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Wanted: Super short collapsible fibreglass masts


I may, just may, get the chance of doing a little DX SOTAing this year and so I’m looking for a source of fibreglass poles/masts/fishing rods that collapse to something really short. The 5m poles I use now are around 1.2m long when telescoped down. That is still far too long to fit into a suitcase or aircraft overhead locker. I really need something shorter than 1m collapsed that extends to around 5m. I’m only intending on using wire antennas for HF so it doesn’t need to be hugely strong.

Suggestions please.



In reply to MM0FMF:

Go to a good outdoor shop, you can get ultra-light alloy tent pole replacement sections, buy as many as you need to get the height that you want, load them up! I’ve got some hiding in the garage as my recent tents use flexible fibre-glass poles, if you can’t get any alloy sections nowadays I can unearth them for you - I hope - not seen 'em for yonks!


Brian G8ADD.


In reply to MM0FMF:


like this?

The one I used in the States last year



In reply to MM0FMF:
www.dx-wire.de: 10 m (1.3 kg) collapsible to 67 cm.
www.lambdahalbe.de: 6 m (650 g) collapsible to 57 cm.
I am using that from lambdahalbe. The diameters of the telescope elements are:
#1 (uppermost): 2 mm
#2: 5 mm
#3: 9 mm
So when you remove the 2 thinnest elements then you still have 5 m length and 9 mm should be strong enough for your wire antenna.



In reply to MM0FMF:

These short travellers fishing rods should be easily available from UK. I bought mine from Finland and have used it in the wilderness hikings in Lapland.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


In reply to MM0FMF:
I am using the “DX wire mini mast” (from Dx wire.de). 67cm collapsed, 9.60m extended. not as sturdy as the 1,15m / 10m versions. Using it for 7Mc 1/4 wave vertical antenna (with radials) on most of my SOTAs.



In reply to G6WRW:

Thanks for the suggestion; just ordered one.


In reply to M0JLA:
Me too! Thanks.


In reply to G6WRW:
Thanks for that Carolyn - I’ve had one of these for years but managed to break it :frowning:
Been looking for replacement and have now ordered one :slight_smile:

Roger G4OWG


In reply to G6WRW:
I’m also tempted - especially with the offer of a free ‘rig’ - an FT2000 maybe?

And well done on reaching Goat-ess-dom.

73 & 88

Jack (;>)


In reply to GM4COX:

Many thanks for the suggestions. At the rate they’re selling there’ll be none left soon!

The eBay one looks ideal and has a proven history so I’ve ordered one of those. DX-Wire sell some quality gear and are always at Friedrichshafen, so I’ll check out their products this summer and probably acquire one there.



In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy
I have used the 57cm - 6m version, which seems very hard to get now, unless your willing to fork out £20. I have just bought a couple of 5m ones, described above, last week. They are excellent and fit easily in the suitcase. Take care of the rubber bung - they have a nasty habit of escaping and hiding in the bracken. Make sure you carry it rubber end up hi hi. I support a dipole made of the military green stuff. I use a ‘third leg’ guy to make up a tripod support as the poles are quit flexible and bow over easily. I don’t use the top section as it is very weak. S’pose you know all that if your using the longer ones, but it might help others pondering the idea.


In reply to M0TUB:

Thanks Dave for the comments. I’ve only done a handful of activations using a beam so my current pole is the same one I started with in 2006!. It’s branded Shakespeare and was a fiver in 2000. I’m convinced that not supporting the mass and wind loading of a small beam is the key to this pole’s long life. I’ve heard that the bungs have a habit of going walkabout so I’m prepared to add a mod to ensure it can’t get too far away, glue, string etc.

Brian’s comment about tent supports jogged my mind… I’ve got a big bag of them I’ve been collecting for a while. My youngest goes to festivals in the summer and buys £10 tents from ASDA and leaves them rather than folding them up and bringing them back. I think from the fragments of stories of what goes on that the tents really aren’t fit for human use ever again! But I have had him bring the supports back for future use.



In reply to M0TUB:

I lost two bungs in fairly quick succession as a result of “pole surge” when crossing obstacles. It is amazing how far one will go in such circumstances; they are easily recovered on grassy sward but, as you say, bracken heather and rocky patches just swallow them. As a result I have drilled a small hole in my newest bung and tethered it with about a half metre of light guyline to a point a bit less than this down the pole. Sellotape does OK for this. A quick twist as the bung goes in and the line is taut so the bung rarely escapes and is easily reeled in if it does.
The new, short pole will get the same treatment when it comes.

Longevity probably depends on quality as well as care; my first only lasted a week before a joint collapsed. I only use them for HF, so no beam loading.



In reply to MM0FMF:
I have just bought 2 of them, not specifically for SOTA, but if they work well then I may be tempted!

A quick calculation (300/18.100)/3 = 5.5m Absolutely ideal for making a Delta Loop for my favourite DX HF band of 17 metres! A bit of wood work and support for the poles and of course using my homebrew 4:1 balun we should be able to have some fun from the Garden and of course the Beach in the Summer on SSB and PSK 31!

No SOTA/HEMA on 17m far to high in frequency for HF on the hills! 80/60/40 is fine by me.

73 all



In reply to G8XYJ:

17m is rapidly becoming a “must-do” SOTA band with me. The CW pileup isn’t very ferocious in the way 40/30/20m is. It was very gentlemanly indeed with no more than 3 stations calling at once. The only downside is everyone from the Ukraine seems to think that if I send 16-17wpm I can read them at 30+wpm :frowning:

Still 2 outings on 17m have netted me (cw) N4EX, K4QS and UN7PW and (ssb) VE1WT. Which is not bad for an antenna about 3.5m long and 4.5W of RF. You do need a spot though, 10mins of calling CQ on 18.086 got me nothing. It took less than 60secs from spotting myself to working HA5TI followed by another 19 contacts over the next 50mins.



In reply to MM0FMF:
Very good Andy!! I think the lack of contesting is the main reason why I like it. This same principle appeals about 60m for SSB and nattering to all G stations, 30m for PSK31 and of course 17m for escaping from the mess that is 20m.

The plan is to head to the Welsh Coast (Ynyslas, Borth etc) Drive on to the estuary, set up the delta loop, an SEM Tranz Match Tuner, the 857 and some substantial power! Quiet RF with lots of salty water nearby. After working at Woofferton Shortwave Station for 2 years, I soon realised why the BBC chose an old lake as their site, the water table certainly helps with 250kw and of course curtain dipoles with 26 dB of gain. Of course slewing the antennas and curtain reflectors helps you point the RF in certain directions!

BTW where are your DX trips this year?




In reply to MM0FMF:
I asked Dave M0MYA about the pole set he took to France a while ago. It’s this one

He commented at the time, “The pole is surprisingly good, providing an unexpected rigidity to a considerable height - I only removed the top two sections IIRC. However, I was only using a 40/20m linked dipole made of lightweight wire (though I use the same gauge of wire for the 85ft W3EDP I have been using on the hill of recent and its tensile properties seem more than adequate). It did however, stand up to some very strong winds in S. France. I damaged the bottom section a little by bungeeing it too tightly to my caravan during strong winds, but a looser coupling made for no further problems. For the money I can recommend trying one. It is my intention to sling the W3EDP up onto it at some point.”

I keep meaning to get one for SOTA use while cycle touring and in case I get to go on a work trip to San Diego again.

Congratulations on the Goatdom, Andy. I hope to be 40% towards this target tomorrow.

David M0YDH


This is what I am using for my vertical antenna: http://www.decathlon.be/NL/telepocket-s-600-29622614/
60cm collapsed for 6m of mast.

73, Peter - ON4UP


In reply to G6WRW:

Thanks to MM0FMF for asking the question and G6WRW for the answer. I have just placed an order for one as well.