My primary pole is still a 7m pole bought from SOTAbeams 4 years ago.
The only issues I’ve had is the screw on end cap (at the bottom) broke after a rare pole collapse, which can lead to you inadvertently depositing the upper contents of your pole over the hillside. This is actually a common problem with all poles and most people adapt a different end piece to stop this eventuality and to reinforce for use as a walking pole.
See SOTApole end caps
I’ve increased my arsenal over time. I have two 5 metre travel poles (bought off eBay for approx £5 each) originally bought to fit in a suitcase. I’d assumed I could take as carry on hand luggage on board planes. I was wrong. They are not allowed
One I use for my pole when on the bike, the other resides overseas in my GI SOTA pack.
About a year ago I bought two more 7m poles from Decathlon. At £6.99 each they were too good a bargain to turn down. Again one lives in GI, the other is my spare G land pole. I’m really impressed with the strength and quality of these.
I use the laser cut guying eyes alongside other methods.
Normally I’ll look for other methods of support which require no guying; fence posts, tree stumps, rocks, even self supporting in deep snow.
It’s quicker and easier to lash with a velcro strap than faff about with pegs and guys with frozen fingers.
Guying is normally my last resort, but on many GW summits it’s the only option. I’ve therefore got pretty slick getting a pole up. I’d estimate I can raise my EFHW on a guyed pole in well under 5 minutes, from setting my bag down to being able to connect the rig.
I have had a guying eye part company after a very windy activation of GI/AH-001.The last one only lasted for 112 activations.
I’ll admit that before hand, I’d noticed a hairline crack at one corner which I’d just ignored.
Regardless, I still use and recommend them, as they are quick and easy to deploy and weigh nothing so keeping a spare in your kit is not going to break your back.
I have had a pole collapse on a couple of occasions. It has never happened once the antenna is fully rigged, as there is generally a bit of a bend keeping everything locked solid.
Not collapsing is actually a bigger problem, especially the top thin sections. I’ve had a couple of times where I’m not physically able to collapse a couple of sections because of cold hands, frozen pole and lack of friction.
It’s another reason to carry hot coffee with you…
Stowed pole length is another consideration.
Whilst my normal pole is fine on my back for most activations, it would be a liability when it comes to more technical routes which may require a bit of scrambling etc…
There’s a high risk you could get the top of the pole caught, potentially unbalancing you or worse.
Saying that there have been a few occasions where low hanging branches have nearly grounded me
There are not enough hours in the day to mess around with yagis and VHF stuff, so my experience is only with a single wire antenna. The wire is generally attached at the junction of top and second pole section.
There is no feeder weight to support!
My album of pole deployments!