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Categories | Towers, masts, accessories, climbing gear | Spiderbeam 18m Heavy Duty Telescopic Fibreglass Pole Help

Show all reviews of the Spiderbeam 18m Heavy Duty Telescopic Fibreglass Pole

You can write your own review of the Spiderbeam 18m Heavy Duty Telescopic Fibreglass Pole.

G8JNJ  Rating: 5/5 Dec 3, 2007 03:46  Send this review to a friend!
Not your average fishing pole !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had previously been using 10m telescopic poles with good results, so I decided to treat myself to something a bit more substantial, that I could use for home and portable operation with a campervan.

The first surprise was the size and weight. I realise that the specifications are clearly stated on the Spiderbeam website, but the reality came as a bit of a shock when the pole arrived.

The construction is very sturdy, with good wall thickness and plenty of overlap between the sections. The length of the folded down pole is 1.7m (5’ 7”) and the weight is 6.8kg (15lbs).

These parameters may seem manageable for portable operation, but both factors require serious consideration, if you wish to erect a pole of this size by yourself. This is because the length of the pole, and the weight of even the lightest sections, result in a lot of force being transferred to the base, if you try to raise it from a horizontal position. Imagine trying to lift a 1kg (2.2lb) bag of sugar at the end of a 3m (10’) pole, then imagine trying to use one which is 18m (60’) long, it would appear to weigh six times a much. This problem should have been obvious from the start and I now realise that I should have paid more attention during my physics classes !

My first attempt at raising the pole was not particularly successful. I placed the pole horizontal on the ground, and pulled out the sections one by one, twist locking each in turn. I then tried to raise the pole to the vertical position and found I couldn’t. Wedging the base against a wall and walking the pole up to the vertical was more successful. However moving it around once vertical was quite difficult, and the resulting wobble on the top sections caused them to unlock and the whole pole to telescope down. This was somewhat frightening as the top sections fall from a height of 18m (60’) so they have a fair amount of momentum to dissipate in the process.

I was concerned that this mishap may have caused some damage to sections of the pole, but I needn’t have worried as the base cap absorbed the worst of the impact.

Spiderbeam supply some hose clamps, rubber strip and heat shrink sleeving to use as a locking mechanism for each section, if you intend to use the pole as a semi-permanent fixture. However for temporary use, something like self amalgamating or duct tape may be sufficient.

Clearly I required a different strategy, so my next attempt was to try and raise the pole vertically section by section in its required end location. Once I had found a method of securing the base, I found this to be a much easier method. Although trying to fasten hose clamps at each section joint is somewhat fiddly and time consuming.

When fully erected the pole looks spectacular, the top sections do sway around quite a lot and it needs guy ropes to tame it.

My long term plan is to replace the supplied hose clamps for some with wing nuts, so that you can fasten them with one hand, without having to use a screwdriver, and make up some suitable guy ropes for free standing use, when not secured to the campervan.

The whole pole can be used to support a wire vertical, or a few sections used to support dipoles or VHF / UHF antennas at lower heights. However care must be taken when clamping antennas to the pole in order to prevent crushing the tube wall.

You can also use two halves of the pole separately, which is sometimes useful if you need supports for the middle and end of a wire dipole for example. I was also able to use a few of the middle sections as a handheld pole which allowed me to get a rope over a tree branch at a height of about 15m (45’). In fact it’s surprising how many different uses can be found, such as pushing draw wires through ceiling voids etc. when you have access to a pole of this length.

Highly recommended.

Martin – G8JNJ
http://g8jnj.webs.com
 
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