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4ft Military Surplus Tent Mast and Max-Gain GR-150 Guy Rings

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by WQ6N, Aug 18, 2017.

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  1. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just sharing a good finding. The Max-Gain GR-150 (1-1/2 inches) Guy Rings do nicely on the stackable 4ft military surplus tent poles that one finds in the surplus stores. I have also found out that not all the ends are the same dimension but for the most of them it is an excellent fit. Plug-n-Play
    Max-Gain GR-150.jpg
    AK5B likes this.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    What are the MGS guy rings made from? Looks like something molded, and not metal.

    Wonder how they'd handle 400 lbs of guying tension? The masts actually can, the guy ring looks like "mmmm...probably not."
  3. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Mineral-filled acrylic that's impervious to UV and very strong" according to MGS. Also non-inductive, non-metallic and their 5 hole pattern allows for either 3 or 4-point guying.

    They sound like DuPont Corian which is great stuff for countertops and work tables and seem perfect for those surplus masts to me; thanks for pointing this out, John. I used to make mine out of grey PVC electrical covers for light-duty use but if I ever need something sturdier I'll remember these.

    Two thumbs up and 73,

  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Never used one, but I'll buy a few (thanks for pointing out they're available!) and see how they fare.

    My experience with MGS is limited to only their extendable masts, and I bought two of them a couple of years ago. Both broke, right away.

    They didn't honor the warranty.:p

    The Army surplus masts are stronger, and I do still use those.
  5. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    That log periodic is too heavy for those masts.

    I have 3 of them in use now, one I've had for ~10 years. They are ingeniously designed, have performed as expected, and withstood the ocasionally high winds we sometimes have here in the hill country. I use the 3 masts with my horizontal loop.

    When I ordered the last two, the shipment arrived promptly but there was some delay in opening it. When I did, I found only one set of mast, guy rings etc. Alan Bond took care of it right away, very promptly, very courteously. I recall from years ago with my first one, there was a problem with one of the clamps that was handled the same way.

    I also have a 12M Spiderpole. It is different. The MGS masts are heavier duty, and heavier construction. Each has its place but one should select the one best suited for the particular use.
    AK5B likes this.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I certainly didn't try a log periodic HF beam on an MGS mast! Even a 2" thickwall galvanized steel mast more than 12' long won't support that.

    Mine were the heaviest-duty ones they offered at the time, and they broke during FD installation of inverted vees. The ham who was setting them up evidently exceeded the tension rating and pulled the inverted vee wires a bit too tightly; the upper mast sections snapped.

    The Army surplus masts will actually take hundreds of pounds of guying tension; I've used them with 4-point guying systems to support a HAM-IV rotator and 3-element HF beam at 50 feet -- lots of times. That takes very substantial guying tension and strong guy anchors. I have a Loos gauge and actually measured one FD installation...400 lbs per guy line! Took it fine, as long as the guying system was "balanced" (equalized). That's a lot of tension.

    The MGS would never survive that.
  7. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Fiberglass is strong but it is also brittle and doesn't like the kind of lateral tensions that can certainly make it snap. Sounds as if the force that made the FD installation break was incorrectly (unevenly) applied.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe so, I wasn't there at the time.

    I like the Army surplus aluminum interlocking mast sections a lot better. They're also 4' each and quite lightweight, but thickwall aluminum (painted olive drab) and Fair Radio sold them for many years for $9 per section, so 48' would be $54. They were short enough to ship cheaply by UPS ground, and shipping from OH to CA was about $25 for six of them.

    Those were actually designed to be a vertical antenna and have electrical interlocking connectors at each section to assure electrical integrity.

    I see The Mast Company now sells exactly the same stuff, but for a bit more money and they sell complete "kits" with mast sections, guy rings, guy ropes and guy anchors all in the kit.

    Way stronger, and still inexpensive. They go up easily to 48' if you have two people, a bit less easily with one person.
  9. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Exactly what I've been using since I first bought a few batches at the Livermore Electronics Swap back in the 1990s; I've always liked them a lot more than their fiberglass counterparts. But I suppose the case can also be made for fiberglass in certain situations where a non-metallic mast needs to be employed for one reason or another.

    The aluminum ones fit together well and can always be easily set-screwed together for longer "ready made lengths" or for more permanent installations, too. Mine were a real boon for me when I did a lot of portable and contesting from California hilltops as they went together so quickly and could be later packed away in my small hatchback car afterwards.

    I used them for 30-35-foot masts that held up my Moxons in KH6; with some rope tensioners at three guying points I was able to raise and lower my antennas single-handed as long as the wind wasn't blowing too hard, too.:confused:

    I think Fair Radio Sales also used to carry them but I they're probably all sold out now. I'm glad I've hung onto mine over the years.

    73, Jeff

  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I got all mine from Fair Radio, years ago. They may have them "now and then," but I think The Mast Company has been buying them all up lately. They still have the same stuff, although they charge a bit more for it.

    I don't have any reason to use a non-conductive mast on anything; they don't make dipoles, inverted vees, loops or beams work better in any way.

    An advantage of the aluminum ones, besides being much stronger, is you can use the "base insulator" supplied by the original Army kits and make radiating verticals out of them. My old 40m 1/4-wave vertical was made from eight of the 4' aluminum masts interlocked together and supported by the original Army guy ropes. With 32 radials it was a very good antenna. I added another 33' of wire horizontally connected to the top of the 40m vertical and switched by a relay to make it into an 80m inverted-L using the same feedline and radial system, and that worked well, also.

    The Army base insulator that came with the "kit" is ceramic (or maybe painted glass, I forget -- haven't used it in 28 years) and very can guy the aluminum mast with several hundred pounds of tension and the insulator supports it just fine. The lower mast fits into it snugly and can't move.

    I see many hams today use fibreglass masts with wire taped or glued or tie-wrapped to them to make verticals and always wonder "why would anyone do that" when the Army aluminum tubing masts are way stronger and provide more operating bandwidth.

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