Portable Pole Version 3

Pole version 1 was a feeble affair attempting to use plastic conduit. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

I’ve written about version 2, and was quite pleased with how it turned out. It remains a viable solution for many situations. It’s also a proper subset of version 3.

Version 3 adds two new pieces of hardware for a more stable, and further reaching solution.

Portable Pole Kit
(Click for larger image.)

The kit above adds the following to the original portable mast;

  • A Diamond X-50 dual band base antenna.
  • A tripod fixture, the yellow item in the back, that makes a free-standing tripod out of 6 mast segments, and through which the mast itself can be “pushed” up.
  • 8 additional mast segments that fit through the center of the tripod.
Full Mast
(Click for larger image.)

When assembled (still a one-man job) the result looks like what you see to the right. Each segment is roughly 4 feet long, and using all 8 of the smooth segments that can be pushed through the tripod, plus one each of the existing ribbed segments, means that this antenna is roughly 40 feet in the air. (I believe I could have gone for 44 🙂 ).

While I call it a one-man assembly, as the mast gets taller it does tend to sway, and that sway can interfere with the ability to push it up through the tripod. An assistant on the guy wire could certainly help with that.

Of course there’s no requirement that it be 40 feet high. Using just a few segments can raise an antenna 8, 12, or 16 feet or so not only without the need of an assistant, but potentially without needing guy wires at all – the tripod is pretty darned stable.

I elected to go whole-hog and got a base antenna to maximize gain and overall performance. The antenna’s mount is itself permanently attached to one of the tower segments. If you look closely at the kit above, you’ll see it on the far-left segment. The segment next to it similarly has a NMO mount attached should I want or need to use a mobile antenna for whatever reason.

50 ft of cable, a marine battery and my radio later I had an operating station.

Base of Operations
(Click for larger image.)

The net result was better than my permanently installed home antenna (also an X-50) in the attic. I was able to reach repeaters 100 miles in some directions. Got a “full quieting” report via the K7CPR repeater in Olympia, as well as a “slightly weak but clear” from a Canadian ham via a repeater in Sumas near the border, 80 miles due north.

(Click for larger image.)

While it’s not light the kit sets up and breaks down in reasonable time, and is certainly something that I can keep in the garage and throw into the back of the car as the situation warrants.

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