Richard, G3CWI, has just announced a new product from SOTA Beams. It's the MFD, for Multi-Function Dipole, and it's a lightweight collapsible 2 metre dipole that can be deployed vertically or horizontally and used fixed to a support, guyed (using an optional guying kit) or poking out the top of a rucksack as a pedestrian mobile antenna.
Pictures on Richard's website show the antenna being used in a variety of ways: full length as a vertical dipole strapped to a post for support, reduced length for mobile use stuffed in a rucksack, converted to a horizontal dipole for SSB operation, and packed to an overall length of 53cm for carrying. The total weight is less than 430gm.
This looks like being the perfect antenna for Wainwrights On The Air (WOTA). Unlike Summits On The Air (SOTA) which with its international following justifies a greater effort put into activations and the use of HF on the summit, WOTA is essentially a local scheme for people located in and around the Lake District in the north west of England and all the activity is focussed on 2 metres. The inclusion of many easy summits encourages a more casual approach to activation, while keen walkers can activate several Wainwrights in the course of a single day and the idea of carrying a mast and beam and then assembling, erecting and disassembling it at each summit is not very attractive. The availability of a lightweight, quick to deploy antenna offers a great alternative to just using the rubber duck on your radio.
I have already ordered one of Richard's antennas, and look forward to reporting on it in the near future.