Many people are asking if they have to install or not a tilt base on their telescopic mast, or make questions like:
- Do I have to tilt my telescopic mast ?
- Which installation method is better, Tilt or fixed ?
- Shall I have stability problems with the tilt base ?
- Can I use a fixed base and later install the tilt base ?
Well, the most important factor is the ability of the site itself. Some places have their own limitations (ie the free space is limited and the antennas will be layed outside of the serviceable field). In general terms, and of course if site permits, YES, a tilt base on your telescopic mast is much better than a fixed base.
The benefits are enough. The most important is that you can install and maintenance your antennas while your legs are on the ground, not on a ladder or even more, climbing onto a fixed tower, usually at heights more than 10m. You will need a solid item about 1,5-2m high, like an inverted Vee-shaped step ladder to lay your antennas. You have to pay attention not to damage the antenna boom, if it is longer than 4m. Usually in this method, when the telescopic mast is tilted, the antenna elements are parallel to the ground and the boom is vertical to the ground. In some cases, if you have installed a low profile HF antenna (like HexBeam) on your Telescopic mast, you can even turn the antenna using the antenna rotor.
For your safety, you have to follow some steps while you are tilting your Telescopic mast. If you don’t have a dedicated winch for tilting, then you will need at least one person to help you.
- First, lower the mast at its minimum height.
- Pay extra attention that all antennas and relative hardware shall be in such a position, that they will not interfere with other objects like tree branches, tiles, coax or anchor cables while you are tilting the mast.
- If you have a side-mounted type installation, remove also the bracket that holds the telescopic mast onto the side-wall base.
- Are you using a winch for tilting, make sure that its rope or belt is firmly attached on the Telescopic mast.
- If you have not installed permanently a winch for tilting, then you have to attach to the upper links of the lowest section of the telescopic mast a rope, chain, or a belt strong enough, that will serve for tilting.
- Please consider the weight of the mast plus the weight of the attached load (antennas, antenna rotor, cables etc.) may exceed the safety load that a single human can lift.
- If you have attached guying ropes onto the lowest section of the mast, release them either from their anchor points or from the mast links.
- Make sure that all coax cables & guying ropes are loose and will not tighten while you will tilt down the telescopic mast.
There are 2 types of tilt bases. The simple one, has 2 screws that secure the mast in the base. If you remove one screw, then the other will be used as a hinge and will allow the mast to lay down. You have just to remember that the Telescopic mast will lower from the opposite side of the removed screw. A rule of thump is to attach a DIN 985 lock nut on the screw that will serve as hinge.
- Unscrew and remove the proper screw from tilt base.
- The “proper screw” that you have to remove is the one that located to the opposite side that the mast will tilt. (ie of your mast will tilt towards North, then you have to remove the screw located at the South side of the tilt base).
- If you have the heavy duty tilt base (the one with plates), then you have to remove the 2 nuts that are locking the tilting plate.
Pay extra attention from now on, as the telescopic mast is ready to be tilted.
- You may need to push a little the mast, just to be moved from its vertical balance point.
- If you have a winch, release slowly the wire rope.
- If you use your hands for tilting, directly or using a rope, as described in previous step, pay extra attention and make slow movements.
- While tilting the mast, pay attention that the mast shall not move left or right from the tilting angle.
- You will feel the maximum force while the telescopic mast shall be in the range of 30-60 degrees from its vertical position.
- Always have an eye looking around for cables, tree branches and various obstacles that maybe interfere the antenna or the mast while tilting.
- Keep tilting the telescopic mast, until you reach the desired point.
- When you reach at the desired point (ie laying on the top of a ladder or similar support point), pay attention to secure well the support point before start working with your antennas.