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Author Topic: Has anyone tried camo tape on an antenna?  (Read 25058 times)
KV4PR
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Posts: 13




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« on: July 16, 2013, 09:27:54 AM »

I've had my ham license since '92, but have been out of it for many years.   Last month I got my General ticket and last weekend passed my Extra.

I'm finally moving into the world of HF and am wanting to find an antenna solution that is stealthy so as to not upset the wife or neighbors.  My neighborhood does not have an HOA so that's not the issue.

I don't have good trees to put up a dipole (can't get it high enough to get a good take-off angle) and have been wanting to cover more bands as well.

I've decided on the Hustler 6BTV with a good radial system and a location near the tree line (but it would be at least 15 feet from the base of any particular tree).

Now, here's the question:  I've heard a lot of people talking about painting the antennas to camouflage them and it got me wondering.  Has anyone tried camo tape like the kind used in hunting?  This is the kind I had in mind: 

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shooting/Gun-Storage/Sleeves-Camo%7C/pc/104792580/c/104730480/sc/104576580/Hunters-Specialties-Bow-and-Gun-Tape-Realtree-XTRA/1636306.uts?destination=%2Fcategory%2FSleeves-Camo%2F104576580.uts&WTz_l=Unknown%3Bcat104576580

Would this have a negative impact on the antenna?  How about when it gets wet?  I'm thinking it might make it easier to retune the antenna down the road if I have to relocate it or if conditions change for whatever reason.  If I paint it, I've got to clean off the paint when I need to retune it.

Thanks in advance!

Frank
KD4LZM (until my Extra ticket arrives in the mail, anyway)
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73,

Frank
KV4PR
AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 09:54:20 AM »

I think that tape is vinyl so it shouldn't hurt anything. I wouldn't place it over any insulators as that *might* detune the antenna when the tape gets wet.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 11:11:56 AM »

find an antenna solution that is stealthy so as to not upset the wife or neighbors.

Really?  They'd be "upset" with a metal pole sticking out of the ground?  What do they do when something really bad happens?

Quote
I've heard a lot of people talking about painting the antennas to camouflage them and it got me wondering.  Has anyone tried camo tape like the kind used in hunting? 

Just spraypaint the thing flat black or dark green and get on with your life.  The tape will be way harder to put on and will ultimately get eaten up by UV and turn to crap.  If it's the camo look you want, just buy those colors and spray in patches along the antenna.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KV4PR
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 12:55:56 PM »

Really?  They'd be "upset" with a metal pole sticking out of the ground?  What do they do when something really bad happens?

My wife's been rather patient with me over all of my other hobbies (and there are quite a few), but ham radio is a bit of an issue for her.  Her dad is a ham and it drove her nuts growing up.  Hence the caution around this subject with her.
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Frank
KV4PR
AC4RD
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 04:22:17 PM »

Frank, I've never done it myself, but I've heard lots of people talking about painting verticals over the years--my guess is that it's well worth a try.

Wire antennas can also be really hard to see--you'll see that with a quick look at the web, search "stealth HF antennas" and you'll get a million hits.

Congratulations on passing your Extra, Frank!  There is a WORLD of fun on HF, and an Extra ticket makes it all that much better.  Have FUN, Frank, and I hope to hear you on the air soon!   73 GL !   --ken
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K0JEG
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 08:00:58 PM »

I just painted mine with green, black and beige paint in a random pattern, and I think that's overkill. Black or dark green would have been fine.
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GW3OQK
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 01:14:51 AM »

I painted my black fibreglass poles as near as I could to "Light Admiralty Grey" as I believe this makes ships the least conspicuous against the sky. A friend has painted the low section of his pole first brown-fence colour, then red-brick colour and finally blue-sky to make it least conspicuous from his kitchen window.
73, Andrew
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W5TTW
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 07:17:38 AM »

I've tried camo tape and it had no apparent ill affect on the antenna.  However, it didn't look quite "natural" and was a little difficult to work with as the antenna tapered.  So, I decided to use flat, non-metallic 'camo' paint from the Mega Lo Mart.  I start by painting everything black, then random quick sprays of green and dark brown to break-up the symmetry.  Works great if contrasted against foliage.  But for stand-alone I recommend flat black. 
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KV4PR
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 08:44:22 AM »

It sounds like the general opinion is that it should work, but might be more trouble than it's worth.

I'm thinking that I'll just paint it.

Thanks for all the great advice guys!

Regards,

Frank
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Frank
KV4PR
W0FM
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 02:39:21 PM »

I've painted several 4, 5 and 6 BTV's.  I use cheap Krylon spray in dark green tan and dark brown or black. 

Be sure you have your antenna tuned correctly for the mount you intend to use.  Then take it down and spray it and reinstall.  If you paint it before it is tuned properly, you will end up needing to sand off spray paint in order to re-adjust the element lengths.

Terry, WØFM
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WB4MDX
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 06:28:12 AM »

IF you have some trees that are tall, you can try a stealth vertical made of wire.  It can cover 160-10 easily.  1/4 wave length is easy to attain in mixed wire patterns.  i use a "square root" style and it is 160-10.  Take a look at my QRZ web page to see if you can see the antenna.  In past, I've used paint to 'take away the solid line'. Dapple with a rag on the wire and it breaks the lines up.  dark against foliage ( brown, green, grey, black) and anything to take the reflection of sun off the higher wires.

Jay   WB4MDX
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KV4PR
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 06:41:07 AM »

IF you have some trees that are tall, you can try a stealth vertical made of wire.  It can cover 160-10 easily.  1/4 wave length is easy to attain in mixed wire patterns.  i use a "square root" style and it is 160-10.  Take a look at my QRZ web page to see if you can see the antenna.  In past, I've used paint to 'take away the solid line'. Dapple with a rag on the wire and it breaks the lines up.  dark against foliage ( brown, green, grey, black) and anything to take the reflection of sun off the higher wires.

Jay   WB4MDX

I've got some decent height trees that I may be able to use.  How long would the wire need to be (and how high) to be effective on all HF bands?  As I understand it, I'd want the wire to not hang down against the trunk, but somewhat out from it.  Your thoughts?

Also, do you know how it would compare (performance wise) to the 6btv?

Thanks!

Frank
KV4PR (Got my new call now!   Smiley )
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Frank
KV4PR
K5LXP
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2013, 08:59:01 AM »

How long would the wire need to be (and how high) to be effective on all HF bands?
...
Also, do you know how it would compare (performance wise) to the 6btv?

"Effective" needs to be qualified.  For many all that means is a tuner can match it, pattern or efficiency notwithstanding.

The higher in frequency you go the more lobes and nulls will be present, and the angle of radiation will change.  It will depend a lot on how much vertical vs horizontal wire you have, and your radials.  It will be very different than a *BTV but whether or not that's still "effective" for you is up to your expectation.

Frankly, I would have both.  They're different enough that you will find situations where one is better than the other and having the flexibility to select the best one is an advantage.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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W7KKK
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Posts: 374




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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2013, 08:08:50 AM »

I did not use camo tape but I did about the same thing.
I live in a homeowners association and when I purchased here I applied for a 40 m vertical.  There are a number of trees in this area that are that height and higher and I offered to mitigate the appearance of the vertical by painting the antenna a shade of green to match the colors of the trees in the area.
The homeowners association even remarked in the approval that they liked the idea that it would blend in.
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W5TTW
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2013, 12:38:53 PM »

My Transworld 2010 has me working the world from a heavily restricted subdivision.  Ground mounted vertical dipole only 8 feet tall.  10, 12, 15, 17 & 20m full legal limit and no tuner necessary.  (40m is available) You can even move it around the yard to find the best spot.  Can't do that very easily with other antennas.  Lot's of reviews on this site.  Look in "Antennas HF Portable."  Expensive, but worth it.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 12:44:19 PM by W5TTW » Logged
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