Portable Maypole Antenna Setup

What I learned by doing it

By Warren Andreasen – K7CWA


The Maypole antenna is a wonderful antenna and by using the telescoping pole, it makes a great emergency antenna and it has exceptional performance. The antenna can be transported to the disaster site and installed to obtain full base station quality signals.


The antenna design as presented on here, can be erected by one person, or so the claim. I decided to put it to the test and erect the antenna in my back yard. I learned that there is theory and there is practice, and they are not exactly the same


The finished antenna (installed) is guyed at about the 5-foot level and again at the 30 foot level and of course the antenna wires themselves become the guys for the top 32 foot level. It is true, a strong hurricane could not blow down this antenna.


Follows are some lessons I learned in the process of putting up the antenna by myself.


  1. Wear a hat, I didn’t and my face and neck is all sunburned from the Arizona Sun.
  2. The base plate needs to be secured fairly well, not only to keep it from sliding laterally but to help hold it down if you forget to put your foot on the base plate, or your foot slips off of the base while pushing up sections. It is not good for the base to lift off of the ground as it might move sideways causing a tip-over and collapse. One could, if desired, guy the base to the same points as the 5-foot section top. While not required it would be ultra-safe to do so because even if the base lifted accidentally, it still could not swing and cause a pole collapse. This should not be necessary but it is an option that could be used if for any reason the ground is either too soft or too hard (like rock) to securely anchor the base directly to the ground.
  3. The guying at the top of the first, base section is extremely important. It is the only section that can be fully guyed before the entire pole has been extended. Make sure the section is exactly vertical and guyed with heavy guys, as a lot of stress will be placed on these guys as the pole is extended. Remember,  the other guy wires are not yet in place. Nylon is not the best material for this lower section, not because it is not strong enough but because it is rather elastic and does not hold the pole rigid enough to keep the pole steady in a breeze. One could use steel cable then when the entire antenna is up and guyed, replace the lower guts with clothesline or something else. Heavy stress is only applied during the raising or lowering of the pole. If the pole is to be left in place for an extended period, be sure and use a guying material that will stand up to the Sun and not become brittle and break.
  4. Don’t try to put up the pole by yourself if the wind starts blowing. While you can put the pole up by yourself, do not try it in the wind, or even a strong breeze.
  5. The holes where the bolt goes through to support the above sections and the T-Bolts that hold the section in place while the bolt is inserted can be very confusing in practice. Normally you will have to telescope the lower section up so that you can see the bolt hole, then you have to turn the T-bolt to loosen the various sections in the proper order. You are working with three sections, the one pushed up, the one it telescopes out of (to be pushed up), and the one below… and it is easy to not notice the T-bolt you are turning does not affect the section it is on, the effect is on the one above it. Twice I did it wrong and had the unexpected drop of a section. When this happens it is also easy to try and grab the falling section and have your had pinched between the two sections. That hurts! (I know, it happened to me).
  6. Before you put up the pole you must have the platform on the top, all antenna wires attached, and of course you have the coax. It is tough to have all of this wire at your feet and not step on it or get it tangled. Trying to push up sections while you are standing on the wire just does not work. Don’t over-tighten the platform hold-down screw, as it is helpful if it has enough slip so that it will align itself with the antenna wires when they are tied down.
  7. All of the top sections and wires are heavy. By the time you get to the last section, to push up that last section you need the following.:
    1. A person who is at least 6 feet tall.
    2. This person must have a very strong upper body.
    3. It really should be dead calm, any breeze at all pushes the extended sections to one side and a lot of lateral pressure is placed on this last section causing it to becomes hard to slide.
  8. If there is a breeze there should be at least four people holding the antenna wires as this way the pole can be kept from bending with the wind and the job becomes much easier. When out for a forest fire, there is always wind.
  9. Another thing I learned; my back yard is not large enough for the 75 Meter wires. A lateral distance of about 120 feet end to end is required and even though I have a fairly large back yard, I still would have had to anchor one wire in the middle of my neighbor’s yard… not a good plan.

Conclusion of the installation: Yes this antenna can be installed by one person working alone however conditions need to be dead calm and the person must be strong, and tall.

Take Down

Takedown was rather uneventful. As the pole is lowered all of the still attached guys remain attached, which is good because it keeps them from piling up into a huge tangled mess.

When the pole is fully collapsed remove the top platform with all of the wires attached. Loosen the far ends form their tie-down but leave everything attached to the platform (at least this is what I did). I then moved the platform to one side and brought all wires and coax stretched out straight, all together as one bundle. I then took a wind-up spool I purchased from Home Depot and starting at the far end, wound up all wires until I reached the platform. In theory, the next time I want to put up the antenna I should be able to simply de-spool the bundle and lay out the untangled wires for a fast and easy installation.

Final Remarks

The two most important key points are:

  1. Solid guying of the first section. Use long guys that have no elasticity and use a wide footprint. As the pole is extended, very heavy pressure is placed on these guys. If they fail, everything comes crashing down. Make sure the guys are anchored securely and cannot pull loose.
  2. The person pushing up the sections needs to be very strong. By the time you get to the last section I would estimate, the pusher is lifting at least 40 pounds. While not required, a second person would make the job easier by inserting the bolt while the first person holds up the pole sections. One person can do it but by the time you are working on the last section all of the weight has to be held up with one hand until the person can tighten the T-bold. I recommend a second person for that last section.

In a pinch, one person can put up this antenna, if there is no wind and the person is very strong. If given a choice, it is far better to have some help, and under difficult conditions, with wind blowing, I can see as many as six people working together. One person each on each antenna wire (4), or one person each on the mid-point guy ropes (3), with another person pushing up the pole with a second person inserting bolts (for the lower section anyhow).

It is good to know that this antenna can be put up and taken down by one person working alone however I would rather have some help.