GW4OKT’s “Cheap & Cheerful Telescopic SPOTA Antenna”

Many thanks to Keith (GW4OKT) who shares the following guest post:

Cheap & Cheerful Telescopic SPOTA Antenna

Available on eBay for around £45, this 5m whip with a ground spike and counterpoise/radial.

Sold as a QRP antenna, yet in the specs, quote it as ‘able to withstand 300W’, I think I will stay at 5-10W to be honest!

Well, I used it on two POTA activations on the 11th of November, coupled to my KX2 and internal ATU. You can obviously adjust the whip for best match, but I was lazy and left it at full height.

Most QSOs where on 20m and 17m.  The seller quotes that it will tune 20m to 10m and I found this to be correct.  It will also ‘tune’ on 30/40m, but don’t expect decent performance.

This is truly a cheap compromise antenna, but I was surprised how reasonable the build quality was!   As you can see, it doesn’t take up much space, the aluminium ground spike is 10” long including the threaded portion.

The closed up whip is 20.25 “ including the threaded portion.

The ribbon counterpoise is also 5m long and is terminated with an eyelet that attaches to the ground spike threads.  I did consider splitting the ribbon to make a fan pattern, but thought it would be pretty messy to deploy an store, I kept it simple and still achieved good results!

This is a handy standby antenna, or for holiday activations, but bring your tuner along!

72 de GW4OKT

eBay Links:

11 thoughts on “GW4OKT’s “Cheap & Cheerful Telescopic SPOTA Antenna””

    1. M10. I really like this antenna. I did split the ribbon radials and put them on a winder. Easy to carry in a backpack with a hole at the top for the tube of an hydration bladder.

  1. I have one of these coming. I don’t see why there would be a QRP requirement, there’s no balun or anything that might heat up. I’ll probably make up a few different radial setups to try. It’s just a ring terminal and some wire.

    It actually looks like it’s the same antenna system as the more complex PAC-12 and JPC-7 and others. Several pieces threaded together with a common thread. Those have coils, and are a lot more money, while this little guy looks like a steal for a quick antenna. I feel like I would worry about the quality of a complex vertical from ebay/ali, but there’s not really much they can get wrong with a simple telescoping whip that is a 1/4w on 20m and a so-239 in a convenient shape. As long as it is mechanically sound, it should work great. For 30m and longer, it’s probably a safer bet to use a full-sized antenna, or shell out for a more reputable coil shortened commercial antenna.

    FYI, they also have listings for just the telescoping whip extremely cheap, which may be great for homebrew antennas.

  2. I have seen these all over Aliexpress when I wasn’t looking, and now that I try to find them, it’s difficult. If I try to be specific, I just get a few results using: “5.6m QRP antenna 14M-30MHz.” $31USD or less (depending on how Ali discounts work). There are a few hams that have had decent results with these on YT. Makes me think I overpaid for the Chelegance, but I am happy with the Chelegance.
    Thanks Keith. Thanks Jason.

  3. I use a 17′ vertical but add a Buddipole 11″ extension to the bottom and mount the antenna on a photographer tripod using a VersaTee. Then I attach two counterpoise wires to the shield side of the coax. The “radials” are marked for 10m, 15m and 20m so I can unwind the correct length without measuring the length. The two “radials” are placed at 90 degrees in the direction where I want to direct my signal. Finally both the bottom of the antenna and the “radial” wire ends are elevated and this makes all the difference. I use a plastic box or a tree to support one and a small tripod for the other.
    Although this antenna takes a bit more time to set up it is worth it and the additional length means that you are always shortening the length of the mast which is easier than lowering the entire thing to adjust the length. I carry a iPortable analyzer for tuning.
    Take a look at the QRZ page of KJ6ER for a good explanation of this type of antenna.

  4. This looks like the MC750 that sells for $180 + $50 shipping. I have one. I have been using it for POTA and does work well. It is 1/4 wave not a whip with base loading coil making it much less efficient. The eBay price is very good. 73 Ron n9ee.

  5. This antenna looks similar to the MC750 that cost $180 + $50 shipping. I have an MC750 and have been using for POTAs in the last few months and it works well. One extends the telescoping whip to be a 1/4 wavelength for the band one is working. Some play with the radial setup to get better performance. Works very well. It is unlike some of the whips that have a big coil at the base that make it very inefficient. 73, ron, n9ee

  6. Thanks for sharing Keith.

    Looks a great option for SPOTA, camping etc. I suspect you can work some great dx on it.

    I would probably choose a horizontal wire antenna like an EFHW for 40m local contacts, but everyone needs a quick deploy vertical in their collection!

    Best 73

  7. It’s also available on the US eBay site from a number of sellers; just search for “5M/16.4FT QRP Antenna Stainless Steel HF Antenna.”

    Mike W5RST

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