I have used both the Hustler 5BTV and the COM-AN-TENA multi-band verticals mounted at ground level in an inner suburban block and can safely say they are both great performers, especially for DXing.
They are both designed for the 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10m bands. The Com-antena is tuneable to 30m but you sacrifice the 40m band.
I have worked over 100 countries on CW with this combination of antennas in about one year and seem to average around 50 to 60 dx contacts per month. Not bad, considering I only operate a few nights per week after 9pm local. I would probably do a lot better if I operated during the day as well. All this, during a period where we have had one of the longest running sun spot depressions ever recorded.
The next antenna I would like to try is the Butternut HF6V because it includes the 30m band and has a great reputation. It is similar in design to the Com-an-tena, both utilise the reactance tuning method and have no lossy traps.
I wasn’t all that impressed with the build quality of the Com-an-tenna in comparison to the Hustler. I GUESS
the Hustler antennas are produced on a sophisticated automated mass production line, where the Coman antennas are individually hand made. Both antenna seem to be made of quality materials and are of solid construction.
The Coman antenna is much lighter than the Hustler, consequently making installation by one person much easier. The traps on the Hustler add quiet a bit of weight.
I found the Coman easier to tune relative to the Hustler. With the Coman, once you have tuned the 10m band the rest can be done at ground level (if mounted at ground level), except the 15m meter stub which didn’t need any adjustment in my case.
The assembly and installation instructions from Hustler are far superior to those I received from Coman. The Coman instructions where awful, but by following the basic measurements given and with the help of an analyser it tuned up pretty easy.
I purchased the Hustler first and I mounted it at ground level with only 12 radials in the middle of the back yard, an area of approximately 5x6 meters. Some time later I replaced it with the Coman in the same position. The area is surrounded by trees, sheds and other structures. I have been quite amazed at the DX performance of these antennas mounted in this location.
I decided to mount the antenna on the ground because it seemed easier and safer to do, rather than up on the roof. It also allows for easy experimentation, which is a fun thing to do with these antennas.
I haven’t done any quantitative comparison tests to safely state which antenna performs better. My ‘feeling’ is that the Coman is better on 80m. It certainly has a much better bandwidth there. I haven’t actually made many contacts on the high bands, 15 and 10m, mainly due to lack of sun spots.
Some texts worth a read:
- The ARRL Antenna book
- “The Short Vertical Antenna and Ground Radial” by Jerry Sevick, W2FMI
by L. B. Cebik, W4RNL (SK)
It is well worth revising your vertical antenna theory, as this will help you understand what to expect when performing the various measurements required. In particular, the expected feed point impedances of various length verticals mounted at ground level. Also note, the length and gauge of radials on the ground is not critical.
I also found the Butternut HF6V installation manual a very informative.
Hope this is some help.