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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | B&W Broadband Dipole Help

Reviews Summary for B&W Broadband Dipole
B&W Broadband Dipole Reviews: 24 Average rating: 2.9/5 MSRP: $279.95
Description: Broadband Folded Dipoles
Product is in production.
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KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Apr 14, 2016 16:13 Send this review to a friend
works for good!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I heve the Model AC-5-30, 20 meters long. Incidentally it is a halfwave for 40m and fullwave for 20m. Excellent low bands receive (yes down to 160m). Transmit is quite possible on 80m CW for continental QSOs with 20W. Beyond, up to 6 meters, it works as it should. Quite surprised by the performance on 10meters despite the SWR is a bit higher (something like 2-2.5). QRP is also fine with this antenna.The antenna might be overpriced nowadays. Paid mine 150$, which means after 18 years of use, a mere 8$ per year!
N9AOP Rating: 5/5 Apr 13, 2016 13:46 Send this review to a friend
Works as it should  Time owned: more than 12 months
I always like it when hams find this antenna lacking. They then sell the $600 plus stainless model for $50 at a hamfest an their loss is my gain. I use this antenna daily for MARS nets where we use 2 and 3 frequencies per net and also for ALE. I just worked FT4JA with it on 20M. Lucky for me that this antenna does not know it is a big dummy load as some say. It will not out perform a Mosley Pro-96 but works as it is supposed to
Art, N9AOP
GW4PJQ Rating: 2/5 Apr 13, 2016 08:21 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing  Time owned: more than 12 months
Any antenna of this type will always be a compromise, but it doesn't have to be so much of a compromise that it is immediately noticeable. This antenna is demonstrably inferior to something like a G5RV.
I am quite a fan of the terminated folded dipole. If constructed properly a TFD "cut" for an LF cut off of 1.8Mcs should work as well as an ordinary dipole of similar length on 1.8Mcs and should continue to work well up to 10Mcs. This antenna doesn't and if one takes it apart it becomes obvious why.
The matching transformer is very badly made, in fact my transformer fell apart (the ferrite cracked). Just out of interest I replaced the transformer with a 12:1 DX Engineering unit and the antenna worked as it should. This is an example of what I call Anglo-American syndrome. A respected company uses its once good name to trade inferior goods. Shame on you B&W!
Why not just make your own.
KE7ACY Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2014 13:37 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna in spite of naysayers  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been using these antennas for over 6 years for emergency comms. In spite of all of the negative nellies, these antennas work very well. I've worked stations over 8000 miles away even though the antenna was mounted in a NVIS configuration at about 30 to 35 feet high. This is NOT a resonant antenna and expecting it to perform like one is absurd. B&W makes a quality product that is in widespread use worldwide by our military and other countries military's. they can buy whatever they want, they buy these antennas because they work and they fulfill the needs they were purchased for. Are they as good as a beam on a tower at 100 ft? Of course not! Do they compare to a tuned dipole on it's resonant frequency? No, they are broadband NOT tuned to specific ferequencies. If you want a dipole, go get a dipole. If you want a broadband antenna that doesn't need a tuner to work, then you should consider one of these antennas.
KA2QPG Rating: 4/5 Nov 23, 2011 06:26 Send this review to a friend
Works as it should  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have used a similar T2FD, and it does what it's supposed to: radiates a signal on any ham band with an acceptable SWR. Of course, it's not an efficient antenna, but it works. On the lowest bands it is more like a lossy dummy load, but when you get up to bands where it is over a half wavelength long, it does a passable job.

K7UXO's comment below is incorrect:
>130 foot is a very good length for Amateur radio

The T2FD is a NON-RESONANT antenna. It actually provides the worst impedance mismatch when it is a half-wavelength long. That's why T2FD's are typically made in lengths like 90 or 180 feet, which are NOT multiples of a half wavelength on any ham band.

130 feet would be a good length for a resonant 80m folded dipole, but that is a totally different antenna.
KK6EY Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2011 07:43 Send this review to a friend
Works Great  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am not sure why I see so many bad reviews for this antenna. It works great for limited space. I have the BWD-90 and operate mostly between 3-5MHz without any issue. I have my antenna setup as an inverted V with One leg pointing E-W and the other pointing N-S. Seems to work pretty well for me. I am located in Central California.
N5IKG Rating: 3/5 Jan 22, 2011 18:18 Send this review to a friend
bwds-65  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hard to tell which antenna some folks are talking about. Anyway my space and height is limited. The 65 footer just fits. Its low because of the view of the rio grande my neighbors enjoy. It is oriented east west so I can hit a Pactor station in California OK on 80 and 40 but the state wide NM net (South of here) is a problem but it gets me on 80 and 40. For DX I can use the Steppir Vertical which is another story. I hoped the configuration would get me NVIS capabilities but again who knows. Its stayed up in the wind for two years now .I use an LDG tuner with it.
N2GBT Rating: 3/5 Oct 12, 2010 07:56 Send this review to a friend
Better options exist  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just because it presents a match doesnt mean it's an efficient radiator of RF energy.
Remember- ONLY two things happen with an antenna and transmitter
1- RF energy is radiated
2- RF energy is dissapated as heat
This antenna will do both :)

In 25+ years as a ham- I am a firm believer re: wire antennas:
put up the longest and highest dipole you can erect
feed it with 450 ohm ladder line and use a good balanced tuner
You will have an efficient antenna with high efficiency- all things considered.
Everything else is just reinventing the wheel.

As someone mentioned- its best performance is wavelength related- and efficiency falls as <1/2 wavelength increases

I owned the s/s version. Save your money and get some wire and ladderline and a good tuner.

K7UXO Rating: 3/5 Oct 12, 2010 05:54 Send this review to a friend
Is okay for what it is intended to be  Time owned: more than 12 months
B&W advertises the antenna improperly. I think this is one reason why so many people have had a bad experience. When the antenna is used at frequencies it is shorter than 1/2 wavelength it becomes very inefficient. In reality, the 90 foot version should only be used to 5 MHz - yet many people try to use the 90 or even 60 foot version on 75/80 meters.

The other problem is the antenna isn't really optimized for the ham bands. Because at some frequencies the current at the resistor will be minimized. The 90 foot or 180 foot designs were not are not optimized for ham bands.

T2FD or T3FD antenna are good antennas for their purpose - all HF frequency antenna system. There are no moving parts or electronics. Maintenance should be minimal. Typically a two wire T2FD like the B&W is around 4 db below a dipole on the same frequency, although this can be better or worse than 4db depending on frequency. This is not a bad trade off, considering other ways to achieve all band, all frequency operation and associated losses in tuners, feed lines, etc. Sometimes the terminated approach will get you more power radiated because of undocumented power losses in antenna tuners and un-tuned feed-lines. You use a T2FD (or T3FD) when fast frequency agility is required.

The length can be modified - 130 foot is a very good length for Amateur radio. You take a 90 or 60 footer and add wire.

The B&W branded antenna rates a 3 for the following reasons:

Poor construction. Transformer casing will break if antenna is put up under tension. Heavier plastic material should be used in the transformer casing.

Internal Transformer build is crude.

Price is high compared to what can be had in same antenna by competition. Better build, etc.

Poor advertising creating unrealistic expectations with customers, particularly in regard to frequency range.

Look for Array Solutions for high quality terminated T2FD and T3FD antennas.
N1KDO Rating: 3/5 Oct 12, 2010 05:47 Send this review to a friend
It worked.  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a compromise antenna. You put it up, and it works, sort of. The advantage of the design is that it is a no tune 1.8-30 MHz antenna.

On some parts of the spectrum, it radiates pretty well. On other parts, the terminating resistor and your coax swamp out what would otherwise show up as high SWR to your transmitter. It does not work as well as a resonant wire antenna, or even a simple 135' doublet. On the other hand, no tuner is required.

Take a look at the Wikipedia article about T2FD, or look at L.B. Cebik's article, you can decide if this antenna is right for you.

I took mine down.
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