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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
W8NLZ Rating: 2015-11-12
Hints for successful use Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is my 2nd review. I use Buddipole components exclusively for vertical antennas in the field. Perhaps the greatest attribute of Buddipole stuff is that it is well built and works in all conditions and seasons. Here are some of my maintenance tips:

Several of the Buddipole components use female threads in aluminum stock. Aluminum is subject to corrosion and the threads also catch dirt and sand. Most of the male threaded pieces are brass. Again, corrosion and dirt in the threads. I carry both a male bottom tap and a female die (3/8-24 fine). I clean my threads and apply a little WD-40 as I pack them away for the next usage. It doesn't hurt to wipe the telescoping antennas with a little WD-40 as well.

I have several short masts to position the Versatee about 8 ft above ground level. One is a trailer hitch mount. Another is two military tent poles topped with a 1/2" NPT adapter. But my favorite is the Mini-Buddipole tripod. But to make the tripod stable, one must guy it at the 4 ft level. I attach 3 D-rings to the mast using a velcro strap. I have a kit consisting of 3ea tensioners, 3 six foot nylon ropes, and 3ea tent pegs. Once guyed, the mast is stable in any wind.

I operate QRP portable on 40M, 20M, and 17M with the Buddipole Vertical and find no need for an amplifier.

Earlier 4-star review posted by W8NLZ on 2014-02-23

After several years of trial & usage, I almost exclusively use the Buddipole as a center-loaded vertical whip with 2 tuned radials.

Antenna Truism #1: The more wire you have out there, the better the "coupling" or radiation resistance with the world beyond. Thus, a short whip is not going to take the place of a 66' dipole on 40M. So if you use a vertical, you want to make it as long (tall) as possible.

Antenna Truism #2: With a dipole or Inverted Vee, unless you can get the wire at least a 1/4 wavelength above ground, most of your propogation will be NVIS (cloud warming). So, in the field there is room for compromise, particularly if you want to try for DX.

Enter the Buddipole Vertical. Often, there are no high tree branches around to string a wire. Here, the vertical - with no height constraints - can and does fill the bill.

Advantages of the vertical configuration include: no need for really tall supports or overhead tree branches; can be located close to the transceiver minimizing transmission line losses; quick to set up; lower angle of radiation for DX; easy to locate on the edge of a lake, river, or ocean for good propagation.

My configuration of choice: a 4' mast supporting the Buddipole Hub; thence two 22" extender tubes; thence the coil; all topped off with a 9' whip. 13' of radiating conductor. I use two pre-tuned radials connected to the Hub which go out to 3' garden stakes (an eleastic bands keeps them taut). To change bands, I change radials and move the tap on the coil. I also use the TRB balun in the 1:2 position to bring the feedpoint impedance up closer to 50 ohms. I never have to tune this rig in the field, the minor SWR imbalances being corrected by the ATU in the transceiver.

Results are pretty good. Operating QRP, I routinely work the USA, Caribbean, and Western Europe. Admittedly, 20M gives better DX, but 40M gives good rag chewing within the Eastern US. The rig is somewhat directional favoring the orientation of the radials.

As mentioned, Buddipole stuff is high quality and things work reliablly ... something really appreciated after you have hiked in with all this stuff on your back!

Several folks have mentioned the need to guy a tall antenna. That is true if you are using a tripod base. I usually look for a fence pole or pound my own 4' garden stake and use bungees to wrap my mast solidly to the support.
K8QV Rating: 2015-10-29
Specific Solution Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I just happened upon the Buddi reviews and felt compelled to chime in. Bottom line, it works very well for the job is was designed to do. It is a highly portable, lightweight and efficient (for its size) device for temporary use. I used an analyzer the first couple of outings, but now I get things close enough just by listening to the noise. I generally set up a Buddistick on a camera tripod, adjust the counterpoise and work QRP DX with it and an IC-703. If weight and mounting options aren't an issue you might do better with larger antennas. But then, you might not.
KB0EMP Rating: 2015-10-29
Kind of a pain Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Better plan on getting it high in the air to be effective. But when it needs adjusting (and it will) you have to bring it back down and fuss with the telescopic lengths. Back up and darn...still not right, back down and start again. This can go on for a long while. And yes, I use an antenna analyzer. Very fussy if anything is near it. Save up your money and buy a TransWorld antenna. 5 minute setup and you are on the air! For backpacking, bring an endfedZ.
VE4MM Rating: 2014-12-31
Second Review Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this in 2008 for my trip to Mexico.

It worked fine.

Off to Hawaii next week and I set it up on a 4th floor apartment I own and I could not get the SWR down. It was infinite. Using a MFJ Digital Antenna analyzer. (This antenna is hard to tune)

Looks like I will bring the Steppir Crank IR. Works perfect.

Will not be able to work the bands from my balcony now. Just the beach. Bummer.
AC2JB Rating: 2014-11-24
Not at all corrosion resistant! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have enjoyed my buddipole portable antenna kit and used it to quickly set up antennas on many bands.
I made one mistake though and this is something
that is not covered in the manual....
If you think you want to use a buddipole on the seashore you
will likely be disapointed in the degree of deteriorarion
of the whip antennas.
Salty air near the sea corrodes the copper slider
inserts inside the whip antennas.
I setup a buddipole on a beach cabin in Cape Hatteras
and left it up for 6 days in clear weather.
After disassembling and returning home , upon next setup I discovered that the whip elements were basically throw away material.
So my advice: Use the buddiple only for short times on the beach and clean the antenna parts afterward. Better yet, don't use the Buddipole extentable whip parts near the ocean .
The Buddipole manual should also warn users of this issue and provide cleaning agent recomendations and directions.
K7MVT Rating: 2014-09-30
Love it! Certainly beats my indoor dipole. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I am currently living in a community that doesn't permit much in the way of outdoor antennas. That being the case, I have been using an indoor dipole cut for 20 meters at a height of about 10 feet. Needless to say, this isn't exactly a DX magnet.

Not having many options, I purchased a Buddipole deluxe package a few months ago. In spite of the fact that my house is in a valley surrounded by moderately tall hills, I have made many contacts with the antenna. This includes a few DX contacts (Canary Islands, Venezuela, Panama, Wales, Japan, Sweden, South Cook Islands, New Zealand).

Definitely worth every penny I paid for it.

To the previous reviewer: How one breaks, or more interestingly bends a VersaTee is beyond me. Maybe you ran over it with a tank or something.
W5EXJ Rating: 2014-04-29
Fantastic Antenna System Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased a Buddipole Deluxe Package (short) in August 2012. I travel some for work and started taking it and my FT-857D on these trips. I have set it up in hotels, out on balconies, etc., and it has worked very well. I took it on a sailing trip through the Stockholm Archipelago. After docking for the evening, I either set it up on the deck of the boat or on doc in a vertical configuration next to the saltwater. I made many contacts all over the world. Wherever I go I generally take my radio and the Buddipole.

The first week in December 2013 I was part of the St. Lucia/J6 Buddipole DXpedition. There were 7 of us in the group, including Budd and Chris. We had a fantastic time. In 8 days, using only Buddipole configurations of antennas, we made over 13,000 contacts. Fun was had by all and we are all meeting in Dayton this year to say hello. If you ever get an opportunity to do one, you should jump at it, it was so much fun and I learned a great deal and made life long memories and friendships. By the way, everyone pays their own way on these trips and the cost is a small fraction compared to the bigger DXpeditions.

Since buying my first Buddipole Deluxe package I have purchased the extra parts to build 2 element Yagi antennas. Last Saturday, April 26th, our radio club met for radio in the park and I set the Buddipole up as a 10 & 15 meter 2 element Yagi and made many DX contacts.

The Buddipole system is the erector set of antennas, it is high quality and a very reliable product. There is tons of documentation on how to configure this system for just about any antenna you can imagine. It is fun to use and setup, which is one of the great aspects of Amateur Radio. My hat is off to the team at Buddipole for creating such a fantastic antenna system. I’m holding up a 10 card, but unfortunately this site only allows for 5.


PS. I’d like to make a comment about the review made on March 29th from "AA2NH". The call sign used has been expired for over a year; so hope you are either not using your call sign or all the work that you seem to have done with the Buddipole system was done over a year ago as well. Also, I checked and there is no validity to the banana plugs/jack issue you mention and I’m not sure how one can break a VersaTee ... that's puzzling. I have never had an issue with mine.
AA2NH Rating: 2014-03-29
Incompatibility alert, and an opinion Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I thought it was just me, but another guy from Lakeside CA who is using a commercial Buddipole just discovered that Buddipole Antenna has gone from a 2.70 mm diameter mini banana plug to a 2.92 mm diameter banana plug. This change affects the Versatee, the coil clips, the banana plug leads (including leads for coaxial cable and the triple balun switch). So, my parts that don't actually work together are by design?!? Oh joy, what I bought is already obsolete. Why couldn't BP do what HiQ, Alpha Antenna, and even MFJ does, and use industry standard SO239 connectors? My plastic Versatee broke, and can't be bent back, it's plastic! Good thing they sell them as a part, oh wait, now I have to replace everything they even sell the Versatee with the clip holes I need? Too many questions. If I cant fix it in a field emergency setting, then bye bye Buddipole. Time to reevaluate whether I'd bet my life on this antenna. Maybe I'll look at the EzMilitary Antenna or even a not so random 40 meter wire dipole that I can use on harmonic frequencies. Sorry I rambled, but wow; the more I thought about it, the more holes I keep finding in my own BP system...and someone had to say it. Anyone had to replace those Extremely light duty whips from BP yet? Yeah, I did with a "Mil-Stick whip". Just google that if you need a better and less expensive replacement whip than what BP makes available from oversees. And while I'm at it, does it bother anyone else that BP takes 7 or more people on extravagant vacations and puts proof of that on YouTube? I'm for making a good living, but just saying, maybe they're too big for their britches from making big profits when extravagant trips are shown off.
YV5OF Rating: 2014-03-26
Great antenna system Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I'm using Buddipole since 2008 practical and versatile with many possible configurations. Fully transportable and can operate in various weather conditions.

Pre and Post Sales Service very good, and excellent support.
NI5DX Rating: 2014-03-21
Excellent antenna system Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
On March 18 I drove about 50 miles to Galveston Island, which is NA-143 for the IOTA program. The purpose of the trip was twofold. I wanted to give out as many contacts as I could for NA-143 and I wanted to test out my new Buddipole Deluxe Long antenna system. Along with the Buddipole, I used my IC-7000 at 100 watts and an IT-100 tuner. For power, I used my Honda EU2000i generator. All worked perfectly the entire time.
I decided to configure the Buddipole as a horizontal dipole at a height of 15 feet. I made my first contact on 20 meters at 1445z. I worked only 15 stations in 30 minutes on 20 so I decided to change to 12 meters. I made the first contact on 12 meters at 1530z and worked 78 stations in just over an hour. Of these, 60 were DX stations mostly from Europe. I took a break for lunch and then decided to try 10 meters. I started on 10 meters at 1557z. I spent the next 2 hours working on that band. Most of the 215 Qs were with European stations. I tried 20 meters again with no real success so I thought I might give 17 meters a try. The next 75 minutes were spent working 82 stations. The split between DX and stateside on 17 was about 50/50. I even managed to work one JA station during this run (2043z, which is 3:43 PM local time).
Operating only SSB, I wound up with 393 contacts in just under 5 1/2 hours of operating time. Of the total, 293 of the contacts were with DX stations. I was able to work 42 DX entities during my operation. I was very pleased with the many compliments I received on my signal. Many DX stations commented that my signal was an honest 59 and several times I received a plus 10-15 report from Europe. I must say that the Buddipole far exceeded my expectations and I look forward to my next island trip to try some different configurations with the antenna system.