Cramped Summit Antenna Choices

What is your antenna of choice when your summit has very little room to setup? I’ve looked at trying ground mounted verticals, but have never been very successful and I know most prefer wire over a vertical if possible. Thanks for any advice.

I’m not sure how little room you mean, but I’ve run a 1/4 wave vertical for 20m with good results. It’s a 5m wire on a 7m, mast with 3 radials sloping down to attach to the guy rope pegs. Only 4m approx across the guy stays.


When I cant use the dipole my choice is a notbranded 5m long telescopic whip (similar to MFJ1979) with 10 radials lying on the ground. This whip completaly extended works perfectly on 14mhz and you can adjust it to higher bands. The radials length is 5.2 meters long each with marks for higher bands.
This capture (SotaMapping) was a multihour activation where at evening I was chased by EU and OC and early in the mornig by NA, OC and AS.


For a cramped summit, a well-executed compact loop would be my first choice.
They are nearly ground-independent and get all the takeoff angles.

Ken, K6HPX

AJ, have to agree with Ken.
Whilst not my first choice for DX, the Alex loop on a camera tripod has worked well enough in both tight locations & also busy ones where there is too much tripping risk with wire antennas on HF.
Earlier this year worked DX to USA, Asia & Europe on if on 20m CW from Mt. Hotham.
Have used this in NA & EU as well as VK.
The other option is to use VHF or UHF only. A simple flower pot antenna will provide better results than a rubber duck on a hand held


How much space do you need to build an antenna?
I don’t need sqm for a very effective antenna.
I fix my nearly 10m vertical wire to the top of my telescopic mast. Fix the mast with velcro or tension it and push the wire up with the mast. Put the counterweight on the ground.
If I am in the middle of the forest, I push the wire up with the mast and lean it against a branch.
If you want you can push up a 2m antenna.

Fixing the wire at the top:

pole fixed with velcro. vertical for hf and 4xoblong for 2m in the middle

less than 80 Euro and 2 kg

73 Armin


Success with ground mounted verticals depends on the band you want to use. On 20 m, 17 m and above I had great results. One or two radials usually is enough. Such verticals show low angle radiation which makes them good DX antennas.

Assuming that you use something like a 5 - 8 m (15 - 24 ft) fiberglass pole to hold the wire up, you have to work with loading coils or an antenna tuner on the lower bands. This degrades efficiency. I think it is obvious that e.g. a 5 m vertical with a huge loading coil and one 2 m radial above rocky ground will not be an effective radiator on 40 or 80 m.

Another fact to consider is the presence of other hikers/climbers. Vertical antennas look simple, but the radials are potential tripwires for unsuspecting visitors.

So if you want to work 40 or 30 m a vertical might not be the best choice. For a quick activation I would live with this compromise and include 20 m and above whenever possible. Rising sun spot numbers favor this approach.

73 Heinz


For me, it depends on the mode of activation.

If I’m using VHF via an HT, I’ll go with a Twayrdio halfwave 2m whip on the HT (recommended by K0NR on his blog). I’ve had great results with that combo, nearly as good as a j-pole/slim-jim hanging up in a tree, so I don’t feel handicapped with that combo (used it the other day to activate a summit).

If I’m using HF, and don’t have the option of my normal long-wire antenna tuned by my KX2’s ATU, I use an MFJ single-band whip (MFJ-18xxT series). The whip will work even without supports (directly on the radio like an HT), but I’ve also mounted it on a tripod for off-radio use in some situations.



Hi A.J.,
If you can get it in the states, the Komunica Power HF-PRO2-PLUS-T (out of Spain) is my first choice for small summits (and also ones with a long walk/climb where I want to keep the weight down).
I also use it if I want to use a band that I don’t have a dipole for, and as a backup for everything, on larger summits as it covers 80 metres through 70 cm.

This thing - for its packed size works amazingly well on 40 & 20m. DL-VK for example.
Here’s my write-up on it.

73 Ed.

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Thanks, will try this. I have MFJ 1979 which is a 1/4 wave on 10-20m just need to test with 2 radials and see how it performs.


I think you will find it works, having done that myself. Also, if parked-mobile I have used that whip instead of a Hamstick, just switch them out and in a moment or three you’re on the air with a full size 1/4 wave working against the vehicle as ‘ground’.