Sunday, September 06, 2009

Playing around with the Buddistick

After reading an e-mail from Budd Drummond W3FF on the BUG (Buddipole Users Group) entitled, "Making the Buddistick Soar", I decided to do a little experimenting of my own.

This afternoon, I set up in the backyard; but instead of mounting the Buddistick to the tripod I have, I decided to get it elevated. For that, I used the 12' (approx. 4 meters) painter's pole that I had originally purchased and used with my homebrewed Buddipole.

I attached the Buddistick mounting plate to the end of the painter's pole by drilling a hole into the plastic end of the pole (where you would normally screw on the paint roller) and secured the plate using a hefty machine screw.


Basically the same as what you see above; but instead of the knurled knob, there is the machine screw. Then I assembled the rest of the Buddistick and attached the ground radial/counterpoise and extended the painter's pole to its full 12' of height.



I supported the painter's pole using the homebrewed holder that I built for my crappie pole. It worked fine. I could see that in the field that if there's some sort of post or support handy, then just bungee cording the painter's pole in place support would work just as well. For instance, I could just as easily have bungee corded the painter's pole to my deck; but decided that it was probably better to place it in the middle of they yard, farther away from the house.

When I was ready to operate, I set the K1 for 40 Meters and decided to tune the Buddistick using the K1's internal tuner. The tuner went through its gyrations for what I considered to be a long time; and when I transmitted, I could see that the power out was folding back. I knew something wasn't right; so I decided to hook up the Autek antenna analyzer.

At 7.040 MHz, I was getting an SWR of about 9:1, which was definitely not good! So I decided to go back to the drawing board and thought about the single wire radial/counterpoise that Budd includes with the Buddistick. As per the instructions, I followed the suggestion for 40 Meters and started out fully deploying the wire to its full 31 feet. This seemed as good a place to start as any; and I began to rewind the wire onto the spool it comes on. Sure enough, after winding up about 5 to 7 feet worth of wire, I could see the SWR coming down on the analyzer. All told, I think I wound up about 15 to 20 feet of wire back onto the spool and ended up with an SWR of 1.4:1. I was able to take the K1's autotuner out of line and use it that way. I was getting full power out with no signs of power fold back.

The first QSO I had was with Stan K4UK who was operating in a FISTS contest. He was using his Ten Tec Omni and a straight key from his house in Virginia and gave me a 579 report. I believe I gave him a 589; as he was pretty loud into NJ. After breaking with Stan, I worked a few stations who were operating in the TN QSO Party. The idea was to see if I was getting out and being heard; and I came to the conclusion that, "Yes", I was!

Then I switched over to 20 Meters to see if I could make any contacts there. I heard a few stations; but there wasn't much activity. I went back to 40 Meters and operated a few more before tearing everything down in order to make dinner.

Having an antenna analyzer is not absolutely crucial; but it does make life much easier when deploying antennas like these. Now that I have an idea of what I need to do next time, I probably won't use it again; but it is in the rucksack in case it is needed. It was amazing to me how the SWR literally melted away by folding the radial/counterpoise back up. I have come to believe that in the case of the elevated Buddistick; this wire isn't so much a counterpoise or radial, as much as it is the other leg of a vertically oriented dipole. So for all intent and purpose, the Buddistick (when elevated) is more of a vertical dipole than a "straight" vertical antenna.

Now what I would like to find is a painter's pole that extends to 12 feet like the one I have; but collapses to something shorter. My painter's pole collapses to 6 feet and is not easy to carry in the car. Something that would collapse to about 3 or 4 feet would be ideal.

73 de Larry W2LJ

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Am wondering if you could please describe homebrewed holder that you built for your crappie pole?

I do enjoy your blogs.

73 de Jamie, KL7wp/7 Portland, OR

Anonymous said...

larry, go to the nearest golf shop and look at ball retrievers. Collapsed about 5-6 feet and extend to over 20 feet. Made of alum. can that be an antenna by itself?

Steve L Bridgewater NJ Hope to have my liscense soon.