I’m new here. I had allot of issues trying to quickly strap a pole with cord to a UK trig point in the wind last week. It would not stay put just slid over, scratched up my pole and so i had to move the pole and just guy it. Not sure what people advise ?.
This week, i’ve used an old trick and covered the bottom of my pole in an old bike inner tube, giving it protection and grip. But need a better way to secure it.
You can make a small wooden wedge to take the slope away that makes lashing easier. But I always found using trigs not worth the hassle especially as they attract other visitors.
Make yourself a simple set of guys and a guying ring out of some plastic to go about 1 to 1.5m up the pole (assuming it’s 5-7m). Set up a suitable distance from the trig so you are not disturbing other visitors to the summit. Job done.
You can sometimes fit your mast down the hole in the middle of the trig if it hasn’t been filled with stones. I usually benefit from activating quiet summits, so can use the trigs from time to time. I use two bungees, and similar to Andy’s wedge, I use something to help keep the mast more upright. Usually a bit of camping mat or a water bottle.
I’ve had a dipole up in 60mph winds using this technique.
As Andy said, a ring plus guys is an essential carry, as is a plastic sleeve that fits over your mast. This way you can sometimes jam it in rocks and avoid guying all together.
You’re starting SOTA at the worst time of year, as I did. Practice makes perfect though and you’ll soon have it up in no time. If you can master it at this time of year, then summer will be a doddle. Not sure what wire using, but the Sotabeams lightweight stuff is pretty strong. The inverted V is a great starter antenna. It’s easy to make and gets you on two bands using simple links.
As most (non-SOTA) folk who climb hills want to visit, touch or be photographed at the trig point, I tend to avoid these structures a) so that I can operate in relative peace and b) so that no one trips over my various wire antennas. A simple solution is a section of plastic pipe, about as long as the bottom section of my carbon 6 pole, with short guys attached to it. It works well in anything but the strongest winds and the antenna wire when in an inverted-vee or dipole configuration gives extra support higher up. It also helps prevent damaging the pole if you need to jam it in rocks when guying isn’t possible. I also have a set of SOTAbeams guying collars if needed but the plastic pipe is light, easy to use, economical of space and has served me well. 73 Mike
(Pic shows it in use on East Lomond three weeks ago)*
As other have said it is usually best to ignore the trig point and use guys or in soft ground you can push a spike into the ground and put the pole over that after removing the lower cap.
But occasionally you may find a trig point with a hole in the top on a quiet summit. This is me flying a 6m delta loop on Watch Croft, G/DC-007, after trying VHF and UHF. I managed to qualify the summit but it needed 6m FT8 to get the 4th QSO.
Low slung dipoles tend to be omnidirectional, so it doesn’t matter how you orientate it. In windy conditions, I always try to run the wire in line with the wind direction. This minimises the load on the pole, adds an extra guy, and makes the wire easier to handle because the wind is not trying to snatch it away from you.
Have fun, you will soon work out how to do things in a way that works for you!
Definitely not in a strong wind, but that’s where carrying other lightweight guying collars, too, comes in useful. Also it makes erecting the pole much easier - just guy the short plastic pipe first then slot the mast down into it. Simples
My tactical mini has proved very robust, on most of the boggy summits I have just used guys to support it, and occasionally a couple of velcro straps if there is something robust to strap it to. (Usually supporting a 2m ladderline J-Pole at the top of the mast and a linked dipole slightly further down). Paul
I always use a elasticated bundgy cord but a trig point isn’t ideal as MM0FMF has mentioned.
I never use guys - its too faffy. Beg, or buy, a length of heavy black water pipe just wide enough to slide the butt of your mast into. Cut the pipe about 15" long. That will drive into soft ground, or if its rocky you can use rocks to simply keep it upright. Then you can put your mast in it. No damage to your pole and no trying to get the pole supported whilst the antenna is dangling around in the wind…
To add a bit of refinement you can cut the end off at a slant. It goes into the earth better. And for removing peat, soil or turf from the tube afterwards cut a 6" thin slice, say an inch wide, down one side. If there’s soil in it which won’t come out just use a peg to wiggle it out. Simples.
And my collapsed pole sits in the pipe when I put it away in my rucksac. So no space taken up.
I never attach my mast to the trig point. I don’t want to disturb other visitors to the summit, and, more importantly, I don’t want them to disturb me. For the same reason I never use shelters and also prefer CW to SSB.
I find guys very straightforward. I can quickly lower the pole and change the antenna. I will bungee to a fence post but that always seems a faff to lower and put up again. Having said that, I have on occasion found I couldn’t get pegs in the ground so had to find another way. Most summits here in G/NP are grassy but there are other areas where other techniques may be needed.
The great thing about SOTA is everyone has different experiences and different preferences. Take on board what everyone else does, but find your own way to do it.
There are a few round here that have tiny summit marker cairns on broad grassy summits that seem to be completely devoid of any other rocks. Leaves me wondering if someone carried them up at some point, or got their servants to, more like!
The first or second hill I ever climbed was Ben Eighe around 1964. I can distinctly remember our teacher telling us it was a tradition to take up a stone and place it on the the summit.
Over the last 30 years or so, cairn building has become increasingly common. There were no cairns on our North York Moors other than the few marked onOS Maps. These were long established cairns of course.
Fast forward to the likes of Heartbeat, and a huge increase in visitors to that area has resulted in numerous cairns along footpaths. As a volunteer for our NP, we regularly used to have cairn bashing / removal work parties. We stopped doing them. Within a month or two, the cairns were soon back to their previous hight.
The archeological objection to some cairns on summits here, is that numerous tops have Bronze age burial mounds on them. Several of these have had their stones removed and piled high thus destryoing some of the archeology.
I seem to remember reading about a rather large cairn built on one of the Scottish hills, built in Victorian times (? ) in an attempt to increase the hight of the hill for some reason I can’t remember either. Perhaps to make it a Munro? Either way I’m pretty sure the servants would have carried out most of the work!