Butternut HF6V HF9V

What is it? Why would I want one?
The manufacture (Now DX Engineering) has this to say about them.

Butternut HF9V Vertical Antennas work nine popular bands–80 through 6 meters–with an extremely efficient vertical radiator that’s only 26 ft. tall! The HF9V antennas are easy to erect and tune antennas that will last you for many years.

An internationally acclaimed antenna design, Butternut HF9V antennas require a complete ground radial system. The antenna comes with a 1 1/8 in. base insulator and a 1 1/4 in. O.D. x 2 ft. mounting tube for direct placement into the earth.

The preferred, “easiest-to-tune”, high-performance installation is the ground mounted HF9V, which requires a bare minimum of 12 evenly spread, straight radial wires. Many more radials are better, with double the number of evenly spread radials achieving nearly double the efficiency and signal performance, an effect that tops out at about 60 ground radials. Each radial wire stapled onto the ground or run an inch or so below the soil surface, may be any length from 20 to 45 ft. Radial wires need to be up to 50 percent longer over sandy and rocky soil to maintain efficiency.

Want to hear and work the stations that other operators seem to be working easily? Enjoy advanced operations on the HF bands with a high performance vertical antenna installation. Have more fun DXing with great signals on your Butternut HF9V 9-Band Vertical Antenna.
End Quote

I personally have had 2. My first one was used. It was in bad shape when I got it, and back then, the manufacture was still in Minnesota and easy to get the parts I needed and the manual, in fact it all came in the next day after I ordered the parts. This was my first one and my first multiband vertical, setup wasn’t overly complex, but tunning was an adventure as I didn’t have an analyzer so running back and forth to the rig and the SWR bridge was a pain, but, a couple of hours of work and it was up and going.

I remember having a rather bad ice storm that year and my HF6V was bent completely over, the tip was froze to the ground and the antenna was bent over like the letter “n”, I was sure my new antenna was toast and I’d be needing to find something else to replace it, but, by lunch time, the temps were in the 50s and the antenna was mostly upright again, a few minutes of clearing ice off it since it was in the shade and sure enough, it was back up and working with only having broke the 15M wire which was shortly there after fixed. Back on the air.

I soon was convinced by the older “experts” *cough* that a vertical was a junk antenna and it radiated poorly in all directions, so I sold it and put up a “Doublet”, I soon after discovered that while it worked all bands with the absolute necessity of a tuner, Ideally a balanced one, it wasn’t the low angle DX antenna I had loved so much about my HV6V.

So down came the doublet and I bought another vertical. This round was the Hustler 5BTV. It was no butternut, but it was a vertical and was easily beating my doublet on the DX front, but local 75M experts were again a tough copy, and that was perfect, they had been a waterfall of bad advice and I was happy to trade local QSOs from blow hard 75M frequency squatters for DX contacts from interesting people in far off places, however, the Hustler just wasn’t a butternut and the new price of a butternut was a bit extreme as DX Engineering had bought the antenna from the original manufacture and over night the price was nearly double, shortly after, the price climbed again and they changed out the good quality capacitors with cheap Chinese crap designed to further inflate their profit over the quality.

I was still determine to return back to the Butternut, but life was happening at a fast pass and we were building a new home, so I was off air for over a year. When we finally got settled, I was on a smaller lot with no trees, a year before it was a empty lot and a few years before that, it was a filed. So, what to do, with nothing to use for a wire support, it was time to dig out the Hustler 5BTV. With some radials already under the sod, the hustler went back up, and it worked okay, not great, but okay, it still wasn’t what I loved about the Butternut, then out of the blue, on Facebook radio trader group, a ham from Indiana was offering to trade a Butternut for a hustler, we made a deal, talked on the phone, I packed dup my hustler and sent it off in a box made so well he could just take his apart and ship his butternut right back.

1 week, he has my antenna, then, excuse after excuse after lie after lie after lie and then nothing, I got ripped off by a scum of the earth scammer. I know he had the antenna to send, I had proof, but what was I to do. I called the cops in his town and asked for advice, they told it’s civil, not much they can do, but also told me he was a real bum, scum of the city and I’d be better off to drop it as he’d never have the funds to cover anything and his mother would have to pay for it since he still lived with her at the age of 35 and owed everyone in town. He also had told me worked for the local phone company, an AT&T company, that turned out to be a lie as well. He’s most likely on of those 75M frequency squatter experts these days.

So, now what? I ended up putting a small mast on my roof for a feed point and put up a sloper antenna, it was okay, not much for DX, good for local 75M stuff, but not my cup of tea. (Personally, I don’t like tea, so…) It was time…

Hello, DX Engineering, how can we help you today…

I noticed right away that this new antenna was not as bad as I had heard, it seemed everything was the same until I got to the capacitors… CHINA , Shit! Okay, well, lets put it up and get it going, and it worked just fine, no issues, I was back on the antenna I loved. To celebrate, I had just been on a job site that we demoed and I had a pile of wire for scrap, so more radials, 126 to be exact, they were free to me and I bought a box of 1000 sod staples. On a cold February day with no snow on the ground, I scalped the yard with the mower while the neighbors looked at me like I was nuts. I crawled that frozen ground for hours, laying out radials in every direction, from center of the lot to the edges. 126 radials fanning out like spokes, but on a square rim do to lot lines. Some radials were over a 100 feet, some just 42′, but they were glorious, it was a site to behold. And while I was at it, I drove 4 more ground rods at the corners of the lot, tied them in to the radials, and drove nearly 40′ of coupled ground rod at the base of the antenna, then the final touch was to make one huge ring of wire 30′ out from the antenna, tying them all together, soldering them, coating them with sealant and stacking the joints down, then having a few hundred feet of wire felt, I made more short radials off the ring. I’m sure my backyard glows from outer space.

Life is grand. 600 watt SS amp, no tuner needed, SWR was under 2:1 everywhere I wanted, actually, it was barley of 1.5:1, then… Disaster!

After a windy stormy night in June, I woke to high SWR on almost every band. Cause? Cheap CHINA made caps. Hello, DX Engineering, how can we help. WARANTY!!!

2 days, the new cap arrived, it was even cheaper than the one that came with it, I went to install it and it literally came apart in my hand. Hello, DX Engineering… That shouldn’t happen, hmm… New replacement, JUNK. Installed, worked for a while, then snapped off again. This time I just decided to take the old original cap and see if I could glue it or something. What I ended up doing was putting the cap back together with some light glue, then, I put to short wire extensions from the cap terminals, then wrapped the cap in 33 black tape, then coated the cap in a layer of Permatex ultra black, then when that cured, I coated it with Permatex sealing spray, returned back to the antenna, and with some solder, ring terminals, and a hand full of bolts from Ace Hardware, I installed the cap so the wire leads would allow the antenna’s flexing to no longer put pressure on the cps screw mounts. It’s looked weird, but it was worth a try, there’s just now way these cheaper caps will tolerate the flex of these antennas, so this md seems to be the right solution.

Ready set, retune it all right? NOPE! What the? SWR perfect everywhere, even with the added wire stubs, no issues, it’s working, holly crap, what a great mod.

If you guy the antenna, this probably wouldn’t be an issue, but I don’t like the look as I still keep a clean presentable yard. Looking like Tesla puked up a wire lunch with shit loads of wire and crap all over is not my thing. I like an astatically pleasing to the neighborhood yard, I like the hobby too, but I don’t like the mess. Yes, you can have both, I even have a tower now, but it’s clean, not covered with wires, tape, and crap hanging off it.

So, the Butternut HF6V and HF9V. It’s a better antenna than just a 1/4 over ground, and no, it’s not a local 75M QSO antenna, it will work but not great like a wire, but if you hate beams and turning your antenna all the time like I do, (tried the tri band yagi thing, no thanks) then maybe a HF6V or 9V is right for you. Other than the cheap caps included, they are great, and I have since purchased the equivalent caps made by Philips for much less money and far greater quality than what come with the antenna or the replacement parts sold by DX. It’s also not just the antenna parts that they are high on, they are literally higher priced than any other vendor out there, they price match and do have good service, but I had just as good of service from R&L or HRO. HRO even got MFJ to honor a warranty issue one time for me when the famous Bob from MFJ wouldn’t follow up or do his job.