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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Cushcraft R-8 Help

Reviews Summary for Cushcraft R-8
Cushcraft R-8 Reviews: 106 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $450 to $480
Description: 40-6m omnidirectional vertical antenna
Product is in production.
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KN6SU Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2017 19:05 Send this review to a friend
Bandwidth on 40  Time owned: more than 12 months
Follow up to last post:

Used the Rig Expert AA-230Z (new gadget...highly recommended) to reset the 40M tip element and set the SWR min at about 7.23MHz and got the 2:1 range from 7.150 to 7.290. The SWR graph is fairly symmetric but steep on 40, so if you want to use it w/o an ATU you really need to set the min SWR point carefully in the part of the band you want to do that. My MFJ-986 easily handles the slight mismatch below 7.150. 30, 20, and up are fine across each of those bands.

BTW, the AA230Z makes it super quick and easy to check and tune multiband antennas like the R8. Last time I used my MFJ did work but the Rig Expert analyzers, with their graphic and other features make this sort of work almost enjoyable.
VA6GC Rating: 1/5 Oct 3, 2016 15:40 Send this review to a friend
VERY POOR  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
After I got the missing pages of the instruction manual and replaced the missing parts I was very disappointed on the results of the R8 antenna.
has the results of my assembly. I had and R7 that was perfect! so the R8 should be at least good. I will be taking it down again in an attempt to tune it, after that I will modify it for bands I want 20/40/80. Yes I know it doesn't do 80... yet :(
K7JLF Rating: 5/5 May 6, 2016 11:30 Send this review to a friend
Previous Reviews  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the R8 since 2007 and I love it. I have 150 countries confirmed on LOTW, most of which came from using the R8 and 100W. Another 1000 contacts in my logbook. My husband had put it together while I was at work in 2007, having no previous experience in HF antennas, he had no problems reading the manual and doing exactly like it said. He dug a hole and cemented a tilt over mount into it. The antenna is mounted on a 2" mast that is 14' high. We raised the R8 by me "walking up the antenna" from the ground and he would pulled on the guy lines from the roof. We have three guy lines on it. Our side yard is only 10 feet wide so two guys are tied to the chainlink fence in opposite directions. The other guyline is located on the other side of our mobile. 35' wide mobile with metal roof.
I had read every review on this antenna and the previous Cushcraft series in order to try to troubleshot high SWR across all the bands I had this past week. Some of the reviews were----don't put this antenna near any metal, our is, that wasn't our problem.
Let me start with March 2016, I noticed I was not making contacts as well as I thought I should be. Armed with a CAA500 analyzer I hooked up the coax to it and found that 20m 17m and 30m were very high. That lead us to lower this antenna that had been up there working like a charm for the past 8 years, with no maintenance. We finally figured out that the traps probably were bad. I emailed MFJ and they answered me immediately sending me the link to where I could order the traps. $100 and less than a week later we had the new traps. Since I had a stroke in Jan. and lost strength on my right side, my husband put another pole next to the mast and a pully, hooked it to the mast and now I crank while he walks the antenna up. We installed the traps, cleaned every connection, cleaned all parts with steel wool, reread the entire manual, made sure all measurements were still correct and raised it. The SWR was great on all bands! I was elated to be back on the air again!
Then came the three dust storms and high winds of two weeks ago. Suddenly my radio would not let me tune anymore........... I grabbed the analyzer and the SWR was sky high on all bands. Couldn't believe it. We lowered the antenna again, checked the coax, it was good. Hooked up a vertical on a tripod on the roof so I could at least do 20m while we tried to figure this one out. We assumed that it had to be the network box since the traps had just been replaced. We took it apart, looked at it really good. Tony even brought a meter home so he could cut off the capacitor and check it to see if it was good. Before he could do that and while he was at work I scoured the internet for any hint of something we didn't do or check. Armed with the manual and a page of hints printed out from some of the guys on Eham reviews, I went outside (107į AZ heat) stood there looking and reading and thought, "I told him when we lowered the antenna that the plastic holder on the antenna didn't lay on the ladder like it was when we had it down before." We prop the antenna on cut-off ladders when we lower it because the antenna is a couple of feet longer than our yard so the top rests on top of our chain link fence. The ladders hold the antenna in place so nothing gets bent. He just told me not to worry about it, it didn't matter.
But after reading one comment about #5-assemble metal clamps on to radiator, I noticed even the clamps were not like they were when we had raised this antenna before. When Tony got home that evening we went out there and I was showing him what I thought may be wrong with the antenna. I was thinking that the worm clamps had loosen and let the antenna turn some in the high winds and dust storms. He got new clamps, turned the bottom part and was aligning it like the manual showed and while he was doing that, I was holding the top part off of the fence railing so the top wouldn't hang up on the chainlink fence but the radials got caught and the top part wasn't turning and it should of been with him turning it at the bottom. The clamp was broke. After fixing those problems, then showed him the tips in the reviews and told him to cut the zip off the torrid's to see if the soldered connections were still good. He did and they were. Not wanting to pay $200 for a new network box, we decided to put everything back together and see what happened after all the little things we did. With the antenna laying there in the yard on the metal fence, I put the analyzer on the R8 (another reviewer said he did it like that) and the SWR was not too bad! They were not pegging the meter like before. We raised the antenna, checked it with the analyzer again and the highest swr was on 17m 1.9! All the rest were lower than that and we were very happy that the antenna was working once again. After hooking every up, bolting the mast in place and checking one more time with the analyzer, the SWR's were even lower! Within one minute of finishing SWR I turned on the radio and instantly made a contact with South Cook Island on 17m with a 58 RST. I am now a happy ham again.
I had did a lot of research on antenna's and was thinking about getting a different one but with having to go with a vertical and not wanting to dig up our ROCK yard to lay a lot of radials this R8 was everything I needed and the bands were the ones I wanted. I don't have 80m or 160 but since never working them and not caring if I do I am greatly satisfied with the R8. And as far as the comments on MFJ and parts not being available I don't understand where they are coming from. I emailed MFJ, they answered. I ordered parts for the R8 and they arrived within a week.
Just to add a word of thanks to the reviewers on the R8 that gave hints and tips for the antenna, thank you for helping me get back on the air. 73

KT6L Rating: 5/5 Apr 16, 2016 16:02 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've used my R-8 for more than several years mounted on the roof of my house. On the West Coast I've worked all continents with it running less than 100 watts; in fact, I worked Japan, North Carolina, New Jersey and Florida with my Wilderness NORCAL 40-A QRP rig (less than 5 watts).

There were some aggravating problems with the original shipment such as several missing bolts and an incorrect flanged pipe near the apex. However, when I spoke to the gripe supervisor she had the correct parts delivered to my door the next day - I was impressed!

The assembly was straight forward and not complicated. I was able to erect the R-8 lashed to my chimney on the roof, with no help, and I'm not extra-ordinairally strong, just patient; it IS a challenge by yourself and I recommend a second person to help as it tends to wobble, but do-able solo.

It's such a pleasure to have QSOs with German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swiss, Norwegian and Coastal African stations with only 100 watts on 40 Meters at night using this practical, well designed, superbly engineered and over-built antenna.

The R-8 is very similar to the R-7 but the detuning stubs and improved traps eliminate many of the latter's problems such as changing SWR with increased moisture and rain. Very solid mechanical construction and RF performance. It bends with the wind - over 30 knots it looks pretty scary but still recovers and stands up straight.

The best vertical antenna I've ever used in terms of maintenance, erection, durability and performance.
K6YLG Rating: 4/5 Nov 18, 2015 09:56 Send this review to a friend
Excellent antenna but QC problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had an R-8 for years back in California and it worked great, head and shoulders ahead of the Diamond BB7V. I recently bought a new one to replace my DXEE, which it also outperforms. The only problem is MFJ QC, or lack thereof. First the groundplane radials were missing. Once they were replaced I discovered that the 20-meter trap was broken--clearly dropped before shipment. That was then replaced. In assembling the antenna I had to further drill out and/or file the plastic spacers, which needed to be cleaned up before they'd accept either the rods or screws. The antenna works great, but it took a lot longer to assemble than it should have due to shipping missing and/or damaged parts. MFJ was helpful and responsive, but it would be a lot more helpful if they'd respond the QC gripes that keep cropping up in eHam reviews.
KI8CS Rating: 1/5 Oct 15, 2015 08:06 Send this review to a friend
Don't Bother  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I setup my R-8 last week. Mediocre hardware at best. Assembled easily. No big surprises.

So I tested it. High SWR on all bands, >3. 40m was infinity. So far my support ticket has proven useless. Initially gave me advice on the wrong antenna. Haven't heard from them in a week. No plan on how to turn my $565 pile of tubing into an actual antenna.

Don't waste your money. If it works out of the box you're good. Otherwise you are on your own.
WA6ZHE Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2015 16:12 Send this review to a friend
OK So Far  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
We just finished installing it on my cottage roof. Thank goodness I was not scared off by the poor reviews, post-MFJ takeover. It was missing a few screws/bolts which was resolved by a visit to Orchard Supply. But no critical parts were missing. The mounting plate I received was solid aluminum. All holes were correctly drilled. One mismatched item was that I received 16 radial rods! So I have some spares. SWR is fine according to my antenna analyzer. The worst is 2:1 on 40M CW. Many show 1.3, 1.2, etc. It replaced a B&W broadband. It's pretty early yet, but so far it receives at least as well as that B&W, and gets out better. The base is only about 15-16 feet off the ground on my cottage roof, but last night I worked some serious DX easily, so no complaints so far. We definitely went with 4 guys instead of the 3 provided in the optional guy kit, and we used parachute cord. It will have to have an annual inspection for the guys (actually, no matter what kind of cord is used), but I hope it continues to do all right. Won't know about trap leaks until the next rain.
So far so good.
K2VCO Rating: 3/5 Dec 20, 2014 12:41 Send this review to a friend
Not a bad antenna, but NOT usable at full legal power  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is a follow-up to my previous review of the R8, to warn fellow hams: Do not put more than 750W CW or 500W digital into this antenna -- and if you are using SSB, the 1500W rating only holds without speech compression.

Now, you are thinking, why didn't this doofus read the manual? Well, the manual was just recently updated with these power limits. The one I downloaded in December 2013 said the antenna was good for 1500W CW, as did the one that came in the box of the antenna I bought this March.

I learned the hard way that the new power limits should be respected when I blew (or melted -- I'll know when I take it down) a trap after operating for a few minutes with 1200W on 40M CW.

MFJ has said that they will send me a new trap under warranty, which is very nice of them. But I am not happy that the antenna was spec'ed incorrectly in the first place. I would not have purchased it if I had known that it could not handle at least 1200W CW.

I decided to reduce my rating because although the antenna is now documented correctly, the ads are still misleading and suggest that the antenna can be used at full legal power.
K2VCO Rating: 4/5 Oct 25, 2014 14:22 Send this review to a friend
Still a good antenna, but some issues  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I chose the R8 because I needed a radial-less antenna to go on top of a 10-story building, and the R8 got a good report in the N0AX and K7LXC vertical antenna comparison test. Of course that was in 2000, before Cushcraft was bought by MFJ. Itís still a good antenna, but there are some issues.

When I started to assemble the antenna I found that two holes were drilled in the wrong place. I was able to elongate one with a file, but the other had to be redrilled about ĹĒ away. I had to file the insides of the insulators for the stubs so the tubes would fit.

I was unhappy to see that the aluminum blocks formerly supplied to clamp the antenna to the mast have been replaced by stamped metal pieces. They are plated steel, not stainless like the rest of the hardware. Worst of all, they are large enough that the U-bolts are barely long enough. I had to squeeze the assembly with a large clamp to get the nuts and lockwashers on.

The other parts seemed to be of good quality. All tubes were of correct length. The matching box had an o-ring seal and fit together nicely, better than the one on my old R7. I opened the box after hearing horror stories about bad soldering, and everything seemed properly done. I noticed that the matching transformer used two cores as opposed to the single one in my R7.

The antenna is almost 29 feet tall, and so they strengthened it with double tubes in places. Supposedly it can withstand 80 mph winds without guying, but if you believe that I have a bridge for sale. I used two sets of four guys each on the antenna, and I am glad I did. It came through one pretty serious storm, and I am certain it would not have without the guys. There was no noticeable difference in SWR after the storm.

I measured everything at least twice, and most bands were fine. 40 meters needs a slight adjustment of the top stinger to put the resonant frequency where I want it, but I havenít wanted to take the antenna down. The one band which is not quite right is 20 meters Ė it resonates near the top of the phone band, which puts the SWR in the CW band above 2:1. This isnít a problem for me because my tube amplifier can easily work into it and my solid-state transceiver has a built-in tuner, but itís worth a mention. Since the 20 and 17 meter traps are in the same enclosure, adjusting 20 without messing up 17 might be a problem.

Iím saving the best part for last: at a height of about 120 or 130 feet, this antenna really kicks butt on all bands. I almost never turn on my amplifier and seem to be able to work everything I can hear, including breaking pileups right and left. I can honestly say that it compares favorably as a transmitting antenna to the KT34 triband beam at 45 feet that I used at my previous QTH.
G7ENQ Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2014 12:59 Send this review to a friend
I'm very pleased - an excellent antenna.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This antenna was purchased as part of my re-entry into amateur radio after a twenty year absence. A lot had changed and now that I had access to HF, I made a good study of the available antennas. My city centre QTH meant a vertical, so this narrowed the search. Eventually I took the plunge and settled on a R8.

Lets be frank here - it seems clear that the MFJ takeover of Cushcraft resulted in some pretty cruddy reviews and reports. Whether these are valid or credible, I can only report on my own experiences. First, the assembly process went without hitch. All components were there, the instructions perfectly clear for someone who had never assembled a vertical. Second, after assembly and erection a problem was found in the Network Matching Box. Tom Stone at MFJ/Cushcraft had a replacement in my hands SEVEN DAYS LATER. Considering my QTH is Dublin, Ireland then that is outstanding customer service by any measurement.

The R8 works perfectly with my TS-590S with good reports from all over Europe. The only observation I'd make is that the R8 MUST BE GUYED. With a 28-feet length that is a further 10-20-feet above the ground, and with most of the weight in the two traps at the top, there is a lot of sway. I've seen a YouTube video of an un-guyed R8 in high winds going into self-destruct mode and it's not a pretty sight.

So, would I buy another? Yes.

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