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Reviews Categories | Towers, masts, accessories, climbing gear | Max-Gain Systems Fiberglass Push-Up Mast Help

Reviews Summary for Max-Gain Systems Fiberglass Push-Up Mast
Max-Gain Systems Fiberglass Push-Up Mast Reviews: 34 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $139 + Shipping
Description: Forty-two foot fiberglass push-up mast kit.
Product is in production.
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KD6NXI Rating: 2/5 Jan 15, 2016 10:56 Send this review to a friend
Looks great at first...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had three of these. One 43 footer and a couple of the smaller ones. They are extremely non rigid when you get them near their advertised height. Any weight on them whatsoever whether it be a g5rv with rg8 hanging off it or a diamond 8010 dipole or an alpha delta of various types and they just flex and wobble and bend over trying to destroy themselves. They are the most infuriating product I have ever used. If you collapse them enough they can be quite usable but forget about using the maximum height. And guying them is gleeful fun when the sections start collapsing on you. What's even more fun is when the hole thing flops over so far you can't slide the sections back into each other and you now have these giant spring under tremendous tension waiting to flop you off the ladder as you try to undo the U clamps you have tied it to a large wooden post with on the first two sections so you can lower the thing and re collapse it. It collapses when you don't want it to and stays stuck when you want it to slide out. Also, nothing seems to want to stick to the stuff. I've tried silicone glue and Goop. The plastic clamps just pull right off after 24 hours. I wasted so much time with these things because I was sure they would work and were better than metal masts but they were exercises in futility each time UNLESS as I said, you don't raise them all the way up. Oh, and the plastic paddles on the clamps break off, the heads of the screws strip out and the threads also strip.
N7SOC Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2015 18:04 Send this review to a friend
the best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I can't say enough about how great Alan and Max-gain are. Their masts are the best; I have had no problem with the masts or the clamps. Their customer service is top-notch. I called to advise them that I was short one piece on my order and there was no argument or discussion. The missing piece was sent promptly. Thank you, Alan.
K7JNT Rating: 5/5 Nov 24, 2015 12:43 Send this review to a friend
Survived the big Pacific Northwest windstorm of 2015  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
In November 2015, a massive windstorm blew through eastern Washington and North Idaho, knocking out power to tens of thousands of residents for days. Several of my ham friends lost antennas as well. There were sustained winds in 40-50 mph range with gusts well over 80 mph. I have a 50 foot Max-Gain MK-8-HD mast which carries a Diamond X200 dual band base antenna at the top and a G5RV in an inverted V just below it. It is guyed at 25 and 40 feet with basic 1/8" dacron rope. When the storm passed, I was expecting some damage at best or broken pile at worst. To my delight, there wasn't a hint of any damage and I was on the air that same day. Thank you Max-Gain!
KG9HE Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2015 11:44 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for my application  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What I needed to replace a home brew pvc pipe mast. Center support for G5RV. Increased overlap slightly on MK-6-HD. Feel confident mast will perform and meet long term needs. MGS providing needed products. Used marine quality waterproof adhesive,,, set up time 2.5 hours. Giving it a deserved 5 rating.
KK5JY Rating: 4/5 Jul 31, 2013 13:21 Send this review to a friend
Nice for light antennas  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used these to support dipoles (three masts), an inverted V (one mast) and verticals (one mast). They perform quite well, even in the severe winds that are common in Oklahoma.

These are quite flexible when fully extended, especially towards the top sections. So if you put any kind of load (weight) near the top, or if you have an asymmetric lateral force (e.g., an inverted-L that pulls to one side), you definitely need guying at at least two levels. The guy rings they supply are more than sufficient and they take the sun exposure well.

When used for verticals, I secured the bottom to the ground, then at 8' to the house, and so far this has been sufficient for 36' overall height without additional guys. See my tip #2 below.

I have not had problems with the clamps, but I can see where they might fail under excessive stress, since they are hard plastic. Mine use the stainless screws. The largest load I had was a 25-pound hex beam mounted atop the three bottom sections of one of these masts, and I did not have any slipping. That said, I would not recommend that kind of load -- I was just using it to evaluate the antenna for a few weeks at low height without a rotor.

I have a couple of tips for people who want to use these masts:

#1 - if you are concerned about slipping or clamp failure, go ahead and use the clamp, but put a steel hose clamp right above it as a safety. A previous reviewer did this to work around a broken clamp. I used this as a safety to prevent slipping if a clamp should fail under heavy load. It's cheap insurance, and the quick-clamps included with the mast are still useful to aid in raising and lowering the mast.

#2 - if you want a more rigid mast, buy one that is significantly taller than the height you want, and increase the overlap between the sections. I have done this to stiffen up a vertical, and it works quite well. Instead of the 12" overlap described in the manual, I am using a 32" overlap, which increases the average wall thickness considerably for most of the length of the mast. Distribute the overlap across as many sections as you can.

I am quite pleased with the dollar/value ratio of the masts I have. I purchased two MK-6 and one MK-8, and both models have worked well for all of my wire antennas.
AC6L Rating: 5/5 Jun 11, 2013 13:29 Send this review to a friend
Great product! (MK-8HD Mast)  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm on a treeless 6,000 foot city lot. The only place for an antenna is in a 25 foot x 25 foot courtyard completely surrounded by house, garage, and fence. (I did not want anything on the house roof due to "neighborhood aesthetics" and some personal safety issues.) I also have some "difficult" neighbors, so I needed something I could lower out of sight when not in use.

Luckily, I was able to put up a 32 foot long dipole over the courtyard on a diagonal that happens to lie along a north-south line. To do this, I bought the "stoutest" MGS push-up fiberglass Mast, the MK-8-HD. But, I only use the lower 5 sections (2.5"OD, 2.25"OD, 2.0"OD, 1.75"OD, 1.5"OD) to support the dipole at a height of 31 feet. Each section is 8 feet long and when you "nest" them, you have to leave 1 foot of mast within the adjacent section. The mast is guyed in 2 places, 22 feet up and 29 feet up, each with three 3/16" UV-resistant dacron lines. (To give the guy lines adequate distance away from the base of the mast, I have to run some of them over the house roof to a fence beyond, but it works.)

The mast sits in a Penninger Radio TB-2500 aluminum Tripod bolted down to a flat "triangle" of three 2x10 fir planks, each about 6.5 feet long; I laid some cinder blocks on the planks, so the base ends up weighing a total of about 220 pounds.

The dipole is a home-brew one made from aluminum tubing; each side using 6 feet each of 5/8"OD, 1/2"OD, 3/8"OD and hardware from DX Engineering. I feed it with 450 ohm ladder line through a 4:1 balun from an LDG autotuner for 10 through 30 meter band operation. The antenna is light weight but not flimsy; it's fine for San Jose CA climate where we don't get snow, ice, lightening, and high wind. So, it's probably not the best for certain parts of the country.) Perhaps as a helpful reference to readers, the antenna weighs 5 pounds which puts the total load I have to push up at about the most I can manage while on an 8-foot ladder! (Short strokes and a relaxed pace are the key, for me anyway.)

I am very satisfied with the masts; they are the perfect answer, given the constraints of my location. MGS's instruction sheets are detailed, important, and are definitely required reading. These masts are meant for wire antennas or light weight VHF/UHF antennas or something like I home-brewed. (No 20-meter multi-element beam on a rotor, please!) Guying (or bracketing to house, etc.) is an absolute necessity considering the height and the load at the top. 73, Dennis
W5WAY Rating: 2/5 Mar 19, 2013 13:57 Send this review to a friend
Nice poles. Wish the clamps were too.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The 38 foot HD mast: The poles themselves are great. They are strong enough to handle flexing way beyond my comfort level. I was sure something would break during the recent couple of days of wind storms we had - 60 mph+ winds - but my G5RV and my vhf/uhf vertical are still up there. I have the thing standing out in the yard on a homebrew tilt mount with 3 sets of guys.

The clamps are the reason I gave this system such a low rating, as they are basically what defines the "system" (you can buy fiberglass reinforced plastic pipe lots of places). They SLIP. When I figured I had adjusted a particularly troublesome one enough not to slip, it shattered. So I drove in 3 screws at that joint and called it good. Then, of course, I was gun-shy with the other clamps. There appears to be a too delicate balance between tight enough to hold and so tight the clamp shatters. Maybe I just got a bad clamp, but as I say - gun-shy about them now. Anyway, all that's the reason for the "2 - Needs help" rating.

I finally got tired enough of adjusting guys and/or climbing up and re-extending mast sections that I hope I have rigged a solution. This morning was calm so I let the whole thing down (it's always the upper sections that slip the most :facepalm:) and as I locked each section into place I drove a #8 x 1" screw into the ~3mm hole each clamp has in its approximate center, adding just a bit more holding power hopefully without compromising the strength of the poles. It's not a great solution, but it's a solution.

The aforementioned shattered clamp: I cut the other "ear" off the clamp, secured the joint with a stainless hose clamp, and drove my screws back in. That'll be the strongest joint of all of them.

Knowing what I know now, I'd just buy the poles and let them keep their clamps.
KB3FFH Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2012 05:12 Send this review to a friend
Great Quality  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Before using this pole I strongly advise you to use gloves or spray pole off with watewr to get rid of all the fiberglass particles, they are painfull if they get in your hand. Best glue to use is liquid nails.After trying a crossbow and slingshot in a tree with lots of branches,used this pole against the side of the tree and pushed up a bolt with a string tied to it, put the bolt thru the Y in the tree and dropped the bolt on the other side.Before raising pole I taped a 90 degree 2ft long loop on top. Glad I bought this.Lots of time wasted before I bought this.
K5RIX Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2012 03:56 Send this review to a friend
Rigid  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own and use two of these masts. One is the standard 32-footer, and the other is one I made by ordering separate pieces. These masts are no noodles. It does take more than a screwdriver stuck in the ground, but these masts are entirely suitable for permanent service when installed properly. The clamps are excellent. The instructions ought to be read by the user.

One section I received was a tad too large in diameter at one end; half a minute with 300-grit Carborundum paper fixed that easily. I use one mast to support the feed point of an HF inverted-vee dipole (the 32-footer), while the other mast uses 2 1/4-inch through 1 1/4-inch sections assembled such that the mast is manually rotatable. It has a six-meter Moxon and an old Cushcraft 124WB Yagi up around 26 feet. Both my masts are guyed at three points at two levels, and they do not move in the wind.

These masts are excellent products.
N8TA Rating: 3/5 Aug 28, 2011 16:37 Send this review to a friend
Too flexible  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the heavy duty 38 foot mast. I used a TV bracket to tie it to the house and pushed it up from there.
I then put up-with a great deal of effort-two dipoles in a fan configuration. I found the mast to be extremely flexible to the point where I was uncomfortable with it. The mast bends quite a bit with very, very little pull on it.
I spent a large amount of time trying to keep the mast from becoming extremely out of vertical. The mast is guyed from two points with the fan dipoles at the top forming the final set of "guys".
I plan on leaving the mast up all winter to see how it survives the elements.
I used liquid nails on the clamps and that was a waste. Try some other glue. Since I am leaving the mast up for awhile, I put 3-4 pieces of electrical tape from the clamp down on to the mast. I then wrapped tape in a circular fashion to cover the strips on both the mast and the clamps. Much better, but not a good idea for a lot of short time uses unless you don't mind the time and wasting the tape.
I doubt that I will use this system again. Way too much work (two persons working on this) for both of us to put up simple fan dipoles.
I previously had used a 40 foot ten section military surplus mast and I guess I was just used to its rigidity.
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