Products & Product Reviews

View from the Customer: What do hams say about the Butternut HF9V 9-Band Antenna?

Most people will recognize the word “butternut” as a popular albeit oddly proportioned squash, but to hams who know, the word conjures images of squashing operating challenges in pursuit of “working the world” while also squashing the competition in on-air contests.

Of course, we’re referring to Butternut Antenna—a product line that was acquired by DX Engineering from Bencher in 2014. Today, the Butternut name remains, but the lineup of three vertical antennas (9-band, 6-band, and 2-band), add-on kits, ground radial kit, mounting post sleeves, hardware, and replacement parts are all manufactured and sold by DX Engineering. Butternut Antenna is part of DX Engineering’s growing family of amateur radio lines, which includes Hi-Z Antennas, Top Ten Devices, TransWorld Antenna, COMTEK, Clifton Laboratories, and Cycle 24. Acquiring popular amateur radio product lines is part of DX Engineering’s commitment to making sure proven devices—that otherwise may be shelved—will still be available for hams around the world.

This is our second in a series of “View from the Customer” blog posts designed to help amateur operators get the straight scoop and honest insights on products from the very hams who have made the investment and put the gear to use. Check out our first article on the Icom ID-52A Handheld Transceiver.

About the Butternut HF9V 9-Band Vertical Antenna

Made from corrosion-resistant aluminum tubing without the use of lossy traps, this model is known for its small footprint (26 feet tall; 14 pounds), easy installation, durability, impressive wind load rating (2.2 feet squared; 80 mph survivability, no ice), and exceptional performance on 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 12, 15, 10, and 6 meters. The antenna comes with a 1-1/8-inch base insulator and a 1-1/4-inch O.D. x 2-foot mounting tube for direct placement into the earth. The antenna requires a radial system. Sold separately, a radial system kit (BUT-GRK) comes with pre-cut lengths of AWG stranded copper wire and #8 ring terminals. 

For many more details, check out the 28-page instruction manual here, including theory of operation, installation instructions, the radial system, optional use of a DX Engineering radial plate, guying, adjustments, and troubleshooting.

How effective is the Butternut HF9V for DXing? The most compelling evidence comes from guest OnAllBands blogger Harry Meier, DK2GZ, who chronicled his achievements in this post, “Top of Honor Roll with a Butternut Antenna!” As you’ll read, Harry has 340 confirmed DXCC entities but is missing P5 (North Korea) on CW—a challenge not even the Butternut, or any antenna for that matter—is likely to overcome in the foreseeable future.

Great Bang for the Buck

“If you have limited space, this is a great antenna. On 40M it performs as well as my rotatable dipole at 40 feet. There are two important caveats: first of all, don’t skimp on the radial installation. Expect to spend a few hours every weekend for a while adding radials. Secondly, don’t even purchase this antenna if you don’t own or have access to an antenna analyzer. With an analyzer, tuning is a snap, and takes about an hour for all nine bands. Without an analyzer, you’ll fall down the rabbit hole and never return. Enjoy the DX!”

A Very Good Vertical

“This is my second Butternut vertical. Purchased an HF6V about 30 years ago and worked the world. I really love my new HF9V. Works great on a small lot. I have it ground mounted and use 12 ground radials and a very good ground rod system. The HF9V is a bit tricky to tune all 9 bands. 80M has a very narrow resonance point (so I can work CW and digital but have to retune to work voice further up the 80M band). You will want an antenna analyzer to set it up but note that I was able to get 6 bands tuned fairly well without an antenna analyzer. Once tuned up the antenna provides awesome performance. I truly love the HF9V and have consistently been successful working any station I hear.”

Problems: It lasts too long and works too well

“A week ago, I took down my 18-year-old HF9V—actually an HF6 with added bands to make it an HF9. It had been up for 10 years at my current location. I took it down to clean contacts/connections and put stainless steel hose clamps on the joints that had been deformed by swaying, despite guying in New England winters. And to replace a broken 15-meter wire.

“The other reason why I took it down was to raise it higher than when I tentatively installed it in the backyard of my small suburban lot. I live alone and used three recommended twin-lead radials and a single radial on 80 meters. I mounted the antenna about four feet off the ground. It worked well but the low radials were a bear to leave slack and lift to mow under.

“The radials are now almost six feet up, easy to duck under. I replaced the broken 15-meter radiator wire. And it resonates just where I set it almost 20 years ago for the first time: about 3.6 MHz, 7.1 MHz and darn near the whole of other bands. About 1.3-1.5:1 at those points, measured with an MFJ analyzer and my rig with the antenna tuner off.”

Very happy with antenna

“The DX Engineering team was extremely helpful with all the questions I had. Besides waiting on the concrete to set up, I was able to install it and tune it in a single afternoon. I added some guying to help stabilize it on windy days and it has worked great. I have also found discussion groups that are for users of the Butternut verticals. Having the insight of others’ experiences and steps to maintain it have given me a wealth of ideas and options. I would recommend this antenna to anyone who is looking for a cost-effective way in a small area to get multiple band capabilities.

“The only thing that was an issue was how narrow the band was on 80 meters for a usable SWR. All the other bands I was able to tune with an SWR of 3:1 or less.”

Great vertical antenna

“I have a small suburban lot with HOA restrictions and closely spaced homes. The vertical antenna fits my needs. It took me four hours to assemble it. The instructions were clearly written and well-illustrated. It is tricky to tune; I found the task much easier when I used an antenna analyzer. The antenna is as rugged as naval artillery! I only had room for 24 radials, some of which were short. All of 10, 12, 15, 20, and 30 meter bands could be tuned to an SWR<2.0. I can use all of the 40-meter band with a transmatch, and about half of that band without one (SWR<2.0). I was only able to tune the 17-meter band to a minimum SWR of 2.2, but all of that band is usable with a transmatch. A few MHz of 6 meters was available without tuning and a 47 KHz section of 80 meters was available with SWR<2.0, with a high Q. Signal reports have been favorable from around the world on CW, SSB, and PSK31. My environment presents me a lot of QRN, and vertical antennas tend to be ‘noisy’ anyway. I’ve had to use strategies to mitigate this issue, but I absolutely recommend this antenna and feel its price was commensurate with its quality and value. I would buy it again.”

Find all HF9V reviews and more information at, plus the full Butternut lineup.

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