Today I wanted to try out a 20-foot (6.1-m) "Black Widow" fishing pole, known as a "crappie pole." It has only one eyelet, at the tip, and no provision for mounting a reel. The pole collapses in six sections and is very lightweight. To support the pole I used a larger piece of aluminum tubing with a sharp end, pushed into the ground. They are sold down here to hold your fishing rod upright in beach sand.
Twenty-foot Black Widow pole ready for action.
My first operation was from Halpatiokee Regional Park in Stuart, at a picnic table beside the St. Lucie River. I had to keep my log book in the radio carrying case so it wouldn't blow away.
View from my operating position.
I took time out to photograph these Swallow-Tailed Kites. Other than the Red-Shouldered Hawk that tried to run them off, and one Mockingbird, they were the only birds in the air today.
The wind off the river was annoying so I relocated to another park up the road. This is my setup there.
KR1S fishing station.
Band conditions seemed down today, but it may have been my low antenna. I used a 24-foot (7-m) piece of wire from the radio to the top of the pole, and pulled out the excess with the pink cord. I also used a 20-foot (6-m) counterpoise wire. That's about as minimal as you can get.
Using 40, 30 and 20 meters, I worked 5 states and 6 countries. I worked four other QRP stations: W4DNE, WP4DQK, KCØNGA and N4UED.
My conclusion is, an antenna like this will work, but is too low to be very effective. If possible, hang your antenna from a tree or other safe support. But I'll keep the pole and pipe in my car for times when throwing a wire over a branch isn't possible.