Faster Erections

It usually takes me about half an hour to get my pole up. This is most
frustrating and means I cannot make short activations. Also, I recently had a
problem with it falling over.

I currently use a telescopic pole with three guy lines. These are thin string
and attached with a thick rubber band (cut from bike inner tube). I use an
inverted V made of speaker wire.

Most of the time is spent untangling wire and guy line. At the moment my
technique is to wind them round my arm and tie with an overhand knot. I have
heard of figure of eight winding which I shall try. I suspect plastic winding handles / reels are a good idea - do these make much difference?

I have tried packing as much as possible in the bag ready to go. I have
battery and antenna preconnected so I only need to unwind and put up mast.

My mast fell down on my most recent activation (report in due course) because
the rubber band slipped, probably because it was raining and windy. I believe
there is clip provided by sotabeams but I don’t want to have to buy something
that should be easily made. Can you recommend a good attachment system?

How else can I get active faster?

EDIT: I should probably add that fence posts are unlikely to be an option. Trig points maybe. I also used to use a ground rod but this cannot be relied upon on rocky summits and it is heavy.

In reply to MM0HAI:
When there is no trees to support the antenna pole I use this technique to raise my 88ft doublet. Thanks to Richard G3CWI for the video.

How to erect an HF aerial in less than 2 minutes: - YouTube

72/73 Mads, la1tpa

Plastic kite winders / wire winders make all the difference. No more tangles, and complete set-ups and take-downs of no more than 5 minutes each. Use a non-reuseable cable tie, tightened to the appropriate loop size, to sit just above the 2nd smallest section of pole to support the apex of the antenna.


For fixing guys to the pole I use the black plastic 3/4 inch back nut from a bath tap (buy for pennies) which sits just above the 3rd section of the mast. Drilled 4 small holes round edges and put the rings from old keyrings through holes and have small hooks on the end of the guy ropes and hook onto rings - I usually only need 3 guys.

I tried further down the mast but it shook more in the high winds and would eventually collapse in on itself so I find half way up the mast gives less shake.

The kite/wire winders are good for the wire dipoles.

Neil 2M0NCM

In reply to MM0HAI:
I have elected to use an end-fed wire in part to simplify mast installation. So far, I have always been able to find some rocks, or a fallen tree in which to “brace” the base of the mast. The wire is taped to the mast down low as a strain relief from the attachment to the tuner. The wire goes up the mast and then is pulled to one side, bending the mast and bracing the base, NO GUYS at all. It can not collapse because it is flexed. It is very stable even in very high winds. - Fred KT5X

In reply to MM0HAI:
Using suitable reels to coil the antenna wire on is essential. For my 90ft doublet the ribbon feeder is wound on an old cable reel and the two legs on our famous toilet rolls. Very quick and easy to unwind on site. I have not had to use guys yet, there is always something convenient to lash the pole to with a short length of poly rope.

It didn’t work out that well the other day on my G/CE-005 Wendover Woods. I failed to find the post Richard recommended in his notes and decided to use one of the footpath marking posts as the pole mount. For obvious reasons avoiding the ones right in the centre of the footpath and using one at the edge, it was not until I started to raise the mast that I realised it was totally under the trees. I got the antenna up, but it was low and tangled in the branches - but 20 QSOs in 20 minutes was not too bad. Of course when I took it down it got truly tangled, so it was just stuffed in my bag and untangled back at home. Motto, look upwards when you choose your activation site.

Time to erect and get on air 10-15 minutes.

Then got slightly off course returning to the car and did a complete circuit of the activation zone, which for those of you who know Wendover is HUGE… Motto, get out the map and compass first…

73 Dave G3YMC

In reply to KT5X:

I also use an end-fed wire, a W3EDP antenna, for the convenience of not having to leave the operating position to change bands. The guys have carefully tied loops on the end which fit snugly on the mast at my chosen height. I was clearing junk from the garage and I found the three crabbing lines that my kids used to fish with at the seaside, they were wound on plastic frames that are ideal for antenna, counterpoises and the guys. There were also three lead sinkers which are ideal for shooting over trees when any are available, using a fishermans catapult from Poundland. So far I haven’t found a use for the three vicious little hooks!


Brian G8ADD

This has been a very useful thread. Thanks for all the ideas!

But where can I buy plastic wire winders/kite winders in the UK? I wouldn’t know where to start looking for them!

Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G3NYY:

Kite winders are available from:

  1. A kite shop
  2. Sotabeams

You can make them out of thin plastic sheet, such as the material used for Estate Agent For Sale boards.


In reply to G3NYY:
Where else but :-

Roger G4OWG

In reply to G3NYY:

But where can I buy plastic wire winders/kite winders in the UK? I
wouldn’t know where to start looking for them!

I got mine from

I have not yet used them much as I’ve only been on about 5 summits with HF.

Stewart G0LGS

In reply to G0LGS:

I got mine from

I have not yet used them much as I’ve only been on about 5 summits with HF.

Thanks, Stewart - and others! I never thought to look in the most obvious place!!

At present, I have my wire aerials wound on strips of card taken from old packing cases, but a proper winder would be much better.

Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G3NYY:


For thin nylon string a DIY “butterfly” (about 100 mm x 70 mm made from a plastic ring binder with a bit of elastic to hold all secure is cheap and very light; use one for each guy. Butterfly shape is for figure of 8 winding (through the tail notch) so there is no twist to cause tangle. I have a big loop on the end which feeds through one of three holes in a ring (which drops on to the mast) and then the “butterfly” drops through the loop before unwinding the string. The end of the string goes through a small hole in the “butterfly” and is then looped for the peg, so the “butterfly” is captive and doesn’t blow away. A bit fiddly for winter activations but has worked for several in pretty nasty conditions.

I use the sotabeams version for my 40m dipole and the attached 4m coax; this will JUST secure with the supplied loop. This is fig of 8 too. The homebrew ones are much too flimsy for this.



In reply to MM0HAI:
Putting up fishing poles became more manageable once I had a gift of a Passey ground spike from and made by Geoff 2E0BTR . It’s my own portable fence post made from aluminium alloy tube and a steel conical tip with a left hand barley twist filed in. It represents hard work from a master craftsman. It usually threads using a tommy bar into earth and peat to a sufficient depth. I unscrew the bottom cap and insert pole sections over it.

I use a GW4BVE pattern linked dipole and wire winders. The first three came from SOTABeams and I made my own smaller examples in plastic sheet with a fret saw for all the different guylines after that. Wire winders make a huge difference. Tangled cord and wire is so dispiriting.

The current pole came from a windsock and banner online shop called Wind Creations :- SHK-1153 7M Telescopic Windsock Flag Pole £16.99 ea. Glass fibre fishing rods are in angling terms apparently a thing of the past so have to look to alternative sources.

Does anyone have the pattern for the trig point wedge / Vee block such as e.g. Bill G4WSB uses to strap the pole vertical to the column on the more deserted tops that we visit?


In reply to M0JLA:

Thanks for the info, Rod! Very useful. In fact, my coax is 10m long … probably a bit longer than necessary, but I use a 7m fishing pole with the feed point right at the top.

Walt (G3NYY)


My whole dipole+feeder fits on one kite winder made from thin ply.

If there’s no support for the pole, I just use the two legs of the dipole and the feeder as if they were three guys. It’s worked even in very strong winds and can be put up in a few minutes on your own with a bit of practice.


In reply to M0YDH:

Hi David sounds like you need a “G4MD Trig Jig”! Will send you a pic by e-mail.

73 de Paul G4MD