Which is better: Vertical or Dipole

I came across a video recently, of Dave Kessler, amateur radio call sign KE0OG, discussing the pros and cons of vertical and dipole antennas. He notes that dipole antennas are the least expensive, easy to build, and can be center-fed with a one-to-one balun or directly with the coax, and they provide excellent results. However, they need two tall poles to be erected, and they radiate pretty much straight up, which is good for local stations but needs to be considerably higher for DX or contesting.

On the other hand, vertical antennas have much lower radiation angles, which in theory will give you longer ranges. The radiation pattern is uniform in every direction, but they tend to pick up more man-made noise due to the lower radiation angle, and they require radials. In theory, vertical antennas are inexpensive to put up, but in practice, commercial multi-band verticals can be remarkably expensive, and they require radials.

Vertical or Dipole Antenna?

Commercial verticals are not priced with radials, so that becomes an added expense. Dave recommends the use of something full-sized for a first HF antenna and suggests using Ward Silver’s ARRL book, “Antenna Modeling for Beginners,” to get into antenna modeling. The book explains that a dipole should hang at 1/2 wavelength for 40 meters (66 feet). Overall, Dave does not provide a definite answer on whether a vertical or dipole antenna is better but I know my preference.

Ever since I went with my 31-foot vertical with a fiberglass pole, I have not gone back. It takes up no space and works the world. A bit noisier perhaps, but my radios can deal with that.

So, what do you think? Vertical or Dipole?

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