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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: 150 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $365.00
Description: Cushcraft's newest multiband HF antenna provides 5 bands
Product is in production.
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N7WR Rating: 4/5 May 27, 2013 17:26 Send this review to a friend
Not bad for a mini beam  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Extensive damage to my large tribander @ 100 feet in a 102MPH wind burst prompted me to decide it was time to downsize to something I could maintain myself without a tower crew. Plus in retirement my interests are in casual DX, casual contesting and ragchewing. I also want to complete DXCC on 12 & 17 to go with my 5BDXCC.

I researched a number of options. A hex beam was tempting but its appearance and the fact that it was too large to "fit" in the area I wanted an antenna ruled it out. I settled on the MA5B atop a homebrew tilt up mast at 1/2 wavelength on the lowest frequency of operation.

I do run an amp (AL80B) with a maximum output of 1KW PEP though I generally run it at 600-700 watts. In my research I found that this antenna, while rated @ 1200 PEP does seem to have a fail point at much less power than that. Further research led me to conclude that since the traps are used in other Cushcraft yagis rated at 1500 watts the fail point was most likely not the traps. I suspect the feed arrangement Cushcraft uses to feed both the 2 element yagi and the 12/17 rotatable dipole with one feedline is where the problem exists.

To avoid that problem I did not use Cushcraft's feedbox but used separate coax feeds for the 2 element yagi and the dipole winding an RF choke in each. They go to my remote switch at the base of the mast. I suspect that also accounts for why the 2:1 bandwidth on my antenna is 225 kHz wide rather than the 100 kHz Cushcraft specs.

So how does it work? Quite well given its small size and relatively low height. It clearly out performs by almost 3 S units my full size horizontal loop which is actually up higher than the MA5B. Would I recommend it to someone in the same sort of situation I described? Yes. For a big time, serious DX'r or contester no.

The 4 rather than 5 is for two reasons. There was one 12 inch piece of aluminum missing from the box. Fortunately I had some spare aluminum. Second, I consider the Cushcraft designed feed system inferior.
SV1HKD Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2013 00:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent MINI beam  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have my MA-5B,about 5 months now,and i can say that have very good perfomance ,i can transmit on all band about 500w (ssb)with no tuner,except 20m.Here is the problem with the small bandwith,but i pretuned it on 14.200 and with the tuner of my rig i can use whole the band.I turned it with a light rotator(Conrad) with no problem.I'm realy very happy with this mini beam.I cant place a bigger "gun",so MA-5B make for me fantastic job an 5 bands.73 de SV1HKD.
ON7HLU Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2012 05:48 Send this review to a friend
Great little beam  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have this antenna the ma5b already larger than half a year, and it works great !!!
it is littel and not havy on top of my versa tower.
low coast!!!

simply to assemble take me 45min to get it work

i use with my expert solide stat amp 1kw and it stil work fine
M0TMC Rating: 2/5 Dec 13, 2012 05:23 Send this review to a friend
vs hexbeam NO CONTEST  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The MA5B is ok as a compromise antenna where size is a factor. it has quite a narrow bandwidth & since being made by mfj is does have some q.c issues. That said, I was quite happy with mine until i got the g3txq hexbeam!! The difference is night & day. the hex has no lossy traps & is a full size 2 ele beam on each band. no tuners required either.. and seems to have a smaller footprint than the cushcraft.

in conclusion the HEXBEAM is the new ma-5b.
KD8OPI Rating: 2/5 Dec 1, 2012 23:32 Send this review to a friend
UPDATE from 6 APR review  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
See that 6 APR 2012 review for my frustrations with the U-bolts on Step 1 of the instruction manual that were the wrong size. After spending more money at the local hardware store to replace the incorrect parts, I was able to build the antenna. It wasn't too hard after the right parts were acquired- at additional cost to me. It went up without too much hassle.

I have it only about 20 feet up, and it can "hide" behind some walls of trees/tall shrubs in my back yard and not be visible from my front yard. Overall, the performance has been good. It tunes easily with a tuner to ensure low swr on all 5 bands; though on 20m your autotuner will fight to get it under 2:1 at 14.000 if you set the length of your 20m elements to 14.200.

I think that performance-wise it does as expected, with noticeable improvement in gain or S/N ratios by 2-3 S-units on 10,15 and 20m when compared with my 31ft S9 vertical with 32 radials. 12 and 17m get a big help with the their dipole on the kit.

I would have given it a 4/5 or a 5/ 5, I really love using it, but shipping the wrong parts for step-1 can't be ignored, an thus it gets a "2" for "needs help".
K7NA Rating: 5/5 Dec 1, 2012 12:01 Send this review to a friend
Assembled Smoothly  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Unlike a few reviewers here, my MA5B went together very smoothly, with no missing, damaged or incorrect parts. In fact, the assembly was without problem and I checked and rechecked each step to ensure I was following the instructions to the letter. The result is a well engineered antenna that exhibits good SWR across the upper bands and reasonable SWR on that portion of 20 meters of interest. The instructions were clear and simple to follow and the parts quality was good, with stainless clamps, nuts, bolts and washers. I mounted my antenna on a six-foot mast with a TV rotator right on the edge of a 220-foot (70-meter) bluff that drops directly to sea water in the north and eastern directions of interest. I was expecting the ground behind the antenna to impact the SWR curves but was surprised how little influence it exhibited. I am able to work Europeans easily with a single call running 100 watts. So far, I am pleased with the quality and performance of this antenna.
OH1LA Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2012 13:29 Send this review to a friend
What would be better?  Time owned: more than 12 months
I would like to go a little bigger and better 5 band antenna.
MA5B is good and I've got it all who will hear.
However, I've used a linear amplifier (SB-220) in big pileups.
Suitable for a better antenna is hard to find because the elements are not exceed 8 meters.
Tell me the old MA5B, the owners of which will get a better antenna signal, and supports antenna replacement?
KK8ZZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 29, 2012 13:18 Send this review to a friend
Great little antenna!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great value ! Tunes easily without external tuners.. easy to mount and turn even with a very light "TV" rotor as it really doesnt' weigh much. Provides FULL 20-10 coverage, including WARC bands.. very effective little Yagi for the $500 price !
KD5J Rating: 3/5 Aug 14, 2012 20:42 Send this review to a friend
OK Antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
First of all, what oths have said about the u-bolts not fitting the boom when attaching the boom-to-mast plate are true. The u-bolts are way too small. It performs well and I had fun with it. It has quality control issues since it is now manufactured by MFJ. Never run any power into the antenna, even going by the manual, it will damage the traps. I developed a problem on 20m, and it de-tuned. I could still transmit, but I did not have a resonant point. The MA5B has been replaced by a hexbeam.
DL3MLP Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2012 04:53 Send this review to a friend
First Review  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I own this little Beam for about 3 month now. It replaced the AV-620 vertical. It is mounted about 30 feet above ground.

I am very happy to found a small yagi which fits on my small roof. The only alternate is the MQ-36SR. But here you have to pay the double price! Or a hexbeam. But this will be the project after the MA5B.

The countries are increasing week by week. But very long distances Germany --> Indonesa were better with the vertical. The cause may be the low hight I mounted the yagi.
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