Best HF antenna for 5th Wheel, Buddipole?

Discussion in 'RV Operating and Camping' started by N6REK, Oct 16, 2019.

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  1. N6REK

    N6REK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My current set up when we are in the 5th wheel is a 20/40 meter wire dipole up on a 28' telescoping fiberglas mast bungee corded to the ladder in an inverted vee configuration. This has worked pretty well except in situations where I don't have the room or the trees to string up the dipole or the RV park or campground will not allow me to secure the antenna to trees. I have considered a Buddipole Deluxe and wondered if any of you RVing hams have gone this route?
  2. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not an RV'er so I guess this doesn't apply to me. But! What's stopping you from using a screwdriver antenna? Pretty well all bands (almost), and there are quite a number of ways to do the mounting of it.
  3. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The effective guys are using inverted L with a remote tuner or fold-up fold-down verticals, attached to the ladder rack.
    The best ones I've heard used Scorpion 680s screwdriver antenna mounted on a fold-over mounts on the ladder,
    Looks like you have a 6 call check out some of the guys on 40 each morning after daylight on 7155, almost everybody there is an RVer and most all of them are running these types of antennas. If they can't get a dipole up.
    There's literally thousands of hours of experience on that frequency in the morning using RV setups.
    I've also used the KV5A Powerwhip, which is highly effective on a fold-over ladder rack also.
  4. VE7VTC

    VE7VTC Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't have a fifth wheel, but I use a Buddipole with my pop-up tent trailer.


    This is my "Super Buddipole", attached via a bungee cord to my camping trailer for a campground deployment. It uses the Buddipole tripod with long mast, putting the feed point about 19 feet above ground. Each side consists of a long arm plus a short arm, for 55 inches of arms per side, then a coil, then a long whip. Total end-to-end length is about 29 feet. I use a TRSB (triple ratio switch balun) at the feedpoint. For 40m, I set the TRSB to 4:1. It resonates and radiates well, but it's still quite electrically short for 40m, less than half the length of a full sized 40m dipole. So it has a narrow bandwidth, covering only around 20 kHz or so at a time with a good SWR. It requires carefully tweaking the length of a whip for fine tuning. On the higher frequency bands, it's much less of a compromise, and tuning is less critical. On 20m, it only needs a little bit of the loading coils, and at 17m and higher frequencies, the coils are not needed and the whips must be shortened a bit to resonate.

    On other occasions, I have omitted the whips, and attached long wires to the ends of the arms, staking them out and making sort of an inverted vee with a flattened top. No coils are necessary on 40m with the long wires I use.

    I won't claim the Buddipole is the best in all circumstances. The Buddipole certainly isn't magic, because no antenna is magic. But there are a bunch of parts available that let you deploy the antenna in a lot of ways to fit a variety of circumstances. It's a very flexible bit of kit. I suspect there are more ways to deploy it wrong than right, so you've got to use some care and understanding to figure out something that will resonate and radiate well on the band you want to use, as well as fitting with the surroundings at a given site.

    I would heartily recommend using an antenna analyzer to fine-tune the lengths of the elements. The YouKits FG-01 is a nice little portable analyzer that sweeps an entire band and graphs your SWR across the range, making it easy to tell whether the elements need to be lengthened or shortened.
  6. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the above posts show that there is no "best" antenna for mobile/potable application. There are 'better' antennas depending on the circumstances. So, if you plan on needing an antenna I would do some considering on where you 'usually' do that mobile/portable operation and then planning on how you could do such a thing. What works really well for one person may not be the best option for another, etc, etc. There are several ways of making whatever you use as good, or almost as good as when you use the same type antenna at home. Forget about a vertical with 120 radials, or a 100 foot high dipole or beam, that just isn't very practical or possible when away from home (maybe, but don't count on it). Most people make allowances if you use a "/P", or "/M" on the end of your call sign and don't really expect you blowing others on the band away. Use what'cha got...
    K0UO likes this.
  7. K7WFM

    K7WFM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Lately I've been using a 20 foot crappie pole with a 53 foot wire fed from a 9:1 UnUn at the base. The pole is bungee strapped to the ladder at 5 feet. The excess wire (33ft) is brought down to any support available or spirally wrapped around the pole. The shield side is tied to the RV frame. Quick set up and take down. Auto tuner is used at the rig. Works very well on 40-6 meters. DSCN2227.JPG
    N8AFT likes this.
  8. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree with the above "the best Antenna is one that's IN the AIR and ON the AIR."
    Since you're from California you really do need to check into the 7155 on 40 meters group from daylight till late morning each morning. Those guys can really help you, and they're all in the Southwest u.s.
  9. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    LOVE yer set-up OM! It looks like you are into Boondockin' too... free campin is best!

    Been using my 30 to 35' aluminium plain tubing vert attatched to the fiberglass body on my Toyota Mini-Cruiser with GREAT results!
    Performs just like any other gnd mounted home vert ant. Tuned and loaded up fine on 160 and 80 CW last outting too.
    I'm using a 4:1 LDG UnUn, FT857 / LDG YT100 & 4 odd length radials <30' long.
    I routinely gnd my radial field onto the AC hookup line gnd for some fine added earth grounding. Seems to help.
    If not tin bodied, this set-up maybe a fine alternative to using just a smaller antenna or using wires on a pole. Goin vert takes less space.
    I really like the idea of being all self contained, ant on my rig (property), NO tripping hazards, quick es ez to erect/take down too.
    I got every section of thin walled 3' aluminum tubing that DX Eng sells, so it's almost 40 tall fully ext, so it's way plenty tall...
    Make sure to tell the order taker to INSERT EVERY SECTION OF TUBING INTO THE OTHER SECTIONS B4 SHIP! VY Important...
    I rec'd mine with some put together, but many not. I had to cut one 1/4 short due to a slight dent, won't telescope if a dent in it!
    AND save yer money! Use a hacksaw, cut yer own slits, they need not look perfect to function... they sell un-slit and pre-slit...
    Happy Camping! Stay Safe Dry es Warm...
    K7WFM likes this.
  10. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hoe-brewing antennas isn't to everyone's taste, and that's okay. But think about it. If you're talking about an antenna for use when you are not moving, your imagination is your only 'baulking'(sp) point. Using a screw-driver antenna of some sort is a starting point, and you just sort of add to it with a length of conductor thrown over a tree. Depending on the band and screw-driver used, there should be enough coil/inductance to make a lot of things usable. Perfect? I doubt it, but how you gonna know till you try it? ('perfect' very seldom happens, don't worry about it)
    I've used some really silly (as in stupid!) ideas thaqt worked amazingly well. Surprised the H3&& out of me! Tried the same thing somewhere else and it didn't work worth a hoot. Oh well, try it!
    K0UO likes this.

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