- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | B&W BWD 1.8 - 30 Broadband Folded Dipole Help

Reviews Summary for B&W BWD 1.8 - 30 Broadband Folded Dipole
B&W BWD 1.8 - 30 Broadband Folded Dipole Reviews: 83 Average rating: 3.6/5 MSRP: $200
Description: Folded dipole antenna for 10 to 160 meters - 90 feet in length, #14 copper clad steel wire.
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the B&W BWD 1.8 - 30 Broadband Folded Dipole.

Page 1 of 9 —>

KK5R Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2013 01:26 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm now working on my third B&W TTFD antenna. I've never had a problem until a cheepo rope broke from UV fatigue.

Gave one to my son a couple of years ago he lives in CA and loves to go out on Field Day. He took the antenna to the mountains and after putting it up, he thought it was not working because the receiver was so quiet. First call got him a JA...

Those who say the TTFD is a NVIS or an "air-coolded dummy load" either have not used one or they had a problem with the installation like a bad PL-259 joint. Compared with the GAP Titan I also use, the TTFD is better everywhere except, on rare occasions, the GAP works [slightly] better on 20M. Don't get me wrong, the GAP Titan is also a good antenna but for my purposes, the TTFD is much better.

I tune the 160M band with an MFJ tuner but because the antenna is the 90-ft o/a version, I don't think it is all that good on 160. However, I do make contacts... It even works on 6M and my only contacts on 6M was with the TTFD.

The trick is the quietness. I can hear stations down in the mud that on other antennas are miserably weak.

I have not bought from B&W, however. I was first given a B&W TTFD and since then, I have bought the Balun and Termination resistor from and from people who want to sell the antenna for whatever reason. I do not question their reasons, I merely feel lucky since they usually cost me between $100 and $125 and this is half what B&W's cost for either the Balun or Terminating resistor. The rest of the material is from a home supply house such as the #14 stranded/insulated wire and 1/2-in PVC pipe for spreaders (the end spreaders are larger due to the added stress). I use a rope extending the length of the top strand of wire for added support and less risk of wire breakage and I also nylon clothesline pullies for easy raising and lowering in case any repairs are necessary. So far, only one rope had to be replaced in the past 4-5 yrs.

Overall, it is simple to install (for me) and real performer. For what more can one ask?
WE5EE Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2013 06:56 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As an option among several antennas, this antenna is invaluable! I use a homebrew vertical, which performs well against the metal roof of my home. A vertical can be noisy, while the BW-90 is quiet.
One thing some here have overlooked is that a tuner also has losses & compromises. I've had auto-tuners & manual, but I'd rather not mess with them at all. All the extra cables & switching & tweaking & fussing is too much bother for me. I switch between my vertical (10 thru 40) and the BW90 (10-80), using the positive attributes of both.
I find it interesting that many stations can't detect if you switch from 100W to 50W, but dismiss this antenna as a dummy load. You can hear a station, pounce & work 'em & QSY before they get their tuner tweaked.
73 es God Bless, Sam, WE5EE
K3HVG Rating: 3/5 Dec 8, 2012 11:41 Send this review to a friend
Back in operation  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over a year ago I offered my comments on this antenna. I had an issue with what I thought was a bad termination resistor. Turns out is was not the issue, rather it was the coax connector on the balun. All fixed and has been doing an acceptable job since back then. Again, its one viable method to get broadband coverage with a usable performance level.
N0IDX Rating: 1/5 Nov 4, 2012 15:49 Send this review to a friend
Inefficient design that's overpriced  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this antenna up for many years. Only because there's too much hard work involved to replace it,and frankly, I'm embarassed I paid so much for this thing. Thank goodness I can show the XYL the cooked resistor (signal-eater). The recieve on this antenna is poor at best on any band but 80 meters. I pushed 1200 watts into it on 40 and it made a real pretty design on the signal-eater so I might keep that for a conversation piece. Why would you market an antenna at 1K max and not legal limit? I have no idea. You can just forget about the WARC bands too. Even a 20 over signal on my tribander can't be heard on this "antenna". One thing I can say is it lasted a long time in severe WX, but the cost and effort to install this was nowhere worth it. I'm finally moving on.
KE7NBN Rating: 5/5 Sep 18, 2012 17:49 Send this review to a friend
An oldie but goodie  Time owned: more than 12 months
This last weekend 3 of my friend and myself journeyed to Orcas Island in San Juan county, Washington State, to set up a remote station to participate in the Salmon Run (Washington State QSO Contest).

A couple of years ago I bought a pile of Ham Radio stuff and included was an old B&W 90' folded dipole. I do not have enough room to put it up here at my home, so it was put in my shed for future use.

It was decided to take the antenna to Orcas Island and put it up using a combination of fiberglass and aluminum camo poles. It was erected using the suggested deployment on the B&W web site. Center at about 24' and ends at about 12'. We fed it into an Icom Pro III and WOW!! We were able to do a clean sweep (work all 39 counties in Washington State) then we worked many stations across the US, such as HI, NY, KY, FL, KS, MO, AZ etc. Belgium came on wanting the IOTA contact with a 59+ report. We were on 15, 40 and 80 meters.

No way is the antenna a big resister like I read in some of the reviews. It is a keeper and I wish I could put it up here at the house.

I just though I would give our experience with an old antenna that is still a keeper.


Special Event Station W7A (look us up on QRZ to see a little about our location)

Lee Sherry KE7NBN
N2DM Rating: 4/5 Jul 25, 2012 05:43 Send this review to a friend
good servicable antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well built; expensive(compared to homebrew dipole and a basic type "Tee" tuner); Does what it is supposed too(radiate a signal with minimal swr across frequency range).
I belive the B&W antenna is/was made to be a short range(300 mile radius) antenna for mil/commercial type applications. (these are not as crowded as amateur bands). I used mine in MARS for quite a while. Withstood the weather extremes well, and could always be depended on to work. BUT, in a contest type use, there are better radiating antennas. A homemade dipole with basic "TEE" type tuner works better, and is 1/3rd the price of the B&W. (The B&W was used over 5 years, and compared against regular dipole, trap dipole, Off Center Fed (OCF) dipole and end fed wire/with resonant tuner, at this station.)YMMV, 73, N2DM.
K3IVB Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2012 21:19 Send this review to a friend
IT WORKS  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had one for years and worked the world with it, on cw. It's no mono bander and it's not advertised as one but it does work and is a quiet antenna. I used it with 100 watts. When I did used a KW---one time--it fried the balun. That said, I wouldn't use an amp with this antenna. Other than that, I would recommend this antenna. It worked for me for over ten years.
K6OIX Rating: 4/5 Apr 2, 2012 03:03 Send this review to a friend
10 years of experience  Time owned: more than 12 months
I provided an earlier review in 2003, soon after I set up my station after moving to a new location. I had been off the air for many years. I see a lot of negatives about this antenna but I think I can provide a balanced view. It worked pretty well for me and it was nice having the low SWR and ability to work all bands. It was up for 10 years and only fell once - my rope broke. So it's a durable antenna.

I worked 100 DXCC stations in my first year with this antenna and about 40 of 50 states on five bands. In my previous review I didn't say anything about 160m, but I was able to work a few stations on 160m during contests.

I had a "Mystery" home-brew antenna up for a while and it performed better. Signals were louder and I seemed to get better reports - but this is very qualitative. With the Mystery antenna I had to re-tune if I moved 50KH up or down. I needed my Drake MN-2000 to work all bands. I took it down because my construction could not last more than one season. the TTFD was indeed less noisy.

I recently put up a full wave 80m loop. It's up about 35 feet in the shape of a parallelogram - not square or rectangular. It was about 10 times as much work getting it up. Finding 4 willing trees is 10 times more difficult that finding two. At present I think this antenna works better than anything I've used before, the mystery, TTFD and trap dipoles. I can use it 80 to 10 for the traditional bands (harmonically related). I can't work the WRC bands as I could with the TTFD.

I've taken the TTFD down and stored it. I am not sure when/if I'll use it again, but it was in good shape after 10 years in the air. Also I have a Kenwood 922 linear and I never burned out the resistor.

I want to experiment with another wire antenna which was my motivation for taking it down. I am thinking of a vertical for the 18 mHz. Also the loop is a lot less noticeable, which pleases my wife.

John Heys, G3BDQ, has a nice write up on TTFDs. He notes a 160 TTFD should be 182 ft long with wires 5.5 ft apart.

So my conclusion:

1. This is not an optimal antenna but works well and is smaller than other antennas like dipoles that do what it does. It's more noticeable because of the spacers, balun and resistor.

2. Folks that have had real problems with the antenna must have had some additional problem. It's not an "air cooled dummy load."

3. The costs for a commercial version of this antenna seem really high. A balun might cost $30-$40, and 180 ft of wire another $20 or so. Fabricate your on non-inductive resistor and get some PVC pipe and you'll be in business - probably less than $75 worse case.

Good luck. If you want references to the write ups I've found, email me.

LARRYLECRONE Rating: 5/5 Jul 18, 2011 13:38 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
have used the 90 footer antenna for field day, the last three years, on 40 meters @ 25 feet...talked coast to coast with pilesup....also use the 180 footer at 45 feet to 120 feet at home is by far my best antenna...
KK6EY Rating: 4/5 Jan 19, 2011 12:40 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna for limited space  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been using the BWD-90 for quiet a while now and have been really happy with the performance. The issue that I have is limited space, since it has to be confined to my yard. So I have is setup in a 90 degree formation as and inverted V. Center is around 24 feet and ends are around 16 feet. The SWR has never gone above 1.5. I operate mainly between 3MHz and 6.5MHz on MARS bands and the occasional ham bands. I think I will try the BWD-65 next to see if it will help me in not being so directional with my space limitations.
Page 1 of 9 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.