At our Contest Station ED1R we are limited in space. Therefore we have to install before the contests our low band verticals and beverages - and of course, after the contests, take them down and bring them into the storage again. Over the last years, we started optimizing the way how to rapidly deploy and remove radials. Earlier we used a bunch of garden hose carts, which were inexpensive, but after three contest seasons, they started falling apart. A more solid solution was needed. This time we build a solid cart, using surplus military equipment.

The cart

The base cart we got from eBay. It was a cheap Chinese one for around 80€. It claims to be built for 350kg, which is IMHO exaggerated. But for our purpose it is adequate.

Winch & Coilers

Again, back on eBay we got from a German Powerseller a surplus (ex-military) mounting for coilers. We paid approximately 40€ per coiler, including 700m of robust military field wire (LFK - Leichtes Feld Kabel).

Main Frame

We designed the mainframe for a convenient working height. We got the 2mm steal from our local locksmith and soldered them in an afternoon. Afterward, we painted them twice to avoid oxidation. The frame itself just fits perfectly into the cart with no need for soldering or screwing them together. This drop in system also allows us to replace the cart, in case it breaks one day, or just to use it without the frame for other purposes.

preparing the frame

Preparing the frame

EC1KR & DH1TW soldering

EC1KR & DH1TW soldering

Completed frame (max 2mm deviation)

Completed, but not yet painted frame

Frame inside the cart with the mounted winch and a changeable coiler


So far the cart is now in use for more than a year and apart from one flat tire, we haven’t had any further problems. We deploy now 4 beverages (each 250m long) and about 3km of radial network for the 80m and 160m antennas in less than 2 hours.