Telescoping Pole

I need to know if I can use either a fiber glass or carbon fiber telescoping pole for SOTA use in the field. I will probably be using a dipole or inverted V antenna and maybe a j pole or small yagi (Arrow antenna) for a VHF antenna at times. Since carbon fiber is conductive I am concerned about its effect on antenna performance. My preference would be for a carbon fiber 10 meter pole for durability and length.

I get the impression that it is best to get the dipole off the ground by about 20 feet. I plan on operating on 40/30/20 meters. The lengths of poles seem to max. out at 8 or 10 meters in carbon fiber and about 7 meters in fiber glass and usually the top 1 or 2 sections is not used due to there small diameter and therefore fragile size. I am having a hard time deciding what inexpensive pole to buy. Since I live in USA I cannot order the fiberglass pole that SOTAbeams sells because they do not ship it to USA.

I would appreciate any advice and recommendations as to what pole to buy. Thanks!

Robert Lasso W6RQR

SOTA newbie
Paradise, CA CM99

Maybe it explains my occassionally poor performance, but I’ve never much worried about height when it comes to my SOTA dipoles. If I’ve got trees available, I just stick the middle up about as high as I can reach and then run the ends out to about the same height. Sometimes I chuck a rock with rope over a tall branch and make a real inverted vee out of it but usually I’m too lazy for that.

This is typical of my lazy treed summit setup: Chris Lumens on Instagram: "A very steep hike and radio time on Mt. Doublehead this morning. Sunny, windy, and surprisingly warm. #sota #kg6cih #amateurradio #wmnf"

When trees are not available, I use the mini telescopic pole that sotabeams sells: Buy Mini Telescopic Fiberglass Pole 4.1m - Antenna Supports and hardware | Amateur Radio Accessories and Equipment. It can be shipped to the US and seems to get the antenna high enough up, even without the topmost couple sections. Here’s a picture of that in action: Chris Lumens on Instagram: "Using the crappie pole antenna support this time, just before the sun went down. Such a nice view up here. #amateurradio #summitsontheair #wmnf"


Actually SOTABeams does ship to the USA, I have purchased several of them and they usually arrive here in Arizona in less than a week. They are very good poles but you are correct, the top couple of sections are too thin to be useful unless you have an ultralight antenna. I’ve had sections crack a few times now, but I don’t blame that on the pole at all - when you are in the field, sometimes conditions become a bit harsh so occasional equipment damage is inevitable. SOTABeams actually sells replacement sections for a small cost so if one does break, you can easily repair the pole.

Good luck es cu on the air,

Keith KR7RK

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Hi Robert,
Fibreglass is preferred to carbon fibre as it can have some metal components in it I believe. That is not so important if you are using a dipole but very important if you want to support a vertical, that runs down the side of the pole.

Generally, the mini-masts (short for transportation) that many of us use are either 6 metres or 10 metres high. If you are prepared to carry a full length pole (and prepared to pay the price), they are available right up to 26 metres (85 ft) high ! from Spiderbeam (who ship worldwiide).
Spiderbeam© High Performance Lightweight Antennas - Fiberglass Poles Poles.html
I would not recommend trying to put one of these really tall masts up on your own though!

If you are thinking of the SOTABeams 10m mini-mast - DX Engineering stock all SOTABeams items for sale in the US.

73 Ed.

Fiberglass is what I use and is most common. MFJ sells a few that would be good choices, 20, 28 and 33 feet and all are $90USD or less. I use the 33 foot pole and the top section is barely usable even with my dipole made of #22 wire and a 300ohm ladder line feed. Removed that section and it is fine. Some find the Jackite poles better quality - prices are similar. For shorter poles, Cabela’s sells crapppie poles up to 16.5 feet for under $20 USD.

Hope this helps,

I have two fibreglass poles that I use for SOTA. The Sotabeams 10m travel mast that I use with a 20m or 30m GP and a 4m fishing pole which I use with an EFHW. The latter is much smaller and lighter when telescoped than the 10m pole. Even though 4m sounds far too low I have had good success with contacts around Europe and even the US. The 10m pole is a lot heavier so I avoid taking it in my rucksack. I’d definitely recommend getting a short and light pole - I got mine quite cheaply from eBay. It was a UK seller but, if you don’t mind waiting, there are plenty of cheap options from Chinese sellers. Just make sure that the pole collapses down to about 50cm - many are over 1m which is too long to put in a rucksack.

My advice is to go with a cheap fiberglass pole off eBay (what they call 7.2M length there, actually about 18ft) and use an end fed half-wave rather than center fed. The LNR Precision EFT-10/20/40 Trail Friendly is a good way to go. It will also work fine on 30M and 17M if your rig has a tuner.

73, Barry N1EU

I use two different Fibreglass poles one is 8m tall the other is 6m tall and a bit lighter to carry on longer hikes. The main thing I make sure of when erecting the antenna on a summit is to put some strain on the antenna so the pole bends a little that way it loads up the joints in the pole making it less likely to telescope back down in the middle of making contacts. I always set up the dipole the same way every time so the feed point is pulled away from the top of the pole a little then secure the coax about a metre from the top then a couple times along the pole on the way down. I am sure if you check out the SOTA facebook page you will always see lots of photos of other Ops set up with regards to how the finished instillation looks. As for height of between 6 or 8 metres in my case have not noticed any difference in antenna performance always make contacts,done more than 240 activations over 6 winter seasons.
Good luck
Ian vk5cz …

My first 6 months if activating was done with an aluminum avi probe as my mast, 20 metre inverted vee dipole with 6’ of paracord on the ends. It worked for all except 1 activation.
I now have the Sotabeans 10 mr mast set to about 18’ and the shorter 4.2 mr mast for barren summits.


Carbon fiber masts work perfectly for inverted-V and sloped configurations, and are a lot shorter and lighter than fiberglass. We discussed this e.g. here:

For verticals, it will depend on the brand, but in my experience the effect will only be a slight detuning, not a a severe loss in efficiency. If you use a vertical with a rig with auto-tuner (like KX2/KX3 or MTR with T1), then I see no reason to go with the bulkier and heavier fiberglass mask. I have not used a fiberglass mast on any of my 20+ activations this year, only the 5m and 6m carbon fiber ones from DAM.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

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See also here for measurements on the conductivity of carbon fiber masts:

I bought a cheap fiberglass crappie pole, the Shakespeare Wonderpole (model TSP20, I think) for about 25 bucks, shipped. Removed the final section that appeared too slender to support any weight, so started with a 20 foot pole and ended up with a 16 foot pole. It’s held up well over two years, though I just snapped the tip last weekend when I was impatient and not paying attention. On most hikes, I use it as a walking stick when I need support/balance instead of trekking poles. The main negative, as I see it, is that it won’t fit in a pack nicely, since it is over three feet long when collapsed. If you have money, and want to go lighter, there are also better options. For the dry, rocky summits I tend to do, and when going with an inverted vee setup, I think that 16 feet is sufficient. Peter KD0YOB

I like these:

Get the longest length. If they break or get lost, I don’t mind since they’re so cheap. They collapse to a reasonable length, too. The top insulators from SotaBeams slide about 2/3s of the way onto the 2nd section, which is plenty high. I took the top section out and threw it away since its so thin.
I have a Shakespeare Wonderpole too, but it is heavy and large compared to the cheap eBay ones.

If you’re on a summit you don’t need very much pole height to get out well.


I have no problem with DX Engineering. A good company that I buy from. BUT … SOTABeams is an excellent company to do business with. Note I am saying this from the perspective of a North American.

Do some price checking of the SOTABeams Telascoping pole from SOTABeams and from DX Engineering. At that kind of markup, why would I ever consider ordering a SOTABeams product from DX Engineering - unless there was a serious time constraint involved. And the DXE “FreeShipping” does not justify that markup.

Richard (SOTABeams) runs a very ham friendly company. I am a satisfied customer, and so are two other hams that I made aware of them. I am sure I will recommend them again.



I second that! As was mentioned earlier, Richard also ships internationally so you don’t have to buy via DXE - it’s just an option.

73 Ed.


Assuming that they are genuine carbon fibre!

Hi Robert
here you have another customer


… and the 10m mini -4 sections = 7,70m height deployed (67cm folded) and 600g weight with big top section
top for SOTA !
bruno f6hhk

I like to use the 10m mini travel mast from DX Wire / SOTABEAMS on day trips, although I Ieave the top 2 sections at home. Of course, much smaller poles will work, but to me it’s about getting a good signal out and having some fun, not just scraping the minimum 4 contacts on a compromise antenna. I only swap to the 5m carbon pole when carrying all my camping gear as well.
73 de OE6FEG / M0FEU

Hi Robert

My XYL Carine, HB9FZC and I (HB9NBG) use on all of our SOTA activities a 5m Carbon mast: SOTA | Amateurfunk, Amateurfunkshop Schweiz, Funkshop Schweiz, Amateurfunkhändler Schweiz, Funkladen, ELECRAFT, YAESU, KX-2, FT-817 | Lutz Electronics . We use it with our “HB9NBG’s SOTA-Dipol”, and it works perfect between 40m and 10m with our KX-2. On our activations last week we had 3 QSO’s on 20m to the USA with this setup :slight_smile: .Here you can see an example from one of our winter-activations - there is a QSO also to the USA. On our YouTube-Channel you can find more videos, on which we show the Operation with the very lightweight-setup.

vy 73 de René, HB9NBG + 73/88 de Carine, HB9FZC