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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
K1OYQ Rating: 2018-01-30
Great Portable Antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is perhaps the best portable antenna on the market. I have homebrewed these and used a commercial Buddipole antennas for over 15 years. I think I own at least one of everything Buddipole makes (in most cases more). I can make various antennas from 80 meters to 2 meters. I use them extensively on trips, in my backyard, for training purposes, demonstrations, special events, experimenting, and on field day type operations. The various configurations for this antenna are a real plus. You can make various types of dipoles, various verticals, inverted vees, NVIS, beams (yes beams), and more. I have experimented with every type of antenna you can imagine, which adds to my working knowledge of antenna theory and field performance. Some configurations are more work to tune than others, and your mileage may differ depending on your setup. What is best about this antenna is that you can make a workable antenna in just about any setting. If one configuration doesn't perform well try another. I use the whips and coils as well as wire in various combinations. Now, this is a portable antenna system, not a permanent installation system. It will not stand up to constant use in harsh conditions. Keep that in mind when making the choice to purchase this antenna. One main point is that if it topples over, something is going to break --- always, always,--- repeat, always guy it or support it so it can't fall over! The variations of this antenna are virtually limitless. You don't need a tuner because you can create tuned antennas with it (tuners can be a plus though). An antenna analyzer is more than useful when setting up a Buddipole in any configuration. I've tried other types of portable antennas such as magnetic loops, end-feds, double bazookas, OCF dipoles, etc., but I always come back to the Buddipole. If you like to experiment and enjoy portable operations then this is the antenna for you. Oh yes, It is also great for weekend use in HOA restricted areas.

Earlier 5-star review posted by K1OYQ on 2013-03-09

I started out with a homebrew version and liked it so much I bought the full monte. Over the past ten years I have purchased everything that Budd makes. I have used them on Field Day and trips with great success. Yes they take a little tweaking but there is a configuration for vertually every band. You have to know what your doing and you have to understand antenna basics to get the most out of the system. I've worked countries all over the world with the Buddipole system. It is also my goto antenna system for emergency communication and works great for this application. I can build beams, verticals, NVIS dipoles, OCF dipoles, slopers, end fed, dipoles, and directional beams using all the components I have. To me the fun is in setting up an antenna, tuning it for the conditions at hand, and working the DX. Those who give it a low rating may not understand antenna basics very well and have unreasonable expectations. BTW, Budd and Chris and company provide some of the best service in the industry. Thanks for a great antenna system Budd.
Earlier 5-star review posted by K1OYQ on 2008-08-13

I've been using W3FF's Buddipole system for 6 years now. I started out with homebrew Buddipoles and eventually bought the commercial version. The antenna is versatile and work great. The support is outstanding and the product is top quality. The Buddipole Users Group is friendly and full of very useful information. The best part about this antenna system is the fun you have tinkering with different setups. I've built beams, colinear arrays, stacked dipoles, vees and more. I use them every field day. This one is definitely worth the money.
KN7AT Rating: 2017-04-03
Works well -- but --- Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned the buddipole Deluxe for about two years. It has been my main antenna, hidden behind some oleander bushes at the rear of my home in an HOA neighborhood. I've had good results with the antenna as long as I don't have to change bands. In the 2016 Field Day, working CW-Low Power on 20 meters, I was able to work the entire northern tier of states from WA to NY; not bad for a dipole at 12ft. My only complaint is the time it takes to change bands and adjust element lengths for lowest SWR. In my case 15 minutes is not untypical to get the job done; too much time for my liking.

Construction and materials is first rate. There's a very active users group to help with any questions or issues you may have. All in all, I recommend this antenna as long as quick band changes are not essential.
K7ER Rating: 2017-03-04
Works Great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have a good friend that has the full kit. Also my Son just bought one too. I feel that the build quality is awesome. It is not fair to have some old crotchety folks complaining about it. Some people are just animals and expect everything to withstand abuse. Like all products take care of them and they will last.. Have used one in different configurations it is amazing for what it is. Portability is great also fit and finish. This is a purfect setup for HOA, Apt or just hill topping.Being able to adjust the antenna from a dipole to a vertical in minutes is a plus..
Be nice all 73 de K7ER
DL4AC Rating: 2016-09-11
Poor quality; high price Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Works quite well but the cable, the little connectors and one coil are now defect. Price is much to high for this quality!
KG7QYJ Rating: 2016-07-27
Quality issues Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have what you would consider the full range of Buddipole products. The initial purchase process was ok, there were some serious issues with the folding mast requiring 2 replacements. One of the wing nut adjusters on the telescoping pole fell off. They replaced it. Now the bolts on the telescoping pole are rusting after a year or so of VERY light Arizona where we don't get much rain. The Red/Black connector cable doesn't hold up in the sun very well - fades and gets loose do the coil tap wires.

I can't imagine these products getting the kind of heavy use they portray in their promotional material and holding up. Otherwise they work well. I've made contacts in Europe and New Zealand with the simple dipole setup.

Kind of expensive for how they hold up.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KG7QYJ on 2015-06-23

Running 100W (optimistically) on a Buddipole dipole set up in my back yard, I have worked Europe, New Zealand and multiple US QTH's. We read claims like this all over the place for products that don't deliver. This one has for me. Plus, I've had to deal with their customer service and it's excellent. I haven't even started playing with all possible configurations. Highly recommended.
KA2NCD Rating: 2016-06-30
Poor Quality Bad Business Practice Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I want to preface the following regarding the Buddipole products. The long telescoping whips sold separately if dropped accidentally fall apart at the bottom by the connector thread. Try getting a replacement and you’re out of luck. I've lost several and the remainder will stay in the case. The HF low band coils are made of thin plastic while the ends are glued together. These coils have been used for approximately one year only on weekends and in suitable go box weather. While setting up using the rigid shock whip and the HF low band coil I noticed the capped end (where the coil screws into the whip or the VersaTee) was loose. It appeared to me at a first glance that the coil end is snapped together. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. The coil ends top and bottom are glued (poor design). I called Buddipole and explained the situation. I sent them a picture as requested and was accused of dropping the coil. However, they asked me to send the coil back for repair or replacement. As of this review the coil is still with the mold injector (over 2 weeks) with no response or customer follow up from Buddipole. I'm not sure I will be purchasing any other products from Buddipole especially with this poor customer service and attitude!
G0GBZ Rating: 2016-03-30
Excellent, Easy to use and carry.. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
After moving into a (temporary) ground floor apartment I was unable to have any outside antenna's, this led me into Portable working. I took my trusty 20 ft 4 section GRP telescopic mast and my home made wire for 40/80m. A bit of a bind to find a good site to erect it all and problems with space in my vehicle. The Buddipole system entered the equation, after much reading I took the plunge and purchased a Buddipole Deluxe kit, a TRSB balun, an 80m low band coil and the counterpoise kit. This counterpoise is without doubt one of the most important items to have and when used with my analyzer I get 1.2:1 swr in most set ups. Fantastic difference to setting up and space taken in the car. So far I have worked 40 and 80 m with excellent results in different locations, so much so that I bought another Deluxe package to set up in different configurations to evaluate one setup against the other (as well as a spares package in case of any field damage) The New multi-functional Versa Tee design is only what can be described as Superb, it allows so many configurations with Buddipole equipment and other systems, Wires, whips etc.. The TRSB switch is good and is easy to include in the set up, only downer is it is rated at 100 watts. Now retired I have decided to make the most of the Buddipole System so if you hear me on, give me a call...
73, Norm G0GBZ
KQ4YA Rating: 2016-01-14
Serves its purpose well Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The advantages are these in my opinion:

Great support - both from the company and the Buddipole group on Yahoo. There's an old-fashioned feeling to the company because of the personal service. A lot of companies claim to offer great support - you would need to experience the support to understand just how good it is. You'll be impressed.

Excellent build quality - the system is well-engineered, sturdy and attractive.

Any of the undersized portable antenna systems I have used (including the Buddipole system) lag in performance compared to a full-sized wire antenna. I use the Buddipole when I don't have the time, inclination or the trees to put up a wire antenna while traveling. It's easy to assemble, easy to take down - often an important plus for quick stays in a cabin or rented home. And because it's over-engineered I don't have to worry whether it survived the trip.

The system easily rates a 5 when evaluated as a portable antenna system. I haven't used all the portable systems and can't say with any certainty that it's the best on-air performer of the group. But, to me, that's like trying to judge a dancing contest held among the clumsy. A wire dipole up high will beat any of these systems. They are special purpose antennas and, with that criteria, I feel comfortable recommending the Buddipole.
N6DMR Rating: 2016-01-13
Agree With KB0CMV Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I agree with Kieth, KB0CMV, I tried a lot of portable dipoles including the Buddipole and MP1 and found that my TWA-2010 outperforms them all with no fussing around with fussy tuning and such.

This may not be a detailed review of the Buddipole, but it does go to putting out there some very efficient and in my opinion superior alternatives.

With the TWA as a portable I am setup with no tuning in 5 minutes and making DX QSO's in no time. It does not break down to a small kit though and it does take a 12V source to power the tuning matchbox.

On light portable operations I bring in home built single band End Fed Dipoles, usually for 20m and 40m, both antennas fit in a pack with little space. A throw line to a convenient tree works and I have even packed a light 30ft telescoping pole that works well as a support.

For my home station (a 40' motor home) I use a HyEndFed multiband up as an inverted "L" between two 40ft telescoping masts. Have worked over 4000 miles on 5 watts with this antenna.

While the Buddipole is a well built kit and of course works for many, my experience is that an end fed wire works better in most conditions.
N0CSM Rating: 2016-01-13
Excellent Performer Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After borrowing a Buddipole from a friend for testing purposes, I found that it worked well for me so I purchased my own. Luckily, it arrived on December 31st as I had planned to activate a local park in Northern Virginia for the opening day of the National Parks On The Air event. For the event, I set up my Buddipole on a fiberglass mast at about 25ft using a homebrew bracket to put the VersaTee on the mast. The Buddipole was configured with the rotating arm kit, long telescopic whips, a single “arm” and the loading coils on each side. Once mounted on the mast, I ran the antenna up to about 15ft and used my antenna analyzer to tune it to 14.150 and it showed an SWR under 1.4:1 almost all the way across the 20m band (lowest was at about 1.2:1 and just over 1.5:1 in the CW range). Once tuned, I ran it up to about 25ft and got to work.

Over the course of about 2 ½ hours, another club member and I were able to make 174 SSB contacts on 20m, 1 PSK31 contact on 20m (only worked digital for a couple of minutes due to an uncharged battery) and 1 trans-equatorial contact into Brazil on 10m. We worked contacts from Virginia to California, to Utah, Maine, Southern Florida, and all over the mid-west with consistently good signal reports. All of this was at 100watts from an FT-897D. The size of the pileups was a sure indicator that we were being heard as we worked the crowd. In the end, we had an awesome day in the field and all of the credit must go to the folks at Buddipole.

I found that a little research made setting up this antenna very easy. The “Buddipole in the Field” book provides some excellent information for setting the Buddipole up at different heights and configurations and the set up sheets that accompany the long whips help as well. I will admit, I was a bit worried about this before trying it myself as some reviews suggest the antenna is difficult to tune but I just kept saying in my head “Shorter = Higher, Longer = Lower” as I adjusted the whips or coil settings. From the initial settings, it took two minor adjustments to move the resonant frequency to where I wanted it.

I won't bash any other suppliers here but I will say that I've tried a couple of different antenna systems that included these "rigid dipole setups" as well as a couple of end fed, center fed and OCF wire dipoles as well as my own wire designs. A good wire antenna will always be in my go kit but it's not going to be my primary any longer - there's a new "king of the box" for me now.

The quality of the components is top notch, the documentation doesn’t read like a cliffhanger and my personal experience with the folks at Buddipole is important but, at the end of the day, performance is what gets the job done. This antenna does what it is made to do.