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Telescopic poles - what do you use?


My 7m pole from this supplier weighs 690 grammes. My 8m pole weighs 900 grammes, my 9m pole weighs 1100 grammes. The 10m pole is buried somewhere and I can’t be asked to dig it out… but it’s heavy :wink:

No problem for SOTA use.

73 Mike


Seen many a party strapping there poles to what ever,s about But you still have to be with in a certain distance of the sota point do note.

AT moment am building a system to use a 8m pole thats either 9m wire on it as vertical or change it to a 1/2 wave 40mb wire that will run up the pole 9m and then the rest of the 13m away with 1/4 wave counter poise via home made Unun like in shape of a bent L but the L on its side. Be more Hoz antenna then.

But either way will be putting on a point about 5m up pole to allow to attach at least 3 guy wires and your right the sota beams do have some very interesting stuff. Me just wanna built it myself sort of thing.

You find your feet, plenty peeps on here wiling to help with there experiences of being out on the mountains yet to do myself yet as only still a chaser.



Perhaps, but this is a much better product then your standard 10m FP. It is actually made out of GRP rather then a carbon composite material, which isn’t necessarily a good idea with RF although not completely disastrous, you will find many of the 10m poles are in-fact some sort of carbon composite.

As with any of this stuff; you have to find out what works for YOU, this is one of the common topics which most will have an opinion on. Unfortunately one size does not fit all, I actually use a combination of three poles to get the best in place for the particular activation. Although the one above is a clear winner as its tall, and you can fit it in your back-pack being compact, which means your hands are free - which is a massive bonus when taking on bigger mountains.

For a mount I use the bottom end from a Jabsco marine toilet outtake and attach three nylon cords to three large tent pegs - works a treat and its totally free standing.




Buy a 5m or 6m travel pole is my suggestion. They fold down to just 57cm and are quite strong. I covered the base section on the three I have with large diameter shrink sleeving to prevent abrasion to the composite material. I have used these to support link inverted vee dipoles and a 2m sleeve / wire vertical. Only one outlet sells them. Wrong to advertise on the firms behalf though - so search them out yourself on auction sites etc.

If you use a decent sized rucksack the travel size poles stops questions (some can be sarcastic) from other walkers as they cannot see the pole in your sack. These will also easily fit inside a suitcase for taking on a plane. I find a 5m long pole is high enough for 30m bands up. A 6m one is preferred for 40m and up. Make sure you drill the end cap and fasten it to the mast with cord or you will lose it whilst climbing / descending. In my case the cord is shrunk down against the mast by shrink sleeving.

When are finally planning your activation? Get in there while the weather is good - less to go wrong. .

Many man hours have been spent giving you ideas to several queries, so I hope you are successful…

Have you ever done any fellwalking before by the way and used map/compass/GPS or are you going for easier more accessible summits?

Now I am asking the questions! We’re a friendly lot on here and are always interested to see how newbies get on when they are starting out doing SOTA.

73 Phil


Joining this conversation late, but I hope my input will be useful.
Johnathan, that 10m compact-light-weight mast is the same product as DX-Wire sell as their 10m mini-mast. I have one of these and I am hitting the problem that G4OIG mentioned - I have an older 6m mast (that if I remember correctly cost €25 or so from Friedrichshafen in 2013), and although I usually pack both the 10m and the 6m mast in the car, it’s the 6m one that gets carried up to the summit as it is somewhat lighter. When I have carried the 10m mast, often I have only been able to erect it to 6m high in any case because of wind or lack of supports. So I’d say a 6 or 7m mast is probably the best compromise for a SOTA activation. Neither of these poles would support a yagi, I’m talking purely HF Inverted-V either the UL-404 from Aerial-51 or the Sotabeams linked dipole.

As you get to the longer masts (10, 12.5m etc), the lightweight ones have an additional problem that they bend over a lot at the top, even with a relatively light load on them. One trick if you are looking for a mast that can support your Yagi at a reasonable height is to look at a longer mast and remove to top sections (just unscrew the cap on the bottom and take them out). This way the top section is a larger diameter and hence somewhat stronger. If your 6m / 4m / 2m or 70cm Yagi is of any size though, the fishing pole is not the answer for you, probably better looking for a different antenna for VHF/UHF - J-Pole for example.

73 Ed.


I do use it at its full 10m, the secret to holding a wire up that high is to support it at fixed intervals up the pole. It really works well then - and it can take a beating in the Welsh winds. Dipoles are better supported further down, but you have the height for a vertical with the 10m pole which you can always leave sections out of it to support a Yagi. I have mine working perfectly now, but I really got frustrated with prior configurations with older poles.

Yes it is the same as the DX-Wire pole - however it does not make sense to order it abroad if you are in the UK. Its a very reasonable buy from SOTABeams, plus you get a cool bag as well.

Its all in the knack of using it really, as someone once said. Anyway important thing is to get up there and try it out then you will know for yourself…




6m, 57.5cm collapsed, 545g, €14.95


Elastic bands on a toggle!
They need replacing every 6 months or so.

To about 6 metres of polyester cord onto the top of a walking pole. You’ll see it in some other photos e.g. https://flic.kr/p/qfLt1x
It’s a fairly standard deployment unless I’m not carrying walking poles.

I forgot to mention the pole I use for all my 60 metre operation.
You can see it here if you look carefully.

It’s free, available everywhere, comes in various lengths and tends to be longer in the summer (unless you’re on a rocky summit where it tends to be a fairly static height).
I’ve managed 40 QSOs using the antenna at this height with 3W of CW.
Very useful for ultralight activations, in fact everything I need fits in my pocket.

I only use a trig point when,
a. there is no one else around
b. it has an open plate in the top and it self supports the pole.
I gave up trying to bungee or tie a pole to the TP as it’s just way too much effort. Guying is quicker!



That’s cheap (Decathlon deal)


As others have said, there is no perfect solution for all activators etc.

Just my 6 pennyworth, I mostly use a 5m travel pole. The only idea that I can add, is about the guying. I guy a walking pole first, and then bungy the pole to that. I find it easier than trying to guy a pole in strong wind, and it makes changing antennas easy too.
I will always go for a rock, fencepost etc if available, as that is even more simple :smile:

Example from earlier today on GW/SW-004 -

Adrian G4AZS


Thanks for all the input, too many to reply to on the phone.

Yes appreciating all the help and advice.

In answer to your question, I’m pretty experienced in the hills. I regularly go out in all weather, and all seasons. I can rock climb, though only scrambled for some time now so grade would be down to a VD or HVD now probably leading. I have also free climbed some of the easier winter climbs on the north Face of Ben Nevis, and general winter walking in Scotland and other parky places. I have done a couple of 14,000ers in the states and been to the alps.

A few have suggested what I had in mind which was a larger pole with top sections taken out, to save weight and to have a stiffer mast.
I may get two just in case, smaller lighter one.

Guying is what I am used to, as said above, our 60 foot steel and scaffold mast was solely held up by guys. That said, strapping to fence posts and other options sounds good.
I like the idea of guying a smaller support first and using that too.

I always use trekking poles too, so have the option of utilising them.

Time for some shopping, and also antenna making. And get up on the hills!


I use a 3.3m telescopic fishing rod. It wasn’t expensive. It is light and compact when stowed. To support it I have a metal spike designed to hold fishing rods in a riverbank. I push the spike into the ground and sit the rod into the top of it. The tip of the rod holds the dipole feed point, and I use plastic clips on the fishing line guides to hold the feedline in place. The clips can also support the SOTA flag.

The ends of the dipole wires are terminated with a plastic shirt button as an insulator and a length of fluorescent surveyor’s string (with a fishing swivel to avoid tangling) and then tied to something (like a tree or a bush).


Hi Johnathan, Agreed, buy local when you can. Just wanted to mention that comments made to one apply also to the other as they are the same product. The DX-Wire one also comes with it’s own bag as do all fibreglass poles from DX-Wire ( Peter Bogner (DK1RP) ) having just bought three 10m and one 12.5m pole for the home QTH.


Apart from the writing on it, that looks very much like my 6m pole. looking at ths picture:

The first symbol is don’t use in storms - what is the second one - don’t use when dogs around??



“Susceptible to lightning”
“Susceptible to becoming a chew toy”

Also, can anyone recommend a North American source for these poles or similar?


Hi Steve

When using a wire antenna I use a 10m mini pole with a few sections removed from the top purchased from this place http://www.dx-wire.de/lng/en/fiberglass-poles/?xploidID=51674f77f1a21046be4bfdc9b3219666 .
For some of my longer treks in the past I have used a small 5m pole fits inside the rucksack and the reduction in weight was noticeable. ( stood on the centre part and it snapped on a windy day)
Another option for lifting the antenna ends of the ground is bamboo canes only cost £3 for a pack, cut/trim them to what ever size you need. They become useful when you use one trekking pole to support the tarp and the other to support the mast.

Have a read over this topic Need advice for "rapid deployment antenna"

Good luck


HI all

The http://www.decathlon.co.uk/pole-600-id_8014342.html is a still fishing rod that doesn’t collapse.
The elements are conic. So, doesn’t colapse even on rough condx.

Also, it’s cheap !



That’s good question Steve that gets answered in 2 sections, one answer is the pragmatic “how to” answer and the other one is with my Management Team hat on.

It’s important to remember that what you and me and everyone else reading here finds attractive or interesting about antennas and radio may not be held by anybody else who happens across a SOTA activation in the countryside. That means being considerate with the size and scale of any antennas you rig and the length of time spent at a summit. There’s no hard rule saying how big or how long you can stay, use your common sense! This section of the rules is the important bit.

“Activators must operate with due consideration for other people and wildlife on the hills.
Excessive noise, inconsiderate siting of equipment and antennas, etc. is not acceptable and
potentially brings the Programme into disrepute.”

So if you find a summit with a wind shelter, seating and trig point and you set up a 10m high antenna complete with guying, then commandeer the seating with your station and extra gear and operate for 8 hours to the exclusion of all the other walkers who arrive at the summit, then you are not being considerate. These people they may not comment to the activator but they have contacted the MT in the past.

OK, with the heavy “use your common sense” bit out of the way, what about trigs and fences. Well if you visit a summit that really is seldom visited by anyone walkers or SOTA activators, then trigs are fair game. But if it’s popular you want to setup as far away from the other visitors as feasible (remember the WAB trig award distance and SOTA AZ rules).

Trigs can be used in 2 ways, either the centre hole is available or by lashing to the pillar itself. Many trigs have succumbed to have their centre cap stolen. (You need a BA set of Allen keys, WD40 and a special tool for loosening off the centre cap!) and if you are lucky the centre will not have been stuffed with stones or drinks cans and you can insert your antenna support. Use something to protect the pole from rubbing on the metal and damaging itself.

Lashing to the trig has problems. In England and Wales, the trigs are the classic Hotine Pyramid shape, a truncated pyramid. The problem is when you lean a pole against one side it doesn’t end up vertical. Not an issue if you hang a dipole or such from it for HF. Not really a problem for a vertical either. The bigger issue is trying to get the lashing tight as it tends to ride up the decreasing circumference as the pole moves in the wind. It can be done but is fidly. Paul G4MD (and others) made a trig point wedge that goes between the concrete and the pole to make the pole vertical and lashing work better as the ropes etc. don’t ride up. But it’s something extra to pack, carry and take up space. In Scotland we have a number of Vanessa Cyclinders which have constant circumference and so don’t have this problem.

I’ve been primarily and HF SOTA activator and fences are much more useful. Lashing to a fence post is easy (practice this wearing gloves) and having several runs of fence wire under a 60m/40m sloping V does improve the NVIS performance. If there is a fence I will use it no matter which when the dipole ends up pointing. If there’s no fence and I guy the support, I try to aim the main lobe of the dipole East of South. A low 60m/40m inverted-V is quite omnidirectional TBH, but the 30m option is noticeably directional.

So yes you can use what you find at the summit to support antennas but don’t use them if you will interfere with other visitors enjoyment. Whenever I have been using the trig and others have arrived at the summit I have offered to stop operating or move. Nobody has ever asked me to do so but I always give them chance to comment.


I think the second symbol is trying to depict an electric transmission line tower. Don’t use near electric lines.



[quote=“K6WRU, post:39, topic:11168”]Don’t use near electric lines.[/quote]Most likely that’d be a carbon-fibre pole, then…