Buddistick vs Buddipole
I'm in the market for a HF portable antenna
Something that I can easily setup outside on a beach,vacation, outdoors.
I've narrowed it down to either the buddistick vertical or the buddipole.
I've read all the reviews on eham and also looked at the Outbacker product line, hustler and hamsticks.
Anyone with an opinion on either of these from personal expierence, please let me know.
None of that stuff works worth a darn on 80m. The small, portable, loaded stuff starts working a bit on 40m and then of course gets "better and better" as you go up the spectrum, band by band. By the time you get to six meters, the portable stuff works about as well as home station antennas, minus the gain of beams and such.
The verticals require a ground plane to work well, so that's more "work" than the Buddipole, which does not.
The Buddipole's pretty versatile and can be configured to work the bands down to 17m or 20m with reasonable effectiveness. Not cheap, but small, portable, fairly quick to assemble and they don't require any kind of ground...
Ok, with the buddipole, do i need to worry about couterpoises and radials?
The Buddipole works as a dipole, so no 'counterpoise' or radial system is needed. normally.
I haven't used the Buddipole, but I have used a pair of Hamsticks as a dipole on 20 meters. Performance is reasonable, but you won't win any DX contests. A shortened dipole 8 feet off the ground is going to be lossy on all the HF bands. You will make contacts, but a full-size antenna higher in the air will always work better.
I've actually found that for portable work, if I'm not tearing it down and moving it every day, the Hustler BTV-series verticals work well. I use a roof tripod with barbell weights on each leg and on the bottom of the center support mast. 10 lb. weights will hold a 5BTV up in a thunderstorm.
I have the radials all cut and arranged in bundles, so I just need to unroll them and spread them out on the ground.
When you're working portable, you can carry a variety of antennas, depending on your circumstances. I've worked PSK31 using 2 watts from an Ft-817 and MFJ's model 1899 5 foot loaded whip on 20 meters from inside motel rooms with surprising success. But an end-fed half-wave antenna in a tall tree works much better! The end-fed half wave antennas are particularly easy to use, as they only require one support.
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Over all you will get better performance with a vertical and a few radials. The problem with the Buddipole is height above ground, At the height its typically used at its a great cloud warmer. I have one and still prefer to put up wires or use the vertical..
I have a home brew vertical that I designed. its built from interlocking fiberglass rods. The rods have a bungee cord and 18 awg wire inside. No tuner is required with the vertical because the tip of the wire is connected to fishing line and the length can be changed depending on what band I want to operate. (Think manually operated StepIr vertical) The whole thing breaks down into 24 inch sections yet stands over 20 feet tall when assembled. The radials are coiled on small aluminum hand crank spools that I machined in my shop. Each spool has 8 22 awg radials attached to one alligator clip. I can put down as few as 8 or as many as 32 and it probably takes me 10 min to set it all up. Compared to my Buddipole the vertical is light years better and not that much more difficult to setup. While the Buddipole never out performs the vertical there are locations where I can't setup a vertical or a wire and must use the Buddy pole...
My order of preference
When tall trees are available I use a Doublet or G5RV. A wire at 90 feet out performs both the vertical and buddy pole by light years.
If there are no trees but room for at least 8 radials I use the vertical.
No trees and no room for the vertical then I settle for the Buddipole.
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You might find this hard to accept but on a shortened vertical antenna such as you wish to purchase, the losses are so great that if you push out 100 watts from your rig, all you will radiate is about one watt on 80 metres.
If you use a fibreglass pole the longest wire you can use will be only suitable for 40 metres and you will need a coil at the base and some radials.
The best and simplest is perhaps the dipole which is about 80 -90 % efficient at radiating RF, its also the cheapest, but you may need a tuner if you don't make it resonant. With a pole you can have an inverted ^