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Need advice - guying collabsible mast

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KJ6EZQ, Mar 31, 2012.

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  1. KJ6EZQ

    KJ6EZQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a Buddipole antenna that is mounted on top of a painter's pole. The pole itself is strapped using hose clamps to a tall wooden stake that is driven into the ground (this part is fairly strong).

    We have been having much higher winds than I am used to from where I moved. Gusts up to 40 mph and constant 20 mph wind.

    I went with a semi-permanent installation because I'm renting and I don't want to put up a conspicuous mast all the time. In the winds the painter's pole sways badly, enough for it to reach down and touch the roof in strong winds (about a 45° angle).

    I decided to guy it and used some green contractor's string and turnbuckles. That actually worked quite well for when the mast was up, but when I pulled it down I ran into problems. Even though I wound the string up onto the turnbuckles tightly and pulled them tight to the hose clamps on the mast, the wind tore them off. They ended up so badly tangled in the bushes that I'll have to cut them off and start over.

    So I'm looking for a way to have the guy wires taught whether the pole is up or down. I'm open to other ideas for my situation. As it is I haven't been able to operate in 3 weeks. I'm also open to the idea of a stronger collapsible mast that can hold up to the winds.

  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Buddipole is a poor choice unless you only use one band all the time, since "band changing" involves major antenna adjustments.

    Do you use one band all the time? If so, which band?

    That will provide valuable information about what you can do as a better alternative.
  3. KJ6EZQ

    KJ6EZQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm happy with my choice of antenna so far. I try to use as many bands as I can. I have only made one contact on 40m, so I'm trying to do more of that lately, but I have been working all the bands I can.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    With the Buddipole design, to change bands you have to take the antenna down each time.

    Is that what you do?
  5. KJ6EZQ

    KJ6EZQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Buy a different antenna" really isn't a discussion I want to get into right now, but I appreciate your opinion.
  6. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    What other options do you have? Are there any trees nearby? How high is your roof and can you get up there? What type of operations do you have in mind?
    You could use the painters pole as a support for a single wire running vertical with the pole. Put down some radials (Even 10 foot radials help) and try to have as many radials as you can. You will get good results with 16 radials. A quarter wave vertical for 20 meters is just a little over 16 feet. With an antenna that short the performance on 40 meters will be okay but not great.
    Now about your guying problems, I haven't found anything cheap that would keep the guy lines taunt at all times. For instances, you could put each guy line on a winch and crank it to keep each line taunt. This would not be cheap and you have to make a method of mounting them that wouldn't cause them to pull out of the ground. Sorry, I'm not much of an engineer;). Keep looking around and thinking. You'll come up with a solution.
    Hope this helps
  7. KJ6EZQ

    KJ6EZQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Gary,

    OK here are some additional details:
    I can access the peak of my neighbor's roof from mine (we're in a duplex unit) if I can find a taller ladder. The only accessible tree is not very tall, maybe 16 feet. Our back yard is not very large at all, so I could maybe manage 3 or four radials outward from the pole into the yard. As far as operations, mostly SSB and some digital.

    I was kind of thinking of something I can wind up the guy wires on maybe, but I'm not really sure where to start. The weather's pretty inclement lately so I don't see myself getting up on the roof any time soon.
  8. WD5JOY

    WD5JOY Ham Member QRZ Page

    As Gary points out a winch is one way - but expensive as heck as you would need one for each guy wire - not really an inexpensive way to go. You indicate your problems are when you "lower the painters pole" --- "contractor's string and turnbuckles. That actually worked quite well for when the mast was up, but when I pulled it down I ran into problems. Even though I wound the string up onto the turnbuckles tightly and pulled them tight to the hose clamps on the mast, the wind tore them off.

    I'm missing the problem when you lower the painters pole since you indicate you wound the string on the turnbuckles yet the wind tore them off. If the pole is down - the guys are loose are they not? Was it when the pole was UP that the wind did it's damage? I am reading incorrectly or your description is incomplete (to my OLD OLD brain cell). I'm not seeing how the guys can be tight when the pole is BOTH UP AND DOWN. I might be slow - so pardon my confusion.

    Also you noted - "The pole itself is strapped using hose clamps to a tall wooden stake that is driven into the ground (this part is fairly strong). However, you then note, " In the winds the painter's pole sways badly, enough for it to reach down and touch the roof in strong winds (about a 45° angle)." So, it is well attached at the BOTTOM, but when extended it "sways" -- yes? And again I come back to HOW can the guys be tight in the "up" and "down" pole position? It's not logical OR I am so confused it is time to stop.

    The limited use of the Buddipole as far as bands and changing bands sure is questionable too; but, you don't want a new antenna so how do you go about adjusting the antenna for different bands (the question was ask in another reply - but I don't believe you clarified).

    The only solution I see is to possibly guy in three directions .... then when you want to lower the pole instead of LOWERING It ---- loosen ONE guy wire and TILT IT SIDEWAYS and let it rest on the roof. Of course this would mean a hinge at the pole base instead of the secure attachment to the wooden "stake" that you originally described. A complicated situation to say the least; and it leads me to one last visit as to HOW can the guy wires be tight when the pole is UP and when it is DOWN? To ME - it can't be BOTH ways.

    I'm no help - but perhaps clarification about the install might help paint a clearer picture?

    Too bad you can't run a dipole install between your roof peak and that of your neighbors and dump the Buddipole.

    GO ahead --- toss rocks at the "old man"; senility covers my butt!:D
  9. KJ6EZQ

    KJ6EZQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK sure, I can see how I can clarify. As far as the buddy pole goes, I bring it down and change tap positions and antenna arm lengths to change bands. It's really not any trouble to me as I don't change bands much except when I start to operate for the day.

    And you're right, it is not secure when it is both up and down, but what I had been doing is unhooking the turnbuckle in the down position to tie them up. The sway is not a problem when it's down. I reeled up the guy wires and tied them to the pole in what I thought was a secure position, but that's where they were ripped from.

    In the up position, with the guys, sway is not "as much" of a problem. Without them, it's impossible to operate in the winds we have been having.

    Maybe all I really need is a better way to secure the guy ropes when it is in down position.
  10. W6CD

    W6CD Ham Member QRZ Page

  11. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    The good news about those tensioners is that they're readily available at WalMart, too. I use them with Dacron rope and telescoping masts so can also recommend them.

    73, Jeff
  12. K4PP

    K4PP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why can't you just cut some shorter guys with some turnbuckles and attach them to the same point on the mast as the long guys and let them dangle on the pole when up. maybe cut some ply wood or a 2x4 or something like a small donut/ring around the pole with some hook eyes and attach the short guys to it so they dangle down weighted. The easiest thing would be separate tying off the guys on the pole and instead provide something on the pole that you can hook the guys, and as well on the ground. That way you can make guys for either up or down and hook up the ones you need as needed. When the pole is up, use the long guys. when the pole is down use the short ones and wrap up the long ones.

  13. WD5JOY

    WD5JOY Ham Member QRZ Page

    NOW the picture is clearer! Thanks! Ya' helped the old-goats picture a lot!

    Since you indicate you are using "green contractors string" as the guy rope - I am not certain if THESE [​IMG] will work since they are - as far as I know - designed for rope within a range of 3/32" to 1/4" inch -- some for up to 5/16" diameter rope ---- far from what you are using.

    The 'Contractors String' is typically size #18 and has a diameter of about 1.02mm or ONLY 0.040" while the tensioner minimum size is 3/32" or 0.09375" -- over twice the size of the string you are using. Just a thought --- I am NOT 'bashing' the tensioners.

    I have seen these "tighteners" in the various radio mags and they sure look like they would do the job IF you can swap that "contractors string" out for some 3/32" DACRON ROPE ( BLACK & stealth-mode is retained) -- UV-resistant double weave rope -- most having a break strength around 260 pounds. You won't break it using it on a Buddipole. IT IS NOT EXPENSIVE at around 8-CENTS per foot or less and will last until Hector grows out of being a puppy. Good stuff!

    Now - on those "hose clamps" - I would make a tiny "mod" as well. The clamps have 'square edges' and even though they don't "look sharp' - they will 'cut'. So if you used a SMALL "S-HOOK" and inserted it inside the hose clamp before tightening and then tied the DACRON rope to it -- no more 'cuts and breaks'.

    For a FREE VERSION of the ROPE TIGHTENERS ---- secure the end of the DACRON rope using a TAUT-LINE KNOT or as I prefer to think of it thanks to loyalty to the USN - a MIDSHIPMANS KNOT. They are EASY to adjust (as your pole moves up & down) again, they are FREE and best of all they WILL NOT SLIP.

    One of a gazillion excellent step by step examples on tying THIS SIMPLE KNOT is at: It is EVERY BIT as good as the manufactured tighteners IMHO.

    SO ............. if you can:

    -1- Replace the "contractors / construction string" with 3/32" DACRON (approximately $8.00 per 100 feet @

    -2- Add "S-Hooks" to protect the rope from being cut.

    -3- Consider the 'tighteners already suggested OR the FREE Taut-line / Midshipmans Hitch KNOT.

    *** Since yours is a 'temporary install' - you could even use 'NYLON' or another substitute for the DACRON - but I don't think you would save "that much" money - plus the DACRON is a far superior product.

    I am sure others have other ideas - but now that I understand your install I see it working well if the "materials" (rope & adding s-hook or some other form of rope protecting when that hose-clamp is tightened).

    More coffee is in order ---- NOW! Hopefully this old fart has not over-analyzed your dilemma and along with other folks has been of SOME - even if only minimal - help.;)
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  14. KD0AUO

    KD0AUO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another vote for the black dacron rope. I had it up for 2 years, had to move, it sat in a back garage for 3 years, moved back, pulled the rope out expecting a rotted useless mess. Nope, it was a little stiff from being wet and then drying all coiled up, but beside that it was good as new.
  15. KJ6EZQ

    KJ6EZQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you everyone, I think I have a much better idea of where I want to go with this now!

    I may go ahead and trade the rope out for the Dacron stuff, if I can find it at Home Depot I'd be satisfied. And maybe those line tensioners too. In the mean time I may have to see if I can give that midshipman's knot a try.

  16. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been using Nylon for the past 40 years with zero issues. Whatever the material, double-braided will stretch less than twisted or single braided construction. I buy it from the local mariner supply places. McMaster-Carr has a good description of various fibrous ropes.
  17. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  18. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll plead ignorance here.
    Your guy rope broke so it was not strong enough to do the job?
    So what is holding you to get something stronger?
    Some folks call it “parachute cord” - usually black Dacron available in variety of strength ( I use 200 pounds) and in better hardware stores. Or e-nay.
    If the antenna, I do not know what Buddipole looks like, is somewhat flexible you should not have to tie the guy so it plays you favorite melody. Little “give” may work too.
    BTW – do you really need the turnbuckle? I would not be surprised that the rope twisting undid the turnbuckle tension in a hurry anyway. Less hardware is usually better.
    73 Vaclav
  19. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The last step with a turnbuckle is to always feed the cable or rope back through it and tie it off so it can't twist.

    Guying anything that goes up and down a lot seems like a lot of work to me. I'd rather use something stronger or tilts up and down using a pulley and pull rope (or winch), or "something."
  20. KJ6EZQ

    KJ6EZQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I never said the guy rope actually broke or that the turnbuckles unscrewed, it's a long story, but I'm not opposed to getting stronger rope at all.
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