NT7S and I went to Clatskanie Summit to attempt a SOTA operation. He brought his Buddipole/stick combination. The weather was cold, we go there late, and had very little daylight left, so our operating time was limited.
With 5 watts from an FT-817, we literally worked everybody we could hear. The Buddistick was configured as a single-element vertical with one counterpoise, no dragging radial. We worked on both 10 and 20 meters, with 599 signal reports coming to us from Japan on both bands.
The antenna is very lightweight, and there are times you wonder if it's going to hold up, but it does hold up...it's more rugged than the light weight would lead you to believe.
I've been using verticals for about ten years for DXing. My opinion on the counterpoise is that it works better when elevated. Rudy N6LF has done a lot of investigative work into the field and his experimentation generally draws the same conclusion. If you ground-mount a vertical, you need a LOT of counterpoise metal, but if you elevate them, you need a lot fewer.
My home DX vertical is slightly shorter than 1/4 wave on 40 meters. Under it, I have four radials, approximately cut to 40 meters - I did not do any painstaking tuning. The radials are all elevated about 8-12 feet. On 40 meters, with a kW amp, there isn't a pileup I can't break in less than ten calls. When I had the vertical on the ground with 24 radials, I had no such success.
On a second floor, a vertical with counterpoise should be tremendous TX antenna. Your only real risk is that antennas close to buildings tend to pick up the noise from the building's electrical wiring.
GL ES 73,