How well does it perform? A fair question and I will do my best to provide an un-biased answer.
Firstly, this is a short loaded antenna and the caveats normally attached to similar devices are most certainly present! As the operational frequency is increased the bandwidth increases as the amount of loading required is also reduced. The key to performance is keeping the antenna tuned to the frequency you are using.
I relate to one afternoon. We regularly participate in a net that operates on the lower part of the 40M band from a caravan we leave on a friends property located in the small township of Dargo around 53Km NNW of the city of Bairnsdale. The regular caravan antenna is a 12M fibreglass mast with a thin wire wrapped in a slow spiral fashion from the top down to the base. Essentially we have a 12M vertical. This wire is matched with a SG-230 auto Tuner with about a dozen 10M ground radials forming a counterpoise. While not really relevant the transceiver was a Kenwood 480 HX.
During this particular afternoon I had been experimenting with various Buddipole dipole configurations so I tuned the Buddipole to the net frequency and connected same to the transceivers second antenna port. The antenna configuration as follows:
- Frequency 7060 KHz
- Power 200W PEP
- Center– VersaTee with TRSB set to 4:1
- A single 22” accessory arm per side
- A low band coil on each side with 34 turns
- A telescopic whip on each side extended to 2.36M
- Tripod and 18’ mast (fully extended)
- Configuration – Flat top dipole
- Element direction East/West
With A/B switching tests the Buddipole out-performed the vertical by a minimum of 1 S point (6dB) into the following areas: VK1, VK3 (Melbourne area and Mildura) VK5 and VK7 (Hobart). Net control in VK1 gave us the ‘Top of the Pile’ for that session. This test has been repeated on a few occasions with similar results.
It is important to note that for these tests we were using the longer whips and the Buddipole was tuned very close to the exact operating frequency. The bandwidth is quite narrow and moving 30KHz up or down the band would require the antenna to be re-adjusted to maintain the same performance.
Apart from the TRSB there were no other tuning or matching devices in the feed system. The antenna was resonant!