RS2 - lightweight tripod suggestions?

Hi! I am looking for suggestions for a lightweight tripod to use with our RS2 GPS antenna. We need a durable, stable tripod that we can leave out in the field unsupervised for long periods without fear of it tipping over and breaking the GPS unit (We have 2 GPS units, and so the GPS on the tripod will be used as a temporary base station, and the other unit will be used for mapping points). Much of our work is in remote areas where we have to hike equipment to our mapping area, so a lightweight and rugged tripod is a must!

I greatly appreciate any help! Thank you!


I hit multiple sites a day so this is what I use. Makes it fool-proof for consistent height and plumb right on the point.


If you using as base, especially for stability, I’d get a 2 meter fixed height tripod. It’s compact when folded together, however it’s a bit heavier than a bipod with tripod legs. The “good” 2 meter tripods we have (Seco) are used for precise geodetic work and are kinda prohibitive in cost but well worth it. They weigh about 15lbs, but you can carry on your shoulder. Ours are about 10 years old and are checked for adjustment upon use. I think we paid about $975 each then, but you can get them now for about $700. If you get them, you’ll need the extension rod for the RS2 for the antenna I think.

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That Seco is what we use to use for our machine control. If you aren’t meticulous about keeping them clean and not letting them get ding a year’s worth of use can drive you crazy trying to keep up with set screws, levers and springs. Of course we did have about 15 pairs though. Now we just use semi-permanent base poles. The brass adapters (puck as we call it) fit perfectly into a 1-1/4" galvanized pipe from Lowes. :slight_smile: The nice thing about the pole and tripod attachment is that you can split to two crews if you wanted to run off NTRIP with 2 rovers or at the very least you have a backup rod.


That’s a good idea ! I’ve been thinking about some kind of threaded mount for stable fence posts we see sometimes in open fields, kinda like this from “Nate the surveyor” over at the Javad forum I visit:

I’d like to have some kinda screw with a standard 5/8" thread on the top after insertion into the post. Many of the posts farmers use here are pretty steady, like railroad ties. Many times I’ve just set base receiver on top and did my survey, but I’m worried about movement in case of a bird or curious farmer moving it.

We have our welder in the shop drill a hole through the side at the top where the puck fits in and the welds a nut on the outside. We then use a thumb-screw to go through the hole and hold the puck in place.

This is an older one before I figured out the right pipe ID so they made something out of what they had. Too bad the thumb-screw assembly is on the other side. Just dig a 1ft hole and fill it back it. They have proven very stable for the life of the project.


Wow ! I hadn’t thought of that… Yep that’s a good idea for future construction sites. We usually set base off-site when on construction sites as it’s so busy with various contractors. Most if the site contractors are pretty cooperative here, they will do just about anything to help you (Surveyors). I’ll keep this in mind next time. We usually keep a few female-male 5/8"x 11" adapter’s. Add on top and viola… Base station.

Thanks Michael ! Damn good idea.

I have a solution for you but how well it works depends on certain factors. I did it for my own use and it is actually quite stable even in windy conditions. The main thing is you need to be able to anchor to the ground so if you can’t drive stakes in, you better find really heavy rocks on site.

I designed the collar myself, 3D printed it in glass beads infused nylon, then fabricated the metal loops that go in the collar. I transfered the level vial from another pole, it’s adjustable with the 3-screw pivot design. The line used is no-stretch dacron so you can get it really tight. Surprisingly, it’s very easy to setup alone and bring the bubble level. I thought it would be harder.

All this is added on a 4-section carbon pole, 1.8m long. The entire kit fits in my 32L day-pack, including the pole, and weights close to nothing.

(I only used two sections of the pole for the vid)


Now that the RS2’s have the 5/8ths thread you could use the same Topcon puck. 1-1/4" mount. Just thinking you probably already use these for your fixed-height tripods… I’ll try to find a source besides Geoshack.

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That’s a great idea too Gabriel ! Damn, I’m 64 years old… learn something new everyday. That would be great backpacking visiting some very old triangulation stations in the Appalachian mountains when I was younger. Still planning on visiting one day… when I get over my current back issue.

Thanks Gabriel !

Yep, those are rock solid. We had a machinist make a bunch of those years ago. I think we still have a few. It’s hard to find a machinist anymore… if only I had the time !

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I made a couple as I cannot find a “hanger bolt” as they are called. Took a 5/8 X 6" lag bolt, cut the hex head off then used a tap to thread the opposite end of the lag bot. To set it in a fence post, I use two nuts locked on the the threaded end and screw it into the fence post. Works great.

The other thing I use, not light weight though, is a piece of 5" wide flat iron that I bent into an upside down L. I drilled two holes in the one side and welded 1/2" round stock on the outer edges of the iron from the holes. I drill 11/16 hole in the other end of the L. I take a cordless drill and hold the bracket to a telephone pole, pre-drill the holes for the lag bolts, then switch the bit to a 9/16 socket and drill in the lag bolts.

Both methods give you semi-permanent base locations that are stable.


Yep that’s pretty cool, jp-drain-sol. I’ve been looking at Tractor Supply in their nuts/bolts section. Just trying to find out something simple. I might just use your suggestion. If I was a machinist, which I’ve always wanted to try out, I could really come up with something to sell. Even using a 5/8" x 11 bolt making a spike at one end and using the nuts for protection for hammering into fence post would be simple enough. Maybe about 6" long.

Thanks for the ideas !

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