With an increase in portable transceiver capability I’ve had to do some catch-up on antennas. Last camping seasons portable operations were largely sustained through the use of Mike AB9ON‘s BuddiPole. Mike graciously let me borrow it for several months through the summer. Obviously the borrowed antenna model isn’t sustainable, so for this camping season I set about to buy\build some antennas for my portable station.
I wanted one vertical antenna option and one or more wire antenna options. I figured that would cover all of my portable operation needs. One wire antenna is the EARCHI that I recently built. A potential purchase option on the radar is an LNR EF-QUAD. I know their a wee bit much for what they are but the reviews for all their products are excellent and sometimes it’s nice to just get something and go operate. For verticals I looked at the aforementioned BuddiStick, the SuperAntenna SuperStick, and one of the Alpha Antenna verticals.
Based upon my experience with the BuddiPole it was an option. It’s a very nice antenna that’s part of an entire BuddiStuff ecosystem. It’s like an Amateur Radio LEGO set. Once you’re in you can add parts to the system to cover a wide range of frequency and deployment needs. After a lot more reading on the Buddi products I settled on getting a BuddiStick instead of the BuddiPole. First, it represents a low cost entry into the land of BuddiStuff and second, for my needs it would be more easy to deploy and appeared a bit less fussy about tuning than the BuddiPole. So I watched eBay, eHam, QTH, QRZ for a used BuddiStick. Every time reasonably priced BuddiStuff appeared it was gone in a nanosecond. Other postings contained many more pieces than I needed\wanted which translated into way more than I wanted to spend.
Then one day at a Hamfest I stumbled upon an Alpha Antenna that looked to be new in the bag. I’d done enough research on them to know that they appear to be well made and get good reviews on eHam. It was all there, was in perfect shape, and the price was right so it followed me home. Vertical problem solved.
It’s the Alpha Antenna DX Sr. After sitting in the basement for awhile I had some time recently to set it up and test it. Initial testing with my MFJ-259B showed good matches across all the bands of operation. Everything was well within the range of the tuner in my TS-480SAT and in many cases it won’t be needed.
According to the Alpha Antenna site, the Alpha DX Sr uses a “customized” Wolf River coil. It appears to be a Silver Bullet 1000. I don’t know what’s been customized on the one with the Alpha. It appears to be substantially the same.
Overall the antenna is very well made. The vertical and radial elements are shock corded aluminum poles much like that used for tents. For 10m, 12m, and 15m you only use two of the four sections for the vertical element so two are folded over on the two rising from the base. The tripod is very nice and the whole thing packs up into a much nicer than average bag.
The entire package weighs 12 pounds but a fair piece of that is the tripod. You could quite easily shed the tripod, reducing the weight considerably for those trips where weight is an issue. My camping is in a camper so the weight is not an issue and since I live in Wisconsin SOTA activations aren’t likely in my future. This thing will work fine for camping and some NPOTA activations.
Unfortunately I’ve not had enough time to operate with it as of yet. It will have to wait for an upcoming camping trip. The antenna analyzer indicates that there shouldn’t be any surprises and I’m confident that it will perform as expected.