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Reviews For: Cushcraft R9 vertical Antenna

Category: Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop

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Review Summary For : Cushcraft R9 vertical Antenna
Reviews: 19MSRP: 639.00
Vertical Antenna, 6 thru 80 meters
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KB5TWJ Rating: 2021-02-27
Do a little more than following the instructions. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Good antenna, adding a couple comments to the instructions and better quality trap assembly would have improved my rating. I purchased the R9 in April 20. I assembled it and put it up in early May. I had pretty good SWR on nearly all bands when first raised. However, over the past 6 months SWR went from less than 2:1 to over 10:1 on all bands. I couldn’t get SWR back with my tuner and/or radio tuner. I took the antenna down the end of January 2021. Using information found in articles regarding other Cushcraft vertical antennas. I cleaned and applied anti-oxidant to all of the joints. Disassembled the traps and repaired faulty screw connections. Covered the fiberglass insulator with silicone tape. Antenna is back in the air and all SWR’s are back to less than 2:1 on all bands without a tuner. 1.0-1.1:1 using tuner.
KC9HTC Rating: 2020-07-13
WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
DO NOT waste your time or money on this antenna, A fellow ham radio operator bought this antenna at a good price used in the box and asked me to help him put it together, 7 DAYS LATER, its finally in the air. it is not a one man job to put together at all, TUNING THIS POS IS A NIGHTMARE, 17/20 & 30M traps had to be wound wrong with as far out of band as they are, Its in the air but 30m is unusable even with a tuner. If i had paid $700 for this antenna THE NEXT DAY IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SENT BACK FOR REFUND, Stay as far away from this antenna as possible, spend a little more and buy something ANYTHING better than this one
AC2MM Rating: 2019-10-16
Not worth the money Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
We recently moved to another state, and I was considering purchasing the R9 because I already own a SteppIR BigIR, 40M - 6M and have been using it for two years.

But it requires radials to operate, and the R9 was considered because we weren't sure whether we will turn the house in the Spring and cutting 40 more radials wasn't something I looked forward to.

After reading all the reviews, and some others, I am definitely going to return to my SteppIR, radials and all.

You get what you pay for, and although it cost twice as much as the Cushcraft, it was well worth the money. Cutting radials for an antenna that works extremely well with an outstanding reputation and quick assembly time is a small price to pay.

I have a separate, dedicated 80M antenna and didn't buy the 80M add-on for the BigIR, but it is available.

Thanks for your inputs guys.
UB6ACS Rating: 2019-05-17
R9 maintenance after 1 year Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Gusting winds, together with poor guying, lead to snapped out stubs for 10, 12 and 15 meters. So, I have to put R9 down and to do the maintenance.
The same time, I tuned it in for FT8 freqs, especially on 75m bands, since it very narrow resonance there with more, or less acceptable SWR.

In the horizontal position, the resonant freqs were 100-300 kHz lower, so I have to bear it in mind, when tuned 10m-15m stubs again.

The antenna corroded just in 1 year, therefore, my proposal for guys, who going to set it up, to paint the connections of the new antenna.

Also I have had to cover again the connections with the zync grease before retightened the clamps, some clamps have to be changed for new ones.

Short video of the antenna lied down

Earlier 4-star review posted by UB6ACS on 2018-05-04

I have been searching for HF all-in-one antenna solution to use it with 30ft telescopic mast in the backyard of my house. Before I tried GAP Titan, but it was broken during some heavy ice rain in 2013.
I realized that low rating is not about performance of R9, but poor service, missing parts, etc. For me, personally, it is not an issue, so I placed the order in April 2018 with some US ham radio web-store, with delivery though some post service to Krasnodar, Russia.
Yes, there is overseas shipment, but in general, except for slightly pushed coils everything delivered, more or less, in the good condition. What should I say for other potential owners, with my experience on assembly and installation:
1. Nuts, screws, etc. mixed in 3 different packages with no logic. Take you time to separate them before you start, according to each steps of assembly instruction. If you can’t find some bolts check the base, it might be already pre-installed.
2. Do not attach lower radials, until you start to check resonant freqs and SWR. It will easy you assembling.
3. Open the matching box and check soldering before you start to assemble R-9. My box was damaged, so when I turn it one for the first time, I got high SWR and no resonance at all. Opened box and found that the center point of choke ring coil was not soldered good enough..
4. You can tune your R9 with antenna analyzer in horizontal position, starting right after first radiator tubes installation. When you raise you assembled R9, the resonant freqs will remains almost the same. Some owners said that there will be 200kHz increase in resonance frequencies, but I don’t face it at all. Of course, SWR depends of height, coax length, location, but freqs are quite stable. It’s not easy to take down that beast for each tuning, so my choice was to tune it horizontally.
5. Do not afraid to move deeper BB tube inside the base while tuning. There is a definitely some problem with the 15m radiator tube length. For me, it seems too long and the tuning stub is completely inside of the radiator. The same tuning process is for the other bands: in order find you freq, move tubes and traps along the antenna body up and down, to have resonance where you want.
6. Use Penetrox-A, or other zinc-contained grease. I don’t want to face problems in couple years with bad SWR or something like that.
7. Start to tune you antenna from upper 6m band, and consequently to 75m band. Once 6m is tuned, you don’t have to retune it again, while tuning other bands. I prefer FT8, so, my freqs are predefined. Thanks to Thomas (AA5MT) explanation of R-9 current flow It really helps in understanding of Cushcraft verticals and how to tune it.
8. If you install your R-9 without volunteers, make sure you can put quite heavy R9 by yourself. Alternatively, use tilt device, it will ease the raise. Guying is 100% necessary. I didn’t buy a guy kit from Cushcraft, but made a homebrew supporting ring with worm clamp and 3 insulators. Attached them right below X-hat. It is where the center of R9 mass point. Make sure that the cord in not stretching.

Finally assembled and raised to 3 ft, SWR was from 1.0 to 1,2 on all bands, except for 75m, where it was 1,4. When raised to 30ft, resonance freqs remains the same. SWR is changed by 0.1 on some bands, but nothing critical.
I have some photo

and video of R-9 assembled antenna:

The antenna is not for HAM beginners. You have to be familiar with verticals principles of work. On the banks, like any other verticals there are less local stations, so at the first sight 40m band in day time looks very quiet. A little bit noisy om 75m band, compared with wire antennas. Also noted, that the trap bands (17/20 and 30m) works very well in the noisy LED lightning enviroment. In FT8 mode with 100W power output I have no limits have contacts worldwide.

My rating for R-9 is 4 of 5, due to some problems with quality of matching box, absense of the tuning manual and 15m band unsolved issue. I believe that MFJ can sell 2x volume of R-9 with clear instructions/manual, quality controls and guy kit included.
WS7X Rating: 2019-03-24
Bad design and poor quality Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Gotta agree with the majority on this one. Poorly designed and poor quality! I spent the better part of the day completing assembly of the R9 and trying to tune it. After working at tying to tune it about 4 hours I became disgusted and gave up and disassembled it and put the parts together ready to go back into the box to be returned. There are no instructions with the antenna on how to tune any of the bands other than 40 and 80 meters, which are taps on an exposed coil. However, one can guess at a couple of the bands which have a top piece you can slide in and out to raise and lower the resonant frequency and I did that for 10 meters. Originally the resonant frequency was way off in the 27 mhz range. The tap for the 80 meter coil could not be tightened because the clamp is too big for the wire on the coil and the 80 meter tap had been soldered in place so any tightening of the screw had no effect. Of course I tried opening the clamp by melting the solder, but again the clamp is still too big for the coil wires! And to make matters worse, the screw for tightening the tap had been stripped out! 20, 40, 12 and 15 meters were way out of useful range and nothing made them better. The best I could get on 20 meters was about 2.5:1 at 14.2 mhz and it got worse fast from there.

I really wanted to make this antenna work. I set it up horizontally on wooden supports fully assembled except for the lowest radials at the matching network per the instructions. I used my trusty antenna analyzer but was never able to get the antenna to play nice on more than 3 bands at once which were 10, 17 and 30 meters. I never got to put the antenna up vertically because nothing I did seemed to make much of a difference so I never got that far. After messing with it for most of the day I gave up and decided it was not worth trying to make it work as there are just too many things wrong with it. For the price, I should get a better antenna! And I never tried it on 6 meters as didn't have anything set up to test that band. The instruction manual and assembly is difficult because the parts are not labeled, so you have to figure out what is what and carefully follow each step only to get to the end and realize it doesn't work! Really disappointing as I had an R7 for many years! it worked poorly everywhere, but it worked and it tuned up on each band. Can't say the same for the R9!
K1TGF Rating: 2019-03-01
Very good Antenna Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
So far I have been very happy with this antenna. it was not missing any parts, the instructions were easy to understand and it has survived New England weather just fine. Ice snow/storms, recorded 43 mph winds etc. I have been using it for rag chewing, contests and running nets. It seems to work as well as any other antenna I have tried which ranges from dipoles, full size loops,inverted vee's, monoband verticals to even a hexbeam. I will say that you absolutely need to guy this antenna. I give 5 stars because it has met all of my expectations. Only time will tell as far as durability is concerned but for a multiband antenna it works pretty good.
VE7TNF Rating: 2018-07-22
Never worked as described. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Space constraints and a family member recomendation with an R8, I bought the R9.
Dismal reports at best and yes, radials and more and still a 10% vs my home brew dipole thrown up into trees.
March this year snapped it in half during an ice storm even with six guy wires at two hieghts.
I'm back to a multi-band dipole and have reports of never sounding better.
I tried, and never again.
KC1ACF Rating: 2016-06-17
Great antenna Time Owned: N.A.
Review of the Cushcraft R-9 multiband vertical. By KC1ACF mark Vess
After searching for several months for a multiband vertical, I began to look at the Cushcraft R-9. I found a number of reviews on it but they were either disappointing or incomplete with only a few extoling the virtues of this antenna. I wanted to have a vertical multiband with no ground radials for our club Field Day up high in the air and not on the ground. This is the tallest of all 80M thru 10M verticals. This is the antenna for the job! The R-9 assembled easily over several days with some patients and scrutinizing of the manual. The antenna was installed on an 18 foot long car trailer with a winch, a base hinge and an aluminum 20 foot tower. Six feet of 2” multi-wall mast connects the antenna to the tower. Two sets of guy lines on the tower and above the vertical traps keep things aligned during wind gusts. This is a must have!
The Cushcraft R-9 was a match on all bands right out of the box by following the assembly instructions carefully! I used Vernier calipers in two sizes to set it up. I made no adjustments to this antenna. All bands, 80, 40, 20, and ten were close to 1 to 1.1 and less than two. The analyzer arrives tomorrow to finalize tuning but so far I have enjoyed all good contacts from eastern USA, Canada, Saint Croy and Italy. I have used a 270’ Buckmaster 9 band OCF dipole for years and an ongoing A/B comparison shows the R-9 equaling or surpassing the Buckmaster on 40M and 20M. The R-9 excels on 10M and is a couple of Db’s below the Buckmaster on 75/80M. I have yet to try 6M, 12M, 15M, 17M, and 30M. This is a great antenna overall and it truly works on all the main bands so far. Stay tuned for the results on the other bands. Mark, KC1ACF
KG7VEJ Rating: 2016-04-29
Finally Got the Parts Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
In my review, "Poor Customer Service" I commented on MFJ Enterprise's lack of responsibility to the customer. Thanks to Mike Kaufman, K6VCI, who read my review and suggested I file a mail fraud complaint, I finally received replacements for the broken parts I mentioned. I never actually filed a complaint; I only had to let the company know of my intent. Many thanks, Mike. Without your suggestion, I'd still be in limbo!
N4BAM Rating: 2016-04-02
Missing Parts, Etc. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the R9 awhile ago but didn't put it up because I had to move. I finaling started on it yesterday and found that some parts were missing as well as one the long stubs was not cut at both ends as required.

Submitted a ticket this morning and will let you know how it is handled as well as how the tuning/performance goes as I finish the install.

One question is can I tune this on the ground on wood work horses horizontally before I mount it to the mast and raise it? I have an RigExpert 1000.

Also I've read almost everywhere the mast needs to be less than 25' so plan on some length between 15 to 22 feet for your mast.