Simplest Way to Guy a Telescopic Fiberglass Antenna Pole

There are a lot of YouTube videos showing different ways to support a fiberglass antenna pole, none of which seemed to meet my needs which are fairly basic: rapid deployment, lightweight and uncomplicated. So I devised my own method that I hope you will find interesting.

Some hams pound a long piece of angle iron into the ground and fix the pole to it with bungee cords. Simple, rapidly deployable, uncomplicated, BUT, they have to carry a long piece of angle iron around.

Another solution is to take a length of PVC plumbing pipe and guy it, then simply drop the pole into the PVC pipe and Bob’s your uncle. Same problem with this idea. You have to carry a long piece of large diameter PVC pipe around.

If you are lucky you may find a fence post, or similar, to which you can bungee your pole. I keep some of those plastic covered flexible steel straps in my bag just in case I get lucky. Usually though my pole has to secured without available supports.

Sliding toggle

So here is my solution. If you read my post on Ham Radio and the Art of Bushcraft you will have seen an early version of the method. The only materials needed are 3 sturdy tent stakes (I use the excellent military surplus lightweight aluminum stakes), 3 toggles, 3 lengths of 550 paracord and a little knowledge of knot tying.

First, I pound in the stakes, 60 degrees apart around a circumference radius of 4 or 5 feet. Then, using my camping knife, I dig out a divot in the center to make a hole that is just large enough for the base of the pole to sit in. The very small hole (which is carefully repaired when I am done) prevents the base of the pole from shifting in windy conditions.

Each of the 3 guy lines has a knot such as a taut line hitch at one end and a toggle at the other end. I wind these in a figure of eight fashion starting with the toggle end and secured by wrapping the knot end around the bundle. To undo the bundle I simply pull on the toggle and the whole guy line slides out smoothly.

Holding the collapsed pole upright, I then slip the knot on each guy line over the top of the pole and tighten it. The toggle end slips over the tent stake and is similarly tightened. Note: I have tried different kinds of toggle. The Robert’s Toggle is an interesting one. The guy line runs through both holes in the toggle then the working end of the line goes around the tent stake and back up to the toggle where it is secured by wrapping the end of the line around the ends of the toggle. I prefer the sliding toggle which can be tensioned simply by pulling on it. Note also that my pole is wrapped in cloth tape. The tape covers up all the scratches and scrapes from years of service and additionally provides a non-slip surface for the guy lines to grip.

Other ideas I have incorporated are based on many years of experience using this pole. The pole was originally an MFJ 33ft telescoping fiberglass pole but following catastrophic damage from a collapse it is now a hybrid of the original and a fishing pole. One of the problems I have battled over the years is misplacing the top end cap. I solved that by drilling a small hole in the cap and hanging it on a thin cord held on the pole by a taut line hitch knot. To carry the pole – which is about 4 feet long – I attached a length of webbing secured to the pole in the same way. The webbing acts as a shoulder sling but can be easily removed when required.

Camping season has started so this pole is going to get a lot of field experience over the next few months!

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