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Small lot, must go vertical.
Which antenna will preform better, with less noise, good DX. Cushcraft R9, NO ground radials. Or, 43' with ground radials.

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  • $\begingroup$ The question appears to be too broad and would generate opinion based answers. I suggest editing the question to be more generic about vertical antennas, with or without radials, etc. $\endgroup$ – Ron J. KD2EQS Apr 21 '14 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ It's for questions like this that I wish "too localized" was still a close reason. Unless you expect it's likely someone else will ever happen to have an R9 without radials, and a 43 foot vertical with radials, and a need to compare them. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Apr 23 '14 at 18:03
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31 foot R9

+: work parts of 80m and ham bands 40m-6m without a tuner

-: 25 lbs, top heavy, requires guys, complex assembly compared to simple vertical. Probably mediocre on 80m compared to dipole, inverted V, or full size vertical.

43 foot vertical with radials

+: theoretically superior on 40m (7Mhz), with "enough" radials. Should be good on higher frequencies when used with an autotuner at the antenna. Easy to understand and assemble.

-: Requires autotuner for higher bands. Might be difficult to tune on exact even harmonics. Probably mediocre and perhaps not tunable on 80m.

Additional Info:

The benefit of the R9 is that you will be able to work various bands from 80m through 6m without an autotuner. The R9 does use shortened radials and other parts that protrude horizontally.

The Cushcraft R9 claims it will "work" all ham bands 6m-80m.

Looking at the R9 assembly instructions, here are some facts about the design that you should consider:

  • multiple loading coils, capacitance hats, and shortened radials are used to present a reasonable SWR on the different bands. It is more complex to assemble than the 43 foot vertical but will work more bands without an autotuner.
  • It is only 31 feet tall, but weighs 25 lbs
  • It can not perform as good as a 1/4 wave on 40m (7Mhz) or 80m (3.5-4Mhz) because it is not 1/4 wave long.
  • It has a top heavy, wind catching section.
  • The manual requires guying to achieve an 80mph wind survival rating

Eham only had 7 reviews, with some satisfied and dissatisfied customers. See http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/11280

A 43 foot vertical with ground radials could be an excellent 1/4 wave vertical antenna for 7Mhz/40m. It may be usable on higher frequency bands with an antenna tuner, though it could be hard to tune on exact even harmonics in the 14Mhz and 28Mhz bands because exact 1/2 wave verticals have very high impedance.

It is possible to have a 43 foot vertical made of lightweight nested aluminum poles or as a wire laid out on a set of thin nested plastic or fiberglass poles and it will not weigh 25 lbs and will not be top heavy and might not need guying.

Other Options

I use a vertical dipole cut for ~20m that also works on all higher HF frequencies. It is a half wave antenna with the vertical radiator cut in the middle and fed with ladder line. The ladder line goes into a balun just outside the home to run coax under a door frame, and is matched with the autotuner in the radio a few feet away.

I also use an 80m spiral wound antenna. This is a low bandwidth design that needs a tuner and/or antenna measurements to get good results. Like all shortened antennas it is mediocre, but I have worked Europe with it from the southeast US. Wind ~1/2 wavelength of wire (~130 feet) on a fiberglass pole and add a capacitance hat on top. I used about 16-20 feet of 2 inch fiberglass and inserted toothpicks every 0.75=3/4 inches to help space the turns. Got this design from an ARRL Antenna book.

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