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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Directional (Yagi, quad, etc.) | Cushcraft A50-5S 6 Meter Beam Help

Reviews Summary for Cushcraft A50-5S 6 Meter Beam
Cushcraft A50-5S 6 Meter Beam Reviews: 24 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $169
Description: 5 element 6 meter beam 50-54 MHz, 10.5dBi gain, 24 dB F/B, 1000 watt rating, 12 foot boom, 11 lb, 2.9 sg ft wind surface area
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Cushcraft A50-5S 6 Meter Beam.

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KD2E Rating: 3/5 Aug 1, 2007 18:46 Send this review to a friend
survivor!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
True, KVW is missing the whole idea...BUT...for a 12 footer, If MFJ did not wreck it...the HyGain 64BS was always a better antenna!
W4KVW Rating: 3/5 Aug 1, 2007 17:57 Send this review to a friend
5 ELEMENTS  Time owned: more than 12 months
5 element M2 vs 5 element Cushcraft = M2 KICKS that Cushcraft BUTT!The 6M6X even kicks the A506S butt.Cushcraft is made like a CHEAP TOY & NOT for SERIOUS hams who wish for the antenna to last a VERY LONG TIME!FACTS = TRUTH & they do HURT when YOU make the WRONG choice! }:>)
M2 RULES as I said
K1XT Rating: 4/5 Aug 1, 2007 17:19 Send this review to a friend
Nice for 12 foot boom  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a nice antenna for 12 foot boom. The M2 is on an 18ft boom so it should be better as the boom is 1/3 longer. Comparisons sould be made within the same category.
W4KVW Rating: 3/5 Aug 1, 2007 16:12 Send this review to a friend
NOT GOOD!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I no longer own this antenna but it worked OK I thought until I put an M2 6M5X up & realized the Cushcraft was NOT very good!The M2 is QUIETER, hears BETTER, & is built(solid as a rock)MUCH better with BETTER gain & front to back rejection!The Cushcraft can NOT compare with the M2 ANYTIME nor ANYWHERE!If you like figures check the Contest Results for the VHF bands for the last 10 years & see for yourself which is a WINNER "OVER & OVER" again!M2 RULES the VHF bands without a doubt! {:>)
N3DG3 Rating: 5/5 Aug 1, 2007 16:09 Send this review to a friend
Nice, Compact Beam  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had mine at 35 feet for about a year, and work all I hear from Eastern PA, including Europe, into Eastern Europe (Slovenia), most of Western Europe, Caribbean Islands, Central and South America and all Continental US States, while giving the Big Guns aggressive competition, versus their 100+ foot towers and long boom, stacked arrays. Just got a typical QSL card today from a DX Mobile Station stating "you were the strongest signal on the band", which is what I am often told on-the-air.

I have some concern over the years ahead, about any loosening of hardware or elements, which could be more securely mounted and in the same plane with predrilled holes, a la M2. The boom could be longer and optimized, indeed. But for a small, compact 12 foot boom and low price, she does fine for me on a short tower, just outside the city.

If she fades or falls in the years ahead, I'll probably try the M2 6M5X which still has only 5 elements on a longer boom, more wind load, and, at twice the price of this 5 element beam. Is it worth it ???

For now, I like the compact, value and results of the Cushcraft A50-5S.
V73NS Rating: 4/5 Aug 1, 2007 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Great, but needs better connector  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First - the Review Summary list the gain as 10.5dBd which is not correct, it is 10.5 dBi as stated on the Cushcraft site. Subtract 2.15 dB from the dBi figure and you have the dBd gain.

I like this antenna with the exception of the $0.29 SO-239 type connection the supply. The connector is so poorly constructed I replaced it before I did any work to assemble the antenna.
Supplied is an all aluminum body with an acrylic insert and a center connection which then passes through to the threaded part to attach the feed. This would be difficult to weather proof and protect from UV.

Also, since I am using N connectors on my RG-216/U phasing / stacking harness (larger OD than RG8 and will not work with PL-259's) I opted to replace the feed connection with an Amphenol UG58 N female panel connector.

I soldered the mounting stud from an RF transistor to the center pin. I also made a sleeve from a Teflon standoff to slip over this joint to protect it mechanically from side to side movements. The jam nut holds this in place and makes the assemble a lot stronger. The same could be done with a UHF panel mount.

From a marker of commercial antennas I would have hoped they would offer the amateur market a better connection. When they don't... make your own!
KD7UXA Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2006 21:01 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Results  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got my antenna as a gift for Christmas. I was able to assemble it in about an hour between rain showers. Placed at 40 feet above ground I can chat with stations over two hundred miles away all day long, with only 10 Watts, no skip either! The directions were clear and the parts all there. I have worked three small openings with only 10 watts and get same RST as 100+ watt stations. I still can't believe the cost these days for aluminum but hey. This thing works great.

Puts up with the NW winds off the coast range too!

You won't be disappointed !

73, KD7UXA
KI6LO Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2006 16:08 Send this review to a friend
Optimization seemed to really help  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Followup to recent posting:
This weekend (2/3/06) - 2/5/06, there was a very good band opening to the midwest and Pacific NW from SoCAL. I worked 14 grids in MO, TX, OK, KS, Canada, WA and ID during several short operating stints with the newly installed A505S that I had optimized with the EZNEC3 program. Signal reports were mainly 57 and higher, some 20 over, a 44 and even a 33. All that with only 12W into appx 90 feet of Davis RF BuryFlex coax feeding the A505S. Can't wait to get my 170W amp online. I am really happy with the results so far. Nice little antenna for the price.
KG6WLV Rating: 4/5 Feb 3, 2006 23:49 Send this review to a friend
A Good Antenna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I assembled and installed this antenna 20 feet above ground shortly after purchasing it in August. This was my very first antenna project of any kind, and in spite of my inexperience it went together well.
I had a few small problems with the antenna:
I was concerned about stripping the hose clamp joining the two boom sections, and left it somewhat looser than I should have. As a result, the two back elements canted slightly out of the plane of the front three.
A small amount of rainwater collected in the boom as a result of the loose hose clamp.
Both of these problems were corrected when I reinstalled the antenna on a 30-foot pushup mast. (I added a bit of electrical tape to seal the mast and made sure the hose clamps were much tighter than before. I used a socket wrench instead of a screwdriver to secure the hose clamps, and they held much better. )I was also able to install the antenna on a proper rotator.
Today was the first time I worked an opening on 6 with this antenna, and I had a blast! I worked stations in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri from the SF Bay Area, and was easily able to break some pileups with S9 reports on a couple of occasions, running 100 Watts with my TS-2000.
Now that I have sorted out my (minor) assembly problems and worked some DX, I think this is good antenna for the money. I'm sure a long boom antenna would outperform this one, but it also would cost more and be much harder to install. Overall, I'm am satisfied.
I think I will look carefully at the "remodeling" done by a poster below, and consider that, if I have the opportunity to resinstall the antennna in the future, as I am using it for 6-meter sideband.
KI6LO Rating: 4/5 Jan 23, 2006 12:17 Send this review to a friend
Nice antenna but really requires optimization  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Never to be one to leave good enough alone, I investigated this antenna as my main 6M yagi for SSB/CW work. I have a small lot (1/2 acre) at the edge of town and already have a rather tidy antenna farm in progress so I didn't have room for a really big boomer like I would have preferred. 12 foot boom was adequate but I could have gone slightly bigger.

Anyway I was curious what kind of pattern that the 5 element 12 foot boom 6M yagi would deliver. I modeled the specs from the Cushcraft A505S manual for the low end of the band and wasn't highly impressed. I was mainly interested in SSB/CW work which according to most band plans, happens 50.0 to 51.0 Mhz. After some research I found others had had success in redefining the element lengths and spacing to make this a serious little performing 6M yagi. With EZNEC I tweaked the element lengths and spacings until I got the pattern I thought would give me the worthwhile performance. Basic results from my EZNEC3 efforts were 15dBi forward gain (which includes ground gain for my 40 foot tower position), 35 dB front/back, 55.6 deg 3dB BW, > 40dB side nulls.

A side note here - I was considering homebrewing the same design but a survey of aluminum sources revealed that the tubing alone was at or over $100 and then there was the remaining hardware to procure. At $169, the Cushcraft package was worth the cost.

After assembly and installation, tuning the antenna was a snap with Cushcraft's Gamma Match setup. SWR is 1.1 from 50.0 to 50.4 and rises to 1.9 at 51 Mhz. A few tests were needed to verify performance against the EZNEC model. A beacon was found appx 80-90 miles from me. Pointing the beam at the beacon, the CW recv audio was solid and strong, peaking at just over S9 on my old Yaesu FT-726R/TenTec 1209 2M<>6M transverter. Flipping the beam 180 deg and the beacon signal all but disappeared. Audio was very weak and noisy, S meter was not even moving above the noise level. With beam tangent to beacon, nothing was heard at all. So far so good but this isn't enough to verify the model was correct.

Yesterday during the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes contest, I mainly monitored to see what the coverage I was hearing since I wasn't in the contest. Even with the not so good band conditions, I heard several stations from central California, San Diego and other closer in to my home QTH. I did work a few stations with decent reports.

Checking the near field strength was another simple test I did was to verify front to back ratio. I placed my Lafayette FSM appx 100 feet from the base of the tower. This is appx 5.5 wave lengths. With the antenna pointed at the FSM, the transmitter was keyed in CW mode, the FSM was tuned to 6M and gain adjusted to set at scale reading of 8 out of 10. Flipping the antenna 180 deg, the FSM reading dropped to 1 on the FSM scale. I haven't done the analysis on this to verify what the numbers are actually telling me but there is a significant drop in the back lobe. One thing I did notice that with the boom tangent to the FSM, non-Gamma match side towards FSM showing a FSM reading of appx 0.1 versus the flip - Gamma match side towards FSM reading of 0.8. This indicates to me the effect of a Gamma Match being non balanced like a hairpin or T-match might be.

This is my first foray into 6M and VHF operation other than the customary 2M FM stuff. I think the antenna will be a good performer now that it has been optimized for the low end of the 50Mhz band. If you are interested in a copy of the EZNEC model file I created and used for my setup, please check out my website at

All in all, I would recommend this antenna as a good 6M antenna for general purpose use. If you are really serious about 6M, you will probably want a long boomer antenna with a 30 to 40 foot boom and 7 to 11 elements optimized. If you do decide on the A505S, I highly recommend you investigate optimizing the dimensions/spacing especially for SSB/CW only work.


Gene KI6LO
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