INTRODUCING OPAR- The One Person Antenna Raiser
by John Reisenauer,
Updated with new Aluminum Version
11-2010 (Updated with newer compact version 01-08-09) See end
operate portable? Do you have trouble finding help for antenna raising at
your QTH? This may just be the answer for you.
You can drive a
vehicle on the base for portable operations or mount permanently at your
QTH by bolting base to concrete inserts. Slip the mast in the base of OPAR
(short pipe section tilts), mount your antenna and hoist up all alone.
Mast easily secures in place with moveable locking bolt and large spanner
nut. Guying methods should also be employed for heavier antennas. I've
used OPAR to lift small beams, verticals, rigid dipoles and various wire
antennas to heights of 20-30 feet with minimal effort all by
OPAR shown above set up ready to accept antenna mast. Simply
insert mast end in to OPAR pipe stub, install antenna and
OPAR shown above with antenna raised and mast
locked in place.
OPAR is designed for "one-person operation" using small to medium sized
antennas, it's always good safety practice to have help on hand. OPAR as
pictured is considered "medium-duty" use. Several variations (use your
imagination for your own particular use!) exist (ie-length of vertical or
horizontal members, etc.) depending on your specific use. A flexible
design is what makes OPAR more "user friendly" compared to the
commercially made models. For larger antennas or operating in the Arctic,
I'd recommend adding a second vertical brace higher up on the vertical
section and adding at least another 12 inches or more to the overall
height (36 to 48 inches plus). If you are not an experienced welder, it's
best to have a professional welder do the welding (the number of "good
welds" is directly proportional to the length of time the antenna and mast
stays in the air!). My OPAR cost about $340 to make locally. Raising a
tri-bander alone is not easy especially for the inexperienced Ham, but it
is possible if done correctly. Remember to have help on hand if at all
possible. I wished I had OPAR many years ago! Good luck with your antenna
MATERIALS LIST (medium duty
support 36 inches tall by 9 inches wide w/support braces every 6 to 8
- horizontal support (drive-on) same as above.
inch OD square tube steel used (approx. 20 feet total required) for
strength vs. round stock.
- 1/2 inch x 3 inch long bolt with welded
- mast hinge is ?" pipe by 6 inches long inside two ?'
- 3/8 inch by 2" wide plate used to secure mast to
top of vertical support.
Some economical mast materials used by KL7JR: 1. Light-duty use: Chain link fence "top
rail" pipe or EMTconduit for smaller light weight antennas.
Medium to Heavy-duty use: IMC threaded conduit
or galvanized threaded water pipe (1 ?" size works great).
Suggested use of
masting and antenna types: (with updates as
The tallest mast I used was 25 feet,
unguyed with an A99 Solarcon vertical or Shakespeare 2010 vertical, or various wired antennas (dipoles, G5RV's
Anything over 25 ft becomes
unmanageable and must be guyed.
I've used small beams up to 20 feet
without guys. On lighter wire antennas I used light weight conduit (EMT or
IMC threaded 1 1/4") or chain link fence top rail pipe 1" diameter.
For the verticals or beams, 1 1/4"
IMC or galvanized water pipe worked great. The antennas go up fast and
easy, but you must do it fast to gain momentum, or the antenna becomes
very heavy midway the push up and then you'll struggle with it.
Below is a picture with the 2010
vertical at 24 feet, and withstood some strong Yukon windstorms in Nov. and Dec. for several days!
Photo by KL7JR No...that's not a TV antenna mounted on
the mast...it is on the building in the background!
Below you'll see the lighter version of OPAR that I haven't tried yet, but the
original is a workhorse and right now sits in the back of my truck ready
for the weekend.
Oh, I add a 2nd down brace from the top
of the raiser that clips to the mast to the bottom of the raiser for
heavier antennas like I used.
The photo below shows the additional brace I added
(later) from the top to the bottom of OPAR to accommodate
heavier antennas. Also see closeup photo.
Check out that "backup" satellite dish above the door on
I kid you not, and I highly recommend you do a couple
trial "hoists" without an antenna to get the swing of things, this baby is
slick! You don't have to be parallel with the vehicle either when
you drive on the base. Sometimes I've had to go up at an angle
less than and more than 90 degrees. Round pipe would also
work. Square tubing was on hand. You can also play with
the height and width of the support depending on what you want to hoist
up. I based my design on heavy pipe and heavy
antennas. I've been using my OPAR for about 10 years now and it's
been a life saver for me hoisting up antennas by
New Updated Compact LIGHTER
I've been kicking this
simple design above around for some time. It's smaller and
lighter than my original
OPAR (one person antenna
raiser) at the begining of this article, and only cost $50 (2009
prices), for a welding shop to make for me.
Quarter-inch plate and
1/4"x4"x3" angle. Modify it to your own design as you
Well I just wouldn?t let it be. I
just had to make a lighter version but hopefully just as sturdy. Allow me
to introduce my latest brainchild, hi hi!
Latest Aluminum version. Front view on left, backside
view on right in photos above.
The older and heaver designs in the earlier
(top) part of this article were Yukon tested (the purple one is
the original design and the black is the lighter version and the aluminum
is the 3rd design you see above.....phew! After using the
lighter version on 4 setups ovar a 3 week period, I know I had to try to
go lighter yet....( I ain't getting any younger! )
The Aluminum OPAR -
Redefining a proven design!
Although the latest design of OPAR
worked well for me on my 2010 VY1RST/VE8RST trip, I wanted an even lighter
antenna raiser. Would an aluminum version work in the harsh arctic or just
end up a brittle mass of scrap metal when 40 below zero?
design uses 4"x 4" aluminum angle (2 at 30 inches tall) and a 1/4
inch aluminum plate (8"x 20"). The bolts are 7/16 inch and I will
probably replace with eye bolts which are easier to grab with gloves on.
Construction is similar to the lighter version OPAR but the weight is
now cut down to a mere 16 pounds! Four inch angle should handle large
heavy antennas such as a tri bander, and 2.5 inch or 3 inch angle would
easily handle smaller lighter antennas. I have $200 invested (aluminum
costs more in material and welding labor than steel) in this beauty and I
am confident it will work fine in the arctic. CQ DX here we come!
DISCLAIMER Feel free to copy or
modify this design at your own risk. Neither USI, NCDXA nor KL7JR claim