DK9SQ Mast

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If you are out in the wilds and want to do some radio, you will want to get your aerial in the air. The easiest way is often to use a convenient tree - the problem being that in many places there simply isn't that "convenient" tree. Your other option might be a kite but it's often too windy or just not windy enough so you need a mast.

Over the years, many amateurs have looked with interest at the fibreglass "perch poles" that are available from fishing shops. They are fairly light and strong and are available in lengths of up to about 10 metres. However, the longer poles and very expensive. In my local fishing shop I bought a 6 metre pole for 15 but in another shop I saw 10 metre poles that cost upwards of 250.

DK9SQ seems to have spotted a gap in the market here and sells a 10 metre telescopic mast that is based on a fishing pole. He claims that it is stronger than a fishing pole and it is certainly more robust than my 6 metre cheapy. For your money, you get the pole and a thin cloth cover to keep it in. To use it you will need to make up your own guys. I used 100 pound breaking strain woven nylon cord. The top sections are very thin and to support a dipole for 20 metres, I used the top of the third section. This reduced the height somewhat. I found the pole easy to use and erect without any additional help. You can see it on my first outing on a 750 foot hill in Wales on a windy day. It is holding up a 20 metre dipole which is attached with a cable tie to the top.

Packed, the mast is  1.28 metres long and without the two top sections it weighs 3 pounds 4 oz (1.5Kg).

Overall I thing that it is a useful piece of gear and will enable me to operate from many locations that would otherwise have been impractical.

The mast is available in the UK from Sycom. At the time of writing it was 57.95 plus 4 carriage (UK).

P.S. A friend has asked if these fibreglass masts are suitable for permanent use. In fact I have had one of my 6 metre cheapies in use for nearly a year as the top section of a vertical antenna. I glued the sections together permanently using Araldite and then gave the pole three coats of polyurethane varnish. I inserted a hard drawn copper wire inside the pole and were it emerged at the tip I made a circle of wire about 10 cm in diameter to avoid corona discharge when running high power. I put the pole into the top of an aluminium pole to give an overall height of 11 metres. The copper wire was fastened to the aluminium pole with a jubilee clip. I smeared the joint with silicone grease (MS4) and wrapped in with self-amalgamating tape to slow the corrosion process down a little. There is no need to get one of the more expensive 10 metre fibreglass poles in this application as you can easily use aluminium poles to get the height that you desire. This method gives a very neat, low profile vertical.

P.P.S. In a conversation with Alan, G0TPH, he mentioned another use that he has found for his DK9SQ mast. He has made a wire loop for the end of the mast and uses it to guide wire aerials over trees and over the roof of his house. Sounds like a good idea. Why is it that wire aerials always get stuck in the most awkward places??

 

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