SOTApole end caps

I was wondering whether anyone has found a solution to fix a missing end cap for the standard 7m pole, as sold by SOTAbeams.

Over the years I’ve picked up that replacement end caps are not available, but I’m happy to consider other solutions.

I did an activation at the end of January and when I was packing up my pole at the end, I noticed that the end cap had simply vanished into the snow, it was nowhere to be seen. I’ve had my pole for years and I feel oddly sentimental about it, it’s suffered lots of bad weather and has been patched up with superglue a few times, but still it soldiers on.

I managed to obtain a brand new pole (same model) from an online fishing shop for an excellent price, but I’d like to continue using my old pole until it totally dies.

I’ve tried milk bottle caps - not quite big enough, marmite jar caps - too large. The nearest I’ve got to finding something is in my wife’s cake decorating supplies where a jar of ‘silver balls’ has a cap of the right diameter but the thread is way too coarse.

Any ideas folks?

Colin, M1BUU

(and yes - amazingly I still have the top bung!)

In reply to M1BUU:
Quick answer is “I’ve no idea”!

On my pole I punched a hole through the bottom when the pole decided to collapse on itself one day as I was setting up. I patched that up with tape but later lost the remainder of the screw fitting. I gave up trying to find a replacement and instead use the cap of a milk carton and some duct tape.
This is more than adequate and I can replace the duct tape when it wears out if I use the pole as a walking stick :slight_smile:

On my smaller 5m travel pole, the end departed company whilst ascending G/WB-007 on my bike. All I heard was a rattle of fibreglass as all the sections rolled down the hill. This was on only it’s second outing! I couldn’t find the end cap.
On that one I again used a plastic cap and a piece of heat shrink which makes a really secure end cap.
I’d be tempted to use heat shrink on the larger pole but have never got round to getting a piece with a large enough diameter.

Good hunting.

In reply to M1BUU:
Hi Colin,

I lost mine years ago and after a few weeks of searching I eventually discovered that the shroud from the gland kits for SWA cable fitted perfectly. You can get them in various sizes and I think you can buy them as singles from City Electrical Factors (other suppliers are available).

I use these quite regularly at my work and just one of those days when you go “Aha, that will do just dandy!” as you do.

Nothing worse than losing your end cap.

73 Neil 2M0NCM

In reply to M1BUU:

I repaired the base of one pole with the stopper from a bottle of Cardhu, some string to increase the diameter of the stopper and a liberal amount of Evostick. Works well. I’ve lost the top cap of my long serving pole, and like you, feel lost without it. Suggestions for replacement top caps welcome.

p.s. I’m not suggesting you invest in a bottle of Cardhu just for the stopper. No, buy it for the golden contents. Savor them with relish. Then recycle the stopper. Depending on how desperate you are to reuse the stopper may result in the Cardhu being savored faster than normal. This is OK.

Is there a source for replacement top caps/bungs for 5m poles? I’ve lost one after 6 years and feel naked with out it.


In reply to M1BUU:

You could always try asking your friendly pole supplier for answers:


Box full of spares here.

73 Richard G3CWI

1 Like

In reply to M1BUU:
Hi Colin and all,
After reading all the comments, it looks like the end caps have a natural tendency to indepence…
My 7m long telescopic pole also had an end cap.
I’ve been using this fiberglass pole for years in portable operations from tops of mountains but not within the SOTA activities, so I used to get to the chosen operation spot by car and once there I used to take the pole out of the car trunk.
Since I started SOTA activations, the end cap of my pole decided to leave my company while I was hiking to Erreniega (EA2/NV-092). I didn’t notice until I was at the summit and started to set everything up for the activation. I thought on how and where was that possible, as I had brought the pole in vertical position attached to my rucksack. I knew it must had popped out at the only point of the ascent where I had to leave the normal path and get into the forest for a short time in order to avoid a big puddle of mud in my way.
Just as I guessed, on my way down, I spend a few minutes searching on the floor arount the forest path where I bypassed the mud and bingo! I found it.
I put it back in place and went home very happy.
But the cap’s independence aspirations where not over.
In my following ascent to Etxauri (EA2/NV-070) the end cap decided to leave me again and this time for ever. The path was extremely wet, in a big slope and extremely slippery and dangerous, so I didn’t have the mood to search for it on my way down, as I had enough work trying to keep myself balanced not slipering on the mud to roll down the hill.
I’m also thinking and searching for something to serve as the lost end cap but I haven’t found it yet. I’ll let you know if I find something good.
Now I go to the summits without the endcap with my pole attached to my rucksack in vertical position.
Let me tell you a fun story related to this end cap getting lost issue.
I always go to the mountains with my dog. Last month I went to Elomendi (EA2/NV-037). Everything went well, the activation was very succesfull and I worked until run out of charge in the batteries. At that point I packed everything up and I was ready to start descent with the rucksack in my back and the pole without its end cap attached to it, so I called my dog to follow me but, for some unknown reason, he was obsessedly barking and bothering a man who had reached to the summit with his trial motorbike. I tried to grab my dog but it’s very badly educated and it run away from me but always barking to the man in the motorbike. I spend some few seconds chasing and trying to grab my dog while he was moving around the man in his motorbike. In my turns around the motorbike chasing the dog, one of the cables I used for my activation got out of my rucksac and got trapped with something in the motorbike, so the cable started to unroll getting out of my rucksack and wrapped around the man and his motorbike while I continued turning around trying to chase the b…y dog. The man in the bike warned me about this and I was so upset and embarrased by that time that I rolled and put back in place the cable while begging him for pardon and I finally jumped ahead like a rugby or american football defender to finally grab and fall on top of my dog to finally stop its kidding.
When I jumped and fell down on ground grabbing my dog, all segments of the pole without the end cap came out touching the ground thus increasing the mess and my stress.
The conclusion is that I urgently need to find an end cap for my pole, as well as some educational training for my dog :wink:
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

Thanks for the all the ideas and discussion guys, it seems that we are all still searching for the perfect solution!

Pete - I think the exact same thing happened to my pole, it suffered a collapse. I have the remains of the end cap, it’s now just a threaded ring.

Neil - I’ll research your suggestion - my sister in law lives next door(!) and her husband is an electrician, he may be able to help me out.

Andy - I like it how a lot of your fixes for things seem to involve whisky! :slight_smile: I’ve not dabbled in whisky, although I’m fascinated by it’s history. I feel a (tenuous) link with Scotland, my dad owned a derelict cottage on the Isle of Coll when I was a youngster. My parents would take me to Coll during school hoildays so that they could work on restoring the cottage. We used to camp in tents (I had my own) in the grounds of the plot. My dad named me Colin in a nod to the Isle of Coll. I spent my honeymoon on the Isle of Mull, which is also where I went on my first DXpedition with my FT817 back in 2001. SOTA was but a twinkle in it’s founders eyes so my climbing of Ben More yielded no SOTA points :frowning: If I obtain a whisky habit can I become an honourary Scot? My wage is paid from an office in Aberdeen.


In reply to EA2IF:

"I tried to grab my dog but it’s very badly educated . . . . "

LOL. Thank you for that picture - from the owner of more uneducated dogs (and cats)!

Karen 2E0XYL

In reply to M1BUU:

Hi Colin,

I soon ditched the bottom end cap of my fishing pole replacing it with a suitably turned down piece of wood which in turn was drilled and a metal bolt ground to a spike inserted through the center.

As a result the pole now is more secure when guyed and I can also happily use it as a walking aid with out damaging the pole base (I’ve also used it to pole vault a stream or two in the past).

73, Derek

In reply to M1BUU:
Hi Colin

I went through the same with my SOTApole. First time tempemperature below 0C and it fell apart. Also a lid of the milk bottle (the one you have in the UK), or tape didn’t last long. Luckly I had some spare poles from an old Spiderbeam ( which came with an rubber end cap of 42mm inner diameter. This fits perfectly on a SOTApole and might last for my next 100 … 200 activations! I had a look for spare parts on but there is none with 42mm inner diameter. Googling for “rubber end cup” might bring you to an appropriate store.

73 de Dominik, HB9CZF

In reply to M1BUU:

I lost the cap from my SOTAbeams pole on the first day, testing the pole in my garden. When the upper sections collapsed (don’t ask), they shattered the bottom cap. Fixed it with duct tape. Shortly thereafter I lost the top cap too. This one I replaced with a cap from film canister (anyone remember the prehistoric equivalent of camera memory card?) - fits very well. It might be a replacement for the bottom cap as well, I suppose. Will check someday, but so far the duct tape is doing its job there.

Marcin SQ9OZM

In reply to M1BUU:

Pete - I think the exact same thing happened to my pole, it suffered a
collapse. I have the remains of the end cap, it’s now just a threaded

Likewise, but as Pete suggested, I have duct taped a plastic disc onto the threaded ring (cut from a larger bottle cap - choose a thick squidgy one to absorb the shock of pole collapse). That way, I can still remove it easily to dry the pole sections between activations. Funnily enough there has been a lot of drying lately ;o)


In reply to M1BUU:

Andy - I like it how a lot of your fixes for things seem to involve whisky! :slight_smile: I’ve not dabbled in whisky,

Andy doesn’t dabble in whisky, he paddles in it! :))
Sounds like you are better qualified for being a Scot than many - once we get you into a kilt it will be easily discovered!!


Barry GM4TOE

In reply to GM4TOE:

I’ve never thought of whisky as a cure for athlete’s foot!

The top cap was lost on my 7 metre pole - I saw it go, but there is no recovering it from a crack in a ten-tonne boulder! I had a word with a technician friend in a chemistry lab at the university where I used to work and was given a rubber bung that does the job - they come in a huge range of sizes. He also suggested that I find a cap off an aerosol can which is just too big. Smear the end of the pole section lightly with Vaseline then smear a thicker layer of Araldite over the inside of the cap and push in the pole. When the Araldite has set the Vaseline will let you slide the cap off and it should be a perfect fit. I’ve never tried it, and offer the suggestion for what it’s worth!


Brian G8ADD

prevention is better than cure, why not drill a hole in the top bung put a bit of string through the hole tie a knot in it to prevent it coming out then tape the string to the top of the pole so its hard to loose

In reply to GM1CMF:

Yes I agree, after loosing the bung from my first pole, I decided to attach mine with a cable tie. After drilling a hole in the cap, I pushed a cable tie through from the inside and taped the tail to the pole.
Using self amalgamating tape also has the advantage of forming a non slip grip which is useful when using it as a walking pole.


In reply to M1BUU:Hi Colin Have you thought of trying to find a cork.Maybe a brew your own wine shop may have something or the local chemists.73 Geoff

In reply to GW6OVD:

Great idea. I have also wrapped electrical tape around the threads to make it a better fit so it does not fall out so easily. I also put a small piece of foam in the hollow of the cap so the sections do not “hammer” it out.


In reply to M1BUU:

As they are fishing poles you can always do what the anglers do and use a pole skid bung like this:


In reply to GW4EVX:

Hi Ron,

A similar fix to what I did with my pole but mine was home made…

73, Derek