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Reviews Categories | Specialized Amateur Communication Products | MFJ Model 1910 fiberglass mast Help


Reviews Summary for MFJ Model 1910 fiberglass mast
Reviews: 14 Average rating: 1.4/5 MSRP: $$79.95
Description: MFJ Model 1910 thirty-three foot high telescoping fiberglass mast
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php?prodid=MFJ-1910
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N4LI Rating: 1/5 Mar 21, 2006 13:59 Send this review to a friend
Save your money  Time owned: more than 12 months
Far too light and floppy. And quite expensive, too.

You would be far better off connecting two or three lengths of PVC to make a lightweight portable mast thingy. And, it would cost less than $10.

 
KE0Z Rating: 1/5 Mar 21, 2006 09:53 Send this review to a friend
Too wimpy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got one and am disappointed. The top section is really flimsy and looks like the end of a really light fishing pole. In order to support something like a wire dipole you will have to mount it quite a ways down the mast, maybe eight or ten feet.
 
W7CTW Rating: 0/5 Dec 23, 2004 14:00 Send this review to a friend
Too weak to support its self  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the mast for temporary emergency type operation. I set it up in Central Oregon. Atached number 18 wire at the 30 foot level and sloped it down about 15 feet from the base to a antenna tuner. The wire was not pull tight to the tuner. The wind started blowing the next day while I was gone. I drove up and looked at the mast and saw it was bending over. I got out of the car. I looked at the mast again. Half of the mast was laying on the ground. The mast broke in the middle from a 25 mph wind. If it can't stand up to a 25 mph wind, I find it to be a waste of money. MFJ (mighty fine junk) advertises it for all kinds of antenna installations. It can't even support its self in any kind of wind.
 
K5UJ Rating: 2/5 Apr 16, 2004 15:35 Send this review to a friend
Okay only under extremely limited circumstances  Time owned: more than 12 months
Product review
Contact information:
MFJ Enterprises, Inc. P.O. Box 494 Mississippi State, MS 39762
(800) 647-1800
Fax Number: (662) 323-6551

This review is the second part in a 3 part series of off-the-shelf products for some of the elements in an antenna system I constructed. This antenna is a horizontal loop of 1 w.l. on 75 meters that is held up with the MFJ 33 foot fiberglass poles, and fed with 600 ohm open wire feedline which is tuned with the Bliss Z Matchmaster balanced transmatch. I have reviewed the W7FG feedline elsewhere (http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/822). I will write about the Matchmaster at a later time.

In summary:

Pros--
Lightweight. Compact when collapsed. Easy to transport and easy for one person to put up. Has a finished slim dark lok that is easy on the curb appeal. Safer around other conductors and is RF transparent.

Cons--
Expensive compared to galv. steel. Very difficult to guy and high wobble factor makes them useful for only the lightest functions and/or mild weather and/or temporary setups.

What happened:
You may be wondering, "Why fiberglass? Why not galvanized push-up masts or some other
metal poles that would have been cheaper? Good question. In my case the original idea fueling the purchase of fiberglass was the notion that if I wanted a horizontal loop on a small lot with a nearby vertical antenna, and no useful trees, I’d need loop supports that would be RF transparent to minimize interaction with the vertical and hold up #14 gauge wire. I also was looking for something with a somewhat low profile that I could put up and take down by myself (i.e. no telephone poles or makeshift looking A frames).

This is a pretty basic product. You get several tubes made of dark green fiberglass with a gloss finish, each around 3 feet long, one inside the other from largest diameter down to smallest. The tube ends taper a bit so when an inside tube is pulled out there is friction to hold it in the extended position. That’s the only thing holding each section—there is no secure twist lock mechanism employing metal stubs in grooves or threads, or anything like that. The wall thickness of the tubes is around 1 mm. The diameter of the largest (bottom) section is 1.75 inches. The top section is very very skinny—only 2 mm. or so. It has a loop at the end, belying its fishing pole origin I suspect. Rubber caps are on top and bottom ends when collapsed and the whole thing comes in a cheap vinyl carrying case.

To extend one, you pull off the top rubber cap and begin pulling out sections, smallest first, and pull and turn each section (I think there are around 11 of them) until it won’t go out anymore. If you really want to get them tight, this can be a little tiring, but it doesn’t take long to get it out 33 feet. Since the whole thing only weighs around 3 pounds it is easy for one person to maneuver. In fact one use I discovered early on for one of these poles was to use it to guide around, or pull antenna wire out from, trees and other obstacles that have a way of reaching out and grabbing wire (if you know what I mean) when it is being pulled up.

My method for ground mounting each pole (I wound up using seven of them) was to pound a six to eight foot long green metal fence post three feet into the ground and strap a pole to it using three hose clamps spaced a foot or two apart. The fence posts are the type that are stamped out of metal to make a U shape when looked at off each end, and are usually found at garden and hardware stores. The poles fit nicely into part of the U so the poles and posts can be clamped together.

One thing I realized immediately when I got the first pole out of the box and extended, was that the top two or three sections were so skinny and willowy that they were useless for my purposes.
They would only be useable if you were using the lightest gauge hair-thin wire, and tiny feedline, or were spiraling wire down a pole to make a vertical. I wanted mine to hold up #14 stranded copper and porcelain insulators along with ropes and pulleys. That meant dropping down to 24 or 27 feet heights to get more rigidity. I attached insulators to the poles using UV resistant cable ties. An open wire feed can run right up a pole and be strapped directly to it with cable ties, one advantage of fiberglass.

I attempted to guy mine using Dacron rope and hose clamps. This basically proved to be an exercise in futility. I tried two, then three
points along the length of each of two poles, in three directions, then four. They simply lacked the rigidity and stability needed for secure guying, and collapsed in high winds. In the northern Midwest, it is not unusual to have low pressure systems move through which generate wind gusts of over 50 mph over a period of several hours. One such system gusted up to over 60 mph
in early March this year. This caused two of the poles to snap in two, which together with the guying difficulties, caused me to abandon the idea of using fiberglass, and substitute galvanized steel in its place.

It is important to note that the poles are advertised by MFJ as being great for portable and temporary use—you would be well advised to interpret that to mean permanent installation is not a good idea except in locations where only the mildest weather is the norm.

Rob Atkinson
K5UJ
 
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