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Reviews Categories | Towers, masts, accessories, climbing & safety 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: 39 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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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.
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
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