Need help deciding antenna options!

Ok, so here’s the dilemma… I’m headed out to West Texas this November, and will be attempting a SOTA, and possibly even a POTA activation if time allows. I...

Ok, so here’s the dilemma…

I’m headed out to West Texas this November, and will be attempting a SOTA, and possibly even a POTA activation if time allows.

I need a different antenna option than the one I’ve been using which is a link dipole with telescopic pole.

I’ve narrowed it down to one antenna basically, but the cost is absolutely phenomenal after I piece everything together from the Buddipole website. $503.23 after shipping!!! I was building an Elevated 1/4w vertical using components from the Buddipole website, most importantly their shock cord whip. I have the MFJ-1979, but it does absolutely horrendous in any kind of wind its so weak, and the only other coil I have is the Wolf River coil which is actually a bit too heavy to put on an elevated tripod in my opinion.

Why an elevated vertical? Well, after getting the recommendation from the POTA group, they are certain that it’s a much more efficient antenna compared to the link dipole which is more of a cloud burner (not that it’s a bad antenna – had some of my best activations with it). It’s also self supporting (though I will most likely use guys because it will be windy on a SOTA summit). I’ve been to several parks recently where I can’t stake a single thing in the ground, so guying at some parks might be difficult. Then again I’ve been at parks where I can’t even find a single thing to strap a telescopic pole to, and strapping to trees is generally prohibited in most areas. So at this point, I want a self supporting system, but I’m worried about the complexity of setting up the vertical, changing out the radials for the bands and finding the sweet spot on the lower bands with the coil. With the link dipole, it was a set it and forget it antenna, no tuner needed. It’s not a huge pain, but having to change the bands on the link dipole can also be a PITA because you have to collapse the telescopic pole yet again, which wears that much more on the pole.

I’ve used a ground mounted vertical many times before, but the performance was nowhere near what I got with an inverted V link dipole up at about 30′, which is why I’ve grabbed the link dipole time and time again.

So I’m reaching out to the community for recommendations, opinions, etc. Should I just splurge and go for the buddipole setup? I know it’s great quality, but $500? phew!

Here’s are the items I was going to purchase from Buddipole:


I could try a cheaper Speaker tripod, but I don’t think the mast adapter would work on a regular speaker tripod.

I try to over analyze antenna options too much!

Feel free to comment or send me an email!


HF AntennasParks on the Air
4 Comments on this post.
  • Jeff Bauer, WN1MB
    22 October 2017 at 2:33 PM

    You didn’t mention which bands you’re interested in operating.

    • K5ACL
      22 October 2017 at 4:15 PM

      Hey Jeff, you’re right! I didn’t. Well specifically i’m interested in 17/20/30/40 & maybe even 80. I’ve since purchased the Buddipole components to do the vertical antenna and finally had a chance to test it out yesterday! See my most recent video, though I only tested 20m that day. 73

  • Vance
    10 October 2017 at 9:50 PM

    A thought for guying a tripod when you can’t put in stakes – I sometimes put my spare tire right under the tripod, and then wrap a bungee around the tripod and hook it into the tire – it won’t work in a sting wind, but I’ve used that method in everything up to a stiff breeze!

    • K5ACL
      11 October 2017 at 12:13 AM

      Great idea. My camera tripod actually has a weight hook on it, maybe I should try fabricating something. Buddipole has already perfected it though. Thanks Vance!