Shakespeare Marine 5300 HF SSB Antenna update

I was very excited about taking delivery of my 2-piece 5300 Shakespeare Marine SSB HF Antenna for my narrowboat this week.

IMG_8483Close inspection showed that the antenna is a 2-piece 28’6″ (8.5 meter or thereabouts) white fibreglass hollow pole with a 2 foot aluminium heavy-duty sleeve at the base for mounting purposes. This main lower section (of around 17 feet or so) has three elements running the full length embedded inside the fibreglass at time of manufacture from the side feed to the top, in 120 degree arc segments. A heavy-duty male screw fitting at the top, electrically connects to the top section’s female thread.

Since the wind had died down this morning, it was an ideal opportunity to take down the 40 foot vertical and replace it with the 5300 as a test. I inserted one of my light duty aluminium poles up inside the aluminium housing approximately 12 inches in depth to where the fibreglass stopped inside the sleeve (from the other end) and I raised it to the vertical by walking up the antenna from the pointy end until it was raised vertical. I then lowered it using the same technique.


Lowering it at around 45 degrees, the fibreglass groaned, cracked at the sleeve point and fell to the ground.

Clearly, there’s a flaw just above the aluminium sleeve. A one-in-a-million manufacturing defect.

I’ve written to shakespeare and await their reply.

[Later] On Monday morning, I was emailed by their UK sales department explaining that another 5300 would be shipped immediately. This is the first time one of these has ever broken in the history of the 5300 antenna production and clearly this is a freak. Good news Shakespeare, thanks.