Dipoles and Activating
Posted on 18th Jan 2023
The dipole antenna is a popular choice for many amateur radio operators, but it may not be the best option for us POTA activators operating in parks. One of the main limitations of the dipole antenna is that it requires a lot of space to be installed, and it may not be practical to set up the antenna in a park where there are other park goers also trying to enjoy the property.
In general dipoles are not very portable, and can be difficult to set up and take down in a park setting with out creating obstacles that can interfere with others and wildlife. Thus the larger footprint is generally not recommended. However there are occasions where a dipole is feasible, such as when you are camping for multiple days with a reservation or have rented a pavilion or the like to support an event or activity.
So, instead of relying on the dipole antenna, I recommend that POTA activators should consider using other types of antennas, such as ham sticks, screwdriver, vertical antennas or portable wire antennas with a mast, that are better suited for the park environment. These antennas are typically smaller and more portable, and they can be set up easily in even the smallest parks.
Furthermore, park activators should avoid relying on trees and other park property to support their antennas. Not only is it generally not allowed to attach antennas to trees or other park property, but it is also in bad form to risk getting something snagged or caught up and left behind as trash for the rangers or land stewards to deal with.
So, while the dipole antenna is a popular choice for many amateur radio operators, it may not be the best option for POTA activators who are operating in parks. Park activators should consider using other types of antennas that are better suited for the park environment, and they should avoid relying on trees and other park property to support their antennas for practicality reasons.
Curtis Turner - KB3CMT