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Reviews Categories | Towers, masts, accessories, climbing gear | Array Solutions AS-Pen-38.5 Portable Mast Help


Reviews Summary for Array Solutions AS-Pen-38.5 Portable Mast
Array Solutions AS-Pen-38.5 Portable Mast Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $795.00
Description: The AS-PEN-38.5 is a hybrid Aluminum mast with 4 foot top
fiberglass mast section for insulation of your antennas from
the metal mast. This makes it perfect for wire antennas and
verticals that would be affected by metallic structures. It
includes a tip up hinged mast integrated with a heavy duty
quadpod. The whole 38.5 feet of mast can be pushed up into
position with out guys and locked into place by one person.
The guys can be deployed as you wish with the mast couplers.
Shown above is a single guy station, but a top guy and a
middle guy configuration can easily be used for even
stronger severe wind areas, like hurricanes. The kit
includes the stakes(7), tripod, aluminum and fiberglass
masts, mast couplers, and top pulley for hauling up
equipment or antennas. Guy rope is optional for one or two
stages of guying.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.arraysolutions.com/Products/38_5_ft_mast.htm
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You can write your own review of the Array Solutions AS-Pen-38.5 Portable Mast.

W4XEN Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2011 21:08 Send this review to a friend
Quality is sky high...like this mast  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Being in the military, you're not guaranteed to stay in the same place for an extended period of time so I was looking for a mast that was portable, but also had the "horsepower" and heft to get a big (in my case, a tri-band omni) antenna up securely. I was also looking for something that had enough height to clear an apartment building's roof (roughly 2 story). It took a lot of searching on the internet to find this mast. I found lots of "cammie" net poles that seemed shady and short tripod-style masts that lacked altitude. Finally I came across this mast. It's designed to be just that...a mast. It's not designed for a specific antenna or rig or system. It's 5 solid (meaning they're stiff and beefy but they are hollow) poles, connected together that hinge up into position and then is secured by a hefty bolt. This mast is also perfect for folks under the tyranny of a home-owners association because you can put it up for the weekend and take it down once you're done. Nothing is permanently placed.

I'll give the specifics on how this mast works, then I'll finish my opinion part of the review. The mast was shipped in 3 boxes if my memory serves correctly. One for the base, one for the poles, and one for the guy wires and stakes. When this first arrived at my house, I was surprised to find that this thing is SOLID and the base was carefully planned out and machined. The base of the mast has 4 legs. Everything on the base is held together by wing nuts so that makes extending the legs a cinch. It's best to assemble the base in a place that has room or better yet, where the base is actually going to be because it's footprint is pretty wide (around 5-6 feet). Once you got the legs out and wing nuts screwed tight (hand tight), make sure you orient the "opening" of the base, the part where the mast will hinge up, in a direction to accommodate a 40' mast swinging 90 degrees up into position without hitting power lines or trees, etc. Now you can start assembling the poles together with the connectors. The connectors are secured via nuts and bolts so a socket set and an adjustable wrench should speed things up as this is the most time consuming part of the set up. Now, you don't have to use all 4 aluminum pole sections. Adjust accordingly to your needs. Just remember that the top pole should be the fiberglass pole. That will keep your antenna from grounding out. Once you got the poles connected, remove the big base bolt ( by unscrewing a larger wingnut), and hinge the base pole section down and connect it to the assembled mast section. You're almost done. Now you can go to the top of the mast and attach your antenna to the fiberglass pole. Connect your antenna feed cable (I use 50 feet and that gives me some play room once I run it inside). Now the connectors/joints that are between pole sections have holes drilled for the guy lines. You don't have to guy it if its a perfectly calm day but if you got a big antenna, guy it. I'd also say, if you use all 4 aluminum poles, guy it as well because it gets up there high and all that does is raise the center of gravity. It also saves you from worrying about a gust of wind. So quick checklist: Legs extended, poles connected securely, fiberglass top pole, antenna connected, antenna feed line, guy lines. You're ALMOST ready. If you are running a long wire or a wire dipole or any kind of wire antenna, this system comes with a pulley that you can use to hoist it up. Ingenious. And last but possibly not least, consider staking the base down (it has stake holes in the legs). Again, if you are using 3 sections AND have a small antenna AND its a perfectly clear day, you may not have to stake it down and can get away with it. Otherwise, stake it down. Now that that's done, it's finally time to raise it up. The website says one person can raise it and I agree only if it's staked down and if that person can lift things over their head. It's not heavy pivoting it up in position but it can be kind of unstable/awkward if you don't have a helping hand. Again, entirely doable by oneself but like everything else in life, it's better to have help. That about sums it up for getting this mast flying. Since I don't have a HF antenna, I use the pulley like a flag pole and raise up Old Glory lol. Oh, and the stakes are solid aluminum about an inch in diameter and the guy lines are 550-cord like but a bit thicker.

Now on to my opinion section. I've owned this mast now for 4 months and have set it up and took it down almost 10 times. The first time I put it up, was in a confined apartment complex backyard and it took me 20-30 mins. Once I figured out how it's supposed to look and go up, I can set it up now in 15 mins. The time consuming part, as I mentioned before, is bolting the pole sections together. I also forgot to mention, when I raise it up, it tends to bow a little due to the length of the mast and the weight of the poles and my antenna but it's a slight, to be expected, bow. No worries there. I love it when something exceeds my expectations and this mast sure did it. I was a little leery about paying $800 for something that nobody had reviewed yet but I'm glad I did. This mast is a bit on the expensive side but it's one of those things that's useful and will last a lifetime if taken care of. And as I wrote that, I'm thinking that other than a pole section bending somehow, or the base (the most technical part of the mast) gets bent or mangled somehow, the only problems I foresee this mast causing is a stripped screw or nut. I'm just awed by the solidness of this mast and the quality of the machining. I don't have a lot of experience in masts but it's not hard to recognize quality when you see it. I would compare this portable mast to the stability of a telephone pole once properly secured. I hope this review helps if your in the market for a mast. I almost forgot the cons to this mast. For one, it's expensive. The company doesn't keep these in stock and they only build one if somebody orders one, so expect a 2-3 month delivery wait (again, worth it). They called me and told me this so that says something about their customer service. The price is close to matching this antenna mast in height. I personally feel that's because this mast takes a lot of fabrication, machining and man-hours to make. Last negative I have is that it is portable but all together, it's heavy. It also has those 8-foot long aluminum tube sections which are kinda hard to fit into a reg sized car. A pickup truck would be perfect and the car is doable just not very easily. The base does pack up easily and compact compared to its footprint but it's the bulkiest part. They were open on the website that this setup is 75 pounds.

Overall, AWESOME MAST! Get's your antenna in the sky quickly and securly. I use a Jetstream JTB-4 antenna that's around 9 feet tall. Works on 6m/2m/70cm. I've yapped with 2m folks 50-60 miles away using just 10 watts and not using a beam antenna, this is an omni! Amazing what getting an antenna in the sky will do and this mast gets it up there. I would easily recommend this to a friend and would have to sell something to get another if it got stolen but I totally would.

73,
Caleb

P.S. email me: ultralite.moose@gmail.com if you have anymore questions.
 


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