Amateur Radio antenna mast

May 7, 2019

Penninger Radio – Company Summary

Penninger Radio is an American manufacturer of portable masts and permanent pole towers for erecting antennas, lighting, solar panels, wind turbines and surveillance cameras. We’ve been in business since 2003 and are located in West Chicago, Illinois in the proud United States of America. Our portable products are designed for quick deployment of elevated emergency equipment in the field and emergency preparedness. We manufacture precision machined and fabricated 6061 grade aircraft aluminum products with stainless steel fittings. Our customers include ham radio operators around the globe, local municipalities and the United States Federal Government including Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and Federal Air Marshall Service (FMAS), among other governmental entities —see Customers section below.

In 2003 our original product offering catered to ham radio operator enthusiasts consisting of three products: The Tipper™, Mast Clamp, and Mast Sections. Due to our commitment to customer service we learned about other customer challenges over time and by 2012 our offering has grown to over one hundred products, packages, and complete mast systems.

We currently manufacture and sell the following product families:

  • Tipper™ mast base: Makes managing large masts easy. Tipper™ masts can support an antenna, camera, or emergency lighting at a height of over 48 feet and can be erected by a single person. This is possible by assembling the mast horizontally on the ground and then "tipping" it into the vertical position. All heavy-duty aluminum and stainless-steel construction insures rugged performance and long-life. Tipper™ setup video. Penninger Radio Tipper™ products are available for either permanent or portable installations.
  • Snap Tubes™: Precision machined push-button connectors to join tube sections for rigid connections resulting in a mast pole that is stiff and does not wobble. Quickly deploy tall masts with no tools required. Available options for spacers and slip-ring flanges.
  • Tripods: Rugged base for portable masts and permanent pole tower installations.
  • Split Bushings: Split sleeve bushings join mast poles of different diameters and our precise machining ensures the fit is snug. Available in lengths from 1.5” to over 12”.
  • Portable Mast Bases: Hitch or Tire drive on mast base for masts up to 47 feet tall.
  • Guy slip rings, pulleys blocks, stakes, and tension blocks
  • Aluminum Mast Poles: A wide variety of lengths, outer diameters (OD), and wall thicknesses, constructed from aircraft grade aluminum 6061-T6.
  • Mast Clamps: Connect mast poles resulting longer mast that’s stronger than a single pole of the same length. Available for 1.75”, 2”, and 2.5” diameter masts (MC-175, MC-200, MC-250)
  • Custom machining of holes and fittings on our products is a value-added service not offered by any of our foreign competitors.

All our products are proudly manufactured in the USA. Creating more jobs for skilled Americans is one of our core corporate goals. We are a big supporter of American manufacturers and American workers. We are actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with other American manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. We invite you to contact us so we may work together to determine how we may collaborate. Let us work together to make our country stronger with innovative high quality American-made products.

History of Penninger Radio

Penninger Radio: An American manufacturer with proven history of innovation and quality customer service


The need to quickly erect a tall antenna mast came into Charles Penninger’s mind in June 2003 when he attended “Field Day” sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, (ARRL). Field Day is an Annual Emergency Preparedness exercise designed to test amateur radio operator’s skills in quickly deploying communications equipment in a simulated emergency scenario, at a remote field location. Charles noticed that the deployed electronics and auxiliary power was top notch, but the antenna masts had much to be desired. He was shocked to see the jury-rigged antenna setups consisting of 2x4s duct tapped to a tree or fully-extended extension ladders strapped to the back of pickup trucks. These antenna masts were very time-consuming to setup and with the antenna wobbling at the top the results were downright dangerous! The goal of this emergency preparedness exercise was to quickly deploy radio communications equipment and antenna -and there was nothing quick about the current practice. Charles thought there must be a better way!

During the next few months Charles Penninger pondered various product designs for a stable, safe and quick way to deploy an antenna in an emergency scenario. With Charles’ extensive experience in machining, fabrication, and mass production he focused on machined aluminum designs for durability and portability. One day he remembered his grandfather Max raising and lowering the family birdhouse on a pole and the product concept for the antenna base was born!

In order for the Tipper™ to be effective in emergency scenarios, the mast that it held had to be portable. A 42-foot tall mast had to be transported in up to 8-foot tube sections and joined together with mast clamps. This new mast clamp had to be: Sturdy -for safety and long life. Lightweight -for ease of use and transport. Make a joint stronger than the original tube -for maximum stability in high winds. The Penninger Radio Mast Clamp (MC-200) was born!

Charles Penninger founded Penninger Radio in December of 2003.

Now with the aluminum Penninger Radio Tipper™, Mast Clamp (MC-200), and Mast Tubes ready for production he fabricated prototypes...

Dual Guy Line Mast for Amateur Radio
Dual Guy Line Mast for Amateur Radio
Amateur Radio tilt-over antenna trailer fabrication stage 1
Amateur Radio tilt-over antenna trailer fabrication stage 1
Raising my amateur radio "Alimast" mast.
Raising my amateur radio "Alimast" mast.

Share this Post