Notes

  • GUY RINGS
  • GUY RING RETAINER (GRR)
  • GUY SYSTEM
  • MAST MATERIAL CHOICES
  • STANDOFF BRACKETS
  • WINCH SETUP
  • RAISING THE MAST
  • DOWN MAST

GUY RINGS:  You can purchase them through this website though they are manufactured by Max-Gain Systems, Inc., (www.mgs4u.com).  You will need only one part number for your mast size, either GR-175 for the EMT or GR-2 for the 1.9” OD mast.  You will need several of these depending on the mast height and where sections are to be guyed.  Our price is the same as posted by Max-Gain Systems and we can include them in your Bend-Gard® Coupler order without adding to your shipping costs.  We carry only one color.  NOTE: These guy rings are designed to be used with rope guys ONLY.  Do NOT use with metal guy wire or any abrasive material.

TOP GUY RING RETAINER (GRR) (See figure at right)

If you are erecting this mast for use as a center support for wire antennas, you will probably locate your top guy ring retainer a foot or so under the very top of the mast, so the guys won’t interfere with a balun or other centerpiece.  However, if you are placing a rotator at the top of the mast with a beam, consider the following thoughts.

The area directly under the rotator is going to be the weakest link on most masts, generally,  because there is no guy support above this spot. Thus, the wind loading bending effect will be maximized here.  To virtually eliminate any unsupported pipe exposure here, mount your GRR an inch below the lower rotator clamp or the beam itself, if no rotator is placed here.  This leaves enough clearance for the guy ring to move freely with the guy ropes installed.  So with negligible clearance allowed around the guy ring, it will be much more difficult for the pipe to bend here.

GUY SYSTEM: This is your insurance policy – the better it is, the safer your installation.  Overdo the guys – it will pay dividends.  I don’t recommend the 3 guy system with a small beam antenna on top.  At a height of 30′ or more a 4 guy system is the better way to go.  I use STI brand 3/16” double braided black polyester support rope, 770#, available from many suppliers.  For rope anchor grips, I use the 3-ball type available as Buckmaster Line-Grip™ or clothesline tightener equivalent.  The best deal I’ve found is from The Home Depot.  Order initially from online as the stores don’t stock enough for your needs.  See Figure 2 for attaching to trees or building.

MAST MATERIAL CHOICES – LOCAL PURCHASE BY YOU

  • 1.9” OD GALVANIZED STEEL PIPE/TUBING/FENCE RAILS/FENCE POSTS
    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 might be either 1-1/2” or 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”, 0.090”, 0.109”, and 0.120”.  I’m using the 0.090” thickness.  The 0.065” is the lightest duty to consider using for any project.  The pipe comes in lengths often 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. I used this EMT for my primary mast at a 50′ height for 5 years with a hex and a rotator up top with a good guy system.  I had no failures and no bent pipe.  It does become more of a challenge after 35′ especially when working alone.  From 35′ up, using the 1.9” OD  fence rail with a wall of 0.090” is better due to a thicker wall than the EMT and thus it has more rigidity.

STANDOFF BRACKETS (Wall Mounts)

When using the Winch-It-Up Mast Support, you will need a 3-4” set of standoff brackets.  These are available from many online sellers.  I found that 3starinc.com had the best selection.

Make sure your purchase can accommodate a 2-1/2” diameter mast and my advice is to stay away from the U-bolt type as they are more difficult to work with in our setup.   When passing the guy rings through these brackets, it is necessary to have as much free play as possible. See Figure 3.  Even then it will be necessary to remove the strap to pass the guy ring.  If so, you or someone else must have positive control of the mast during the procedure.  This is very important on the top bracket, especially if there is a beam antenna and rotator on top.

To help a little, I replaced the stock ¼” bolts with 4” long ones.  Be sure your bolts are threaded all the way.  The Home Depot’s bolts work well.  Also, when working by myself, I have used a small utility chain for mast control.  Wrap it around the 4×4, the top standoff and the mast and secure it with bolt and nut.  I allowed just enough leeway in the chain to allow the guy ring to pass through.  This kept the  mast with beam and rotator from  leaning too much to control.  Of course, an extra helper to hold the mast works even better.

CAUTION: Standoffs are not designed to support the weight of the mast when it is off the ground.  They simply hold the mast in place to a vertical support or a wall.  The strap winch in the winch-it -up mast support acts as the support for the mast and can be operated by oneself.

WINCH SETUP: See Figure 4

I have a winch setup on my Winch-It-Up Mast Support.  It makes raising and lowering of the mast much easier, safer and certainly more controlled.  Mine is a strap type purchased at a local discounter for about $35 and is rated for 1500 pounds. Note that the winch is at the top of its’ travel-ready to attach the next 5 footer. Notice also the orientation of the standoffs and mast.

As you face the building, they are facing to the left.  This allows the winch to be installed and to function properly.

WINCH WARNING: Before using the winch in the vertical position to raise and lower the mast, make sure it is in the locked position before leaving it unattended.  Be very careful with the winch’s locking device. There can be quite a bit of weight supported by it.  Remember, you’re raising straight up vertically-not pulling horizontally.   Get used to it before using it.  If it seems to be hard to crank up, you probably have something hanging up somewhere above, ie, a coupler caught on a wall bracket, guys or a coax cable that are too tight.

RAISING THE MAST: Using 1.9” OD Using Fence Rail

My 1.9” OD mast is over 50′ high and it was raised entirely by myself.  One person raising the mast is not the most efficient way to get it up, but it can be done.  After reaching about the 35 foot level with a small beam and rotator on top and working by oneself, a lean can be expected. If by yourself, you will spend much time chasing around to the guy points making adjustments after every foot or so of new lift.  If you have a few helpers and have your 5 footers and guys ready, the whole process can be reduced to an hour or so rather than many hours if by yourself.

RAISING THE MAST: Using 1.740” OD EMT (industry size 1-1/2”)

You should have the same situation as with the 1.9” OD up to around the 30′ level.  If planning on going higher than 30′, using the 1.9” OD mast is the better choice due to its’ thicker wall options and thus more rigidity.

DOWN MAST

Now that you got the mast up, you need to develop an easy procedure for bringing it down as in a threat of high or hurricane winds.

You’ll need a ladder to loosen the standoff brackets so the mast couplers’ pan head bolts and  guy rings can pass through the brackets.  You’ll need to watch the mast for tilting on its’ way down.  If it tilts due to component imbalance, winds, etc., then let it down in smaller than 5 foot steps, say 1-2 feet.  Then tighten the control guys and proceed again.

The installed guy rings probably won’t pass the loosened standoff  brackets.  You will have to remove one or both sides of the bracket strap to wiggle the guy ring past.  In this case make sure you or someone else has positive control of the mast while passing the guy ring past the bracket.  This especially applies when passing by the top standoff bracket.  On the lower standoff you can easily remove the bracket strap to pass the guy ring.  If you can’t wiggle the pipe enough to pass the guy ring, winch up the mast so the lowest section is just off the ground.  This will give you extra wiggle room.

If a coupler hangs up and you don’t have the extra person to hold it centered while it clears the bracket, first release the pressure on the bracket with the winch, then loosen the bracket strap some more, if possible, and then wiggle the mast past the hang-up.

As I take out the 5 foot sections, I remove the top bolt in the coupler.  That way it’s ready to be re-installed later.

I drop mine to the 15 foot mark and call it good.  That places my hex so it’s resting just above the edge of my roof line and no guy ropes are in use as I have my top level standoff bracket at about the 12 foot level holding firm.  This is a convenient spot and the hex has less exposure to the wind.  I then secure the wall brackets and remove the ladder to safety.

DONE – GOOD LUCK!!

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