Rapid storage and deployment of 50ft RG58 coax

I’ve got one of these for my 10m 10mm cable - it works really well, but overkill for this particular length of RG58 (which I think is what @MM0FMF was trying to say in his own unique sarcastic way!)

All suggestions welcome, including taking time to coil the cable. However that failed the other night when out ‘car portable’ - it was around 10pm and freezing and I just got bored of trying to untangle the miriad of knots that had ensued from my ‘less optimal’ deployment.

Mind I was sat in the middle of nowhere and someone came and parked behind me about 5 metres away - I suspect he had walked all over the counterpoise. What do I have to do to be alone God damn it! Luckily he didn’t drive into the vertical antenna, in olive green it would have been hard to spot.

Cheers, Mark.


You need red flashing lights like they have on tall towers to warn planes/helicopters

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That is the real (reel!) problem. It’s easy to put everything away neatly and correctly so the next deployment is easy when it’s a nice day. But it’s such a different story when it’s cold and nothing will coil or lay properly. It’s why I tried with the kite reel. I have a few other ideas to try that may be more successful. There’s only been a few occasions, such as the heavens opening or close in thunder/lightening, when I’ve thought “sod it” and pushed everything into the bag in a huge mess for later sorting out. Sometimes it’s the best way once it’s in a mess.

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My wife already calls what I do ‘radio dogging’. Not sure a red light is going to help improve that perception!


Perhaps a blue flashing one :wink:

Thanks Andy for reminding me about RG174 feeders and that [elsewhere on this reflector] we were both defending the use of 10m of RG174 for QRP/low power on HF [attenuation on 30m and 20m is negligible].

I’ve just measured the length of the RG58 coax feeder supplied with my Cha MPAS Lite and it’s 15.2m (50ft) long (not 25ft as I guessed above), the same as for the MPAS 2.0. This is ridiculously too long for any normal SOTA activation.

The coax on a winder weighs 710g and is pretty bulky in my default rucksack. Contrast this with the 10m of RG174 I use with my linked dipoles and EFHWs. It weighs 222g and has a smaller flatter volume.

The latter doesn’t have an in-line RF choke but [unless there’s something special about verticals] that’s never been a problem for me operating 10w (max) portable.

I’ll be trying the RG174 coax with my MPAS Lite on my next activation. If it’s as good as the 15m of RG58, the latter will get consigned to sit-in-car portable and holiday-home ops.


My solution is to use RG174 on a Sotabeams winder. Do you need 15m? Will the extra loss make a difference?

I’ve been using RG-58 and RG-213 for years (25 years as a ham this year :open_mouth:), it wasn’t until I got the SOTAbeams Bandhopper that I was converted to RG-174.

Back before I saw the light, I used to do RAYNET and we often used RG-213 cable runs. I usually tape or cable tie a loop in the coax, then I just roll the cable around in my hands, keeping the loop the same diameter, before finishing with more tape or another cable tie.

I use RG-213 for my 5 element 2m beam when I do SOTA as the PL-259 or ‘M’ type is the Japanese version to match the socket on the beam. When cold, the cable is a bit stiffer, but it’s still not too bad to coil up. It’s amazing how flexible the cable gets on a hot day!

I use wire winders with my RG-174.

73, Colin

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Why do you need 50ft (= 16m!) of RG58 coax on a SOTA activation in the first place?

Instead of tinkering with cable winders I would dump the coax and use either a shorter length (3 - 6 ft should do) or use thin twin lead, which is easier to wind and less heavy!

Maybe I am just lazy, I don’t carry a lucky anvil either.

73 Heinz


I do the same with RG-58 and RG-174, both around 8 m long. Rolling the RG-174 I’m forming a loop with 4 or 5 windings first. With some practice it takes not so much time and it’s the version with the lowest weight and size. For deploying also rolling the loop in the hand.

73, Ludwig

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Classic Forum behaviour! Rapidly off topic, then…

here’s my solution to a different problem.
Why do you need 50’ of coax for a SOTA activation?
Don’t use that, use this.
Sarcasim that’s so heavily disguised, some if not all will see it as abuse. (MT privilege :wink:.)

Love it! :heart:

Mark, why are you Chasing /p. Just walk another 500m and you’ll have a S2S. Surely that’s the solution?

Cheers, Fraser

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Unfortunately my work lunch ‘hour’ doesn’t quite stretch to completing an activation, and believe me I’ve thought about it. I find being outdoors doing radio even for an hour is very therapeutic both getting the body moving and working the brain a bit too - and I’m always keen to give-back by providing activators with a contact. Sometimes it is very much appreciated if you are the magic #4. I don’t anticipate taking such a long run of cable on an activation, or indeed the MPAS2.0 most probably as it is on the heavy side, but for messing around with portable antenna configurations it can be useful to have a longer cable run.

It was one of those topics that I thought I’d ask on the reflector and there would either be a eureka moment with someone finding the perfect cheap article to repurpose as a winder, or as we have found such a thing doesn’t appear to have been identified (yet!)

I know I can’t live without cables but that doesn’t mean I find them much fun to work with. I appreciate how much time I save using the SOTABeams Band Hopper IV with winders over a bag of wires however. Convenience is everything!

Cheers for all the replies. Mark.


I ended up buying a pack of 5 cable winders from Amazon for £12.99 delivered: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N0NU89Z

Just about the right size for this cable length, with some capacity to spare

Turn radius on the ends isn’t too tight.

Regards, Mark.


The trouble is recognising which end to pull which way. Sometimes I get it wrong and find I have generated the maximum possible number of knots!

The RF choke end of the coax goes to the vertical. I always start at the antenna and pay out the coax cable walking back to the rig position. I re-coil it walking in the other direction. That way that RF choke is always on the outside of the coil. But I still have problems with the RG58 wanting to knot even if I use the alternating-loop technique.

Although new to radio I’m not new to rope and cable management. What I’ve used for my rg58 coax is a army surplus “dump bag” or “dump pouch”. Keep an end out (this will be the bottom of the pile) then start feeding the cable in. It’ll twist and wind, just keep shoving, until you get to the other end. Pull the drawstring tight before it self ejects! Now you have both ends out of the bag. Don’t pull the “bottom” end out first, you’ll get a bag of knots. However you can connect to the bottom and just draw out what you need off the top. I’m faffing with some 20m of light coax so I can put up my antenna at the top and then go hide in some shelter.


I have the MPAS 2.0 Lite version and ditched the coax. It’s too bulky and heavy.
For HF, I carry lengths of 5mtr & 10 mtr RG174 wound in figure of 8 onto a Sotabeams Midi winder.
This may not be most efficient for higher frequencies of the MPAs system.

I also use a choke from N9SAB, which seems to do just a good a job as the choke in the bulky coax supplied with the system.

The attached image has 10mtr on the right, 5 mtr on the left side of the winder and the choke

for size comparison.

73, Robert


Ha ha ha ha ha ha… made my night.

The wonderful Peter Kaye and Sian Gibson (who’s married to a chap from a village near my QTH).

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Robert, that’s good to know (for my intended use with my MPAS Lite). I’ve previously calculated the loss for 10m of RG174 that I use with my wire antennas (using an online calculator) and the loss is acceptable [to me] certainly for 3.5-14MHz.

The RF choke looks interesting. Before I buy one though, have you noticed any difference between using and not using it? Also, the eBay link you gave doesn’t give a power rating but just states ‘QRP’. I usually run 10W [from a KX2], which I assume is probably okay.


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I wouldn’t buy one at £53 by the time you’ve got it to the UK and paid VAT! Probably £10 of parts if you roll your own.

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