Telescopic Antenna Mast vs. Push-Up Mast

TELESCOPIC ANTENNA MAST VS PUSH-UP MAST by Bend-Gard®
Tired of ‘Flimsy’? Try Ours!

Telescopic Antenna Masts seem to be everywhere – probably mostly by default.  Now there’s an alternative available.  I’m going to give you a few pros and cons of both mast types from my kind-of-biased point of view.

Common telescopics have a few good features, but reaching a 50′ height is not one of them. And neither is stability at the top with a small beam and rotator up there.

Common telescopics destined for a 20-25′ height with little weight on top could be a good choice.  And they are reasonably priced.  That’s pretty much the plus side for these telescopics. For negatives, they abound on web forums.

The actual height of most telescopics is far less than the name implies. A 40 footer is actually about 35 feet and a 50 footer that is UPS shippable shrinks to about 36′. And on some of the taller masts, they have to be shipped LTL truck at considerable expense, unless the seller is local to you.

Common telescopics are usually made from 18 gauge (0.050”) metal with possibly 16 gauge (0.065”) for the top section – not a lot of metal but certainly a lot of flex.

Unless you dig a hole 4-5 feet deep to drop your mast into, you’ll spend your time on a step-ladder during the raising trying to keep your balance. And if you have a small beam on top, it will lean and sway causing a lot of friction on the section you’re trying to push-up. Have fun!

Our Mast Material Options. You Choose and Purchase Locally

1.9” OD GALVANIZED FENCE RAIL

This is a common material used by fence companies for railings and posts.  The 1.9” OD is the actual size though the industry nominal size is 1-1/2” to 1-7/8”. It can come in several different wall thicknesses which can add extra strength and rigidity to your mast. Some of the wall thicknesses are 0.065” (16 gauge), 0.090” (13 gauge), 0.109” (12 gauge), and 0.120” (11 gauge). I recommend at least 0.090” wall for masts over 30′ with a small beam and rotator on top. The 0.065” wall could be used on shorter masts. The 1.9” comes in lengths usually over 20′ long, so cutting or delivery arrangements have to be planned ahead.  Five foot lengths are the best for our install because they are the optimal length to be used with the DIY ‘Winch-It-Up’ Mast Support described in another link here. Other sources of 1.9” galvanized pipe besides fence companies could be local steel companies, internet metal suppliers and local salvage yards. This website DOES NOT supply 1.9” mast material.

OR

1.740” OD EMT (ELECTRICAL METAL TUBING – INDUSTRY SIZE 1-1/2”)

This is a 16 gauge wall (0.065”) that is galvanized on the outside and coated on the inside.  It is the same or heavier gauge than the common telescopic mast.  It provides excellent results when installed properly.  It is readily available from local home supply stores in 10 foot lengths.

The 1.9” OD and the 1.740” OD designs, with their uniform size from top to bottom are much larger than the 1-1/4” at the top of most telescopics and more rigid.

The 1.9” and the 1.740” designs are reinforced with a Bend-Gard® Coupler every 5′ for extra strength and rigidity.  This adds a lot of muscle to the mast.  Click on this website’s ‘products’ link for details.

With the 1.9” or 1.740” mast you can add more height by adding 5′ sections.

The 1.9” and the 1.740”  masts are designed to work best with the ‘Winch-It-Up’ Mast Support.  This is a DIY mast support that utilizes a strap winch to great advantage.  The support allows easy access to your standoff brackets and you can work by yourself.  Click on this website’s ‘mast support’ link for details.

The 1.9” and the 1.740” designs allow you to work mostly from the ground, not from a step-ladder.  And when the mast and load starts getting to heavy to manually lift, you crank it up with the strap winch.

The cons for the 1.9” and the 1.740”  designs are that the cost is higher and you’re investing time in construction and assembly, but the results speak well for those investments.  It’s your dollar – spend it wisely.

NOTE: As with all common telescopic masts, a good guy system is required.  With these designs, non-abrasive guys, like ropes, are required.

Hopefully, after reading this you’ll decide that a telescopic is not your best choice, and you’ll visit the other links on this website and evaluate the complete DIY package and setup process presented.  If any questions, email me: craig@bend-gard.com.

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