Telescoping Pole

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

Thanks to all of you for the wealth of information to help me make my decision about purchasing my first SOTA mast for future activations.

This is a great source of information for a newbie like myself!!

my best 73’s,

Robert W6RQR

Robert, if you are still monitoring the thread: I use a 20 foot telescoping crappie pole, Black Widow brand, that I got at the local Bass Pro store for $25. I’ve been very happy with it. So far the summits I’ve visited had scrub trees on top, so I use some backpacking lashing straps (the kind used to attach a sleeping bag or tent to your backpack) to tie the mast to the tree. I attach one end of my 43 foot wire and then fully extend the sections up to maximum height. The wire becomes an end-fed sloper driven by a KX3 on 40m and 20m. I have used this in up to approximately 40 mph winds with little mast sway, I guess because it has such a narrow profile that there is very little wind loading.

Like Peter KD0YOB’s pole, it is 3 foot 9 inches long. I carry it by resting it in the water bottle pocket at the lower corner of my pack, and lashing it to the sides. Works, but inconvenient when ducking under low branches!

I find using this pole much more convenient than trying to find a tree with a branch that is both at the right height and not obscured by other branches, and then trying to throw a weighted string over the branch so I can hoist the antenna. I supposed I could carry a slingshot, but I am trying to keep down package size and weight.

I just returned from a hiking trip with the XYL to Maine, where we hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail. I activated 4 summits, 3 of them first-time activations, with this setup, and had no problem getting out. On one glorious day the band was open and I worked 5 European countries with 3 watts on 20m this way.

One other trick - because I kept the last section of the pole even though (it is very thin diameter, as Peter KD0YOB noted) I have a ring on the tip that normally is used to guide the fishing line. I tied a fisherman’s swivel with snap link to the end of my wire, so all I have to do is snap it to the ring on the pole tip. It saves having to tie the wire to the pole each time.

Scott WB8ICQ

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I use a 20 foot crappie pole like Peter and Scott. The first one lasted about five years, but I can afford the $25 replacement. I find it incredibly light and quite strong.

I use mine to support the middle of a doublet, centre-fed with twin-lead. Like Scott I use the inbuilt loop to clip on my antenna and just let the pole bend, it’s a fishing pole after all. Actually I think allowing the pole to bend prevents it from unwanted telescoping under vertical load. I do strap the twin-lead to the pole though to reduce the vertical load on the tip.

Malcolm VE2DDZ

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