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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: 35 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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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.
W5DC Rating: 4/5 Aug 2, 2011 18:54 Send this review to a friend
quality control issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a pair of poles two years ago and had the problem that several of the poles were too out of round to use with the clamps so that I ended up using pins to hold the sections.

This summer, I bought another pole set and found that two of the clamps had bad plastic mould crud internally that required tedious manual cleanup to be usable.

Other than these quality control problems, it's a great product. I'd buy from Max-Gain again but the quality control issues are frustrating and disappointing.
N6HE Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2011 06:50 Send this review to a friend
FABULOUS antenna mast  Time owned: more than 12 months
I LOVE these masts! An eHam 5/5 easily. I experiment a LOT with various antennas, and these push-up masts are great - I have 2 of the MK-8-HD masts and am constantly re-arranging them for the different antennas/layouts I try out.

Being Fiberglass (not metal) helps when I use open-wire feeders.

I also use them for Field Day and annual "IOTA DXpeditions." Up-down-up-down-up-down" all the time. They get a LOT of use.

The weight is an acceptable trade-off between extended-position rigidity and wanting to keep the whole thing as light as possible for portability.

Because of the temporary nature of my installations, I don't usually try to use them fully extended (I don't use guy wires), but use partially-extended sections for rigidity. Works great! And if I want to use guys, I'll go higher.

Allen has given me quick and excellent response to emails to him with the two questions I had.

I would buy a third one in an instant if I needed it.

So in summary, I've had nothing but great experience with these masts...

Ray N6HE
AA8IA Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2011 10:14 Send this review to a friend
Max Gain Systems MK-6-HD -- excellent construction and support  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the MK-6-HD around May/June of last year. I secured the Quik-Clamps to the tops of each section using 3M 5200 adhesive, which takes a week to adequately cure unless you buy the fast cure version. Once secured, there is no way to easily remove the Quik-Clamps so be forewarned -- they are on there for good.

I raise/lower my mast at least once a week, sometimes 3-4 times a week depending on what antenna I'm putting up. I use it to support an 80m doublet at the apex, and I also use it to support either a Diamond X300 VHF-UHF vertical, a scanner antenna or a 6m Moxon. It sits on the ground, is supported at about 12 feet to the deck, and guyed at about 25 feet.

Any time thunderstorms are forecast, I lower the mast. I can raise the mast in less than a minute and can lower it down to about 7' in much less time.

I have had zero problems with this mast. It's extremely sturdy and extremely easy to work with.

Somebody else noted that you have to "buy" the stainless screws for the Quik-Clamps if you want them. That is only true if you originally ordered your mast with the glass-filled screws. I believe if you purchase a mast, Alan will give you the choice during purchase to have either glass-filled or stainless screws for your Quik-Clamps.

I have never had a failure of the glass-filled screws. In fact, once I adjusted them properly, I haven't had to adjust them again.

While lowering the mast the other day, I let go of the 4th section while lowering it and it slid inside the lower tube with some force and cracked the Quik-Clamp. Alan replaced it at no charge at the same time I was ordering some other products.

I just ordered an MK-8-HD. My plan is to replace the current MK-6-HD with the MK-8-HD for supporting my 80m inverted-V higher or possibly my Alpha Delta DX-LB Plus as well as my DX-CC. The plan is to repurpose the MK-6-HD for use as a 40m vertical elsewhere in the yard.

Alan also sells everything you'd need to guy these mast including guy rings and rope. He provides excellent support, and the quality of these masts is second to none.
AI0S Rating: 5/5 Jun 7, 2011 14:03 Send this review to a friend
Superb mast  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have an MK-4-HD which I use in our RV park to support an inverted V antenna. Unfortunately we have a typical RV lot which is small and has no trees. I also have a vertical antenna but haven't been real pleased with the results so I needed a way to get more wire out there somehow and the Max-Gain (plus EZ-NEC, a balun and some wire), was the answer. I have the pole on a bracket about 8 foot up on the side of our small casita and the base is solidly set into a cinder block but otherwise it has no guys or other supports. We often get sustained high winds here and this setup has had no problems whatsoever showing only a bit of flex in the wind. But, should conditions warrant I can lower the mast is seconds although I've never had to do so. And that feature is also very nice for fine tuning the antenna height above ground for X/SWR/freq tweaking. I also have the twist to lock fiberglass poles but Max-Gains design is the much more versatile, sturdier and in general better antenna pole for us hams.
AC0DS Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2010 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Versitile solution for temporary antennas  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased two of the Max-Gain model "MK-6 Extend". This is a mast composed of 6 ft sections of stiff thick-walled fiberglass starting with 2.5 in at the base and ending with 3/4 inch at the top. Fully extended it has a height of 43 ft 4 in.

The supplied quick release clamps that come with these masts are a delight to use. Fast, easy, no tools and easily adjustable for tension. I also purchased a set of the optional guy rings which are nicely made and very heavy duty.

My application is to erect temporary antennas on my antenna restricted property. I need to do this without assistance. This model is ideal, as I can easily reach the top of the nested masts using only a small step stool. Max-Gain also offers a longer model using 8 ft sections of tubing. I think this would be too much of a handful for a single person, both in terms of access for erection and for the length of unguyed mast during the erection process.

Due to their size, these masts will incur oversize shipping penalties. This could be a detriment when ordering only a single mast. I ordered two masts and also quite a nice assortment of other fiberglass tubing, square tubing and rods for other projects. The total shipping cost for everything was about $45, which I felt was quite reasonable. The service from Max-Gain was quite good in terms of explaining the shipping process and in delivering promptly.

I've used these masts in three applications so far. They make a very nice vertical by just securing a wire element to them. I use this in conjunction with my radial field and a remote tuner at the base. The mast by itself easily allows for a 43 ft vertical. I purchased 8 ft sections of 1/2 in and 1/4 in tubing. These can be used to extend the height of the mast to around 58 ft, making the vertical even better for 40 and 80 meters. Note that this extension will be too weak to support anything more than a single vertical wire - not for supporting the center or end of a doublet.

I use the mast also as a center support for doublet antennas. It is quite stiff in this application and will get the center up to 43 ft without any problems. It would be equally effective as end supports, although I normally use Jackite 30 ft poles for the ends.

I have also used the mast to support my 10 meter Moxon at heights up to 35 ft. The Moxon weighs about 5 pounds and is clamped to the 1 inch section of the mast. The guy rings allow for easy manual rotation of the mast to turn the antenna.

In all of the above applications, I normally guy the mast at two levels in 3 directions. I support the base with a 5 ft U-shaped steel fence post driven a few inches into the ground.

I also own several Jackite poles and a Spiderbeam 40 ft mast. The Max-Gain is significantly stiffer than any of the others, and the only one suitable for use as a center support at full extension. The others, however, are fine products and quite useful as end supports and verticals.

I delayed getting these mast for a couple years, partly because of the shipping situation. But I'm sorry I waited. They are a delight to use and allow me to erect very effective antennas without any assistance.

Craig AC0DS
K2UNI Rating: 2/5 Nov 26, 2010 14:26 Send this review to a friend
Very disappointed  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought three 50-foot masts to hold up a Carolina Windom 80 antenna - one for each end, and one for the center to hold up the insulators. The antenna run is near some trees in my back yard.

These masts may work in the desert, or on the moon, but if you have trees, bushes, or tall grass, forget it. The problem is that they bend - A LOT. I don't know how many hours I've wasted because one of the masts flopped around and brushed up against a tree, or one of the lines got caught in a bush. If the mast or a line gets snagged on even the tiniest twig - one you could snap with two fingers - the mast will bend like spaghetti while the twig stands strong. The mast should provide at least a little resistance!

Once I finally got the Windom up - and I still haven't been able to go above 40 feet - the end masts look like parentheses and the center mast looks like a question mark. And yes, I did guy them. There's not enough guy line in the world to make these wet noodles stand up straight if you actually try to hang an antenna on them. I have 8 lines on the center mast, but the weight of those two insulators is still enough to contort the thing.

One other comment - the screws in the collars are made of some kind of soft plastic. Raise and lower the mast a couple of times and you WILL strip them. When you do, you can BUY the metal screws they should have provided in the first place.

Maybe the shorter masts are better, but I have to say that the 50 foot masts are not strong enough for practical use.
K6DIL Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2010 07:18 Send this review to a friend
Great product, great service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It turns out that putting a vertical antenna on the roof reduces the number of radials needed by about 90% compared to the same stick on the ground. The 43' (13m) vertical has always appealed to me on an instinctive level, especially when tuned at the feedpoint with an automatic ATU.

I have a 44' telescoping steel mast on the pile of long skinny stuff I don't use at the moment, but that thing is scary in the wind. It makes noise! Plus it is just plain overkill.

The Max-Gain 43' mast is guyed once at +16' above the roof line. The base of the Max-Gain is attached to the side of a partially collapsed 30' steel mast, even with the roof line, at about 9' 5" above ground. There is a #12 insulated (green plastic) copper wire threaded up the middle of the mast. This connects to an MFJ-928 under an eave and then to the LMR-400UF transmission line (Sorry Steve-surplus from work!) There are 5 radials from 21' to 44' in length from the ground side of the antenna tuner on the same plane as the base of the antenna (flat roof). I have a 10 turn choke outside my shack, about 50' away.

Ignoring the safety instructions I put the thing up by myself. In a stiff wind. You don't have to tilt it; you run up the top section, clamp it, run that and the next section goes up, clamp, repeat and so on.

I am thrilled with the performance, especially on 20m and 40m. The DX performance is quite good. It's appearance is very sleek. As the guys are low it sways a lot in the wind but it doesn't make any noise. It always rights itself straight up when winds are calm. I think it improves the appearance of the house.
K4UUK Rating: 5/5 Nov 19, 2010 16:57 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful mast and service!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Having seen a number of reviews on the Max-Gain masts, I decided to purchase the MK-6. The mast arrived promptly and was very easy to assemble. I was so pleased that I ordered another MK-6 mast almost immediately. Not only is this mast excellent quality, but the service that Allen provides is very friendly and professional. I would not hesitate to recommend the Max-Gain masts.
AG4F Rating: 5/5 Sep 13, 2010 13:01 Send this review to a friend
Great mast - great service!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the MK-6 32-foot standard duty mast recently and just used it for the first time in the VHF contest this weekend. My elmer, KE4R and I set up the mast with a Buddipole configured as a 6-meter yagi on the top and an Elk 2/440 mounted about 6 feet below the top. The mast worked very, very well. It is easy to raise and once guyed, very stable. The Quik-Clamps are very easy to attach to the poles initially and work very well in use. One word of caution I would give to anyone considering using the MK-6. When we first raised the mast, the top section (3/4" OD) flexed A LOT. We did have 2 antennas on it, so perhaps with something lighter duty it would work fine. We ended up taking it down and not extending that top section (so we were at about 27 feet instead of 32). I plan to buy an extra larger tube to add to the bottom to get the same height and not extend the top again. His custom guy rings fit the mast sections perfectly, are very solid and very easy to use. They are drilled so it can be guyed with either 3 or 4 ropes. The holes in the guy ring are pretty small, so make sure the diameter rope you're going to use fits before taking it in the field. He also sells guy rope that works great with his guys rings. One final note - when you are extending the sections of the mast, do it SLOWLY. The instructions recommend leaving 8" in each section when extended (for the MK-6, I think it's longer for taller masts). As we found out, it's very easy to pull a section all the way out if you're pulling too fast and not watching for the marks near the bottom of the tube (you have to add these marks yourself - I just used a red permanent marker to indicate where to stop.)

Max-Gain Systems customer service and support are excellent. I'm local to Atlanta, and he took the time to answer my questions when I picked the mast components up (as well as numerous questions before I purchased it).

The big advantage of using fiberglass over aluminum is that the antenna doesn't interact with the mast.

You can also customize any kind of mast you want by buying the components separately.

If using it as a temporary setup in the field, you also want to make sure you secure where the mast meets the ground so it doesn't move. We simply tapped a long screwdriver partway intp the ground and slipped the mast on top of it - it worked perfectly.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the mast and plan to use it for a long time.
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