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Portable antenna masts

One of the most important things for portable operators to consider is how to get (and keep) your wire antenna up. You might be lucky and have, along with a good throwing arm, a tree with favourable branches. Or maybe favourable weather conditions and a kite. But if you can't guarantee these then the most sure fire way of getting a signal on the air is with some sort of telescoping mast light enough to be carried.

Mast material is important. Non-metal masts are lighter in weight and do not interact with wire antennas even if they are run close or parallel to the mast. These are best for HF wire antennas. Aluminium masts are heavier. But they are stronger. And they can support small beams for VHF/UHF. That makes them the better choice for these frequencies.

The videos show four types of masts The 5.4m telescoping mast is ideal for pedestrian mobile antennas like the Wadetenna, quarter wave verticals for 14 - 28 MHz, or where you need to take a mast in travel luggage. The 9 metre is a good general purpose portable mast light enough to carry by hand and great for supporting verticals, dipoles and end-feds. The much stronger 12 metre can still be hand-carried but is heavier and less convenient to take. Finally there's the aluminium mast useful for VHF/UHF work.

 

Compact telescoping poles: how good for portable antennas?

 

Comparing a 9m fishing pole with a Spiderbeam 12m mast

 

Aluminium mast ideal for small VHF yagis

 

Using velcro straps for mounting the mast

 

Why you need a sand spike

 

What can happen if using a mast to help a kite antenna (and the support string is too slack)

 

... and what to do with the leftovers when it does

 

What if you don't have a telescoping pole?

One option is to use a kite supported wire. Or you can just use the sinker, fishing line, tree, throw trick.
This is potentially dangerous in a busy public park so you might throw something more benign
like a tennis ball. More in the videos below.

 

 

 

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