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Best antenna for POTA?????


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Hello all,

I would like to get into POTA and I have found myself looking for the perfect antenna.  Some of the things that are important to me is easy setup, easy tear down and light weight.  My current antenna is an alpha delta DXCC fan dipole.  I love this antenna but it is not easy to take down and set up quickly.  

What is everyone using as a good multiband antenna for POTA???   

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My recent conversations with POTA activators show mobile (from car or truck) operations are very common.

Many parks (Espies. National parks) have restrictions about any wires touching trees, or even spikes in the ground.

For this reason many operators are operating mobile HF stations, or semi-mobile.  For example One setup I use is a Buddi-stick vertical whip which can be set in 5 minutes after parking a car, attached with a HF mag mount to the roof. This way you can quickly break-down when ready to leave and remove the antenna.


Look into how crowded the park will be you have in mind, and the potential to use radials, wires in trees, etc.  Crowds and regulations in a particular park can have a big impact on what antennas are possible.  Personally I like the convenience for POTA of HF mobile.

For SOTA, I like light weight end fed wave wave wire antennas, ideally cut for the band of use.  In the woods, after a deep hike there is usually enough space and lack of crowds to throw a wire in the trees near the summit.






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David, I'll add my two cents worth. I've done a lot of operating in National and State parks and have found that there is no universal rule. You'd think there was, but there is not. So I have always operated with the 'most likely acceptable' approach. I'm like Glenn, I like mobile operating in a park. And if I do decide to operate on foot, which does happen, then I use the same approach as Glenn does on SOTA, super light, end fed, thin wire, QRP, cut to the band. This said, over the years I have also experimented with helium balloons, and even kites. They're fun, but lots of work and have their own down sides.

As far as what antenna I use when mobile operating in a park. I have three go-to setups.

  1. Alpha Antennas FMJ mounted on my roof with a counterpoise for NVIS and a ground (when I have permission to put a ground stake (not 6-foot rod)). I usually ask first.
  2. My favorite setup is an 80m doublet (so basically 138 feet tip to tip), strung from the tip of a SotaBeams 23-foot pole, that I mount onto the car hitch with a metal contraption I built to support it. (Next time I set up, maybe this weekend) I'll take detailed photos. Then comes the clincher. Usually I set up two more 23-foot poles at either end and set it up as a flat top. The problem is that those poles get staked into the ground. Now, because I said I like going for the safer route, recently I've developed a new approach. I set the doublet up as an inverted-V and use sandbags to hold the tips in place. Recently, a ranger came up to me and congratulated me on my no damage approach because, as mentioned, the center mast is off the ground (on my hitch) and the sand bags (the standard small striped kind) are inoffensive.
  3. I have also developed a vertical approach on my 65-foot spider beam mast which also goes into my hitch. In this case, I use a 57-foot vertical wire and, if there is space, a full wave counterpoise that I roll out as needed based on the band.

Again, photos needed. I'll try to oblige.

Hope this was helpful.


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This makes things a bit more interesting!  This whole time I thought I would find a picnic bench and string up a dipole.  LOL.  I never would have guessed that would be an issue but I can see how it may be frowned upon.

I have taken a look at the buddy poles in the past.  I will look at them again.  That my be the better way to go.  I guess originally I was thinking the Chameleon MPAS backpack with the ground spike and the wire antenna that comes with it.  

The radio I would be using for this is the Icom 7100.  I figured it is small and would work well for POTA.  

Thank you for all of your help gentlemen.


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By the way, both @KW4TO and @W4DOI have 7100's. They're actually quite expert at it. So if you have any questions about it, feel free to start a thread in the transceiver forum. Good choice. Nice all around radio.

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