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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
KB5TJI Rating: 2011-05-08
Excellent Antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought the Buddipole Deluxe package since I live in an apartment and couldn't put up any kind of antenna system. This has been an excellent choice for me. It really delivers!
My best advice? If you want to work DX with this antenna, pay careful attention to the directions that Buddipole supplies with the antenna. They give you a simple chart that tells you where to tap the coils and how far to extend the telescoping whips, etc. I also use an MFJ antenna tuner to get the match as perfect as possible. I've only been a general for a month and I've already worked stations throughout the US and Canada. I've also had QSO's with stations in Germany, Italy, Kuwait and Crete! I do have one caution. The whips are fairly delicate and will not take a lot of punishment. Be sure to guy the antenna.
N6JPA Rating: 2011-04-08
Be gentle with it. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought a Buddipole Deluxe Package a month ago. I have to operate away from my QTH because of antenna restrictions, RFI & EMI. The first thing you must have is patience when setting up and taking down the Buddipole. If you get in a hurray that is when you will damage it. It takes me about 15-20 minutes to setup the buddipole. I get the SWR as close to 2-1.5:1 as possible then I use a tuner with my FT-897D running 20 watts. I have worked across North America on voice, CW and PSK31 with good results. This is also a great conversation piece for the walkers going by in the local park and dogs have come up to me to interrupt my QSO's at times.
Now if I could just break some 20 meter pile ups. there is a video on how to get resonance as close as possible with the Buddipole here:

ZS6DJD Rating: 2011-03-21
Ok but not so good Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The Budi Pole fits into a small bag to carry for potable use. It is easy to put up. But once up it is very difficult to set the swr. Also if you use it as a normal diapole your signal will be poor as signal goes straight up. It works much better as a v diapole. Set up like the letter v, upright v, not inverted v. The arms wich make up the antenna also break fast. I broke two of them setting swr. Also Budi Pole swr is easly affected by other close by antennas. ZS6DJD
KF4MKP Rating: 2011-03-07
good performer Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Performs good. I've had mine for a couple of years and wanted to use it a lot before I wrote a review.

I have the dipole/standard kit, versa-tee with rotating arm capability, I also have the long telescoping arms, the 8 foot mast, tripod, low-band coil, the guying kit and bought the Triple-Ration Switch Balun.

I don't think the carry bag is big enough, it's an exercise to put everything back into the bag, but it does work ok, it just takes a litte patience.

The antenna system works well but you have to follow the directions to set the arm length and coil taps correctly...once you do it though there is NO excuse for not making contacts. I have made many QRP contacts with it as well as up to 100W contacts using CW, SSB and PSK-31 with no issues.

I can't give it a rating of 5 though because the mini-banana jacks tend to collapse and have a loose fit. Overall quality is good but not excellent. If it's going to be windy, use the guys or else it will topple and you risk breaking a whip (which aren't too cheap.)

Overall pricing was a bit higher than I would've liked to pay, but it works good and I'm satisfied with it. Service is very good and the owner/founder of the company has sent me a personal congratulatory email after making a very good (rare) contact (SSB QRP with W1AW).. It shows me they are enthusiastic about their product!
WB5MHA Rating: 2010-12-02
great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
worked the inventor and a friend planning a trip to the islands. no log book my end-solo mobile op trying to log is dangerous.

iwas driving in texas and tuning 17. signal reports good all around: me 100w to one of my quick connect ham sticks which works hundreds of DX from the road just add 'mobile' to your call and pile ups occur

anyway i travel alot and plan one for our next trip to Puerto Rico, xyl's home. the one i talked to was loud and readable from Jamaica. 73 wa9byr

Sounds good fellas
KB1QBZ Rating: 2010-11-02
Good For What It Is Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've been using a standard Buddipole for about two years for portable operations. Trimming can take a bit of time (especially in orientations other than horizontal dipole), but it does trim. I use an antenna analyzer from Autek Research (relatively inexpensive for an antenna analyzer) and it makes it dramatically easier and faster to trim than using just an SWR meter.

My early experiments with the Buddipole as a horizontal dipole about 10ft off the ground on the tripod were not terribly successful, but I then realized that a horizontal dipole 10 ft off the ground is going to hear a lot but isn't going to hit very much since it mainly radiates straight up.

As a vertical the Buddipole has done very well. I've used it in both the "L" configuration (one arm straight up, one arm horizontal as the counterpoise) and as a vertical dipole (instructions on the Buddipole group site on Yahoo). I recently took it to the Marconi site at the Cape Cod National Seashore on Cape Cod and was able to operate from one of the concrete slabs that used to anchor Marconi's massive antenna. I had good results into Western and Eastern Europe 25 watts sideband (note: for those of you read other reviews, I had similar results with a TAK-tenna from the same site -- apparently Mr. Marconi knew a thing or two about where to put antennas ).

The Buddipole packs up nicely and I regularly take it on vacation with me.

The highlight of the BP was a public service event last summer. We were trying to hit a 2 meter repeater 30 miles away. Our station had a big gain 2 meter vertical up on top of a 40 ft fiberglass pole, but the feed line failed about an hour into the event. I quickly put up my Buddipole as a vertical dipole on top of its 8 ft tripod and was hitting the repeater full quieting just as well as the gain vertical did on its 40 foot mast.

Taken for what it is, it's a good antenna. You do need to understand propogation characteristics of horizontal and vertical antennas at low heights above ground.
VK3CRG Rating: 2010-10-24
Absolutely Delighted! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I took my brand new Buddipole Deluxe out to the park today. I live in an apartment so HF really doesn't work too well at home. Too much RF noise etc. I'm in Melbourne, Australia & was running an Icom 706MKIIG @ 100 watts on 20m & 40m. Tuning the Buddipole is a pain unless you have an antenna analyser. It's almost a necessity if you want to spend less time tuning and more time on air! Yes an SWR that looks great while the antenna is down low will change as you raise the tripod however it's pretty easy to get the hang of tuning it up and compensating for this effect. Resist the temptation of being lazy & just using a tuner with this antenna. A HF antenna of this size (especially on the lower bands - 40m & 80m etc) is always going to be a compromise at the best of times, so why waste your RF output power into a tuner? Take the time to set up the antenna properly and you will reap the rewards & ensure that nearly every last drop of RF you output will hit the antenna - not be wasted in your tuner. The proof of this (and any!) antenna is in the results - with in an hour I worked (I remind you I'm in South-Eastern Australia...that's a LONG way from anywhere!) Spain 5/9, Malta, 5/9+, Italy 5/5, Russia 5/9+, France, 5/9, Germany, 5/5, plus various VK stations some of which were over 3500Kms from my location. The signals received were described as "you're booming into Malta" to "well that Buddipole is doing an excellent job into France you're 5/9 Craig"... The Buddipole Deluxe WORKS however you need to take the time to learn how to set it up properly - it may take a little while on your first few attempts but you will get excellent results from this setup if you FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. I'm a typical HAM who rarely reads the manual but I can't stress this enough...this is one time when you really do need to read the instructions. There is also an EXCELLENT book which you can either buy from Buddipole or download for free from their website called "Buddipole in the Field" I suggest you peruse that as it's a great help in showing you how to set up the antenna & advising of any pitfalls & how to fix them. I reiterate...setup will be a lot less painful if you invest in an Antenna Analyser as you can instantly see where the antenna is resonant & adjust the coils & whip lengths to quickly bring everything into line. You can do it with your SWR meter only but you are having to transmit to do that & will subject your radio's RF output stage to some potentially nasty SWR's plus it's pretty 'hit n miss'...with an analyser you can see where your SWR is going as you're raising the mast - so take my advice and GET AN ANALYSER and you'll have a great time with the Buddipole like I did today. The antenna is not cheap (for the full Deluxe package and a few spares) but it's beautifully engineered and Buddipole's customer service is excellent. My final word of advice is to ALWAYS GUY YOUR MAST! It really is a must especially if you are set up in a public area or at best you may break a whip if the tripod tips over - at worst you could really hurt someone. Happy DX'ing and I'd strongly recommend the Buddipole Deluxe. 73 from Melbourne, Australia - VK3VCM
VE7HHH Rating: 2010-10-15
Disenchanted Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Well, I hate to be one of the few dissenters posting here on the joys of the Buddipole,
but post I must.

I have had a Buddipole kit for about 2 plus years, and have wasted many a summer’s
afternoon out on my townhouse lawn trying to tweak it into resonance. Tried both as a dipole and
via the one-coil-vertical setup with adjustable counterpoise.. On most occasions, I have also had an MFJ-259 or an Autek RF-1 analyzer by my side in my deliberations. I can usually find sweet spots for several...but not all....bands with the analyzers, but rarely do these setting lead to qsos. I erect the antenna on a telescoping paint pole so it is usually off the ground by about 17 feet. I do not like to exceed using 50 watts out due to being in a condo environment.

Frustratingly, I can rarely replicate the same analyzer readings 24 hours later with nothing having changed in location, height, coil clip positions etc. I have also not found the recommended settings provided in the manual to be especially helpful to me.. I don’t believe my qth. is all that unfavorable either. It is surrounded on 3 sides by tall evergreens, and the setup is at least 15 feet away from the townhouse proper.

The stock whips provided are nothing to write home about. The little copper bushings anchoring the pull-out sections of the whips tend to pop out with too much body english applied. And I managed to break one whip (my fault) when it hit the grass tip down. Of course the manufacturer would like you to buy the more robust and pricey shock cord whips if, like me, you are careless with your toys. Overall, I find the antenna to be a rather delicate, hothouse flower.

One of my coil windings snapped in the middle when, I guess, the antenna fell over because I failed to nail the tripod to the turf and it pulled over the antenna. Again, my bad.
But should the coil have severed when it dropped only 5 feet onto a soft medium, ie. my lawn? As the coil (nicely-engineered otherwise, btw) must be machine wound, I emailed Chris who responded quickly, saying Buddipole could rewind the coil form for 10 bucks, which I would consider, along with, perhaps a pair of shock cord whips, though I DO have a considerable investment already in the antenna (one replacment whip and one Versatee at least, not to mention hours of clip and whip adjustments).

. I wondered in a follow-up email whether a TRSB balun might produce Buddipole-nirvana, but I think customers must get one tech support response only, because two subsequent follow-up emails have been ignored.

Can’t deny all the positive experiences reported here about the Buddipole, but forgive me if I
am having a hard time “feelin’ the love”.
Blair VE7HHH.

KD8OPI Rating: 2010-10-13
Work well, but painful to tune. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Ok, I love my buddipole. There, I said it; but it's not perfect. Imagine you tune and erect it, only to find that the band is quiet or the conditions have changed over an hour or so. You then have to take it down, re-tune it, re-erect it, and go again. Now imagine you use it in your backyard on your deck, and that objects off of the end of the antenna (your house) make it so hard to tune you give up after 45 minutes and do something else. Both are situations which frustrated me in using this antenna, even more so because it is such a fantastic piece of equipment (my first night using it I worked Ireland, Mexico, and Italy with my IC-7000 barefoot, oh and it was also my first day ever on the HF bands).

My solution was to buy the LDG IT-100 autotuner. Now I just put the antenna up (extra arms and 9'whips fully extended), and hit tune. I don't even use the coils any longer, and I almost always get 1.5 to 1 or less. Great antenna, not perfect, but a solid 4.5 - it does what its supposed to do and with an auto tuner can make a respectable temporary base antenna. Oh, good customer service too.
KJ4EBE Rating: 2010-08-10
Great portable antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Yes, it is expensive and if you want to get the best performance you need to buy the Deluxe Package and extra parts (2 extra arms, 2 long whips, TSRB...) But this is a great antenna having on mind that it is a portable antenna. The possible configurations are almost endless so you are not just buying one antenna, you are buying dozens of antennas.

Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, Romania, Kingdom of Spain, France... all those contacts were made on my first days with the Buddipole (20 and 17 meters) on my back yard here on central Florida when still learning how properly to tune it.

High Quality components, those Buddipole guys take care of the details. If you like portable Buddipole Deluxe Package is the way to go.

I'm very happy with my Buddipole and I feel that my money was well spent.