Pushup Pole Project
by Mark Coker - KC7JOG

We in SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) are very concerned with the ability to move into a disaster area and quickly put up antennas, especially the Maypole antenna as described in another section. This project builds such a pole that will, when collapsed, be small and light enough to carry in a normal vehicle, but will be strong enough and high enough to do the job. In addition to emergency work, this pole is also very good for Field Day.


Materials for pole:

Electrical Conduit (EMT)in sizes:

2 inch diameter 4 1/2 ft length
1 7/8 inch diameter 5 ft length
1 1/2 inch diameter 5 ft length
1 3/8 inch diameter 5 ft length
1 1/4 inch diameter 5 ft length
1 inch diameter 5 ft length
3/4 inch diameter 5 ft length

The two odd sizes (1-3/8 and 1-7/8) are "top rail" purched from a fence company because they are not available from normal sources in the EMT conduit pipe. The finished pole will be a bit longer than 32 feet and approximently 6' 4" when fully collapsed.

(6) 5/16 Nuts
(6) 5/16 Bolts that are approx 1" long
(1) Can of Red paint
T-handle on bolts is optional
Base Plate pictured, is optional

There is a need for a guying ring at the top of the first section,to assist person in putting up the pole. There are numerous ways to accomplish this, so use your imagination.


Paint Red for approx 7" on one end of all the conduit sizes, except the biggest pipe

I welded the guying ring to the top of the base section.

Measure 6" down, then drill a 7/16" hole. weld the 5/16" nut over the hole. This allows the bolt to enter and lock the inner pipe. repeat this to all but the smallest pipe (top section)a small crescent wrench can be used, If T-handles are not welded on the heads of each bolt.

It is very important to drill a 1/4" hole, 7" down from the top of each of the lower 5 sections of EMT pipe. When the inner section is raised and clears this hole, a 1/4" bolt should be placed thru the pipe. This allows the weight of all upper sections of pipe to bear down on the bolt.

it is very important to not over-tighten the clamping T-bolts. If the operator does over-tighten the clamp bolts, this will distort the inner pipe and this makes it difficult to telescope the sections. In other words, only tighten down the clamp T-bolts firm enough to eliminate pipe racking.

Above shows an optional guying ring placed between the 3rd and 4th EMT pipe section. Its not welded, thus allowing it to float freely, as the sections are extended or collapsed. I highly recommend this center guying ring be incorporated in the push up pole. This could be deleted, but doing so, will make the antenna wire staking process much more risky with pole instability. Even after antenna wires are secured, without center guying, there is marginal center support for the pole. Allowing 3 points of support, will free the operator of any concern, especially in a high wind situation. If the antenna is properly guyed as described, Iíll back the designed structure against any wind storm, no matter how hard it blows, .

Additional view of T-handle and nut, welded over the hole drilled on (EMT) pipe on base section of pole.
Optional base plate welded to base pipe. notice 1/4" holes drilled at corners. I use 7" nails and drive thru these holes, to prevent base from shifting. This keeps the base steady during the initial guying phase.

The base plate isn't necessary, as long as some method is used to steady it until guy ropes can be attached to the top of the guying ring on the base pipe. Generally, the weight of the pole assembly will keep the pole from shifting, as it will tend to sink into most soils.

The finished pole is about 6'7" tall, fully collapsed. it extends to over 33feet.
I'm 6ft tall, and pole is about 6" higher

Installation, what I learned

Official "how to install" document
Note that this is a 13MB pdf file and requires the Acrobat reader to display and print. It is 8 pages of typing and drawings.

Go to Maypole Antenna Project