Hustler 5-BTV Vertical Antenna

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by N7SGM, Mar 26, 2008.

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  1. N7SGM

    N7SGM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am considering the purchase of a Hustler 5-BTV vertical antenna. Can you guys who own one tell me if they work good, ground mounted, without radials? Thanks very much!

    73 Bob
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ground mounted without radials? No. I've installed at least ten of these over the years at various locations and without radials, they're a problem.

    With radials, it's a very good antenna.

    If you have enough room for the vertical to have a chance to work (uncluttered and unobstructed for 30-40' around it), then you have enough room for radials!

  3. KR2C

    KR2C Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Hustler antenna seem to receive OK without radials. However they don't seem to transmit very well at all without them.

    I installed installed my ground mounted 6btv without radials and I heard signals from around the country and around the world. I didn't work many of them though.

    I've since added 60 radials to the antenna and not only am I working many more stations, I can hear more too. The radials made the s/n ratio much better and I can hear and work many many more stations. I wouldn't consider putting the antenna up without radials.
  4. K2PJW

    K2PJW Subscriber QRZ Page

    I love the 5-btv antenna. I agree with the gentleman above about ground radials. I put mine up in the middle of winter with snow on the ground and used it a few weeks without radials. It worked well for me but of course after a few radials it got even better. It is easy to put together and there are so many accessories and additions you can add to it. I highly recommend the antenna. If you decide to buy one there is a BIG price difference depending where you buy it so make sure and check prices through a few different retailers. Good Luck!
  5. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Hustler 5-BTV is a quarter-wave (1/4-wave) vertical antenna. RADIALS REQUIRED -- that is actually PART of the entire antenna system.
    Think of a 1/2-wave wire dipole rotated 90 degrees and shoved into the ground -- from a visual point of view -- that is basically what a 1/4 wave vertical is all about!
    DX Engineering has a very good web site for Hustler/Newtronics BTV antenna information and FAQ.

    IF you desire a vertical antenna with minimal or no radials -- look at the Cushcraft R5, R6000. R7, R8 antennas. These are half-wave (1/2 wave) verticals and have a couterpoise system with a mathcing box.
    These ideally work best when mounted on an 8 to 10 foot mast -- above ground OR on roof.
    Counterpoise wires will have voltage (so out of reach from children and pets is good idea) -- Cushcraft ships Yellow Warning Flags on the counterpoise wires for this reason.

    IF this explaination is beyond your current understanding -- get an Antenna Handbook and learn the basics of HF antennas.

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  6. K3WRV

    K3WRV Guest


    I've got a 5BTV or 6BTV (80-10, no 30 meter coverage M ounted on a steel "T" fence post (Farmer style) grounded to a "woven wire fence" (think sheep, dog or small cattle fence) and grounded to that. It does OK. No additional radials. Fence is bout 39 " high and steel fence post is drivin about 2 Ft into the graound. You asked for experiences, and that's mine. Could it be better? Probably. Does it work? Just fine.
  7. K8WPJ

    K8WPJ Banned QRZ Page

    I've had a 6BTV for about a month now, and it's not all it's cracked up to be...

    First off, It takes a lot of tweaking to get a decent match across the bands on this thing, and as others have said its a real pain to use without radials...

    If you can spare the room... 40 foot min in all directions then put down as many radials as you can....
  8. KI6NNO

    KI6NNO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Bob,
    The 5BTV must have radials, regardless of how it's mounted.

    I have a 5BTV mounted on a 15' 1" steel mast with a DX Eng. (thanks guys!!!) tilt base (at the 15' level due to the geometry of the property and HV lines in the area) and: (8) 10M, (4) 15M, (4) 20M, (4) 40M, and (0) 80M radials (2x 80M radials are going in next weekend if I have time). The antenna receives and transmits great like this (but I don't xmit 80m on it yet) although it's a bit directional E-W, again due to the radial geometry necessary to put a vertical on the property. It is a PITA to tune in any case, but especially that high in the air even with a tilt base (scaaary pulling on tubing on a ladder that high). :eek:

    I didn't ground mount it because of the neighborhood cats that run in the yard and the possibility that someone might be next to it when I'm at the CP and don't know it, or the gardener damaging it accidentally. You can't cover the 5BTV in PVC like the 6BTV unless you remove the capacity hats - which isn't such a great idea.

    If I were to do this again, I'd throw a BBQ or 2 for the neighbors and just deal with the YL's stink-eye about putting a beam up. :D

    Hope this helps.

    73, Dave
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  9. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If it's ground mounted, you don't need 'tuned' radials. Make them as long as you can, and put down as many as you can - at least 20 if at all possible.

    The 5BTV actually comes from the factory tuned for rooftop installation. To get it to tune on the ground, most people have to adjust the traps. This is a pretty delicate, but not difficult procedure, but it would be best to have an antenna analyzer around - see if you can borrow one, or maybe somebody in your club has one. You'll need to get the trap adjusting procedures from the vendor. I found that DX Engineering does a great job of helping with this antenna.

    NOTE: I believe this antenna works better roof-mounted. However, that requires at least 3 tuned radials per band, and it's hard to put radials on a roof so they won't trip anybody.

    Now, as for performance. Verticals work - they tend to pick up more noise than horizontal antennas, but they'll also hear more DX if it's above the noise. The bandwidth on 80 meters is pretty narrow, but useful with a tuner. It's not a yagi at 50 feet, but it will do very well for stateside QSO's and a little DX, particularly on the higher bands when they're open.
  10. KA0SOG

    KA0SOG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have 6BTV

    Without radials forget it. Still not happy with it; all the comments on difficulty tuning, requiring radials to work (and lots of them), are all true.

    I won't have another. This summer I am going up with a horizontal loop. Ma Bell is going to dig up my radial field to lay optic cable so I will wait for them to mess it up and then let them by the replacement.

    I bought this to replace a Butternut and the Butternut never gave me the trouble this one did.
  11. WJ5O

    WJ5O Ham Member QRZ Page

    ground mounted 4BTV

    Last Fall I ground mounted a 4BTV antenna...... I did need to slightly re-tune the traps for 10, 15 & 20 meters. (called trap calibration)... an antenna analyzer is a must if a person doesn't have the detailed information from Newtronics Antenna Corp..... it explains which direction to move the trap to either raise or lower the resonate frequency .... also says that a 1/4" movement will change the resonate frequency approximately 500 KHz.
    I am using ten "fanned out" radials.....6 for 40 meters and four for ten meters...... and it works FB on all four bands.

    I do have a .jpg copy of the calibration directions if anyone needs it.
  12. NN4RH

    NN4RH Subscriber QRZ Page

    If anyone is afraid or otherwise doesn't want to deal with radials, then this is not the antenna for you. Quarter wave verticals need radials. That's just the way it is. If you don't mind putting down at least 16 ground radials (32 is better) if it's ground-mounted, or two tuned radials per band if it's elevated, then it can be a very good antenna as WIK pointed out.

    Personally, I think 32 ground radials are not that big a deal to install. It took me maybe a couple hours with a manual garden edger to cut slits in the sod and a peice of board to tuck the wires in and whump the sod back down to install 16 radials. I've done 32 radials around a Butternut, too, and those I just stapled to the ground surface and over the past year the sod has completely buried them. Not a big deal at all.

    As for "difficult tuning" and "a lot of tweaking to get a decent match". That was not at all my experience. Just approach it systematically, think things through and understand what you're about, and you can get better than 2:1 SWR on all the bands and put the resonance where you want it in no time. Very easy. Probably took me less than 30 minutes to tune my 6BTV when I first got it, and that includes running back and forth between the shack and the antenna because I was keying my rig to get SWR readings. It would have taken maybe ten minutes if I had an antenna analyzer back then.
  13. AG3Y

    AG3Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is THE time of the year to install radials. The grass hasn't really taken off yet, and at least in most parts of the country the ground has softened up enough to either cut slits, or push in staples!

    Have at it, and good luck ! 73, Jim
  14. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have used a few of these over the years. One, ground mounted with no radials did not perform well. Another, ground mounted with many radials worked well. My current 5BTV is mounted on a pole with the base 12 ft above ground. I use only 8 elevated radials sloping down to 8 ft above ground and equally spaced around the antenna. Each radial is 62 ft long. This configuration works the best of all three.
  15. VK4NM

    VK4NM Ham Member QRZ Page


    Does anyone find their 5BTV to be very narrow on 80?? mine is resonant on 3.475 (out of band) and only has about 20k each side before swr is over 3. I think I'll have to mess around with the radials as I have got the antenna as short as it will go. Anyone ever cut the top piece to shorten frequency???

    Andrew VK4HAM
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  16. K3WRV

    K3WRV Guest


    I get about 40 - 50 kHz either side of resonance with 2:1 SWR or less on 80. Covers the rest of the bands just fine.

    I think much of the radial issue depends on soil type - here, when the ground is wet, it works FB. During a drought it sucks. But I live on aluvial soil with a fairly high water table and am surrounded by brackish marsh.

    I tuned mine for the top end of 75, and may have cut a bit off the end to the stinger - really don't remember.
  17. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    YES, Vertical antennas are very NARROW (bandwidth) on 80 and 160 meters. Not able to cover the entire bandwidth allocation. 25 - 30 kHz is typical when using the Standard Hustler RM-80 resonator at the top of the 5-BTV antenna.
    That IS the radiator for the 80 meter band. The Hustler/Newtronics 5-BTV uses their mobile resonator for this band.
    FIRST -- get your antenna properly operating (measurements) for the other amateur bands (10-40 meters) -- Undue the "shortening" that you dicussed that you were performing for the 80 meter issue.

    The 80 meter Super Resonator - RM-80S
    can handle more power and doubles your usable bandwidth (50 - 60 kHz) -- due to the larger coil.
    Due to this additional weight at the top of the antenna when the Super Resonator is used --
    it is advisable to guy your 5-BTV !

    It sounds like you never trimmed (shortened) the top whip for 80 meters to move the resonate frequency from ~ 3.475 MHz (uncut) to the desire 25 kHz slice in the 80 meter band. Using an Antenna Analyzer is invaluable for this process. There should be a table for rough estimations in the Hustler assembly/instruction manual.

    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  18. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    No radials no signal. I had a 4BTV and a 6BTV both worked well (ground mounted) with about 30 radials cut for the lowest band. All trap antennas are narrow banded due to the high Q of the traps.

    I highly recommend the Butternut HF6V. It will outperform the Hustler but again you need plenty of radials to make it work well. The Butternut antenna gives a little more bandwidth on the lower bands but not much.

    The best all band vertical I can think of is a 43 foot vertical like the one made by DX engineering. I think you might want to look into this before you buy.
  19. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I made the mistake of not reading ALL the material prior to all the legwork I did regarding verticals. But, with that said I have been very pleased with the 6BTV, which I have been using for nearly 2 years. Originally I did erect the vertical without radials and was rewarded with no contacts. After further reading I erected it on a mast with 4 radials per band (20m only) and made a few QSOs. It wasn't until I ground mounted the vertical and bought (optional) the DXE radial plate things started to look up.

    To date I have 50 radials on the plate (holds 60) that range from 16-42', most over 25' in a 360 degree pattern. While not all that impressive I have confirmed 49 states and 37 DXCC entities using a combination of modes from SSB/CW/RTTY/PSK31 as well as some other digital modes.

    At the time it was the best "bang for the buck" when I wanted to get on HF. I still think it is a good vertical, IF you have lay out a nice radial system. I don't have all that much room in my backyard, so the radials are not the best planned, but I did what I could and I think I have done a good job.
  20. KJ3N

    KJ3N Ham Member QRZ Page

    As others have already pointed out.... [size=+4]NO![/size]
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