I like to tinker. Always have and probably, always will. This past weekend while I was activating K-2171, I swapped out antennas to see if one was any better than another. My first antenna was my Frankentenna set up as a vertical. Later in my activation, I switched to my random wire vertical. To use this antenna, I had to shoot a line up into a tree. Band conditions were not that good, and truth be told, I am not sure which antenna was better; however, for this activation, I gave a slight edge to the random wire.
For those that have operated within State Parks, rules and regulations sometimes seem to get a little blurry when it come to operating amateur radio within park boundaries. There is a general consensus that Park Rangers do not like things in their trees. I personally have not had this issue, but I was never approached by a ranger. I operate CW with earbuds on, so I do not really attract attention to myself.
Recognizing, that it might be a matter of time before I get “caught” with something up in a tree, I thought I would look for a solution to solve a potential problem. I have a B&M Black Widow 20′ fishing pole that should work just fine for my random wire antenna. A trip to TSC got me a 4 foot piece of 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ Aluminum Angle Stock. Tools used were:
Layout was pretty simple. The angle for the pointy end was 20 degrees and the slots for the straps were 3/8″ by 1 1/4″ (approx). The total length of the stake is 28″
I got everything cut out and deburred. I added a coat of zinc chromate primer and a finish coat of flat olive paint.
I have two small Velcro straps that I had lying around that work perfectly,
Then by turning the stake around, it stores nicely on the fishing pole. Together the outfit weighs a touch over 1 1/2 pounds. This is easy to carry and by moving the stake more to the center, it would be better balanced for walking.
This gives you options. You should be able to use this anywhere you can drive a tent stake into the ground. With this setup, you can use many different antennas besides a vertical. I am going to try it with my 40m OCF dipole (I may have to mount it a little down from the tip).
When I do an activation, I like to carry a minimum amount of gear. Sometimes, I feel my Frankentenna is too big even though it fits in a small Buddipole bag. It is fun trying to operate with a small amount of gear. For my next activation, I will bring the pole with everything else fitting in an 8 liter Bucket Boss bag. Instead of the Bucket Boss Bag, I could use a small backpack. In fact, I am thinking about doing a couple of SOTA activations this year. I hope to hear you out there! de Scott KK4Z