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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: 56 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $539.99
Description: HF Vertical
Product is not in production.
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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.
WY8M Rating: 5/5 Jun 14, 2008 11:28 Send this review to a friend
Good for what it is  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my R5 for about a decade now. I bought it used from a friend. It is up 24' to the base, and is away from other vertical metal objects by at least 20'. My R5 is tuned for the CW portion of the band.
I have not had to take the R5 down to do any maintenance at all in that past decade. That says something right there!
For what it is, the R5 works great. The R5 is a zero-space no-radial vert that get you onto 20-10M. Given the little real estate it parks on, the R5 performs well.
My 135' RadioWorks Windom (with 22' vert section) will outperform it on all bands except 10M. On 10M, it's a wash, with one or the other RXing better depending on how the signal is coming in (polarity/angle).
BUT, that's compairing apples to oranges. Most suburbanites and hams in general do not have the ability to put up a 135' long wire of any kind, let alone a 70' tower bristling with aluminum. Ergo, the radial-less verticals become an atractive option.
The R5 does not work as well as my Windom, which does not work as well as a 270' Windom, which does not work as well as a 3-element tribander, which does not work as well as a TH7.
The R5 is good for what it is (limited space antenna), but in teh bigger scheme of things, if at all possible, get you a RadioWorks Windom, biggest you can, and put that up as high as you can.
W5LXG Rating: 1/5 Mar 21, 2008 09:42 Send this review to a friend
Horrible performance  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My R-5 was mounted on top of 40' tower,clear of objects. Below the R-5 was an 80 meter dipole which cost $6. With a tuner, the 80 dipole dramatically outperformed the R-5 hands down. No matter if DX or domestic contacts. I think someone from Starksville, MS went to work for Cushcraft.Discussions with CC about the antenna when no where. One of the most expensive antenna mistakes I've made. Luckily, I found a buyer and recouped most of my money. Beware of this dog.
AB7E Rating: 1/5 Jan 17, 2008 15:43 Send this review to a friend
Worst antenna I ever owned  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love vertical antennas and have used them most of my ham career due to neighborhood aesthetics issues. I owned and used an R-5 for about three of those years and was horribly disappointed. Mounted on a mast about 15 feet in the air where it could clear any surrounding structures, it worked marginally on 20m and sucked on the other bands ... and this was near a sunspot peak. I could usually hear the DX but the antenna efficiency was so bad it was really tough to work much. It was basically a 100 watt dummy load.

After the cheap plastic insulators started to fall apart in the Arizona sun and the decoupling stubs literally started falling off, I took it down and replaced it with two simple vertical radiators made from one inch diameter tubing and "guyed" with cheap nylon twine. One was about 30 feet tall for 40m and 15m and the second one was 16 feet tall for 20m. Both were fed against a few random lengths of wire on the roof of my house for a counterpoise. With a tuner, I was able to operate any band between 40m and 10m, including the WARC bands, with one vertical or the other.

The difference was astounding. I could immediately work DX much easier than I ever could with the R-5 and my DXCC band totals increased quickly. I fully realize that antenna comparisons are subjective unless performed side-by-side, but all you have to do is open up the little box on the R-5 to see where most of your power is going. I'll bet a remote temperature sensor mounted in there would be an eye-opener.

Do yourself a favor and put a small amount of your money in some aluminum tubing and a bit of radial wire, and the rest in the parts to make a simple homebrew tuner. Skip these lossy all-band, electrical half-wave commercial products.
K7DAA Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2008 09:47 Send this review to a friend
If I could only have one antenna...  Time owned: more than 12 months
...this one would be it! I've used the R4, and upgraded it to the R5 with the upgrade kit that Cushcraft offered for WARC coverage.

I've mounted it two different ways over the years: a chimney mount on top of my 2-story house in Utah, as well as at ground level, mounted on the top 2 feet of a 5 foot steel pole driven into the ground. I did not have to retune the elements very much between the two locations, and got great results as both locations.

I could bust just about any DX pileup with South Pacific or Oceania stations running 100 watts. It was a far superior antenna to any vertical I had ever used prior to that. It always worked better than my G5RV on the same bands, or any dipole I could put up in the air (admittedly, not higher than about 35 feet).

Sadly, it's now been taken apart into its various sections, carefully bundled up in my garage, waiting for the day when I can move to a neighborhood that allows outside antennas (see my review of the PAC-12 to see what I'm using now).

I can't bear to part with this excellent antenna. So far, it's been sitting quietly for 5 years, waiting for its liberation.

That's how much I've enjoyed this antenna!
N2QQF Rating: 3/5 Jan 7, 2008 07:47 Send this review to a friend
NOt Sure  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have not had this antenna for long as I got it on a trade for another antenna and I am baffled. I hear so much about verticals and how good they are for receive as well as DX transmission but I must say mine isnít that great. Now, I understand it is hard to beat a well positioned dipole which mine are up well above 70í in elevation setup in a flat top configuration. I also have a 160 and 80 meter loop setup at roughly the same heights.

I have to say that at the moment my G5RV blows my vertical out of the water, hands down. To give some perspective on how I have my R5 setup. It is on my roof about 30í off the ground setup on a tripod mount on a 10í mast so, the total elevation is around 40í +/-. I canít figure out if this is the inheriting traits of a vertical but I hear stations about 2-3 S-units lower than on my dipole.

While I understand about a 20db loss for horizontal/vertical polarization this also applies to distant DX stations. I understand 20db because I experience the same traits with my Vertical loop vs. horizontal dipole. The same issues happen with Local and DX stations alike so I canít figure out if this is normal and maybe I expect too much or is there an issue.

I will say that the SWRís are perfect throughout all the advertised bands 1.5 or better. So with this said I will give it a 3 for OK because the SWR levels are as advertised and I guess I may be asking for too much with regard to a vertical and a full sized wire. Anyhow I guess it isnít bad for a limited space antenna but I would certainly put up a dipole at an optimal height before purchasing a vertical.
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