Free Radials

Radial Adapter (click photos 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 usually 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 well over 35,000 QSOs including 24 "Kilo" awards on just a few 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. With low ground conductivity like on sand at a beach, radials don't couple to the earth as well and can act as if they're elevated.

The concept described on this page is to use ordinary, UNMODIFIED household extension cords you already own for 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

Radial kit deployed with 20m hamstick on tripod mount

Radial kit with my Tent Pole Vertical

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