Shakespeare’s top-of-the-range HF antenna continues to defeat me. In response to my original failure, they sent me another one which they told me had been tested at their UK headquarters for structural integrity. It arrived promptly enough and I left it in the box for a few weeks until I got it out last Sunday for a quick test.
I discovered that the stainless ring that feeds three buried verticals inside the glass fibre (which I assume is to increase bandwidth) had come away from the main pole and splintered the top coat of resin. Clearly unnaceptable. Freezing water for a start would make mince-meat of this. I took some pictures and sent them off for comment.
It turns out that the US factory think that this is normal and quite safe. Let me get this right, a $600 antenna that is supposedly designed to save your life in the event of you needing to get help as a last resort via HF first breaks in half on a sunny lawn(!) then its spare develops a major crack sequence just where the feeder enters the mast(!) on the replacement.
Now I don’t want to be alarmist but the last time I put the following words: “shakespeare marine 5300” into my favorite search box, this page came first. A great advert if you want to buy a Shakespeare Marine HF Antenna (another search term which this site enjoys first place at google). I’m starting to get bloody pissed off since the boat show is in 6 weeks time.
Have no fear though! I have found a different supplier that apparently takes quality a lot more seriously than Shakespeare Marine. Courtesy of my mate Stewart (F/GM0GTU/MM), who is currently sunbathing on a large boat off the coast of Angola, he has introduced me to Conmod and their fabulous range of professional range of HF antennas:
They even do a hinged version which would be great! If you have very large pockets, they even do a motorised elevation hinge! Woah. Stewart is currently using their AT82M (8 meter vertical) and has worked 76 DXCC entities in three weeks.
Anyway, Shakespeare, if you can’t get your finger out and ship me a perfect 5300, I’ll be hogging the limelight for Shakespeare Marine search terms for many, many moons to come. Get your arse in gear and ship me a spanking new 5300 please.
<later> I’m pleased to report that the 2008 model is spankingly fabulous. They shipped me one directly from the US to replace all this mess I had and I love it. It’s very white and nice and shiny and smooth. It also polishes up well which got all the winter dirt off a few weeks ago. Thanks Shakespeare.