Free Radials

Radial Adapter (click photo to enlarge)

Portable vertical antennas for POTA like the Wolf River Coils TIA, Buddystick, and SuperAntenna work best with radials sometimes referred to as a counterpoise. If the antenna is ground-mounted, radials can lay directly on the ground and do NOT need to be tuned to resonance as they couple to the earth.

People may tell you that you need long or tuned or elevated radials, but I've got over 8,500 QSOs including 5 "Kilo" awards on a pair of 16-foot radials laying on the ground that prove otherwise. We have a high water table, and stations in drought conditions may need more radials.

The concept described on this page is to use ordinary, UNMODIFIED household extension cords you already own for your radials. Sure, they might be heavy and not ideally suited for SOTA, but for POTA they work just fine and are essentially FREE! When you're done, they go back in your bin, ready to use for holiday lighting next December.

This adapter uses a FEMALE socket with all 3 poles connected in parallel to a heavy-duty copper alligator clip. It is NOT dangerous and can NOT cause electrocution because it is a female socket, NOT A MALE PLUG, so it can't be plugged into an energized 110VAC circuit.

If you can't understand this, you probably don't deserve an amateur radio license. Nuff said.


  • Set up antenna on tripod, post, clamp, etc.
  • Connect coax from antenna to transceiver
  • Clip radial adapter to antenna mount or outside of coax
  • Plug in a regular UNMODIFIED extension cord
  • If you want a long radial, chain cords together
  • If you need more radials, use a cube tap
    Then, plug in 3 UNMODIFIED extension cords (photo below)
  • Stretch out extension cords on the ground
  • For 40m/80m use long cords (on a reel) for best results
  • Check SWR, adjust antenna and radials as required

Complete radial kit with adapter, cube tap,
and 3 extension cords (click photo to enlarge)

Radial kit deployed with 20m hamstick on tripod mount
(click photo to enlarge)

Radial kit activated @ K-0882 with my Tent Pole Vertical
36 QSOs with 9 P2Ps in less-than-ideal band conditions
(click photo to enlarge)

Before you tell me how smart you are and how stupid I am... as several did on FB... let me know when you pass every ham exam from Novice through Extra... without studying.

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Visit my POTA page for more tips, antennas, and a free sample of my book Successful POTA!

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