Telescopic masts are a design of cylinder that provide an extremely long output for a compact retracted length. Sections slide into each other as sleeves, the overall length of a mast will vary depending on the number of sections but some designs can have a collapsed length that is as little as 15% of the fully extended length. This makes telescoping masts ideal for temporary setups or where the mast needs to be easily transported.
Versatility is a key aspect of telescopic masts and this, coupled with the convenience of being able to collapse and transport make them extremely popular for use with man portable kits and vehicle mounted bases especially with emergency relief work in areas affected by severe weather or other disaster affected areas where existing communication infrastructure has been damaged. For semi permanent or permanent installations guy wires are commonly used to provide additional stability.
Like most transportable masts one limitation is the overall height that can be achieved verses what could be accomplished with a permanent installation. That is often outweighed by the ability to change locations to areas which will provide better RF signal. The customisation of telescopic masts to suit a raft of different applications is a relatively easy undertaking and goes some way to explaining the popularity of the system.