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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | Cushcraft A3S Help


Reviews Summary for Cushcraft A3S
Cushcraft A3S Reviews: 82 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $599
Description: 3 ELEMENT BEAM ON A 14' BOOM
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.cushcraftamateur.com/
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K0DXV Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2018 20:08 Send this review to a friend
Exactly would it should be  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
It's been a struggle to get a tower setup. Finally, with the help of my friend with a BobCat, I managed to get a free-standing 35 tower up.

For me there was no other choice than the Cushcraft A3S. For its weight, wind-loading, and ruggedness, the A3S was top of the list. Previously I had a TH3jr which I thought was very cheaply made. Having put up a tower finally, I wasn't going to cheap out on a beam.

Assembly was straight forward. The manual was very well written. All of the components were top quality and nothing was missing or improperly made. Each trap was wrapped in bubble wrap and clearly marked.

I've read where people have felt that quality has dropped since Cushcraft was bought by MFJ. I'm personally very grateful that MFJ saved this company. Clearly they have some issues getting properly trained employees and mistakes are made. But, what I have found, is that regardless of which division, MFJ always comes through. Whatever brand - MFJ, Ameritron, Cushcraft, or HyGain - I've never been disappointed in the service and support I have received. It was sometimes a little slow - but it was always successful.

The A3S is now at about 36 feet being turned by a Yaesu GS-450 rotator. The difference between the A3S and a 3-band trapped inverted V dipole at a similar height is just about exactly 2 "S" units. Level elements VS drooping elements along with a director and reflector really makes a difference.

It's well-made, of strong stuff using a great proven design that handles 1500 watts and is lightweight. It performs exactly like a classic tri-bander should. Even at only 36 feet, it's a big step up from a dipole.

So, if someone at Cushcraft/MFJ reads this -- Hey, thanks! I really feel like I got my money's worth in the A3S!
 
NN2X Rating: 5/5 Nov 2, 2018 13:51 Send this review to a friend
It worked for 14 boom  Time owned: more than 12 months
Lets face it, this is a 14 ft boom, with traps, what would one expect?

I bought this model, back in 1980, I did not even have a rotor, (Arm strong method, with rope), that was fun..

But it worked, had some gain, Front to Back, and side rejection. I had a SB 200 amplifier and I was off to the races!

Bottom line, not bad antenna, worked for me.
 
N1JAO Rating: 4/5 Nov 2, 2018 11:42 Send this review to a friend
Good performance-sensitive traps  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Performance is good when it doesn't rain. Great f/b and f/g.
 
KB4WJA Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2018 15:47 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine was up on my 64' tower w/o maintenance for 23 years. Works great. No problems at all. For the first 23 years had a extra 30/40 add on kit tuned for 40 M. When I finally did maintenance a year ago I had it re-tuned for 30 M. I just went by the dimensions in the manual. That works fine also.
 
KE4AMQ Rating: 5/5 May 30, 2018 16:37 Send this review to a friend
great beam  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had a couple a3s beams the first one was destroyed by hurricane Irma. I in fact put up a new one less then a yaer ago on 35 foot of rohn 25. Boy these beams work like gang busters I run a alpha 87a and the beam on 20 meters when I call qc I have too many stations calling back. Heard the ol saying when E.F. Hutten talks everybody listens, well with this set up I call and E.F. hutten answers back. A++ kickin beam
 
K7NNV Rating: 0/5 Jun 3, 2017 23:31 Send this review to a friend
Trap Issues  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased a A3S and a A3WS from HRO. I assembled the A3S and installed it on my 40 foot Rohn 25G tower. Rather than use the coiled coax balun I installed a DX Engineering 1:1 balun. The SWR on 10 meters was swinging from 1.2 to infinity and back (using the radio's swr meter) and I suspected a bad 10 meter trap. After researching the issue on the internet I found this to be a common problem due to quality issues with the traps. I will call MFJ Monday to request a replacement(s). Unfortunately, I am reading the replacements have major issues also. I highly suggest you research issues with the A3S prior to puschasing one
 
K6BRN Rating: 0/5 Nov 13, 2016 16:53 Send this review to a friend
Not what it used to be....  Time owned: more than 12 months
After many years of good experiences with a Cushcraft A3S, I decided to replace the antenna due to its advanced state of corrosion and rising SWR - not a good sign. I live close to the beach, have frequent evening fogs and the antenna had 20+ years of wear on it. So I bought a new one to replace it. I knew the antenna very well, after all, right?

Well - No I didn't, as it turns out. Things had changed. A LOT!

1. MFJ bought Cushcraft.

2. The tough stainless steel hardware I was used to was replaced with some very poor SS alloy that would gall and self-weld when nuts were placed on finger tight - NOT KIDDING. But not to worry - the alloy was so weak the welded bolts and nuts would simply snap off with a pocket wrench under mild pressure. Home Depot yielded ready replacements and it is telling that their hardware was actually of better quality.

3. The TRAPS! AUUUUUGHHHH! (Feel the pain, because it IS real). Original A3S traps coils were wound on tough, rigid fiberglass tubes, conformal coated and covered with a capacitive sleeve that was never intended to bear a mechanical load. And they didn't need to, thanks to the tough fiberglass tubes that carried the bending moment of the elements. Enter the NEW element design, which I unwittingly bought into. The new traps are wound on a clear resin plastic form, with no structural fillers (like carbon fiber or fiberglass) for rigidity. Their ends taper in thickness to about 1/2 diameter, flattened, to fit into the crimped aluminum tuming attached at their ends. In short - they flex like crazy, sag under load or heat and cause major SWR jumps and trap shorts (capacitance sleeve to now uncoated trap coils) that began within a week of antenna erection.

That is my experience. I worked with MFJ to try and solve the problem. Through and past the warranty return period, unfortunately. They were very cooperative in sending traps with added sleeve to center spacers, to transfer load to the thin outer capacitive sleeve, which was never meant to carry a load, to reinforce the "saggy" traps. But, they did not successfully re-tune the traps to compensate for the changed dielectric constant caused by the added spacers. So antenna SWR suffered badly and re-tuning it so that all the bands worked properly proved problematic - I tried, many times. And then, after a time, the traps sagged anyway, and the jumps started again.

After spending two years constantly working on this junkpile, I replaced it with a Mosley TA-33-MWARC. No problems with the Mosley, so far.

So... if you are considering purchasing this antenna new - well - you've heard my experience. But if you can get your hands on an older, used A3S with fiberglass trap coil mounts - you may be very happy, as I once was.

To find out what kind of trap (new or old design) you have, take the outer sleeve off a trap by popping the plastic end covers off, taking out the single self-tapping screw holding it on, and slide the inner assembly out. If the coil form is clear and you can flex the trap over your knee, its junk.

Frankly, I don't know HOW MFJ sells these things with a clear conscience. The "bendy" new trap designs WILL fail, per my experience - in short order.

And forget about putting the A743 40M dipole add-on on this antenna. The traps it attached to were the first to go. But not the last.

After demonstrating the trap problem to one local radio supply store I do a lot of business with, they promptly dropped the product.

BTW - when installing the new A3S, all new (tested) coax, connectors and mounts were used. The problem was never in the feedline. And Penetrox was used during assembly (but not inside traps) - which made it really easy to take down.

Brian - K6BRN

 
KG5ABW Rating: 5/5 Sep 23, 2016 05:27 Send this review to a friend
KG5ABW  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had mine up about 45 feet on my tower for 2 years. It along with an amp will bust thru pile ups. Great antenna. Any questions email
me from my QRZ.COM web page.
 
G4RRA Rating: 3/5 Jan 30, 2016 03:16 Send this review to a friend
Its great when it works  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ive had this antenna up about 5 years,I cant say its been trouble free.The good news is its nice and light and when it works ,it works well for a trapped yagi however..
Endless intermittent problems with SWR,When it first happened I took all the traps apart tightened up the screws and put it back together,it then worked for quite a while,at least it did until the next time.The trap covers also seem to be prone to splitting and letting water in.In conclusion I'm glad I own a crank over tower,my advice would be don't buy one if you cant get the antenna down easily.
 
N3BWR Rating: 5/5 Dec 26, 2015 16:48 Send this review to a friend
pretty good  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I picked up a used mid to late 90s variation for 150 bucks. i assume its about this vintage because it DIDNT have stainless hardware holding it togehter, but, it was in very good shape considering. after some new stainless bolts and clamps and a few other little parts from cushcraft its working great for me. im only at 25 feet but im sure it would be even better at 50.
 
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