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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | Cushcraft MA5B Mini Beam Help


Reviews Summary for Cushcraft MA5B Mini Beam
Cushcraft MA5B Mini Beam Reviews: 158 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $365.00
Description: Cushcraft's newest multiband HF antenna provides 5 bands
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.cushcraftamateur.com
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Page 1 of 16 —>

WA8NSS Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2017 16:14 Send this review to a friend
Amazing little antenna!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought this as an open box item from hro for a great price but no manual in the box so downloaded one from mfj/cushcraft website. This will also insure you have the updated version if there is such a thing. I take my time as i pull trap covers off and tighten all trap screws with nut driver. You will always find a couple screws that are loose which will cause high swr if not now but down the road when they loosen even more. Even though assembly is pretty simple with only a couple of end tube dimensions on el 1&3 and an overall dimension on el 2 to worry about, a couple of dimensions were left out that should be in the manual like when installing traps in el 1&3 how far to shove them into tube eb! A call to tom at cushcraft verified what I suspected just shove em all the way in to trap covers! This should be in the manual similar to the A4s Manual. By the way tom has always resolved my problems at mfj/cushcraft! The next day assemble elements to boom trap arrows pointing out weep holes to ground and make sure your mast clamp is on correct side of boom in relation to elements. Your capacity x hat assembly goes on next and make sure they are aligned with one another. Matching network last.. check swr with analyzer within say a10 to 30 ft jumper for accuracy. Remember depending how high you erect beam your resonant freq will change and move up the bands 20 to 40 kc...we put mine up on third day and all swr curves excellent on all bands cw and ssb except cw portion of 20! This is to be expected as boom length is only 7'3".... i would not run an amp on cw portion of 20 but thats the compromise if you purchase this beam. No missing parts which is good and some left over. Quality of construction very good and performance superb!!! The ma5b doesnt think its a minibeam. I have a vertical and dipole ant as a reference, sometimes 2 to 5 units on the other end.. mine is up 42' and most contacts overseas cant believe its a minibeam.. take your time to put this together will reap you rewards!! Denny
 
W8DMC Rating: 0/5 Jan 23, 2017 16:52 Send this review to a friend
Garbage  Time owned: more than 12 months
After months of adjustments, advise and course corrections, it's apparent CUSHCRAFT is now junk (Mighty Fine Junk)MFJ. I'll never buy a product from them again. End of story. No phone advise, no updated written material, wrong instructions and very poor quality product. You may be lucky, but asking for five bands with a three element beam, Ha Ha HA LOLM LOL
 
W6RMC Rating: 5/5 Oct 23, 2016 11:20 Send this review to a friend
Great Bang for the Buck  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I installed this antenna on my 8ft roof tower yesterday with a friend for help. Very light antenna. Signal up 3-4 S units from my HyGain vertical antenna. Worked Hungary and Portugal on 17m SSB with 50 watts this morning and received good signal reports. Solar flux in the 80's range.

Very happy with this purchase.

This is a well made, reasonably heavy duty antenna.

Assembly was very easy. All hardware was included along with some spare nuts and screws. No complaints at all with this antenna.

73
 
W8DMC Rating: 3/5 Sep 29, 2016 00:49 Send this review to a friend
Good.... However  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I now understand, They produce Antennas as so they fit in shipping containers vs. building easy to assemble antennas.in o e long box! So many parts, from a multitude of nuts and bolts, giving you the impression upon completion, you left things out! But no, they randomely place many extra packages of nuts and bolts with washers. Upon receipt of my antenna with many parts cut so they can fit in the box for shipping, when they all could be individual sections and much less complicated for assembly. As you know Cushcraft sold their stock and manufacturing to MFJ, in the process someone who produced the last assembly manual had a bad day or a hot date at 5:00 PM, and it was 4:45 PM and they had to hurry! The manual had so many typos, wrong nomiclature, miss prints, wrong instructions. The worst was measurements were or had been changed and not reflected in the assembly manual provided! How I found out was calling MFJ, and being told just two weeks ago.."They are to print a new assembly manual" Also that there were so many changes that were said to be critical to its functionality , very frustrating, and after I was told I'll send you the corrections and notes, but never arrive! Moral to the story (Denand) the new assembly Manual) if buying this MA5B beam. The outlets have many in stock, but with old manuals, so put some fire up under MFJ to Secure the corrected version with this particular antenna. The bottom line the assembly is seriously critical as so your property tuned on 17, 20 Meters.... math math math, measure measure, hence have the latest and properly assembly instructions. Once you add
properly assembly and it's up 60', you have 20,17 15, 12 & 10 Meters in a directional beam. That's my advise. W8DMC Doug
Feel free to write me for assistance.
 
W8DMC Rating: 4/5 Sep 15, 2016 09:46 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna, Once they correct the assembly manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Assembly, is basically straight forward for a three element beam with traps. However, upon receiving mine it was missing several key parts! Issue was after calling MFJ(Cushcraft sold to MFJ, if you did not know!) that the given, or old manual has over 12 corrections, which includes several major assembly concerns, as in the placement of traps directions, tube measurements and tuning issues. The assembly measurements is critical, so obtaining the newer publication is mandatory, or get lucky and speak with one of there techs, and have him explain the corrections, as I had accomplished. He well versed and easy to work with. I hope MFJ picks up the new manual fast for future buyers. You will also find R&L Electronics in Hamilton, Ohio with the BEST price on the MA5B. In ending, 5 bands and basic good gain and the two WARC bands with a basic rotatable dipole us a good all around beam. Just be assured of assembly corrections! 73 W8DMC
 
KE7FD Rating: 5/5 Mar 22, 2016 07:52 Send this review to a friend
For the money it lives up to its expectations  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this little beam for a number of years, perched a bit higher above the chimney so it's not ideal although I'll say it's probably typical for a lot of hams. Even though it's a three element beam, it's really only two active elements on any of the bands, and then only a rotatable dipole on the WARC bands. That being said it is better than NOT having a beam at all. My other antenna is an 80m "cloud warmer" loop which is very quiet on receive and works very well generally where as the beam is not as quiet (like all yagis) but directional whereas the loop is not. If I had the means and placement for a larger yagi I'd go with something else. However, I think my set up of these two antennas is a pretty good combination. I have a general purpose loop and a yagi for directivity when needed.

The MA5B Mini Beam isn't the beam antenna for everyone but for many hams, it could very well fill the gap of being heard when larger, more expensive installations are out of the question.
 
N1FDX Rating: 5/5 Mar 21, 2016 08:10 Send this review to a friend
First Impression  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After looking at all the smaller beams I chose the MA5B based on the all the good reviews here, the fact that it included 17&12 meters, price and availability. My location would have pushed the limit with a full size tribander. Was looking at the Mosley products also, they were considerably more money and has a bit of a lead time, there reviews were ok but not as many as the MA5B.
Assembly was pretty easy, instructions were clear. I have it installed on a mast mounted to the rear of my garage about 28-30ft high.
SWR was a bit better than expected, was worried about 20m but have useable bellow 2:1 from 14.092 to 14.266, the internal tuner in the ProIII has no issues covering the whole band.
17& 12 are flat, 15 rises above 2:1 at about 21.360 and 10 at about 29.600. Pretty darn good for a small compromise beam.
On the air I'm comparing to a DXE 43' ground mounted vertical with 32 random radial and a remote mounted tuner.
The MA5B has the edge on 20m and reasonably exceeds the vertical on all the other bands. The F/B and side rejection is OK for what it is. Maybe comparing Apples and oranges a bit however the goal was to get something that was direction and to exceed the performance of the vertical which performs pretty well for what it is.

As for MFJ, I was also missing the 1 3/4" clamps and have a bunch of hardware and end caps left over that go nowhere. Before I installed the matching network I took it apart and the screws on the SO-239 coax connector were not tightened. It also came with a new 2014 MFJ catalog ??

It is a reasonably well constructed small footprint beam, understanding it's limitations you shouldn't be dissatisfied.
 
WS8O Rating: 4/5 May 10, 2015 11:10 Send this review to a friend
About what I expected.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I knew it was a compromise when I bought it but overall am pleased with the performance. Decent bandwidth across all five bands and a huge improvement over the rotatable dipole it replaced.
My biggest disappointment is the quality control of the parts inventory. They tell you in the instructions that if you have missing parts you will need the weight sticker off the box as they use the package weight to verify proper inventory.
Amusing in that my package probably had the correct weight even though it was missing the four 1 3/4" clamps. It did however have a bunch of plastic caps that fit nothing In the kit. Still happy with it overall.
 
KD7VEA Rating: 4/5 Apr 14, 2015 11:04 Send this review to a friend
decent performance but traps need some help  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my MA5B for over a year now, and I am starting to see some issues with it. Don't get me wrong, its better than the G5RV I was running, but The antenna is coming down for the second time in 1 year. The first time, there were burn spots on the coils in the 10/15/20 driven element. I do run an AL-80A that on a good day runs about 850 watts SSB on 20 meters, still a bit under the 1.2KW rating of the antenna. I have not pulled the antenna down yet, but I am wondering if I will see the same burn marks inside the antenna this time. with an SWR of 10:1, it is pretty much not usable at the moment. other than that issue, I have been pleased with the antenna I have it on a rotator with beams for 1296, 440, 220, 144, and 50 with about 30 feet of a tubular tower and nothing has broke yet, and we see some pretty strong winds here everyday.
 
JI1ANI Rating: 5/5 Mar 21, 2015 22:02 Send this review to a friend
6m mods  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I added 6m to my MA-5B.
The element of 6m was made Pallastic element which makes a radiator of a classic band meet.
An interval of a radiator and 6m element is 13cm.
6m element is 274cm long.

MA-5B+6m has gain like a 3ele yagi, vk and qso, possible.
 
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