G/SC-001&5 Some antenna learnings in bad WX

Allot of lessons from today ……

High Wind and a horrible heavy band of rain passing while on the summit of Dunkery beacon. G/Sc-001. Everything wet apart from the radio, thank goodness. Even dog started to object. Well I guess you have to earn the 3 bonus points….

On selworthy, G/SC-005 set up away from trig, really dodgy to get up in wind. Just using dipole and one guy… The bottom of the pole started moving on the grass, lots of bend and my dipole blew over on the first QSO, annoying for a summit2summit. Lower guys are essential or maybe I should have setup in the heather.

Managed to break the plastic cap of my tactical mini in stabilising rocks at bottom on dunkey beakon. Trying to keep the bottom of the pole in one place.

A mini towel / tea towel to manage with radio is essential in rain…. Despite a waterproof container and two dry bags.

In future I need:

  • plastic tube on bottom of pole, as @MM0EFI has already suggested. Essential now
  • tea towel in kit
  • lower/half bottom of pole guy kit. Essential in wind. Waiting on some cord for this
  • consider a EFHW in dodgy conditions ??? Needs some work……
  • need a 10m plan. It was alive, but I only had 20/40m dipole. 20m was dead all day. Not one contact on 20.
  • larger peice of seat/mat required !

Very nice Summit to Summit with @GW4BML to the outer Hebrides GM/SI-200 . Made my day !


Thanks for a nice report and photos Tim.

Two summits I really enjoyed activating a couple of years ago, but that was in lovely August weather! Well done for persevering despite the difficult weather. Battling the elements is all part of the SOTA experience!

Good luck with your next activations, and hopefully we’ll have a S2S one day soon.

Hope your dog has dried out!

73, Matthew M0JSB

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He looks like an all black version of Alex G7KXE’s ‘Cousin Angus’ as he has the same disgruntled expression.


Yep, he wasn’t best pleased hanging around the summit for 30 mins,


I saw you were out today and wondered whether you were getting a pasting. Now we know! Well done on braving the elements.

I usually use my boot heel to create a depression or divot to give the bottom of the pole greater purchase on the ground. Even with guys, poles can flex wildly and spring back rapidly between gusts causing the pole to slip. The idea of a tube fitted with a spike is certainly under consideration.

73, Gerald

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Well done for persevering, I’m another one who has done those summits in sunshine. :slight_smile:

An alternative is a spike or narrow tent peg stuck in the ground and the bottom of the pole put over it after removing the end cap.

But if you do this don’t lose the cap as I did on G/SC-007 a couple of weeks ago. :frowning:

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Mini towel - i recommend the microfibre towels from Decathlon. Come in a range of sizes, cheap, and dry very easy with a bit of flapping about.


Hi Tim,

It was great to make the S2S with you today - I’m glad you enjoyed your activation.

We didn’t have any wind in the Outer Hebrides, but it was pretty cold.

Look forward to our next qso!

73, Ben


I never use guys - its too faffy. Beg, or buy, a length of heavy black water pipe just wide enough to slide the butt of your mast into. Cut the pipe about 15" long. That will drive into soft ground, or if its rocky you can use rocks to simply keep it upright. Then you can put your mast in it. No damage to your pole and no trying to get the pole supported whilst the antenna is dangling around in the wind…

To add a bit of refinement you can cut the end off at a slant. It goes into the earth better. And for removing peat, soil or turf from the tube afterwards cut a 6" thin slice, say an inch wide, down one side. If there’s soil in it which won’t come out just use a peg to wiggle it out. Simples.
And my collapsed pole sits in the pipe when I put it away in my rucksac. So no space taken up.

And on your summit, a couple of stones and the bit of pipe would have stopped your aerial being pulled across the grass.


You guy the mast and THEN you attach the antenna THEN you deploy the antenna THEN extend the mast to full height. At no time is antenna dangling in the wind or the full height of the mast unsupported. Guy ring at about 20-25% of the height and there’s always enough friction between the base of the mast and the ground to equal the wind leverage force. Make the hole in the guy ring so it slides down and stops at one of the telescopic joints.

I’ll grant you that your knowledge of dry stone walling probably gives you an unfair advantage over everyone else when it comes to using rocks that may be on the summit. :wink:


Well done and a great report! Judging by your pix… the weather conditions were certainly much better for me last week.
73, Lea.

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I’ve never tried your method Andy. Mine works OK but then perhaps its because I always use a dipole only and the telescope mast is only 4m .

I’m not sure my experience as a waller is of much help :smile:- But the comment did make me smile!!
I must admit I do sometimes spend more time than I should looking around for a suitable place for my mast.



I have one of these: DD SuperLight Tarp S | DD Hammocks I don’t have to worry about finding shelter from the wind or rain. It’s the best non radio thing I have bought for SOTA. You might need a bigger one for the dog though. You’ll also need extra pegs and a walking pole.


Your guying method and mast rasing worked a treat today @MM0FMF very handy to change antennas as well.

Can see how this will be good in bad weather. Was only mildly annoying today


You need to play with the lengths and position up the mast to best fit your setup. But it works for me.


I activated G/SC-001 on Friday and remembered what I had suspected on my first activation there - it is not ground which is friendly to tent pegs. There was only about 2 inches of soil before they hit rock. It took a while to find places to get the pegs in.

There were a few boulders but they were on the grass and I was reluctant to move them as there would have been things living under them which I preferred to leave undisturbed. I suspect a park ranger* might have become a bit irate if had been caught re-arranging the landscape. I think it’s different on a rocky summit but on a grassy one I think a bit of sensitivity is called for.

There is a sort of stone trig point to the left of the summit cairn in the photo above. With suitable straps you could fix a mast to it but this is where every visitor heads for.

I’m not sure there is an easy answer other than perhaps drop a little bit further down from the summit with the hope of finding a bit more soil for pegs.

I found the guys useful as it allowed me to quickly lower the mast, attach the Slim Jim for 2m operation and be back operating straight away. The HF wire antenna shown above was also easy to fly.

*It’s Exmoor National Park so I guess there are a few rangers.


I sat just on the other side of that path from your antenna and put the mast further down as you suggested John, and don’t remember any problem getting the pegs in. But it wasn’t winter weather either!

I definitely give Andy’s technique a go as well.