Here is a simple antenna mast that anyone can make. I idea was to make a 16′ antenna mast. But after building it and trying to set it up I realized that the 1/2” PVC would flex a little to much for my comfort. So I now have two 8′ foot antenna masts.
You can get the materials at your local hardware store. The mast itself is 1/2” PVC Electrical Conduit that was given to me. You can use standard white PVC. Just make sure you get enough PVC couplers to join them together.
The Electrical conduit was 10′ feet long and has a bell end at one end. I cut them down to four 4′ sections making sure to keep the bell end to make connecting them easier. I cut the PVC to 4′ because my car would not except anything larger then that. You can cut them to what ever length you want. Keep the extra PVC for the top section of the mast.
Take one of the 4′ long PVC with out a bell end. Make a small notch in the bottom PVC to allow the feed line to come out of it. It should be about 1 1/2” long and 3/8” wide. This PVC section well be the bottom of your mast. Now connect a PVC with a bell ends to the bottom and you should have a 8′ sections. I have my bell ends facing down. This is the bottom half of your mast.
Before we add the next two PVC pipes we need to make the guide wire connector for the mast. In my design I used rebar ties that I found. The rebar ties have small loops at the end. I was able to wrap three of them around the PVC pipe and zip tie them together to make my guide wire connectors. I made two of them. One for the center of the mast and one for the top.
Take the other 4′ PVC with out a bell end and slip on a guide wire connector then add a coupler to it. Then add the PVC with the bell end to the other side. This is the top half of your mast.
Now you should still have some extra PVC form cutting your 4′ section. I am using a 6” long piece. Add a coupler to the 6” PVC and add it to the top half of your mast. Slip on the second guide wire connector to the 6” PVC and slide it down to the coupler. The couplers are not only there to connect all the PVC together, they also stop the guide wire connectors from sliding down.
The last part of the mast are the end caps. Take your end caps and in one drill out 3/4” hole to allow the antenna SO-239 to fit in. In the second cap drill a small hole about 1/8”, this depends on the size of your nail. My nail is 4” long with a diameter a little smaller then 3/16”. I wanted it to be a tight fit.
The cap with the nail will stop the mast from sliding out. Put the cap and nail down first and then place the mast on top. This will make sure the nail will not push back up and that it goes into the ground.
That is it for the mast itself. Now to set it up. I had the opportunity to try and set this mast up on Field Day 2010. I had some problems. Because the PVC was given to me and I had no control over it. This PVC was sitting outside when I found it and was not straight. You can see a small bend in a few of the PVC pipe in the over all photo. Because of this I did not go the full 16 feet up, safety reasons.
Also any coax cable with SO-239 would not have fit. The 1/2” PVC was to small to allow any SO-239 to go through it. I had BNC at the end of my cable with BNC to SO-239 Adapters. I was able to remove the adapters and slide the cable down it.
I still plan on using this mast, but only at 8 feet. I now have two 8 feet mast for events that I can setup for anyone that is using an HT and would like to use a ground plane at 8 feet.
I do think this antenna mast would have worked at 16′ with straight PVC pipe and some help getting it up. But I don’t think you really need it that high, 8 feet or even 12 feet would be good enough.
If you plan on making this type of antenna mast I would recommend at least 1” diameter PVC pipe for anything above 8 feet.