M and 40M bands will be VERY sharp. I did confirm this phenomenon with Bob Locher of Butternut. But this is a GOOD THING! This means the antenna is very efficient.

In operation, I found the antenna to really work well. This vertical really seems to hear DX very well and if I can hear them, I can work them! But as others had said, DO NOT expect to hear or be able to work anyone over the horizon and within a 200 mile circle. The Butternut is blind to stations in that doughnut, if installed correctly with a good radial system. Rely on a NVIS dipole or other such antenna for those local stations.

I love the Butternut. It’s a keeper.

Photos of my install can be found at the Butternut Users group at:

My tuning charts and experimentation charts on various “Q coils” can be found at:

Scott AC8DE
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