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Reviews For: Buddipole Portable Dipole/Vertical

Category: Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile)

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Review Summary For : Buddipole Portable Dipole/Vertical
Reviews: 215MSRP: 199.
It's a dipole... It's a vertical... It fits in your travel bag!. The Buddipole™ is more than an antenna, it's a versatile system for launching your signal. Optimized for transmit power and proven for DX work, the Buddipole™ is the secret weapon used by HF portable operators all around the world. Precision engineered for maximum performance using ultra light composite materials and High-Q coils. Zero-loss balun with Quick-Connect feedpoint. This antenna can be used to cover any band from 40M to 2M
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
WT3B Rating: 2023-07-31
Not worth the hassle... for four very important reasons Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Poor quality, pain to tune, and non-existent customer support...

I purchased the Buddistick Pro in May 2023 for mobile ops. We travel a lot in our RV and this was going to be my go-to antenna for mobile. While initially impressed at its compact size, portability, and performance, that faded fast. Really, really fast. I have set it up used it about 10 times, and now it's going in the garbage.

First - this antenna is a royal pain to tune. I have a stick analyzer, which makes things easier but, in the 10 times I have used it, I have had no less than 10 trips back and forth to the antenna to tune it where I wanted it - adjusting the coil, tweaking the radial... back and forth, back and forth, on and on... And the clips are not user friendly. They are too small and there's only the tiniest bit of room to slide the clip onto the very small coil and tune it. That being said, it is tunable... it just takes a long period of frustration to get it there. And then once you're there, you've lost all motivation to switch bands for the rest of the day.

Second, on top of the tuning issues listed above, the whip is small, so a lot of the antenna is in the coil, especially at 40m... which means very high Q, which means it has a very narrow bandwidth. Which means, if you want to tune up or down the band for any reason, you have to go and tune the antenna again (outside the limits of your tuner, if you have one, obviously). In other words, you're not getting SSB and digital on 40 without having to retune between the two, even with a tuner without good SWR.

Third... very poor quality... on my third use, the whip pulled apart between the two lower sections. I am pretty soft handed and care for my stuff, so no, I did not yank it apart or pull too hard... it literally just came apart in my hands while extending it. So, now, in my opinion, there's a quality issue. A couple of months later, another section separated. I managed to continue using it with a hose clamp and some gaffers tape, but wasn't happy about it.

Fourth, and hopefully the most important point. Chris, W6HFP, did not in this case stand by his product. In fact, he and their info@ and support@ email addresses ghosted me. I first wrote to them about two months ago about the first issue. No answer. Then I wrote again this past week about the second issue... still no answer.

As I said, this is going in the garbage now. Very disappointed in being taken advantage of, especially considering I was planning to try they hex... not now.

Caveat Emptor and Cheers,
KQ4GEM Rating: 2023-05-29
Neat Setup - Much Better Options Available Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I purchased this antenna based upon the great reviews of eHam. I've tried several configurations without success on 10 meter. Using a MFJ-259B, I seldom managed to get the SWR below 4. I called Buddipole only to receive a short curt response - something to the effect of they are in the process of moving and don't have time to talk. I gave the antenna to my son - same problem on 10 meters. I think that most of the reviews must be on 20 meters as I was able to tune the antenna well; however, tuning did not come easy and the configurations provided in the directions were not even close for me. Both myself and my son believe there are much better options out there for the money; shop around. And the banana plugs really are not the way to go. I will say that I did like the tripod very much and the guy wires - very nice design. Good luck - I'm sure there are many that will have great successes with the "Buddipole".
N4MJG Rating: 2022-11-24
brought it in late 2000 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
i brought mine in late 2000 works great even low swr to use my ft 817 i was doing virt. at the park made frist cotact with this buddiepole. never a problem with my set up is easy i also use dipole antenna ! still work like it should comes with 25 ft coax love it ! you must guy or it will fall like my did si guy it no more falling
KB4AHI Rating: 2022-11-23
Good antenna for POTA Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Set the antenna up for the first time today. Mounted as a horizontal dipole on a fiberglass mast about 20 ft. up. Tuning only required one length adjustment beyond the initial instructions to get an acceptable SWR reading. This was just a test and I had it fairly close to the front of my house expecting that I might make a few contacts. Was pleasantly surprised on 20 meters hunting parks for POTA. Within an hour, made about 10 contacts, including Colorado, Minnesota and Ontario. The remainder were all east coast stations between Florida and Connecticut (I am in the Atlanta area). Looking forward to using the antenna to activate a few parks once weather permits.
K4TK Rating: 2021-12-06
bought to take camping Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've set it up in my yard (haven't gone camping since buying it). My first contact was on 40 after I set it up...worked E7DX on CW on 40. Not bad!

My second contact was also on 40, with some friends on the East Coast that knew me. I wanted to see not only how strong my signal was with the new portable antenna, but also how my camping portable rig (Yaesu FT991A) sounded to them. I was S9 with my 100 watts and buddipole set up at about 19 feet high. Not bad also!

I bought the longer mast ....and the longer whips. Obtaining resonance with the longer whips ....even on 40 and 20....was EASY. Almost every setting was exactly what their setup chart said it would be...with just a few needing "tweaking" (one band I set the black side coil one turn more and one band I set the whip to full instead of 5.5). I later bought extra "taps" for the coil...and now have EVERY band preset so all I have to do is lower and move the wire to the right tap and change (if necessary) the whip length(s) to change bands. I can do it in a "flash".

I used a Rigexpert antenna analyzer to set up initially and confirm tap settings and whip lengths. I get a good bit of 40 under 2:1 (and I can tune ALL of 40 with my internal tuner on the FT991A). I get all of 20 well under 2:1, and the other bands also get all of the bands with low (usually under 1.5:1) SWR. I'm VERY pleased with this setup.

I will only use the shorter whips that came with it for 2 meters. I even use the longer whips on 6 meters. The quality of the build is good and like how I can set it up anywhere with the tripod and guy ropes. I can move it to any open place in a campsite...and even change orientation of the dipole in a flash.

I set it up on a real windy day....and my technique, is to put out the guy ropes and get them close to right...then I lower the mast and make final antenna adjustments, then raise the mast back up until it's ALMOST fully extended...but has made the guy rope lines quite tight. In this configuration, the antenna and mast is "rock solid". No issue with it falling over....even on the windy days I tested it.

I've used it several times from the house....just haven't taken it camping....yet. But I like this antenna. A bit pricey, but if it works as well as it has so far at the house, it will be worth the price to me.
2E0WVG Rating: 2020-08-14
Simple, well built stable portable antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I love going portable and I was always looking for an antenna I could use but also enjoy setting up and experiment with. I took the plunge and ordered up my deluxe package from Martyn lynch. Setup portable on a hill and worked the world. Easy to set up and figure out (antenna analyser makes it easier I used a NanoVNA) Worked 40,20,10 and 2m no problem at all, although you get a rough setup guide on where to start and the forums are amazing with help and support, I soon came up with my own settings for the off-centre dipole and vertical configurations. It worked so well I then purchased the low band coil for 80m and the counterpoise and this for a compromised antenna worked extremely well. to make tuning on 40 easier I then ordered up the long whips and the TRSB (which is amazing). I guyed mine on windy days and all was fine up to about 15-20MPH. I love this antenna so much I purchased another this time the long version. So when I am portable I have something for every band. I cannot recommend this enough for portable or if you have restrictive space at your QTH.
K5SMD Rating: 2020-06-29
Easily falls over and breaks everytime it falls Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought several configurations of this antenna. I will say the antenna looks well built and the quality appears good out of the packaging. I cannot speak to the ability to get it tuned or be able to make a contact with this antenna. I have yet to get it into the air. I first purchased the shock cord mast. If you are thinking of purchasing this antenna I would suggest having at least 2 people to put it up. The antenna fell twice while trying to get it up and each time broke a telescopic whip. Plan on purchasing many of these and they are not cheap. On the second fall it also broke the shock cord mast. This ended my first attempt to get the antenna up. I ordered new telescopic whips and waited for them to come in. I purchased two extras seeing this could be an issue for the future. I replaced the shock cord mast with the "sturdier" tripod and buddipole mast. Although this was a much sturdier configuration the mast cannot lock down on the bottom and can move up and down. As I was putting the guy lines on the mast a slight breeze blew and the mast fell in this configuration as well and broke one of the telescopic whips. I replaced it and repeated the same process a second time with the same result. I cannot afford to keep replacing the telescopic whips each time I try to use the antenna. I am sure I could get this antenna up and working with another try but since I struck out twice in two tries I am mothballing this antenna. It was a huge investment with no return. As I stated earlier I cannot speak to how it performs once it is up. In my opinion the antenna sacrifices durability to be modular and is too heavy in the air for its mounting solutions. I could see the antenna bending the pole in a very gentle breeze. I am very frustrated with how much I paid for it and still haven't been able to use it. If I had someone to hold the mast while I guyed it out this may have made a difference.
AD0DQ Rating: 2020-06-16
Product works; Settings may vary Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I received the Buddipole as a gift. My wife bought it for me. I immediately set it up using the instructions that came with it, and no matter what I did I could not get the blasted thing below an SWR of 3.5 on 20 meters. 40 meters was 7. Yikes!

I called the company and they helpfully told me I would have to go up half a wavelength on 40 meters to get a good SWR. The solution, they said, was to use the Buddipole as a Buddistick in that situation. Hmm.
I was very frustrated and put it away. I went to do a POTA activation and I spent almost an hour trying to get the antenna to tune on 20m as a dipole and 40m as a vertical, and finally gave up and went with a wire antenna. Again, I put it away. Several times over the last few months I have pulled it out, assembled it, and tried to make it function. Each time was a hair-pulling screaming exercise in frustration. And, yes, I did check the cables with TDR and the coax was fine. I thought "maybe I got a Monday antenna" and was ready to sell it on eBay.

This past weekend my wife was busy with other things so I set this up in the back yard and experimented. After about 10 minutes configuring it in the L configuration, with 94/14 inches of whip on the red side and 96 inches of whip on the black side, where the black forms the bottom of the L, I was able to get the SWR down to 1.4. Whenever I tried to raise the antenna up to the apex of the tripod, however, the SWR soared above 2. So, I thought, let's try this in the L configuration at ground level. I am pleased to report that so configured I was able to make contacts all over the US with 50 watts of power. I cannot explain why it would not work in the dipole configuration. I switched to voice and was able to hit RI from AL with 65 watts and get a 56 report. I did not retune before this, and just used the IC-7300 built in tuner. It radiated just fine apparently.

I did note that anything near it (including a Magnolia tree) caused it to de-tune. Clearly I need to experiment more with this antenna. Having verified that it does work, I simply need to figure out how to best configure it now.
A couple of minor things on build quality. There are two small plugs that go into the coils. The red plug fit perfectly; the black plug did not. I had to wrap a velcro tie around the plug to keep it in the coil. I did check both before and after to make sure it had no SWR effect. That seemed to work. I suppose I need to order another black lead from the company to replace it.

The tripod that came with it is solid, but when configured as a straight vertical MUST be guyed. I found this out when it crashed several times in very light wind. So, if going vertical, guy it for safety.

Another thing I found maddening, having radios that have all PL-259 connections, is that the product comes with a BNC connector, which you must adapt to the coax if you use or buy PL-259 connectors on your coax. That seems like something that should be offered as an option when you order the product.

Up until this weekend I would have given this a POOR rating. But this weekend has convinced me that I can figure it out, mark it up, and make it work with my radio either as a Field Day antenna or as a semi-permanent in the back yard of my HOA restricted community.
The bag is also nice, but once you take everything out of it, only good luck will ever get it all back in.
My experience, from the reviews I have read here, is unique and different from the majority. That does not mean they are wrong and I am right. It simply reflects my experience.

The product is solidly made and will work. You simply may have to apply some ham radio working knowledge to make it function. A Rig Expert analyzer that allows you to see a graph of your SWR is probably the most vital accessory you will need as it will allow you to see if the whip is too long or too short. Since I do mostly digital I was able to get the SWR down to 1.2 at 14.070 using my analyzer. And, to underscore this point, the previous times I tried to set up this antenna I did not have the Rig Expert analyzer. That seems to have really made a huge difference.
KD5HUS Rating: 2019-10-29
Finally able to truly love using Buddipole Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned the Deluxe version with add-ons that I have purchased over the last 10 years. Yesterday was great as I was able to make contacts from Eastern Canada, Calgary Alberta Canada and then south to the Curacao islands. It made my day using my buddipole in a upward V configuration. Thanks guys, you made an old guy very happy.
KD6WKY Rating: 2018-02-13
Consistent Performer for over a Decade Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I operated a County Expedition in Del Norte County, CA in 2017 for the California QSO Party out of the Quality Inn and Suites in Crescent City, CA. My trusty Buddipole was what I used for my 40m and 80m contacts during the weekend contest. It's easy to use and set up. You must have an antenna analyzer to tune the antenna. The antenna is light weight and must be guyed securely. If possible, try and buddy up with someone that uses a Buddipole one time so you can see how it works. It's a must for portable HF operations.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KD6WKY on 2012-12-24

I have used my Buddipole system for several years for both Field Day and the California QSO Party when I operate a County Expedition. I've found that this antenna system offers great reliable service in a kit that fits in a bag.

Taking time to learn how to use it makes all the difference. I highly recommend using a good antenna analyzer when setting up the Buddipole to speed the tuning of the antenna along.

This year I added the low band 80m coil with the 66' counterpoise kit. I had no difficulty setting it up or tuning it. Having never used it before I was able to set it up, adjust it, and get on the air, in the dark, in 15 minutes. This vertical antenna configuration using only 100 watts achieved excellent results across North America late in the evening.

Always guy the mast. Always guy the mast. Always guy the mast. If the antenna tips over, you will break a whip. This set up is well designed but it is light weight so respect it.

If you are able to set up the Buddipole with some elevation, all the better. I have used it on flat land and done well with it.

Spend the money, learn the system. You will be satisfied with the results.
Earlier 5-star review posted by KD6WKY on 2012-10-20

I've used my Buddipole for several years as a portable HF antenna on Field Day and in the California QSO Party with great success. The system is easy to understand and set up.

In the 2012 CQP is used my BP on 15m, 40m, and 80m. On 15m and 40m I used the 9.5' whips for greater band width and less coil load as explained in the manual. It worked fine.

After dark I set up for 80m using the low band coil and counterpoise for the first time. I had to make two adjustments to the coil tap then achieved a 1.3:1 SWR with about a 70 KHz bandwidth at 2:1 SWR. Since I was using a run frequency I dialed up a quiet place and sent TEST de K6Y. I got a pile up going almost immediately with stations from as closed as 30 miles to stations across the country on the east coast. I was using 100w power.

I recommend BP for anyone wishing to work HF portable. It's quick to set up and get on the air, light weight enough to put in a carry bag, and strong enough to stay up in the wind with proper guying.

I'd buy it again. No regrets.

Earlier 4-star review posted by KD6WKY on 2010-10-13

Used a standard Buddipole with about a 20' mast as my antenna for the California QSO Party this year. We set up in a prune orchard west of Winters, CA and tied down the assembly to the prune trees spaced very 18'.

We worked 211 contact, 45 states and two DX with 100w on both SSB and CW. We worked 40m, 20m, and 15m. 10m was not open.

Pretty easy to tune. Must be tied down. The antenna parts are not heavy duty. Treat the antenna with respect or you'll break something.

Bought it used for $100. It is worth what I paid for it.