Buddistick for SOTA activations? Please share your experience

Today I finally had some time to tap the coil of the buddistick for my intended bands (40, 30, 20, 17 and 15). First I tried with ground radials. I added 12 radials with 4m length, in total more than a full wavelength of the lowest band, but I was not able to get a SWR below 1.5 on any band. When I touched the GND of the antenna, the SWR dropped to 1.0. So I don’t understand why 12 radials were not enough. I use the QRP guys vertical with only 8 radials and have an 1.0 SWR on all bands. Mystery…

I dropped the idea of ground radials, because in the field its rather a hassle to deploy so much wire. I elevated the antenna to my camera tripod, and used one elevated radial. For 40 meters I had to add some wire to the buddistick radial wire… In that process I managed to tip over the antenna 2 times and the whip is already pretty bend… I am curious what material that is to be so sensitive when falling into soft grass???
So I soldered additional fees meters to it to get a decent (Decent… Its about 1.5) SWR on 40m. BTW, 40m is pretty damn narrow :open_mouth:

Is anyone using the buddistick in the field? Do you use it with a tuner or not? I intend to use it without a tuner only on QRO activations. For QRP I will stick to the QRP guys vertical.
All in all I am a bit disappointed in the build quality in relation to the price of the antenna. The coiltaps are ingenious though. Has anyone been able to get < 1.3 SWR on this thing with one elevated radial??

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It’s awfully heavy with the tripod… here’s how I do 20/17/15 with a Buddistick clone that weighs 2/3rd of nothing…

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So basically you have a wire and load it by inserting different coils in the center for each band?

Yes, simple and light. Since that article was written, I made a coil that allows me to use 30m, but with such short radiator, it’s not a great antenna. The coil is tapped so all the coil for 30m, with a shorting strap on the bottom section the top section for 20m and completely shorted for 17/15m.

I also have a shorter top section that covers 12m and 10m.

It works well enough that during better propagation it was my main antenna but probably 80% CW to SSB. Now conditions are rubbish I use full size inverted V dipoles or a 40/30/20 trap EFHW to get more wire in the sky.

I used a Buddistick for the first 80 or so of my activations - or rather I used two of them because I had to replace the first one due to damage. They are moderately heavy and the pieces are a little bit fragile, especially the extendable top section. The Buddistick is quickly deployed and can be put up in areas that have tighter activation areas such as small summits or ones that are super brushy. I was also able to configure it rapidly for every band from 10m to 40m.

I get much better reception with my Sotabeams tri-bander and it has become my preferred antenna on all but peaks that have a restrictive activation area. In those cases, I still may pack the Buddistick.

As to SWR, I found it highly variable depending on the soil or rocks and had to sometimes fiddle around with the length of the single counterpoise to get the SWR in the zone. For that, I packed a small SWR meter. I absolutely don’t have that problem with the Sotabeams tri-bander.

I got one because I travel a lot for work and it packs down light. I have made great DX with it, and some days I swear by it, but I spend most days swearing at it. I carry a travel pole and doublet or linked dipolr these days when I travel.

As you asked us to share an experience with the Buddistick!!
I never took the one I bought to a SOTA activation as I never made a contact on mine from my back yard experimenting or trying to tune the mongrel up. Ended up giving it away and never heard the guy I gave it too on the air either.
Too fiddly to find the sweet spot on the coil then get the ground radial the right length for a good swr.
vk5cz …


I’ve had the buddistick for about 5 years…it’s a 1/4 wave vertical, nothing special. I only install the coil for 40meters for added “L.” 20meters and up I just raise or lower the stinger, simple and quick. Regarding ground radials, my experience is the more the merrier! And raised seems to help as well, although raised wire around a popular mountain peak not good with humans and non-humans alike. The radial length is key to an efficient signal, again my experience.

I prefer the SOTA beam dipole but not always convenient to install.


I used mine at the waters edge on a beach in the Cook Islands. It was amazing, worked the world. I then set it up on a VK2 summit. Kept falling over. It is now safely stored in its bag till I go back to the Cook Islands. I think it is well down the list as a SOTA antenna.



As I can see some people like this antenna and some dont. Well I cant wait to try it out. After 5 weeks of drought it started to rain here and it will rain the whole week. So no tests soon :frowning:

I made a copy of Andy’s antenna after seeing it working on a summit, it works very well for me, too, and fits in a smallish Tupperware box.

You have to count the telescopic pole also into the packlist.

And I worked the Cook Islands with my clone from the beach in Lanzarote. It was fairly stunning by the sea.

I worked the Canary Islands. Maybe it was you??
Dec 2010

Not unless you were E51KIK at the time?

Playing radio from a nice beach in nice weather is almost as good as SOTA.

Na, I was E51HRX


Hi Andy
Steve E51KIK - Callsign Lookup by QRZ Ham Radio using the same antenna vertical on the beach :crazy_face:
Did you like the beer also :joy:
73 Éric

My battery was from Victor, such a helpful guy.

No, I have put some protection on the end of the roach pole and use it as a replacement for a walking pole.

A light weight, easy to build, home made buddy stick. Fun project. It’s resonant, no tuner required, easy to deploy. Tho now I am mostly using home made EFHW which is even easier to deploy.

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