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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: 156 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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You can write your own review of the Cushcraft MA5B Mini Beam.

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VE3PTC Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2014 16:12 Send this review to a friend
5 years on  Time owned: more than 12 months
decided to write a follow up review of this interesting antenna. i have had mine for 5 years, with absolutely no problems at all. no wind-milling, no traps gone south etc. the swr plots are the same as when i installed it.
i have no room for a full size tri-bander, so the ma5b fits the bill. of course it is down on a full size antenna, but not by much. even the mighty hexbeam has its issues, like interaction between the 10 and 12m elements, which has still not been addressed as such.
in the 5 years i have had this antenna i have wkd a lot of dx,with 100w. i did briefly run an old sb 200 amp, and with the ma5b it was really good. no issues with traps at that level of output.
so, i recently decided to "improve" the ma5b on 12 and 17m where it is a dipole.
i have fitted a boom extension, and added an extra element behind the 10 15 and 20m element.
because of the spacing involved, i opted for a reflector on 12m, and as a director on 17m.
basically two 7 foot lenghs of 1 inch dia alu pipe, into which i fitted 14 inches of plastic pipe. i wound two coils for each end, in series and terminating with small capacity hats like the tgm antenna.
i resonated the reflector at +8%, and the director at -5%.
and yes, it does work. the normal operation on 10 15 and 20 is unaffected, as regards f/b and gain.
on 12m it performs as well as 10 does with the same f/b and gain.
on 17m, because its a driven element/ director, the f/b ratio is poor at about 1 s unit,but it still works well in the direction its pointed at.
next year, i plan to take the extra element off, and change the coils to make 17m element a reflector too. i think the performance will be similiar to the 20m part, but with better f/b ratio than with the director.
all in all, for a limited space antenna, it really works well!
vy 73 de bob
KK4QBU Rating: 1/5 Jul 10, 2014 06:28 Send this review to a friend
WHERE ARE ALL THE PARTS???  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this antenna with the intentions of installing it over the fourth of July weekend, I took it out of the Box on Thursday the 3rd to put it together and realized it was missing several parts not just screws and bolts but large pieces like poles (WHO PACKS THIS STUFF?)I called Cushcraft immediately to get these parts and the person there was very laxadaisy about the whole thing and didn't even apologize for the inconvenience. I didn't receive the parts like promised the first of the following week so I called back to check on the status and was told they were just shipped. The service of this Company is terrible !! I AM NOT IMPRESSED. Cushcraft will not be getting anymore of my money.
M0TFO Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2013 07:01 Send this review to a friend
MA5B alomst 5 years of service.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just a Quick update from my past reviews of the MA5B, coming up to 5 years of service as still as good as the day I installed it.I service it every 18 mouths or so,apart from that it stays up and works well for a mini beam.
KA3PCX Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2013 17:18 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It is easy to put together compared to quad antennas!

I can only compare this antenna at a low height compared to my vertical Cushcraft R-5.

I work alot of qrp if you use the beam they can hear me in ssb but not always on the vertical.

The 20 meter band part works almost the whole band but tune what you use most! 17 meters is great!

This one came from MFJ & did have all the parts & more & correct instructions that more than I can say for Cushcraft when I bought my AS3S they sent me a 6 meter beam instruction manual!

It is a keeper for me! Ray KA3PCX!
Also built very well!
OH1LA Rating: 5/5 Aug 31, 2013 03:20 Send this review to a friend
The results of one day  Time owned: more than 12 months
Yesterday I worked 57 DX connection outside Europe. More than that would have been possible. I had Yesu FT-2000 + Heathkit SB-220 (2x 3-500Z) and MA5B.
15m: JA's (22), K/W's (4), H44, HL, UA0, CM2, P29, DU, HS, VK, Z21, 3B9, 5R8, TU, 7T, YB (4), 9M2(2), V85 (2) and VU, HZ,17m: 6O0, HZ, AH0, P29, 20m: E29, S2, and YB.
Since 2009 has been MA5B and thousands of dx is the log. Overall, 90% of the work outside of Europe. Its size MA5B is a good antenna, and I can recommend. Now, however, I have ordered a new antenna to replace the MA5B. The antenna is G3TXQ broadband hexbeam by SP7IDX. I've read so many good reviews. I have a different view M0TMC, who gave here only two (2) MA5B antenna and said that if the like night and day when you compare hexbeam and MA5B antenna. I look forward to well that the improvement in the antenna after all, it will be bigger, but lighter.
KA3PCX Rating: 5/5 Jun 23, 2013 06:35 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna for limited Spaces  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine from Universal Radio, opened package & all the screws & bolts with extra screws & bolts in this package!

Assembly was straight forward, all bands including 20 mters very low to flat swr onlower end of 20 mters, the rest all fine!

Make sure those spokes are at a 45 degree angle & also check to make sure those traps are facing down!
One word on tuning ,The higher the antenna will give you a more accurate tune. don,t tune it close the ground as I did it will change prpbably higher in frequency on 20 meters, I had mine set for 14.0700 but after puuting it on my roof the swr was lower on the upper portion of the band will have to retune a litlle later.!

Does it work? Yes, I made sveral ssb contacts this field day with only 10 watts into Virgin Islands & puerto Rica, but the higher the better!

Comparing it to the A3S it is not quite as good but much better & quieter than most verticals or windoms, so it short, it does what it is supposed to do!
Sure, it is not a hex beam but is simplier & easy to put up. So the choice is yours!
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.
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