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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Cushcraft R-5 Help

Reviews Summary for Cushcraft R-5
Cushcraft R-5 Reviews: 51 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $539.99
Description: HF Vertical
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Cushcraft R-5.

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W9MT Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2013 22:39 Send this review to a friend
Up and running for 21 years...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought the R5 from Erickson Communications in Chicago, IL. in 1992, at about the same time I purchased my Kenwood TS-140. Both Erickson and the Kenwood are long gone, but the R5 soldiers on.

It wasn't without some problems over the years.

The first base section was of an older design that didn't have the vertical radiator firmly secured with screws all the way thru the fiberglas insulating base. The bottom section of the 18 foot radiator and traps was simply epoxied into the fiberglas. (Not good.)

The antenna's whipping around in the wind wore out the vertical radiator's epoxy actually making it loose and shifting within the fiberglas base tube. I shimmed the gap with slivers of G-10 pc board material in 1994 and put the R5 back in service, while in parallel buying a new base section from Cushcraft for $50.

Two years later (1996) the radiator's L-Bracket to the Black Box sheared from the side loading my shimming had created during more high winds.

Repair job #2 installed the new-style base, which had stainless steel screws all the way thru the fiberglass, well securing it to the radiator base.

This fixed the antenna for 16 years, until fall 2012, when the VSWR on all bands went very high. The best VSWR was on 10m (3.5:1). I felt I had a bad 10m trap and so did Cushcraft/MFJ, but traps for the R5 are no longer available. So, I left the antenna alone until Summer 2013. Then I took it down once again for the 3rd time in 21 years, and diagnosed my problem in 20 seconds...

The braid between the Black Box and the counterpoise radial ring had worn down and sheared from more than 2 decades in the wind and UV from the sun. I replaced it with 2 parallel braids of slightly differing lengths, made of RG-8X shield, figuring the redundancy would bolster the MTBF.

The antenna went back up and operated like new, hopefully ready for another 2 decades of trouble free service.

The R5 works great on all 5 bands from 20m up thru 10m, including 17 and 12m WARC. It's no rotatable tri-band beam, but will work all the DX you can reasonably hear.

I am pleased with the service from it that I have already enjoyed and will continue to enjoy going forward.

BTW, I snapped one of the aluminum mast clamping loops when putting the R5 back up. I was able to drill thru my antenna mast's wall (visible thru the hole already in the base for the tightening screw of the clamping loop) and replace the broken ring with a self threading lag bolt into the antenna mast.

Cushcraft/MFJ says the R-6000's mast loops are common with that of their R-6000 antenna and can be had for $5.94 each...still available. I may be purchasing two of them for a "future maintenance event". (A replacement and a spare for the one I didn't break.)
VA3PWC Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2012 21:56 Send this review to a friend
Excelente 1\2 wave antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am glad to say about this vertical antenna. First of all I would like to tell you about my experience with other verticals. I had a Hy-Gain DX-88 and Cushcraft MA6V, I was very disappointed with both of them. After couple months thinking about what kind of antenna I should install at my girlfriend´s home, I have decided to go with R5 for a test. In 2 weeks I have worked with 100 Watts more than 120 DXCC entites. Report signals were very good, and some of them asked me about what kind of antenna I was using due to a good signal. Usually I work CW and SSB, and the best band in my opinion are 10 and 12 meters, with a very good results.. 20 meteres was little noisy, but I use IPO of the radio to reduce the QRN. Some DX stations worked: J52HF, V44KAI, 5N7M, 5T0JL,PZ5RA, ZB2FK, E51M, DU1HBC, 6V7Z, ZL1BYZ, ZL6PW, P49V, KH6MB, VK4HFO and lots of JA, Europeans and North America stations without any problem. I just bought a Collins 30L1 linear amplifier just in case, but it was not necessary to use in case I need to break a pile-up. Very... Very... Extremelly HAPPY with this antenna. Planning to get a R8 now to be installed at my cottage in front of the beach. 73 from Rick PY2EL \ VA3PWC
KC7MF Rating: 5/5 Sep 25, 2011 10:25 Send this review to a friend
Reliable Pile-up Buster  Time owned: more than 12 months
I acquired this used for $100.00 about two and a half years ago. It is up 8 feet on a pole stuck into Arizona dry ground and among a bunch of misquite trees. I have worked all over the world on this antenna. With the 300+ watt Swan 700cx it is great fun to bust pile-ups on the first call. I use a tuner to tweak the antenna but it easily tunes flat on all five bands. It would be fine without the tuner. It can be noisy but not annoyingly so.

It has survived some pretty nasty wind storms and the desert heat. Handles 500 watts no problem and is rated for 1500 I believe.

I recommend this antenna where space is a premium or stealth an issue. It is great fun for DX.
VE3PMA Rating: 5/5 Aug 21, 2011 11:40 Send this review to a friend
Excellent antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm on my second R5 (the first was hit by lightning and the matching network was fried). It's mounted atop a 40 foot tv tower and has withstood some very strong winds. In the 20+ years that I've had the R5s I've worked every corner of the world with them and broken many pile-ups with only 100 watts. Most of the time it will outperform my G5RV, but some days in some directions the dipole performs a bit better. Overall, an excellent antenna made with top quality components (both of mine were made in New Hampshire).
K3LU Rating: 5/5 Nov 22, 2009 03:53 Send this review to a friend
Over 10 years and going strong  Time owned: more than 12 months
I recently took down my R5 after being in use for over 10 years. The UV on the matching unit had deteriorated the black box a bit and the fiberglass on the vertical had begun to deteriorate as well but a few maintenance tips found on the net and some elbow grease, I think the R5 will be in service for many years more.
N4HNH Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2009 20:09 Send this review to a friend
Great vertical antenna!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned a Cushcraft R-5 since December 30, 1994. I purchased it for $279.95 from HRO. I assembled it in a couple of hours, taking special care to accurately measure the length of each section for the center of its respective band. I installed it on the roof of a two-story house using a chimney mount. The base of the antenna was probably at approximately 45 feet. I temporarily mounted it on a short pole at a few feet above ground level and tested the SWR. The careful assembly work paid off. The SWR was perfect on all bands right from the start.

The R-5 is a vertical so it often has a higher noise level than a typical dipole, especially on 20m. But sometimes the R-5 is also the best performer, especially for DX.

I moved from that QTH to my current location in 1998. I removed the radials but left the main part of the antenna intact. I mounted the R-5 to the corner post of the back deck of the house by modifying the chimney brackets. The mast extends to base of the antenna to 15 feet above the deck. I tried it out and the SWR was stillperfect on all 5 bands. It still operates today and does a fine job. My new QTH is near some power lines that generate lots of noise - enough that it even bothers my OCF and 160m dipole. The R-5 therefore picks a bit more noise in this area than before, but it is mostly 20m that has the noise problem. But the signal strength of the received signals with the R-5 are usually strong enough to overcome the noise. I am in Georgia and I often hear Mexican stations at 15-20db over S9 with the R-5.

The housing of the matching section appears to be discolored from the years of exposure to sunlight and I noticed recently that the gray section above the matching unit looks like it has melted a bit. I suppose it may have overheated from the sun, because I run no more than 800W into the R-5 and it is rated for 1800W.

So 15 years later with zero maintenance my R-5 still works well. I have thought several times about replacing it with a newer model but each time I end up changing my mind. The R-5 has never failed me so I'm not going to toss it aside until it decides it is ready for retirement. If it fails tomorrow I would not complain.
PA0FRI Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2008 06:57 Send this review to a friend
Still going strong  Time owned: more than 12 months
My R5 is mounted (4 years) on a 12 m mast. It provides useful DX performance. I did comparisons with my open wire feeded inverted V dipole (2 × 17m) on 20m, at 1500 km V = R5, more than 1500km R5 > V. The SWR with about 10m coax cable: SWR = 1 on respective 14.165, 178.120, 21.185, 24.980 and 29.035 MHz.
See for repair and maintenance my homepage: or
KK8ZZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2008 16:46 Send this review to a friend
Sturdy Performer - 6 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
This old dog was just a great radiator for years. I mounted mine about 6-8 feet off the ground on a pole driven in the ground and later moved it to the roof. It was MUCH better on the ground !!

Finally a near-tornado broke the aluminum near the base and she tumbled to the ground. I got 6 great years of performance from it... I understand that the newer models are not as good? I sold the remainder of the GOOD parts to a fellow at Dayton this year who had access to new aluminum.. I have no doubt that it is radiating good RF again today!

KC6WGN Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2008 10:42 Send this review to a friend
5/5  Time owned: more than 12 months
A friend of mine gave his R-5 to me for 7 years now.It works for me good antenna for small space and with home owners covenant. Im satisfied with the performance. Just 10 feet above the ground by my patio. I run with barefoot and linear 800 watts no problems. Contacts local or dx no problems.I can them and hear me. I give it 5.
K1YPB Rating: 5/5 Jun 14, 2008 18:54 Send this review to a friend
Decent Antenna - Very Durable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my R5 for going on 18 years. I took it down once to clean it up and move it to my vacation property in up state New Hampshire, when I purchased my R8 about 8 years ago. It is a decent antenna. Works fine and is very reliable. It has with stood many harsh New England winters, and has maintained its adjustments. It is well made. I really cannot complain about it as it has delivered exactly what it was designed to do. I like it because it does not need radials, and it is easy to install. I replaced it with an R8 at the home QTH because i wanted the extra bands the R8 provides. I recommend it to anyone who needs a limited space antenna.
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