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Adding Rigidity to a Mast Top Section

If you’re like me, you probably leave the very top section of your mast at home. Personally, I find them so flexible that there is often no appreciable gain in height over the mast with no top section. For my 10m travel mast, I leave the top 2 sections at home, reducing the length to about 8.7m. With carbon fibre poles this becomes even more of a problem as the last section is like a piece of spaghetti. I have, however, found a reasonable solution to this problem: I glue the top 2 sections together with epoxy resin. I was asked recently how I get the glue inside the thin tubing, so here is my secret:

You may need to create some kind of adapter if the holes don’t match up as conveniently as these ones. Remember, if you are leaving the very top section out and glueing the two sections underneath together, then you will need to block up the smaller tube to stop the epoxy flowing up inside it, instead of coating the inside of the outer tube. I hope that’s all clear, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.
de OE6FEG
Matt

10 Likes

Brilliant Matt, nice work.

Andrew VK1AD

Epoxy I think is rigid. I have been using a little bit of hot glue which is flexible like the pole material itself.

hi matt, any chance of a video…great idea. geoff vk3sq

This morning I was going to say that I don’t have any more poles that need modifying. Then I went up the Schöckl to test my recently completed QCX 80m. When I got to the top it was quite windy. I was just about to connect the rig and I realised static might be an issue with such a long antenna. Just as I decided not to risk it, I noticed that the mast had split, so all that work above was for nothing. Ha! You may get your video after all. The whole experience brought home to me that I may need something a bit more robust for my trip to Iceland this summer. I’ll probably go for a tactical mini mast from SOTABEAMS. I also need a new 10m mini mast, as I damaged the last one. Watch this space.
73 de OE6FEG
Matt

1 Like

I’m not sure how long a pole you want. I have designed a lot of my antennas around a 5m pole as that was what I started with. I now use one of these and it’s much beefier than the normal poles and collapses to a tiny size that fits inside suitcases etc.

https://www.lifebreeze.co.uk/shop.php?pg=item&id=831

Longer lengths are available.

Sorry we didn’t get a QSO today you were a big signal then gone. I worked a good number of EU stations on 40m but the skip was shortening all the time till I could work some G stations.

I like to use a larger 10m mast for day trips, and a shorter 5m mast for backpacking trips. I ordered the Tactical Mini from SOTABEAMS just after posting. The price of those poles in your link is very cheap, what a bargain! I will keep using my 10m mast on wind free days until it completely gives up the ghost. I stripped a sliver of GRP out of the inside of one of the sections, but it still goes up ok. It’s just a case of how long until the wind completely splits it. As soon as my mast broke today, I came down off the Schöckl and set up in the playing fields. I got a new mast from home, tuned up the antenna and had a local (non SOTA) QSO with OE6RDD. I did accidentally add SOTA to my CQ at the start, hi hi.

                    73 de OE6FEG
                                 Matt
1 Like

Or maybe a less robust antenna :wink: I use a 6.3M mast that weighs just 8 oz, and collapses to 18 inches. I lean it in the direction of the inverted-L wire. The wire is #28 teflon, light as a feather and zero wind resistance. It is supported by stranded fishing line (no stretch) that is 50 pound test, yet appears to be just thread. I use several home made traps (that SOTABEAMS sort of tried to copy) but mine are just 2.5 grams each. And yes, I take the top section and put it inside the second section, secured with hot glue. Have fun going lighter, not heavier! 73, Fred KT5X (aka WS0TA)

2 Likes