SOTA and Buddipoles

**Hi All! Apologies if this has already been asked, I searched thru some of the topics and didn’t really see this addressed. Just wondering how many SOTA operators use a Buddipole. Also, if you tried a Buddipole and then decided not to use it anymore, what were some of the reasons? I’m really excited to try and activate some around my area and was thinking of using my Buddipole to do so, but am open to other suggestions! Thanks and 73!


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Far, far too heavy and too expensive are the reasons not to use one. I have a clone of a Buddistick designed to weight a lot less which works for me. Weighs grams, cost pennies!

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A few SOTA ops do use these but they are not the most popular.

If you already have a Buddypole get out and use it.

If you are thinking of buying one, reconsider. The ads look great but the reality is less glossy.

A linked dipole from SOTABEAMS (assuming you don’t want to build your own), and an 8 m heavy duty squid pole (telescopic fibreglass mast) will be several S units better for less $. Maybe a few minutes longer to erect but well worth it.

I’ve never worked a Buddypole station more than 700 km away. I’ve worked a number out to 19,000 km with wire antennas, some S2S.



A simple dipole (with links, if you want to work multiple bands) will usually get you more and clearer contacts. Make it yourself, and you’ll be in a better position to fix it in the field, and if it gets lost, or damaged beyond repair, well, a new one won’t be that expensive to make…

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Echoing what the others have said. A resonant antenna will always out-perform a compromise (loaded) antenna such as a buddipole or loaded vertical whip. While putting up and taking down a wire antenna (linked dipoles, end fed half waves and off centre fed wire dipoles seem to be common) can take longer - especially when the wire insists on tieing itself in knots as often occurs to me, it will produce better results.

73 Ed.

P.S. Note the OCF is also a compromise antenna, the linked dipole is a better option electrically but you can switch bands on an OCF without having to take down, change links and put back up the antenna.

P.P.S. As has also been said, if you already have a Buddipole try using it on a summit. If you are considering buying an antenna, the linked dipole kit from SOTABeams ( Linked Dipole Portable HF Antenna Kit | Portable Dipole Antenna - Antenna accessories and Hardware ) or the Aerial-51 model UL-404 OCF from Spiderbeam ( Spiderbeam© High Performance Lightweight Antennas - Multiband portable Aerial-51 Model 404-UL UL0001 ) are better options. Or build one yourself - for a calculator for wire lengths for a linked dipole on the bands you chose.

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I used the buddipole in the beginning of my sota-carreer in 2009. But after a few activations with > 500 vertical meters I quickly decided to look for something less heavy. I decided to buy a MP-1 vertical antenna which I used for some years.

Two years ago I built myself a linked dipole for 7 / 14 / (21) / 28 … great antenna for SOTA! Easy to make, cheap, light, better signals …

73 Martin, OE5REO

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Here’s my favorite low-cost alternative to the Buddipole:

On Colorado summits I mostly use inverted-L made from 52 feet of #24 teflon wire. I have two links (jumpers) for 20M and 30/15M. This antenna works well on 5 bands:

40M: 52 feet, plus 12 foot counterpoise, half wave, medium Z
30M: link at 46 feet, half wave, no counterpoise, highZ
20M: link at 33 feet, half wave, no counterpoise, high Z
17M: 52 feet, full wave, no counterpoise, high Z
15M: 46 feet, full wave, no counterpoise, high Z

No feed-line to the antenna is used on any band. I use tiny homebrew tuners; all the tunings are easy and quick. The antenna and counterpoise weigh a few ounces. I have a 6M fiberglass pole for a support - it weighs a pound. Sometimes I leave it at home and use trees - trees are great, especially for the inverted-L.

Here on high, rocky, windy summits in Colorado, the priorities are getting up and down the mountain, getting the antenna up in difficult terrain, and keeping it up in high winds. Dipoles work well, but erecting them is often too complex - they are more than double the hassles of an inverted L. Dipoles weigh more, with two wires plus a feedline, so they require a heavier pole for support. The two wires and feedline tend to get tangled, caught on rocks, and stuck in the bushes. Changing bands is a hassle with a dipole. All I do is tilt the pole to lower the single wire, change the link, and put the pole back. To change from 40M to 17M, or from 30M to 15M, I don’t even have to change the links!

The end-fed resonant high-Z wires work incredibly well. A tuner designed for high-Z is essential. Using is believing - I was very skeptical at first. Light weight, quick set-ups, multi-band activations with the same wire, and amazing results are convincing. Look at my logs…in particular, the S2S logs.

I see the ads for the Buddipoles, and I just groan! Remember that SOTA is supposed to be fun, and yes, it really is! SOTA is not an ordeal, and you don’t get any points for pounds!

Lightweight gear and lithium batteries have changed the game.


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My only comment about Your question is "by the time you got the Bubbistick tuned up its time to go home"
My system is similar to Georges when using an end fed antenna and I know his system works because I have had several QSO’s with him when he is on summits from down under. Don’t ever recall working anyone with a Buddipole on DX. Thanks George for the heads up on your system I am giving that a test next weekend in my yard. One question what is the length of the vertical component of the L in comparison to the horizontal of the over all 52 foot.
Ian VK5CZ …

I own a Buddistick, which is my travel antenna. The main reason I have it is because squid poles don’t fit nicely into checked luggage. It is a finicky, hard-to-tune, compromise that occasionally has me swearing at it and wishing I had my linked dipole with me. On the other hand, I’ve worked some great DX with it, including nearly qualifying a summit in South Korea from VK chasers. It rarely fails to get me that elusive first contact in a new association.

As a first antenna for SOTA, it’s a waste of time though - make up a wire dipole and head out into the hills. Once you understand what you need to suit your activation style, then it can be considered.

As for its big cousin the Buddipole, I think everyone else has summarised the SOTA communities’ consensus position.

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Hi Ian - thanks for your comments!

The vertical part ends up being about 18-19 feet - the pole curves over under tension. This dimension is not critical. Higher might be better on some bands, like 30 and 40M.

The positions of the links are approximate, but not critical. Those dimensions I listed are from the fed end at the bottom of the pole. I modeled the system with Eznec to get my dimensions. Eznec will correct for the teflon dielectric, which is a nice refinement.

I have a long piece of braided dacron string attached to the far end of the wire - I usually tie that to a tree or high rock to elevate the free end as much as possible. Sometimes I use dead trees as a second mast. On alpine summits, with no direct supports, I guy the pole to two or three rocks; I run the string out as far as possible and tie it to whatever is available.

There are many possible combinations for inverted-L linked antennas. I used a 67-foot wire with links for a long time - it was good, but a little big on some of the craggy peaks. The prototype for the 52-foot wire was a simple 46-foot wire with a single link at 33 feet for 20M.



Thanks George for the reply and description I will try it.
The reason I went away from the original 58 footer back to 53 foot is the kx3 tunes it easily on 40 and 20m.
I run it up end fed about 30 ft on the rig side and the rest the other side of my 8m pole then string to the ground to make a inverted V shape with the shorted end. So I will try in in a inv L for a test.
I had a short 9 ft length of wire spare so that how it became counter poise.
hope KA0RSN can try all sorts of antennas for SOTA but it critical to keep that back pack as light as possible especially in my case with extra body weight to carry as well up the hill.
Ian vk5cz …

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Thank you Ian!

Thanks to all for your thoughtful and experienced replies! Although I do currently own a Buddipole with decent results, it seems the main consensus is the linked dipoles, lightweight, etc. I am really excited to “get out there” and activate some around my area, so I will need to prepare a little more during these remaining winter months and get ready for some spring climbing! I do like the SotaBeams linked dipole that was mentioned.
You guys have been great and thanks again for all your ideas, opinions and insights! Hopefully I can work you soon and get you logged!
73 to all

This is great info George! I really appreciate the data and experience you have compiled! Hope to work you soon!



Hi Andrew,
There are short versions of the squid poles, such as the 10m one from DX-Wire which fit easily into checked luggage. I also have a 5m one (originally 6m but the top section broke) that I bought at Friedrichshafen 3 years ago which is really small and light. Can’t remember the name of the company who sold it, I think it might have been a company from Eastern europe. I met some Amateurs on the free shuttle bus who had them and I had to ask - I think they were only €25 or so, so as soon as I got to the hall I made a B-line to the stand and got the last but one pole.


I am using Buddistick vertical, worked all continents, almost DXCC, 5W output - Yaesu FT-817ND. I think Buddipole is too heavy and it needs also the tripod and the mast. I am using walking stick to mount my Buddistick vertical on most my SOTA activations.

73, Milos S57D

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Hi Ed,

I am aware of the shorter versions, but the cost + shipping was prohibitive at the time. I keep an eye on the chinese wholesalers to see if they ever offer them, but my search fu appears to be weak.


I understand. Shipping costs can really mess up a good deal!

Perhaps see if anyone is coming over to Friedrichshafen this year from your local amateurs and see if they can look out for you and bring one back. That no-name 6m pole was a real bargain - it wasn’t at FN the next year!


Hint noted. :wink:

you can review the following article (written in Spanish).
Maybe you like it !!!

Here is the link:$C3$B1era+de+aventuras.+EA5FV.pdf