Tag: R-9

My New R-9 Antenna

My New R-9 Antenna

The R-9 Antenna

IMG_2203The R-9 Antenna by Cushcraft or similar is something I have been looking at since I got back into amateur radio. I’ve always heard verticals are good for working DX because they have a lower takeoff angle. Don’t get me wrong, I am not unhappy at all about my Alpha Antenna DX-CC fan dipole. Its got me my DXCC in a year with casually working stations. Yet, I still wanted to try a vertical but since the DXCC worked so well I could never justify the $700 price (including guying kit) plus shipping. I also did not want all the radials in the ground – not an issue with the R-9.

I May Need an Intervention…

How many of you constantly browse the classifies on QRZ or QTH? I admit it. I do. There should be a 12-step group for us that are always looking for a deal.  I’m always looking for that thing I cannot do without. Procrastinate. Then find someone else has bought it.

Not this time. I saw that R-9 for a fraction of the price of what they go for. I thought it was one of those “too good to be true” scenarios and may had been a scam (lots of those on QRZ). I did my homework on the seller, got more pictures, and sure enough it was a great deal so I bought it.

Installation – Houston We Have a Problem

FYI – This is at least a two person job to install. Three would be better. The antenna is very top heavy and you really need someone to help steady it when you work on mounting it.

The R-9 has not been a disappointment. It was relatively easy to set up. I already had a 10′ post I could mount it on so that part was not an issue. Although, I did have to make 3 trips to Crowder Bros Ace Hardware for some screws, nuts and clamps that were missing. The original owner must had lost them when he took it down. We did run into one problem. Tuning it on 40 and 80 meters.

40 and 80 meters on this antenna, unlike the rest of the antenna, uses coils with taps for tuning and is connected to the rest of the antenna by a wire and clamp.  I ended up taking the antenna down 3 times because 40 and 80 would not tune. After the second time we took it down I vowed we’d only take it down one more time. I started researching why this would happen. Then I got the August QST magazine. Guess what is reviewed in that issue. You got it, the R-9 and the writer had the same issue I did. He said his clamp that connected the 40 and 80 sections was missing. That got me thinking my issue had to be in the same area.

I took down the antenna for the third and last time. I spent time checking for cold solder joints, loose screws, and anything else that could be the issue. I finally really cranked down tightening the clamp and voila! The SWR fell right into place. I took the advice of the QST article and tuned the antenna 200k lower than I wanted as his resonance point went up when he raised his antenna.

We got the antenna up and it all worked. The resonance point on 40 and 80 are still a little higher than I’d like but well within an area I can work with. If I take it down again, I’ll adjust the taps but it is going to stay right where it is for now.

How Does it Work?

OK, you heard all about how it was putting it together but how does it work? To be honest, I have not been able to do a good A/B comparison yet between the R-9 and the DX-CC but I can tell you this. I had no problems working Australia on 40 meters on Saturday with the R-9. I’ve also worked many local and other DX stations with it. I have noticed the R-9 is a little bit noisier than the DX-CC but that is to be expected in a vertical.

What I do have that I did not have before is an antenna that is resonant on 6m, 12m, 15m, 17m and 30m. I’ve not worked a lot of stations on those bands yet but I’m sure there will be a difference since more power will be going to the antenna now.

Final Thought

My final thoughts on the R-9. Although it says it only needs the same area as a child’s sandbox once set up you need at least a 40 foot area to lay it down on saw horses to set it up and tilt it onto the mast. Also, at 31′ tall on a 10′ mast the guying kit is not an option. Let me repeat that, THE GUYING KIT IS NOT AN OPTION. You need it, in fact, I think Cushcraft should make that part of the antenna kit.

Overall, I am very happy with this antenna. I’m glad I bought it and would again.