Im looking to get a telescopic pole but I have no idea about fishing or the types of poles people use for getting wires or light antennas high up.
From my googling and reading I have found the ‘telescopic fishing poles’ and some telescopic poles that sold for ‘flag/festival’ use. To my eyes both seem similar but I have never seen one up close.
What are the differences? Are the flag pole very heavy compared to the fishing ones? I suspect that they are a bit stronger though??
In SOTA and elsewhere I see people talking about ‘fishing poles’ more.
Any pointer to some (not expensive ones!) nice choices in the UK?
Examples I have found (no data about weight, strength…) from flag poles:
- Spirit Of Air 7m and 8m
- Brookite 7m Telescopic Windsock (not very good reviews)
and lately a fellow ham (M3KXZ) gave me this good recommendation that I found one on amazon around 25pounds. Lineaffe fibreglass.
I believe that I should look for an 8meter pole as the top bits are not really that usable.
Thanks a lot and 73s
Perhaps you can tell us what you are going to use it for?
Portable work from a car?
Fixed station use?
A bit of context will help people advise you.
True, a bit more info will help.
Ill use it for portable use, not a long term solution. As Im very newbie with proper SOTA, I should say that Ill probably use it in parks to begin with and sometimes from a car.
To start with, Ill be away for holidays in a location near a forest and some summits, so Ill start there, using some light dipole or end fed antennas. Now that I think about it, the top floor of the place Ill be has the highest view in the area but that won’t be something permanent, Ill probably strap the pole on some existing structure.
There will always be a tradeoff probably between lightweight / strength and price. What would you recommend as a starting point without spending a lot? (from google I think that people find 25 GBP to be very good expense)
I have a 5m fibreglass fishing pole bought in 2004 for £5 that has done over 350 activations. I only use it to support wire antennas normally. If it supports a small Yagi then it will be only a few feet from the ground as the top sections are not strong enough. 5m does me for my SOTA interests.
I have a travel 5m version which collapses to 57cms to fit in a suitcase. Also assorted 5, 6 and 8m poles picked up because the price was right. ISTR the 8m one was £10.
If you Google ‘roach pole’ you will find a vast number of suitable poles. The longest (extended fully) one I have just looked at can go to 13 metres!
SOTA folk use different height fibreglass telescopic poles, it would be interesting to do a survey. It depends on whether you are supporting a HF antenna or a VHF one.
For myself I now use a 7M Lineaffe, which I think would be a very common length used by SOTA folk. Bear in mind that unless you are supporting a vertical wire you can’t use the top circa 1M section because it is too thin. So with my 7M pole I support an inverted V link dipole at 6M or an EFHW with 5M vertical wire and the rest semi horizontal. Sometimes if it is very windy on a summit you can’t extend the pole to its full height.
The other thing to bear in mind is weight. My 7M pole weighs about 700g whereas a 10M pole I have weighs double that. If your walk-in to the summit is long and/or arduous you definitely want to minimise weight.
Hope that helps,
73 Andrew G4AFI
pop in the Sota web site
they do 7m and 10m masts and other bits and bobs not bad prices either
Its well worth a visit
Fibreglass poles sold as flag poles are generally a bit stiffer than ones sold as fishing pole. I’ve got a 6 metre compact flag pole that’ll support an HF dipole at its top. My 9 metre fishing pole is only good to about 8 metres for that same load, but it will hold up an HF vertical element just fine.
73, Rick M0LEP
Thank you all for the valuable points.
I have a clearer image of what I probably need get as my first pole. I get the impression that even a 7m one will be very good for most inv-Vs and end-feds. Will probably save me some money too!
With my current QTH being an interference war-zone there will be no ham fun from my place for the next year so getting my portable setup going will get me in the air sooner!
7M Lineaffe got a lot of votes as far as I see. I got one result on amazonUK about an 8M fishing pole and many results around 17-20 GBP on eBay regarding the 7M.
People sell the ‘extreme’ model most of the time and there was also one branded as “Lineaeffe flagpole” :S weird as I though it was a fishing brand.
Any direct pointers to UK places I can use? 7M or 8M will be great!
Thank you all again!
Your QRZ page states you as living in NW London so I would suggest look at the G/SE summits.
G/SE-001 Walbury Hill
G/SE-002 Leith Hill
G/SE-003 Black Down
G/SE-004 Butser Hill
G/SE-005 Botley Hill
G/SE-006 Ditchling Beacon
G/SE-008 St Boniface Down
G/SE-009 Chanctonbury Ring
G/SE-010 Firle Beacon
G/SE-011 Wilmington Hill
G/SE-012 Brighstone Down
G/SE-013 Detling Hill
G/SE-014 Cliffe Hill
G/SE-015 Cheriton Hill
It depends if you have use of a car or not. But my ‘locals’ are Ditchling, Firle, Wilmington and Cliffe. D,F & C - the nearest rail station is Lewes.
I have 5 poles.
2 x 5m tarvel poles £5.99 each bought off ebay
2x 7m Poles. These are Caperlan First Fish 700. They were £6.99 from Decathlon
1x SOTABeams 7m pole - £25
Other sellers are available.
All are excellent, the Decathlon ones are an absolute bargain.
Contrary to what others have said, I often use the top section if condx are right. It makes a great shock absorber.
I only use for EFHW or verticals, all antennas are feed from ground level not from the mast head!
The 5m in action.
Thanks for that Mike.
I’ve been checking the ‘summits’ around here (200m above sea is not high in my book ) and Ill join the SOTA game soon hopefully.
Ill probably go for a Lineaeffe Delta that some guy has on eBay and take it from there!
Ill probably have to research on a light 1:1 balun soon. (9:1 for the end fed Ill use the earchi one).
Talking of SOTA activations.
This is very close to the house I grow up. I used to go up there all the time
Ill put it my TODO list for sure!!
The 7m pole that SotaBeams sell is the ‘PRO’ version - I’m not sure what that means, I am guessing it is stronger than the cheaper alternatives found on ebay.
For the sake of grannies and eggs - avoid carbon fibre poles at all costs - stick to fibreglass. My old flag pole (pre HAM) is Carbon Fibre
With my current QTH being an interference war-zone there will be no ham
fun from my place for the next year so getting my portable setup going
will get me in the air sooner!\
This is what drove me to get out /p in the first place, once you experience the low noise levels on most summits and the effectiveness of QRP makes SOTA very addictive for an activator. It’s hard to go back! Also your power goes that much further! I used to live in North London as well and got on the air using digital modes such as PSK31 with an indoor magnetic loop and low power. Digital modes such as PSK and JT-65 will get you surprisingly far!
Any direct pointers to UK places I can use?
Mike has already suggested the SE summits, I’ve only done Leith Hill and Ditchling Beacon from that list so far, and these are very nice days out from London. I’m not sure if you’re reliant on Public Transport or have your own car?
You can also quite easily get to Wendover Woods (G/CE-005) from London Euston, get the train to Tring (about 30-40 minutes) and then the very nice walk is about 1.5 hours to the summit, or failing that get in touch with me and I’ll come up with you. I’m local to this summit, so am happy to show you what SOTA is all about
Yes my flat is a nightmare! I had no luck at all, including a magloop and PSK31. I need to try again though. Ill be stack in here till early summer I thing.
Ill use the fishing pole I got (end up with the Lineaeffe Delta 7m) a kind of wire antenna away from the building shell and try again.
Ill keep your offer as I would love to join and see others more experience than me. Is probably a lot of fun!
Going a bit off topic but re PSK31, next time you try it enter your callsign into www.pskreporter.info to see where you’re being heard, I used this when setting up to know when I’d cracked it
Yep, let me know if you’d like to try it, happy to share the little I know and ham radio is definitely easier when you can learn from someone else’s mistakes - I’ve made plenty For me SOTA offers the most amount of fun you can have with low power ham radio, where else can you get pile ups when using 5w SSB or even 100mW SSB…
Made a video from an activation up on Wendover Woods back in November, might of interest to you as well:
Cheers, James M0JCQ
Thank a lot. I checked your twitter and blog earlier. you got a new follower.
going even more off topic here and taking advantage of your offer to join you at some point,
do SOTA operators organise joined hikes here? What I mean is, do people use the reflector for something like this?
Joint activations are quite common. With the cost of fuel, it makes a lot of sense. You need to decide which bands you are using to avoid clashes. The reflector is a good place to suggest such things and finalise the details by private emails.