*PRODUCT REVIEW* Emergence of the Squid

Portable DX operations and/or DXpedition efforts in the modern radio comms world demand light-weight and compact equipment, without making any concessions whatsoever as far as quality or performance go.

What’s more, contemporary DXpeditioners demand antennas, transceivers and other radio accessories which can be stowed easily into a suitcase or backpack and later removed and assembled in quick time and with limited fuss.

Equipment of this kind…

  • nullifies the impact of excess baggage costs which, on many airlines, is $10 for every 1 kilogram over normal baggage allowance
  • reduces carry load for those dx adventures which demand travel by foot and often over rugged terrain (e.g. SOTA)

The Demise of GSM

The growing popularity of the Skypper antenna series, particularly as a viable DXpedition antenna, has lead to the more traditional galvanized steel mast (GSM) becoming surplus to requirements for some DXpedition use.

While a GSM might have been necessary in the past to accommodate a large yagi array, for modern day DXpedition teams using lightweight antennas GSM are just too heavy and too cumbersome to justify their place on the trip.

Furthermore, they also require too many hands  to  get them off the ground and, in some cases where the number of DXpedition team members is minimal, this is just not practical.

Emergence of the Squid

Many DA-RC members are turning to lightweight telescopic fiberglass poles which complement the featherweight Skypper range perfectly.

Resembling fishing rods, these are often nicknamed Squid Poles and can be homemade from a collection of different diameter fishing rods, or, purchased commercially from a number of retail companies around the globe (See below).

In the Oceania region, for instance, a company called Haverford Pty Ltd stocks a large range of telescopic poles which range from 3m to 10m in length. 

Word has it, these are ideal for ham radio use as they are strong and lightweight and can support Skyppers and other wire antennas without problems.

They also don’t break the bank either with prices ranging from $11 AUD for a heavy duty 3m mast, which weighs in at 14 kg, to $49 AUD for the standard 10m version.

The heavy-duty poles sold on the Haverford website, in particular, are high-quality fiberglass constructions with much greater pole diameters than the standard range.

They also come with 8mm rubber cap tip ends, in black or white colours, and are available in varied design options (Pictured above left). Perfect!

Another attractive feature of the Haverford range, according to the website, is that all poles come in a resealable polybag which can be effortlessly transported on a boat, in the undercarriage of an aircraft, in the boot of a car, or by hand when travelling on foot.

Metal pole spikes are available too for just $8.80.

See: http://www.haverford.com.au/telescopic-poles.html .

Of course, there are many other retail outlets that sell versions of telescopic masts suitable for ham radio use, with many models and makes now also appearing on eBay.

The general consensus seems to be, particularly among DA-RC members, that such accessories are the future of portable DX and/or DXpedition operations as they offer a lightweight, low cost and compact alternative to larger more cumbersome masts made from other materials.

Check out these links as well…

73 de Darren