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Cushcraft A3S

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Antennas' started by binrat, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Does anyone have one?? I'm thinking of putting 1 up this fall when I do some tower work.


     

  2. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    I had one, note I said HAD one. It beat itself to death in a wind and ice storm. It was the older A3 which simply meant it did not have stainless hardware. I upgraded it to all stainless hose clamps and bolts several years ago. My big beef with the A3 was that the points where the elements were mounted to the boom were not strong enough and The boom would give when tightening things down really tight. During the wind and ice storm the elements loosened and walked off the end of the boom. Here is a picture. Notice the bottom antenna has only one element. That is the reflector in the middle of the boom. The driven element and the director committed suicide by jumping off the end of the boom. Don't let this deter you BTW.From what I hear no one else has ever had that happen. It figures I would be the first. I still have it and plan to make it into a dual bander for 12/17m or possibly a single band for just 17m. I have bought a new Explorer-14 to put up when the new tower goes up soon.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Ok, thanks Capt KW.
    How are the Force 12 yagi's??
     
  4. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Force 12 has a good reputation but are a bit pricey. Same goes for M-squared. Be carefull looking at the gain figures of the Force-12 antennas BTW. They like to include "ground reflection gain" in their figures and do not usually quote in simple terms.Ground gain can add another 5-8 dB to gain figures.
     
  5. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    5-8 dB?? holy thats not good. I guess I'll just rebuild my old TH3. It need a few new chunks of tubing.
     
  6. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    What I mean is that while some manufactures may claim a 3 element tribander has 8dBi gain, Force 12 may claim more than 12 dB gain which makes it sound much better than the other guy's antenna when in fact the other antenna will exhibit more gain as well at a decent height due to ground reflection gain. The only difference is that Force 12 likes to quote the higher figure while most others simply quote the antenna gain not taking into account the extra ground reflection gain. it all equals out in the end but i just wanted you to be aware of the difference in the way gain figures are quoted so you don't think it has way more gain than it really does as compared to the other guy.
     
  7. RatsoW8

    RatsoW8 Supporting Member, W9WDX ARC Member - WD8T

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    I avoided the A3S and went with Force 12 C-3SS. had it up for about 5 years and it when I took it down it looked as good as the day I put it up new. Stood up to NW Indiana snow, ice and wind with no problems at all.

    Works like a champ and the because it uses linear loading and not traps/coils I never had to drain water water out of anything and the swr never changed from day 1.

    I would put another F12 antenna up in a heartbeat when I have the room again.

    Only drawback is the price, but you really do get what you pay for with F12 antennas. I think I wrote a review on eHam about it in 2004 maybe?

    [​IMG]
     
  8. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Well. I just picked up a A4S used for $100. Like new condition so I'm thinking of throwing it up for the winter and if it survives then keep it up.
     
  9. hookedon6

    hookedon6 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    $100????? hell, thats cheaper than most cb 'tenners!;);)
     
  10. KingCobra_CDX882

    KingCobra_CDX882 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    I thought i read somewhere..
    Most one can add for a beam due to hight was a max of 5 DBd
     
  11. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    The average ground reflection gain will be 4.5-5.8dB. Add in gain over an isotropic source and it becomes as high as 7.94 dB added to an antenna's spec which can be very misleading to the uninformed not familiar with real world gain figures. I did say 8 dB above but was thinking about the extra gain over isotropic added in as well.:oops:
     
  12. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Side by side comparison of the A4S and the old TH3 mk3. The TH3 is built like a brick shithouse compared to the A4S. I'm in a high wind area and I think its time to do some serious cleaning / retuning of the TH3.
     
  13. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    If you have a real Hygain that was made prior to MFJ owning them then I would rebuild it instead of bother with the Cushcraft A4S. You saw for yourself how much better they were made. Even the original Cushcraft antennas in my opinion were not built that rugged and since MFJ owns them now the quality has dropped even more especially with those damned hose clamps they use on the element joints. not there is anything wrong with using hose clamps it's just the the quality of thye ones they are using sucks. In the past two years I bought a Hygain Explorer 14 (MFJ) and a Cushcraft A3WS (MFJ) and ended up going to the local hardware store and buying a bulk bag of hose clamps in different sizes because the ones from MFJ would strip out. The ones I got from the hardware store were far better quality.I still like the original Cushcraft idea of the circular hose type clamps that tightened with a bolt and captive nut. No way those would strip and you could tighten the crap out of them.
     
  14. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Hey, thanks for the idea. What size is the material on those clamps??
    I got another 3+ weeks off of work and can build a bunch for the TH3. A simple die to bend them around and a few holes and I would be done. I'm almost thinking of converting the A4S into an 11 metre yagi but I think the wind load maybe much for my tower.
    I'm the 2nd owner of the TH3 and its old. I already replaced all the hardware with stainless so a good cleaning / re-tuning is easy. Just got to get a non windy day. :(
     
  15. hookedon6

    hookedon6 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    gee, I dunno,.... why not just put an 11 meter MONObander then?

    it (the monobander) will perform better on just one band than the A4S
     

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