Wire Supports for Solid Ground

One of the challenges of living in the Great White North at this time of year is frozen ground. I was reminded of that just recently when, after a few days of milder temperatures, I optimistically stepped out of the house to probe the ground with one of the stakes I use for supporting the ends of the various wires used in outdoor ham radio operations.

I use aluminum ski poles that have a nice pointed end. The handles and other fixtures have been removed (they aren’t used for skiing anymore). In the summer, these poles are easily pushed several inches into the ground and provide good firm support for a vertical antenna, counterpoise wires or the ends of an antenna wire.

In winter it’s a quite different story. Recent mild weather has softened the surface of the soil enough to let the pole go down a couple of inches. But then it hit solid frozen ground as hard as concrete. Problem. One of my Parks-On-The-Air targets this year is almost entirely blanketed with solid rock. There will be nowhere to push anything into the ground. So, it’s not just a winter problem.

Fortunately the solution is easy. Two short poles were lashed together at one end so they can be extended into a V-shape. The antenna support rope lies in the small V at the top of the poles (see picture) and is tied to a weight (e.g. a rock) behind the support poles. This arrangement balances the forces acting on the wire and poles so that it is quite stable. Problem = solved.

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