Telescopic poles - what do you use?

Interested in what actual pole you are using and also what you use to hold it up etc.

I have been looking around, but the offerings from SOTAbeams seem pretty hard to beat, and they have some nice accessories like the wee laser cut guy rings.
Although they don’t look very ‘manly’ but conversely I guess loading is relatively light.

(Bear in mind my portable masting background is 40 foot of free standing ex army slot together steel masting, with a medium to heavy duty rotator, and then a 20 foot ali scaffold pole atop that with 2x 19 element MET yagis for 2m erected with a gin pole pulled on by pulleys (can erect it all with 2 people-probably one but I wouldn’t try it). I’m shinning up it my avatar. Pegs for that are 2x2x¼" steel angle, taking it in turns to drive in with a full size sledge hammer)

Do you ever have them collapse down on you?
What methods are you using to attach say a small lightweight 2m yagi to the pole?
How much of the top is unusable for that (small yagi) ?

I’m trying to reign in my tendency toward the biggest there is, as I know I will have to lug it around, and I already have a heavy rig…

Oh, and I’m sure I saw mentioned somewhere not to use a carbon pole, presumably due to conductivity?
But those not using a composite pole are presumably using aluminium??

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Fibre glass poles prob best one for you is the 10m and use lower sections to hold up your two beam say at 8m

Am after 8m telescopic F/G pole support me vertical wire or the L wire I will be using portable. have heard of people using FG poles to do 2M beams.


After a short experience with fishing rods, I bought from DXWire: 10mt, 15mt and 10mt compact telescopic grp masts.
I have been using them a lot since 2011.
The 15mt collapsed to the ground once, it bent the alluminum fishing-rod basement support in a while. There were sudden strong wind and the mast wasn’t fixed with tie-ropes.
They get some damage when the upper sections falls down/inside each other. The elements could crack in small pieces and become weak.
With a ball bearing and the right support, you can use these masts with vhf directive antennas.

I;ve got 2 poles from this guy (7 and 10m)


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[quote=“G1YBB, post:1, topic:11168”]laser cut guy rings[/quote]…will fit a variety of masts, but obviously diameters vary, so it’s a matter of picking the correct sized ring.

[quote=“G1YBB, post:1, topic:11168”]collapse down[/quote]If you aren’t firm enough with each section as you put it up, then the risk of a collapse increases. It only takes one section to begin a collapse. They’re much less likely to collapse if they’re slightly bent by their load.

[quote=“G1YBB, post:1, topic:11168”]How much of the top is unusable[/quote]That depends a whole lot on the pole. Some are much skinnier and more flexible at the top than others. Poles sold for fishing may be rather more flexible at the end than poles sold for supporting flags and windsocks.

[quote=“G1YBB, post:1, topic:11168”]not to use a carbon pole[/quote]Fibreglass is probably the commonest material for telescopic poles, and it’s usually significantly cheaper than carbon fibre anyway.

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I`ve done well over 1100 activations, all of which I used a 7m roach pole. The 7m pole is, I think, the best compromise on the hill. It supports small lightweight beams and dipole centres around 5m agl. I seem to remember the first offerings were the Shakesoeare brand, whereas later offerings have been from Lineaeffe (GW0DSP bought a job lot for £10 a pop ages ago). I can count on one hand the amount of times they have collapsed on me over the years, all they need is a good hard tug when erecting them. It would be nice to have something higher, but with portable operating, everything is a compromise.


On their website, they say this:

[quote]Never forget that this sort of mast exercises a great attraction on
children: a mast that is left to lie on the ground is CERTAIN to be
broken in record time by somebody treading on it by accident…[/quote]
Which made me smile as I have a carp rod that started life as a float rod, until a cow trod on the end and broke it off! (Not owned by me then). I spliced in a new tip and used it for some years after.

I have a Shakespeare 5m that has done 375+ activations. And a Lineaffe 5m that has done 10 or so. And a portable 5m (G6WRW found the source on eBay). I’m now using an 8m from a rally/hamfest vendor for my bigger 10m antenna. The only problem being when I take the bigger pole there’s less 10m propagation :frowning:

So that’s what’s causing the poor propagation - people using 8m poles. Can the MT create a byelaw banning the use of 8m poles :smile:


Looks like you need to take some antibiotics Steve to get that urge to carry aluminium out of your system. ;-)[quote=“G1YBB, post:1, topic:11168”]
Do you ever have them collapse down on you?
Like most people experience, they do collapse occasionally. Rain certainly increases the incidence, particularly if you’ve already carried out one wet activation and then put up the pole for a second activation. As I run 2m SSB, I often sit at the base of the pole and have had the beam come down straight onto the top of my head. Another reason to have a lightweight antenna!!!

Above is the SOTAbeams SB5 mountings for either horizontal or vertical. It has two sets because it can be used as either a 5el or a short 3el, though I’ve rarely used the latter format. All the tape is to show which element goes where - handy as it is now a 2m 5el and a 70cm 8el in the style of Martin DK7ZB.

… and the veritable Moxon for lightweight outings.

I use the bottom 4 sections of a 7 section 7m pole. The SB5 sits at around 3.5m and the Moxon a little higher. For VHF only operation, I often leave the top 3 sections in the car.

73, Gerald G4OIG

Thanks Gerald, useful stuff (and all the other posters of course)

Ouch @ the beam on the head. I have nearly had that. the mast described in my OP came down once, the two 19ele METs spearing the ground either side of the caravan I was operating from. I’d noticed a loose guy and had run out to fix it. the top MET speared the ground outside the caravan door I’d just used to run to the guy. Must have be falling as I came out, cos was down by the time I reached the guy peg.

I still remember Moel Siabod GW/NW-010 when it came down twice in one session… and I have lived to tell the tale. Thankfully when I used to use the 5 element Tonna I used a multi section aluminium pole so collapse was not an issue. It was my legs that used to collapse - usually half a kilometre shy of the summit! :slight_smile:

Oh, the SB5 is getting on for 8 years old and has done in excess of 300 activations, so the construction is certainly proven.

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Now don’t that look the business? The SB5 on Knap of Trowieglen GM/SI-110 on the island of Hoy, just after I had worked Don G0RQL in Devon. :wink:


For 7m or 8m fishing poles, try here… New Telescopic Flag Poles From 3M to 10M Windsock Pole Camping Caravan | eBay

A word of warning, 10 metre fishing poles are fairly heavy. For SOTA, 7m or 8m poles are ideal.

73 Mike

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Magic thanks for that tip mike :grinning:
Have made note in me E bay files when get dosh together and get an 8m one
that. a good price and no postage too . bargin :hushed:


My primary pole is still a 7m pole bought from SOTAbeams 4 years ago.
The only issues I’ve had is the screw on end cap (at the bottom) broke after a rare pole collapse, which can lead to you inadvertently depositing the upper contents of your pole over the hillside. This is actually a common problem with all poles and most people adapt a different end piece to stop this eventuality and to reinforce for use as a walking pole.
See SOTApole end caps

I’ve increased my arsenal over time. I have two 5 metre travel poles (bought off eBay for approx £5 each) originally bought to fit in a suitcase. I’d assumed I could take as carry on hand luggage on board planes. I was wrong. They are not allowed :smile: :confused:
One I use for my pole when on the bike, the other resides overseas in my GI SOTA pack.
About a year ago I bought two more 7m poles from Decathlon. At £6.99 each they were too good a bargain to turn down. Again one lives in GI, the other is my spare G land pole. I’m really impressed with the strength and quality of these.

I use the laser cut guying eyes alongside other methods.
Normally I’ll look for other methods of support which require no guying; fence posts, tree stumps, rocks, even self supporting in deep snow.

It’s quicker and easier to lash with a velcro strap than faff about with pegs and guys with frozen fingers.
Guying is normally my last resort, but on many GW summits it’s the only option. I’ve therefore got pretty slick getting a pole up. I’d estimate I can raise my EFHW on a guyed pole in well under 5 minutes, from setting my bag down to being able to connect the rig.
I have had a guying eye part company after a very windy activation of GI/AH-001.The last one only lasted for 112 activations.
I’ll admit that before hand, I’d noticed a hairline crack at one corner which I’d just ignored.
Regardless, I still use and recommend them, as they are quick and easy to deploy and weigh nothing so keeping a spare in your kit is not going to break your back.

I have had a pole collapse on a couple of occasions. It has never happened once the antenna is fully rigged, as there is generally a bit of a bend keeping everything locked solid.

Not collapsing is actually a bigger problem, especially the top thin sections. I’ve had a couple of times where I’m not physically able to collapse a couple of sections because of cold hands, frozen pole and lack of friction.
It’s another reason to carry hot coffee with you…

Stowed pole length is another consideration.
Whilst my normal pole is fine on my back for most activations, it would be a liability when it comes to more technical routes which may require a bit of scrambling etc…
There’s a high risk you could get the top of the pole caught, potentially unbalancing you or worse.
Saying that there have been a few occasions where low hanging branches have nearly grounded me :smile:

There are not enough hours in the day to mess around with yagis and VHF stuff, so my experience is only with a single wire antenna. The wire is generally attached at the junction of top and second pole section.
There is no feeder weight to support!
My album of pole deployments!

Have fun.


Do you have one of those to know what the weight and stiffness is like?
I did notice that the sotapole 10m is twice the weight of the 7m one. Half of me leans towards the 10m one, the sensible side towards the 7m :slight_smile:

Yes that does look good!
What size pole is that?

Thanks for the info. Like your Flickr set. A few tops there I recognise.

How are you fixing that flag on?

When I was camping regularly, me and my mate could have the tent up and sacks inside in under 5 minutes too. Been looking around following lots of links, and watching Richard at sotabeams useful videos.
In the snowy pic above, what is supporting the other end of the wire/guy heading out of the left of the pic? Looks like it’s going somewhere fairly high.

I was thinking about strapping to trig points where possible, is that frowned upon or not?
Obviously I wouldn’t to crumbling ones or badly undercut ones.

Buy both and you’ll soon be leaving the 10m one at home… :wink:

One point I didn’t mention about VHF operation is that you will want to be close to the highest point to get the best all-round take off. A wooden trig block is worth making so you can stand the pole off the trig to achieve a more vertical alignment. On summits without a trig and not a fence anywhere near the highest point, the only option is guying. As Pete says, guying can be a pain especially in bad weather, but you get used to it as retreating downhill to pick up a fence line within the AZ is not usually an option. This is when HF operation wins - the position on the hill is non-critical so you can often use a fence or at least set up in a sheltered spot… sometimes both - right luxury!.

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