Cushcraft R-9 and the Hy-GAIN AV-680

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KA7RRA, Apr 19, 2013.

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  1. KA7RRA

    KA7RRA Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Can someone explane to me why the New Cushcraft R9 sells for 639.00,and the HY-GAIN AV-680 sells for 539? they look like the same antenna

    What is the difference between the two?? they are both new and both are 9 bands
  2. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looking at the two pictures for each, despite the slightly different camera angles, they do look remarkably similar to each other. (And more than a passing similarity to some of the GAP verticals as well)

    It could be merely a marketing thing. (Anyone remember when GM, for one, sold the same basic car under multiple name plates?)

    However... keep in mind that looks can be deceiving. For example, if you walk into the appliance department of a Big Box retailer, you'll notice, for example, a Hotpoint stove that looks exactly like a GE one that's more expensive. Both are made by GE... with Hotpoint being the "economy" brand. Examine the insides, and you'll notice significant differences in some of the materials used, or the number of oven heating elements, or other subtle little things.

    Or, compare a given Dewalt drill to a similar Black & Decker drill. Same parent company (B&D), same basic design, same basic look (outside of color), but there are, again, differences in manufacturing (types & quality of materials used). But the B&D line is marketing for the home consumer, whereas Dewalt is marketed to the professional contractor. That's why the Dewalt costs more, it's designed for to handle professional situations the typical home owner will never need to worry about.

    So the difference might be in the materials and construction. Or it might just be a branding thing, with Cushcraft being considered to have a better image in the market place, thus able to command a premium.
  3. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    From what I read in the QST ads and product pages, the Cushcraft R9 is somewhat heavier, taller, and with larger wind loading. That suggests to me that it is simply a stronger variant of the Hy-Gain AV-680. It also "looks" like the R9 counterpoise is somewhat more rigid than the droopy AV-680 counterpoise, but that could just be the way the photos were taken. If the R9 is indeed a better-built variant, then some might be willing to pay $100 more for it.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    They both look like a PITA to assemble.:p
  5. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Perhaps you could download information about them with some photos and compare the two

    Mel G0GQK
  6. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why, yes. Great idea! In fact, maybe someone ought to post a link to the manufacturer's web site to do just that.

    Oh wait. I already did that in Post #2. Never mind.
  7. KF6ABU

    KF6ABU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Someone should post that someone should download the photos and compare them.
  8. W4AMP

    W4AMP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    An Antron 99 covers 20-6 meters with a tuner and costs about 70 bucks.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It does, but it doesn't cover 30-40-60-80m at all, and even on 20-6m it has some serious common mode problems.

    Of course (sigh) a lot of people wouldn't notice that and just think it works fine. Until they try a real antenna and discover it wasn't very good after all.

    I worked Michigan using a 60W GE Soft Light bulb for an antenna, verifying that "everything works.":eek:
  10. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    When it comes to antennas, ignorance is bliss! The reason these antennas exist is simply the fact that those who are buying them don't have a clue!

    Once upon a time, Yardley Bears, W0JF (sk) drove a 40 watts bulb, atop a 40 foot pole, fed with 100 feet of RG58. The transmitter was a tuna can special running 2 watts input! It took him less than a year to work DXCC on 40 meters. He wrote an article about the feat.

    Proving, as Steve alluded to, anything will work.
  11. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Has anyone got the equipment to range test the two antennas and actually give us a mV/M reading at one mile with one KW CW going into each the antennas, on each band specified, one after the other, mounted in the same spot !
    Otherwise it's just subjective guesswork, comparing antennaas !
  12. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am now waiting for someone to tell me that this doesn't measure the sky wave angles where we get DX, etc etc.... Just can't win.
  13. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, it actually doesn't.:p

    To measure FS that "matters," at any range you'd need a helicopter. And that has absolutely been done, lots of times.

    Since we don't rely on ground wave at all in amateur radio (unless you have a closeby neighbor on 80 or 160 meters and both use vertical antennas), the only thing that normally matters is the sky wave signal...and signal strength at ground level doesn't tell us much about that.

    I was good friends with Jim, W2EPQ, who was the "first" to ever use signal strength measurements taken at altitude using helicopters when proving a case to the FCC about his AM BCB signal from WPAT in NJ causing interference to WBEN in Buffalo on the same frequency. That was six decades ago, but it was a bit deal at the time.
  14. W4AMP

    W4AMP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have been licensed for years and the Antron 99 will do just as good as those antennas on the frequencies named. A zero five vertical covers all the frequencies named at a 190$. Any ham that knows anything about antennas knows that for a vertical to be effective it needs ground radials. The zero five will take 1500 watts easily, will the above named antennas and there cheesy transformers take it?

    But, sigh, some hams just buy the most expensive antenna and believe all of the manufacturers claims.

    I worked ISS with an HT. Your point?
  15. N0IU

    N0IU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am surprised that no one has brought this up...

    Even though these are two different brands, they are both made by MFJ!

    Regarding the price...

    I bought a brand new Cushcraft R7 vertical shortly after they came out in 1992 and paid the going rate at the time. The only part of my station setup that still exists from that time is my R7 and after 20+ years of doing yeoman's duty, I have no plans of replacing it any time soon! I can't say whether or not the MFJ version of the Cushcraft antennas are as good as the originals, but I have no regrets over spending that kind of money for this antenna.

    Besides, its my money and I can spend it anyway I want... when my wife lets me!
  16. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Now that the serious answers are out of the way... ;)

    For once what we have is a simple math problem here and the 'ZED and a precise and accurate answer is possible.
    The difference between 639.00 and 539.00 is:
    $100.00 !!!!!

    I'm glad to be of service. :)
  17. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Staff Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The R-7 is a great antenna. I got one not long after you and it worked well. Stupidly, I recently sold it and got an R-8, which was a terrible antenna mechanically. One could no longer adjust each band individually (except 40 meters) and it really needed to be guyed. I got rid of my R-8 and found another R-7 locally very cheap and will keep it!!

    I've read about many problems with these antenna now that MFJ is producing them - mostly quality control, parts missing, won't go together correctly, etc etc., Mighty Fine Junk.

  18. W4AMP

    W4AMP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I liked Cushcraft before the sale too.
  19. NQ3X

    NQ3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've read that, too, in various reviews around the web. Caveat emptor.

    Me, I'd make a wire ground plane for 40 meters, feed it with balanced line, and call it a day. Oh, wait, that's what I'm doing now! :p
  20. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    But only do well on frequencies where it has a reasonable low takeoff angle, which means the radiator must be 5/8-wavelengths or less. A 43' Zero-Five vertical is terrible on 10m, 12m, 15m and not great on 17m because it's simply too long to produce a useful radiation angle unless you want to work aeronautical mobiles.

    It's great on 60m and pretty good on 40m and 30m; passable on 20m and might be usable on 80m if you add a matching coil at its feedpoint. But a single length vertical radiator can never cover much spectrum efficiently as once it becomes "too long" to produce a low-angle signal, it starts to become a dummy load.

    We installed a 43' Zero-Five (at over $400) and a $159 Hustler 6BTV trap vertical over the same radial field locally at Field Day. The Zero-Five surpassed the cheap 6BTV on 40m, and the difference was pretty obvious. On 20-15-10m, the 6BTV clobbered it. Three dozen witnesses to the effects of a good antenna design, vs. just tossing up a fixed radiator length and keeping your fingers crossed.
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