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Author Topic: Painting fiberglass shealth with rust-oleum, is it okay  (Read 11364 times)
K7NHB
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Posts: 226




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« on: August 26, 2012, 04:40:05 PM »

For stealth reasons, I want to paint my Diamond X-50N with flat black paint and I have some left over Rust-oleum paint.
The Diamond antenna is constructed so it lives inside a white fiberglass sheath with a metal cap.

Usually I'd say, "...it's just paint." but the term "rust" in Rust-oleum has encouraged me to ask first. I think the "rust" component is an oil base mixture - couldn't find anything on the Rust-oleum web site.

Anyway, I'd rather feel stupid for asking than stupid for painting a perfectly good antenna and possibly unperfectifing it.

73,
Paul
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AC5UP
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2012, 05:07:04 PM »

Black paint uses carbon black as a pigment (typically) which can be slightly conductive. But. Unless you do multiple coats, the paint layer will be thin enough to have little to no effect. If you're concerned the volatile spirits in a spray lacquer might affect the fiberglass resin, not likely, and even if it did the wet time / soak time is brief enough that only the outermost layer might be temporarily affected. If you're still concerned, consider wrapping the mast in a spiral wound layer of a good quality black PVC tape like Scotch 33 or 88. The 88 is the thicker of the two and if you start at the antenna base the overlap will look downward to minimize water intrusion.

BTW: Have you checked the book that came with the antenna just in case the topic is mentioned?
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W9GB
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2012, 07:54:28 PM »

Any paint with a metallic pigment (Titanium White) can cause issues
(commercial radio has same issue with radomes).
The Camoflague paints for fiberglass/plastics are not bad, BUT check the labels.

I inquired with Sherwin-Williams that produces the commercial white paint for antenna companies (radomes) ....
Only sold in 55 gallon drums with a minimum order (and not cheap).

Diamond (USA) just tells you good luck.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 07:56:19 PM by W9GB » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 04:23:38 AM »

I believe RustOleum paints are made with a good fish oil stock, which is why they are good in covering rust.  As someone else said, the carbon black in the paint may be slightly conductive, but the fix for that is simply covering the metal parts of the antenna with masking tape, then spraying the paint on.  If you are careful, it's possible to get the paint to within millimeters of the metal ends without touching them, and the small gap between the paint and the metal end won't be noticeable--except on close inspection.

It would be a good idea to wipe the fiberglass shaft down with 90 or 95 percent rubbing alcohol to get rid of dirt and other contaminants that would cause the paint not to stick to the fiberglass before you spray painted it.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 04:25:57 AM by K1CJS » Logged
KE3WD
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 05:16:23 AM »

It would also be a good idea to first apply the paint to a small area of the radome and let it set, see if it will adhere to the fiberglass before going further.


73
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AC7ZN
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 07:20:09 AM »

Hi Paul,

If the fiberglass is glossy I suggest you abrade (sand) it to remove the gloss before painting.  The paint will stay on longer.

73,
Glenn AC7ZN


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K7NHB
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 07:42:20 AM »

Thank you for your replies. Looks like I did have a little reason to be cautious. I will probably go with the black electrical tape or skinny black pvc pipe cover.
If I can find a close matching diameter PVC, that would be best. I can imagine looking up at the tape in a year and seeing streamers. It will be up about 25 feet so hard to get to for maintenance once raised.

I Googled and read that the FCC did not consider extending thier HOA/CC&R override to Ham antennas. It's kind of funny because their reasoning was Ham have other houses they can move too. But wouldn't that be the case for the TV antenna and WiFi antenna they did protect (1996 and WiFi added about 2004). I mean the same, "...they can move..." applies to those antennas too?

Paul
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AC5UP
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 08:59:19 AM »

...which tells me the NAB is a more effective lobby than the ARRL.

As far as PVC tape unraveling after a year on the job, there are two ways to prevent that:

1]  Use a quality PVC tape like the Scotch 88 or 33 I recommended. I've used the stuff for years and it holds up to UV degradation as well as the PVC sheath on your coax.

2]  At the top of the antenna add a small black Ty-Rap or a small loop of solid wire to keep the tape from unwinding.

BTW:  One advantage to the tape idea is that it's reversible. If at some time in the future you decide to remove it the fiberglass should look about as good as the day it was wrapped.............
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K8AXW
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 09:08:15 AM »

If you want to camouflage the antenna why not consider wrapping it in camouflage tape like bowhunters use to camouflage their bows? 

Of course it will be necessary to research the material used but this is just something to think about rather than being mindlocked on one potential solution.

K8AXW
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K7NHB
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 09:19:23 AM »

This is going up on a mast in a HOA/CC&R area; no need for camo. Using black makes it look like part of the mast. the CC&R police mailed me complaining of an "antenna" this summer and I explained that what they were seeing was not an antenna, it was  a Mast (which it was, holding a thin black wire). I then included the FCC ruling that allows outside over-the-air antennas ... on a mast.  I haven't heard back though later I removed the telescoping mast to put it somewhere else in the back yard, not visible from the front.

So this will be a second mast and will only extent about 4 feet above the eave. It will be nearly invisible as it is, but with the black color, the whole thing will look like "mast" instead of antenna. And they know if they give me grief. I have a right to put a big ugly (to them) TV antenna on that mast.

K7NHB
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N6AJR
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 10:02:38 AM »

When I was in the air force  we often had to send antennas in for paint, ( electronic counter measures stuff)  and our standard work order was for one coat of non lead based paint.  the lead based paint back then ( 1960's )  would cause problems, but I don't think the use much metal in paints today unless it is like the aluminum or galvanized stuff.
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W6OP
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 10:18:51 AM »

I use Krylon Camouflage paint on all my antennas. Verticals from HF to 900MHz and Moxons, even my Steppir vertical. It has no effect at all on them other than making them less visible.

Pete W6OP
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KG6YV
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Posts: 513




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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 10:24:57 AM »

The formula for RustOleum may have changed over the years due to the KGB (ooops I mean EPA) but it used to use
fish oil.  That was one of their bonding agents that stuck to rust...

Greg
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 10:28:29 AM »

-CJS, Rust-Oleum has not used menhaden fish oil since the mid 70s.  it was reformulated when the catch ran short and Fisheries put the kibosh on the species.

any commercial paint is likely to use titanium white for hiding power, and other metallics for tint.  I'd suggest going to a marine store, and get some gelcoat and colorant, and cover the fiberglass like the boat restorers do.  you're certain to have it stick and not peel that way.  black might be a tough one, but put enough dark blue and brown colorant into the gelcoat before you catalyze it, and you should get close.

if the store help can't tell you how to get it close to black, call the manufacturer.  since this is dyes and not pigments, hard cold black is probably not going to happen, but you can get real close if it's not in direct sun all day.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 10:32:49 AM by KD0REQ » Logged
W9GB
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Posts: 2623




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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2012, 11:08:24 AM »

Quote from: KD0REQ
I'd suggest going to a marine store, and get some gelcoat and colorant, and cover the fiberglass like the boat restorers do.  you're certain to have it stick and not peel that way.  black might be a tough one, but put enough dark blue and brown colorant into the gelcoat before you catalyze it, and you should get close.
I actually started my search at West Marine (national retail chain) in Lombard, IL about 3 years ago.  Majority of Gelcoats that I looked at (and their formulations) had metallic content.  I even talked to their regional and national personnel -- all products they carried had varying degrees of metallic content -- using color pigments ADDED more metal content.
BTW, these Gelcoats are not cheap.

The Land Mobile Techs chased this issue about 6 years ago .... trying o handle maintence of fiberglass radomes throughout th US.  I talked to he national Sherwin-Williams product rep.  -- NO INTEREST in offering their product or maintenance, camoflague, or restorations.
I did not follow up with a Valspar contract.

Pete, W6OP mentioned what I eventually used, it had the lowest (at reasonable cost).
Krylon discontinued Camoflage White -- last 2 spray cans are in my garage.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 11:16:25 AM by W9GB » Logged
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