Methods of erecting an inverted-L on a telescoping pole

Rather than go off-topic again I’ve created a new topic.

Just to recap for those who didn’t read about this (interesting) diversion from the main theme, Andy @MM0FMF was asking why folk (like me) erect their HF wire antenna by extending the telescoping pole and laying it on the ground, attaching guy ropes and antenna, and then turning the pole upright.

MM0FMF wrote:

I’ve always guyed the pole with 2 or 3 sections at the bottom extended, then fit the antenna then push it up to full height section by section.

Andy, I can see some advantages e.g. not getting the pole or wire wet or dirty from wet grass, mud, mole hills, sheep or cow muck so I’ve tried your method (as best as I understand from your brief description). But I found a problem so I wanted to consult the expert. Any other experts of this method, feel free to chip in.

I tried this method with my 12.5m-long 40/20/10 EFHW inverted-L on a 6m pole on two recent 10m activations, and today whilst checking a 19.8m-long 40/30/20 EFHW inverted-L.

The erection process went okay each time. But during the taking down, the thin antenna wire got entangled with itself and even with the guy strings as they collapse progressively onto the pole below.

With an inverted-L you have two sections of the antenna dangling round the pole as you unlock the pole sections (in order from the top to the bottom). A sloper wouldn’t have this problem having only one wire to the pole.

While unlocking each pole section, I was careful to rotate only the lower section, and hold the upper sections still so as not to cause the antenna wire and guy strings to wrap around.

Do you have this problem? Any suggestions?

1 Like

No. I too use inv-L a lot. In my case about 4.5m hanging down on a 5m pole and the rest ( 40/30/20 EFHW) runs out as a sloping L to about 1m AGL about 14m away or so.

I have a few attachment points on the antenna for inv-L on a 5m or 6m pole as or inv-V. I have something like this 10Pcs Alloy Buckle Mini SF Metal Carabiner Lock Clip Tiny Snap Hooks Spring Clip | eBay attached to the top of the mast so the antenna just clips to it. The one I use can be worked when wearing gloves.

  1. stake out mast with guys at about chest height, also top section extended to protrude.
  2. attach the carabiner to the top section
  3. unroll antenna from winder allowing it to lay on ground until attachment unspools
  4. attach to carabiner
  5. continue unwinding and walking away from mast until all unwound.
  6. walk back and full extend mast. vertical section hangs down mast, sloper has catenary curve to ground
  7. walk to end of antenna, pull antenna till taut enough, push end support into ground, attach antenna.
  8. walk back attach driven point to match unit
  9. set up radios and operate.

Take down is the reverse

  1. disconnect and pack radios et al.
  2. lower pole, vertical section lies in a pile on the ground.
  3. disconnect attachment point from carabiner, antenna falls to ground
  4. walk to end support, detach from support and remove support.
  5. start coiling antenna on figure-8 winder, depending on ground type stand at the end support point and wind in antenna or wind and walk to keep some tension in wire.
  6. remove carabiner
  7. collpase mast
  8. walk to each tent peg on the guys in turn removing pegs
  9. coil guys and collar.

Pack everything in bag, have drink, adjust layers, take photos, walk out.

I’ve had antennas tangle on the undergrowth a few times. But it’s not a regular problem. More likely to be tricky winding up if it’s an inv-v dipole and a fence is in use and the wires end up the other side of the fence. Wires are just thin PVC hookup wire, not super slippery Teflon wires.

I’ll see about videoing a setup/takedown next time if I remember.


Sounds like my problem is reversing steps 2. and 4. i.e. detaching the end support from the far-end wire (and coiling most of it back onto the winder) before lowering the pole so the horizontal/sloper section of wire is going slack against the pole, where as you keep it tethered (and hence it stays taut) until after the pole is lowered. Is that correct?

I detach the end support first because I’m concerned about damaging the lightweight thin-wire antenna. Another option is to detach it at Step 2 and put in and winder on the ground where the friction will be enough to keep the wire away from the pole but be less taut as when it’s attached.

1 Like

It’s surprisingly tough stuff wire. I’m about to try some 30swg (need to check that size) and will report on how viable that is. But probably that’s the problem that causes the tangle.


I’ll try the revised steps next time.

Both my US-made LNR Precision EFHWs use 26awg wire (0.13mm^2 dia.) which [according to a conversion table] is between 26 and 28swg.

With my TLC both have been trouble free for donkey’s years.

BTW: the Rx-only test this afternoon (~1430utc) was to see if the longer 40/20/20 EFHW was as lively on the 10m band as the shorter 40/20/10 EFHW was on recent 10m activations at the same time of day. I would have preferred to do a A vs B test but it’s wasn’t practical. The KX2 ATU tends to make everything good.

1 Like

It’s Belden 7/0.15mm PTFE I’ll be trying. Apparently that’s 26AWG.

1 Like

I took @MM0FMF’s advice and method on a guyed mast. Reccomended. I guy at about elbow/chest height.

Works a treat and it’s an absolute winner if you need to change antenna, just collapse the mast while guyed and put the next one on. (I am switching between a 10m vertical and a sloping random wire)

When I’m done I don’t touch the antenna, just collapse the mast vertically back to chest height. Then coil the antenna(s). I don’t have issues with this.

Has made my operating so much easier. Big thanks to @MM0FMF for this advice.


Pushing up the pole and locking the sections once the antenna is tied to it is the best way to put my antenna up mostly because the summits in VK5 have all kinds of sticks, rocks, tough grasses that can catch on the antenna wire if rolled out. As I push up the pole sections I can monitor what the antenna wire is doing and make sure I am not standing on the feedline as well. When I roll up my antenna to move off the summit I roll inn the ends and tie that section of antenna first to just being off the ground then collapse the pole roll up my coax then the rest of the antenna last.
Regards Ian vk5cz .


I’m afraid I’m guilty of doing it this way myself, and I won’t be changing that any time soon. It’s not simply down to my being an old fool in doing this, but rather that I’m an old fool who is informed by my extensive practical engineering training, which balks at some of the slapdash “just about stable enough if the breeze doesn’t pick up” methods used, which one reads about occasionally.

So, I take a 10-meter pole, remove the top 3 or 4 whip-like sections until it’s about just under 7 meters long, extend it, slide a close-fitting 100mm section of flexible plastic pipe, split lengthwise, around the lowest part of the highest remaining section:

and attach the antenna centerpiece/balun/unun to that using a couple of re-usable zip-ties around the pipe section - the light pressure of these is distributed evenly to the fiberglass pole section by the pipe. This is all while the pole is on the ground or leaning at a shallow angle with one end on a tree-stump or similar. The antenna is paid out to one or both sides, depending on antenna type, and loosely pegged not too far out to keep the antenna legs from interfering with anything while the pole is raised.

Coax is then attached to the antenna, the coax laid along the pole and loosely bound to it with some small velcro straps, to make it easier to handle when the pole is eventually raised. If the set-up is to be free-standing (it’s often possible in the forest to simply velco-strap the pole to a tree, or lean it against a tree), then 3 guy ropes are attached at about the 3 1/2-meter or 4-meter height on the pole (a much better place to provide real support than “about chest height”), and 2 of them are pegged out where they will stay - the 3rd will be fixed once the pole is up. Up goes the pole carefully, rotating it until brought vertical while also bringing the two fixed guys taut, the 3rd is made taut, so the pole is as stable as it’s going to be; the antenna is then pegged out to full length with guy ropes, providing yet more stability to the set up, which ends up being easily stable enough to withstand some pretty hefty winds.

Anyway, this is how a stiff and crusty old fellow with a bad back does it - YMMV as always, and good luck to you.

1 Like

Don’t feel guilty, Rob. As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. I’ve just come back from doing it by the FMF method in the back garden. While there are some advantages I found a disadvantage, for me at least.

I find it harder to lock and unlock the pole sections whilst keeping the pole more or less upright especially during the tear-down where the taut horizontal wire section is pulling against me (it’s probably less of a problem when it slopes to ground). And this led to sections collapsing because I hadn’t locked them tightly enough.

I seem to have to hold my arms and hands in a more awkward way and crouch or bend down rather than stand normally (I’m a bad back sufferer). At least the taut wire solves my entangling wires problem (see my first post).

With my usual method, I extend the pole first, maybe 3 or 4 sections just in my arms and thereafter with the base resting on a rock, bush, etc. while I work on the upper sections.

It might be what one is used to, one does better. I’ve used my method hundreds of times. I’ll kept doing it by Andy’s method for a while to see if it’s just a learning / practise curve I need to get over.


I have the same problem, due mainly to my having very square shoulders … meaning there’s very little muscle on the top of the shoulders; those with more sloping shoulders tend to have a lot more muscle tissue between neck and shoulders. Anyway, for me, it makes pulling upwards in just the manner you mention a real pain, in more than one way, hi - there’s never been enough muscle tissue there for that, it’s just a physiological fact.

In any case, having the pole horizontal-ish and the arms lowered gives one much more twisting force to lock the pole sections, resulting in a tighter bond between sections - just as you have noticed. I’ve only ever had the pole collapse once in the last few years, so the method works.

Oh, and my guilt? - it’s all tongue-in-cheek :grinning:

Cheers, Rob


And all my life I’ve been displeased with my shoulders because they weren’t square. Interesting!


With an inverted L, is the null in the direction the horizontal section points to? Is the null shallower (less of a problem) on higher bands?

Elliott, K6EL


Speaking from my own limited experience of such things, I would say yes; and that it depends also on the band, and on leg-lengths ratios, length and disposition of any counterpoise used, height above ground, ground type, etc.

But a picture is worth more than inadequate words, so here are some radiation patterns generated for a 40-meter inverted-L EFHW, with vertical section about 7.5m long, and a 2.5m counterpoise laid horizontally near to the ground (for reference, the antenna plane is oriented left-right, 0° - 180°):

As always, with higher bands, you’ll (generally - it depends on height AGL) get more lobes in the azimuth pattern.

My $0.02, anway, and I’m sure the experts here will chime in with their own views on the matter.


A little confused as to what you are doing… the whole point of an inverted-L is no guys are needed. the pole might be leaned against a tree branch, or a bush, or braced between a few rocks at the base. an endfed halfwave on ten meters is only sixteen feet in length, total, and no ground radial should be needed. It is fed at the bottom of the vertical wire using an impedance transformer. The wire can be #28, I use teflon wire since it is very low resistance wire. The support can be a telescoping fishing pole, no need for massive pole???

73, fred kt5x / ws0ta


Hi Fred, I’ve never heard that before. Elsewhere on this reflector inverted-L devotees have argued that it has a better radiation pattern or is a more effective radiator (than a sloper) but not that this particular configuration needs no guying.

In any case, most of the summits I activate don’t have handy trees, bushes or piles of loose rocks anywhere near I want to sit (out of the wind and rain). It’s often very windy in NW Britain especially in winter so I find the only reliable option [without having visited the summit before] is to guy the pole for a wire antenna. I never use my delicate UltraLite wire antennas (inverted Vs, inverted-Ls, inverted-7s and slopers) as part of the guying, which is why I believe they have been maintenance-free for donkey’s years.

I agree. If I had to lay out a counterpoise for an EFHW (to get a noticeable improvement in performance), I might as well spend the time to erect one of my (inverted-V) linked dipoles. I use counterpoise wires only with my Cha MPAS Lite vertical.