Military fiberglass or aluminum poles for horizontal wire antenna?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by AE7OG, Aug 14, 2020.

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  1. AE7OG

    AE7OG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Planning on two tripods (made from same type of poles) and eight four foot sections for a total height of 32 - 36 feet for each end.

    My thought is fiberglass poles would be fine since the antenna wire is #16 AWG over a total distance of 63 feet and the weight would not put a significant load on the two poles.

    The antenna is end-fed and the transformer box will mount on one of the poles and not add any weight to the 16 AWG wire.

    From your experience will the fiberglass poles be OK?
  2. AJ5J

    AJ5J Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good to go with simple and proper guying.



    (Been there done that)
  3. AE7OG

    AE7OG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Jeff.
    AJ5J likes this.
  4. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had six sections of fibreglass on a tripod on my garage roof.

    Keyword "had"

    They were guyed one section down from the top and about halfway between that and the tripod.

    I had a pulley rigged at the top to raise and lower the doublet fed with window line. Very little weight.

    Lasted about two years until a 50 mph windstorm came along. One of the sections broke at the coupling and the whole thing came down.

    The joints are not strong enough to withstand any side loading at all. I strongly recommend at least three sets of guys If you expect it to survive, maybe even four at that height.

    I think these things are actually tent poles and not intended for more than two or three sections together.

    If you do use the fibreglass make sure you PAINT THEM! Even then, WEAR GLOVES when handling!

    If I put it back up (I have spare sections) I'm going to use stainless hose clamps to strengthen the couplings to prevent them from splitting and add another set of guys.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
    AJ5J likes this.
  5. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another thing... It was MUCH more difficult to stack the six sections than I had imagined.

    You can't put these together on the ground and walk them up, remember the weak couplings, they will split at the joints. You might be able to tilt up three, maybe four, but not eight.
    AJ5J likes this.
  6. AJ5J

    AJ5J Ham Member QRZ Page

    All of Jeff's posts above are so very true---I overlooked the "fiberglass" part of the equation earlier. Oops!

    I always have used the aluminum military surplus masts that are very sturdy yet still lightweight. I managed to put my 10m Moxon a good 33' in the air all by myself by having a base section mounted firmly in the ground, a couple sections of mast affixed to the antenna which I would add a section or two at a time between running around to the three guying points and letting out more line as it gradually went higher. I used the metal line tighteners from the camping aisle at Walmart to keep the guys reasonably taut once aloft.

    With a bit of prepping and a calm, windless day all went up (or down) smoothly.

    You might want to consider a set of the aluminum poles if you have windy conditions where you are, too---they're great for what they are (and good to 40-45 feet with good guying).


    the other Jeff
    WR2E likes this.
  7. KI7SYG

    KI7SYG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hoping to hitch hike on this thread without hijacking it.
    I've got 12 aluminum poles and 6 fiberglass ones.
    I figured on putting up a small hexbeam on 6 aluminum poles and going 3 sections above that with fiberglass for a 6el 2meter yagi. I intended to guy at the hexbeam only. Do you think the 3 fiberglass on top would be strong enough? I wanted to use fiberglass to keep the aluminum out of the field.
  8. AE7OG

    AE7OG Ham Member QRZ Page


    What about three 10' sections of schedule 80 electrical (gray) conduit? Start at 1.5" then 1.25' and finally 1.0" (alternatively start at 2.0" then 1.75 and finally 1.5". Reinforce with (super) "specialty" duck tape where necessary. Use tubing on hose clamps to establish guying points.

    Has anyone tried this?

  9. AJ5J

    AJ5J Ham Member QRZ Page

    After reading Jeff's account of the 50mph winds and its effect on the fiberglass I would say NO (over the long run---might be fine for a couple of years and "then along comes a major storm" scenario). Get more aluminum sections and don't worry a bit about metal in the field at all (assuming the beams are all horizontal---they won't "notice")


  10. KI7SYG

    KI7SYG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Jeff.
    AJ5J likes this.

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