HF antennas on short masts

One more thing: To my surprise. the 6m lambdahalbe mast typically passes through security as carry-on luggage.


Hopefully you can zoom in to see how I lashed the poles together.


Hi Martin,
I have used this 5 m D.A.M. pocket pole during many activations, last time on the Azores.
It is also available on Amazon.de. The tip is very thin - therefore mine is now 4.5 m long (and transport length is ~42 cm).

@CT1DBS : Thank you for the pointer to the Caperlan pole. I believe that this is exactly the same as LambdaHalbe is using - which I also recommend.

73, Andy DK7MG

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I use this one. 7.2 meter version. Works with my LNR Precision Trail Friendly in inverted v config. And works with my sotabeams 20/40meter linked dipole. Opens to little over 23 feet and collapses to 2 feet. Flew to NY with it in my carry-on with no problems.

Roland K7FOP

Edit: Just reread your post and 2 foot is too long for carry-on for you. But will leave the post just in case it’s helpful for someone else.

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On rocky summits I have done activations with dipoles very low indeed. 3.5 meters should be fine from most summits. de N1FJ


I use a Ron Thompson telescopic 4 metre pole from Go Outdoors for 10, 12, 20, 40m inverted V dipoles. The top couple of sections are too thin so maximum length in use is likely to be about 3 metres. Folds down to 45cms with a rubber bung to hold it all together. Cost was less than £20.

Once I forgot the pole and stretched the wire between two rocks and successfully activated the peak. On an entirely rocky summit and about a metre of the deck.

On another occasion I used a walking pole so the centre wire was only120cm off the ground.

In winter I use an aluminium avalanche probe (no doubt aircraft quality) which is 3metres, but has to be about 50cm into snow to stay upright, depends on snow quality!


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My normal pole is a 5m one which fits completely inside all my rucksacks. Today it was missing when I opened the sack on the summit of G/WB-006!
I had my guying kit, a short length of 20mm pipe which fits it and supports my 2m/70cm beam and another length of this (about 500mm). This lot linked together and pressed onto the sharp end of my fully extended walking pole held the dipole centre at about 2m agl. The ends of the dipole are long strings so the whole aerial was between 0.5 and 2m agl on the side of the rocky rampart on the E side of the summit.
On 60m it was excellent with reports 45 - 57; 59+ - 57; 59+ - 59 and 59+ - 59, so no complaints there :slight_smile:
40 was similar (apart from the QRM) so as I am now considering further weight reductions maybe the 5m pole will be left out deliberately in future.
Thanks to today’s contacts.

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I have a “7.2m” pole that I purchased a several years ago. This summer, I figured I’d grab a second one as a backup so I bought one of these from this same seller. The “7.2m” pole only extended to just under 5m. I was significantly shorter than my old pole (and my old pole has 2 sections removed). I see the seller has updated the listing with a disclaimer after I left him negative feedback, but the table he has on there is still inaccurate.

There are some poles out there that are a bit closer to 7m, but you have to dig for them, and they cost a bit more.

-Doug, ND9Q

I just found a new possibly ideal mast for SOTA wire antennas:

DECATHLON now has 6m rod made from carbon fibre that is

  • 6 m long
  • 40.5 cm length for transport
  • 322 g

It is 40 EUR:

Compare to the 6m mast from lamdahalbe.de, this is a massive reduction. The lamdahalbe mast is 57 cm long an weighs ca. 600 g.

Martin, DK3IT

Hi Martin

I use Decathlon’s fibreglass poles.
The short traveling pole LAKESIDE-1 TRAVEL 600 when taking a flight…
The “long” for other activation CAPERLAN Pole 600 Still Fishing Press-fit Rod

Do you notice any change in the antenna performance from fibreglass to carbon one’s?


Hello Martin.

Looking at the pictures in the ad, I can’t see this mast supporting anything with any weight. Perhaps a very lightweight 1/4 wave vertical down the pole but not an Inverted V dipole.

73 Ed.

Maybe not the best material to use for a vertical antenna support.

Hi, regarding carbon fiber masts:

We discussed this here:

I see the theoretical point, but we will have to check how much of an effect that is in practice. In a couple of weeks, I should have two identical sets of 5 and 6 m masts in glass-fiber and carbon fiber and could make a comparison.

Regarding Pedro’s question: The main difference between the old GfK rods and the new carbon-fiber masts from Decathlon seems to be that the latter ones weigh about 50 % of the former an, more importantly for me, are much shorter for transport. 40cm is really neat in a rucksack or carry-on luggage. 57 cm is already borderline even in a trolly, and will stick out of many small and medium-sized packpacks.

As for Ed’s comment: Yes, I guess a dipole cannot be mounted at the top segment, but keep in mind that:

  1. The carbon-fiber version has many more segments (i guess 11 instead of 6 or so), so just taking the second thinnest will mean a reduction of only 40 cm or so.
  2. The 6m version is lighter and shorter than the 5m Gfk versions from DECATHLON and lamdahalbe, so I guess it will be a net gain even if you have to go down a foot or two.
  3. I am now often using verticals, and those have a minimal load on the tip if you add a rubber band or something similar a meter or so below the tip so that the full weight of the wire is not hanging on the tip.



I worked with Japan from US West coast on 30 Meter with dipole 2,5 meters above the ground and 2,5 W output power. If you have the right conditions - antenna heights above the gorund is not the main factor.

I thought I’d been involved in a discussion about that. It’s an age thing… :wink:

Before you carry any pole on an aircraft as hand luggage, I’d check with your airline.
I bought a travel pole for that very reason, but never got to take it on board an aircraft as it is not permitted in the cabin…
Of course neither are walking poles or umbrellas, so it’s far easier just to find a support when you get to the end of your journey :slight_smile:

And I’ve done loads of 60m activations with the antenna lying on the ground.

I normally pack my mast in my hold luggage. OK this doesn’t help those travelling light with only carry on baggage but normally I need a case for a few days away, so a hold bag takes anything that is not allowed in the cabin but is still allowed on the plane.


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Contrary to what Peter says it is a fact I (and I know others) have never been stopped or questioned about taking a 57cm (length when telescoped) 5m long fishing pole which fits inside my rucksack on lots of Ryanair and Easyjet flights over the last five years, the last time was in May this year. I get my poles from Life’s a Breeze. I always keep the rucksack on my back when going through the final departure gate and despite the sack being around 5 cm over length its size has never been challenged by gate or cabin staff. Despite being 5cm over length (Berghaus 35+8 rucksack) it will easily fit end on in the overhead locker.

Laterly on these budget flights I have tended to pay the few pounds extra to get priority boarding then I am through the gate first and am guaranteed room in the overhead lockers, rather than be forced to put the hand luggage in the hold, which of course one cannot do because of the lithium batteries being carried. I have a preference for Ryanair over Easyjet as on Ryanair as well as being allowed 10Kgs weight in the rucksack, you are allowed (at no extra cost) to take a small carry on bag with unlimited weight. A bag of the size allowed can take around 7 Kgs of electronic equipment, such as transceiver, batteries, camera. GPS, Satnav etc. On Easyjet you do not get the option of a free second bag, so everything has to go inside the rucksack or in pockets. The advantage with that over Ryanair is that their is no restriction on the weight of the rucksack. For a short SOTA Tour of 4-5 days with clothing and radio gear my rucksack normally weighs in at around 13-15 Kgs.

Just out of interest has any activator been prevented from carrying on one of the short poles inside a rucksack?

PS Having just read Ed’s reply I prefer not to take a hold bag for short tours if I can. This saves waiting around at the carousel for the bag and the significant cost of taking the hold bag. Not having one allows you to get to the car hire desk and to the first summit more quickly! It is not unusual to fly say to Czech Republic from the UK for less than £50 return - take a bag and it will likely cost another £20 - £35.

73 Phil G4OBK


Phil, that’s good to hear.
I only had the one pole taken by airport security, and after reading the rules, and talking to the supervisor at security themselves, decided it was too much effort to repeat.
I’d actually prefer if you could take walking poles, which would serve a multipurpose function.
I’ve also had all my thin polyester guy lines confiscated, but strangely not the 20m of 7x0.2 wire they were packed with…

And no one blinks an eye at an Altoids tin with wires and electronics stuffed inside :slight_smile:

Hi all:
FYI: I got my 5 m carbon mast from DAM a couple of days:


While a systematic test of the impact of the carbon fiber material on my vertical antenna is still to be done, I can say that:

  1. The mast is super-compact in comparison to the 5m and 6m masts from lambdahalbe, and a lot lighter. It really makes a difference towards lightweight operations.

  2. The material is a lot stiffer (yet not brittle) so that even the fine 1mm top segment holds my vertical wire straight up, and it might even be possible to attach a lightweight dipole to the very top segment.

It is definitely a keeper, and I now ordered a similar 6m version from Decathlon:


73 de Martin, DK3IT