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Author Topic: antennas  (Read 286 times)
KC2CBA
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Posts: 8




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« on: June 18, 2004, 04:52:14 PM »

What is the proper way to clean an antenna?
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K5DVW
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Posts: 2193




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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2004, 04:59:11 PM »

Run it thru the car wash?

Geesh, what kind of antenna and what are you trying to clean off of it?
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DROLLTROLL
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Posts: 265




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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2004, 05:37:26 PM »

The same stuff you use to "clean your clock" or "fix your little red wagon".
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AC5E
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Posts: 3585




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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2004, 06:20:02 PM »

Well, there's a general question if I ever heard one.

So generally, there's little point in "cleaning" an antenna unless corrosion has set in or it's on your vehicle and you want it to look nice.

In the case of an aluminum antenna, steel wool and elbow grease will take the crud off, and a thin coat of Penetrox between the joints will help prevent a recurrance. Wire antennas should need no cleaning.
For mobile antennas, any good auto cleaner; Turtle, Simoniz, or whatever the local hot rod supplier has to offer - or that you use on the vehicle yourself.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E

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N6AJR
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Posts: 9927




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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2004, 06:25:33 PM »

What, you don't have any RF pollish, it means a smoother antenna has less resistance to RF , like waxing your car has less wind resistance.  Smiley

Fan Dipoles Never Need  Cleaning.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6061




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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2004, 06:33:37 PM »

I'd be careful cleaning an antenna with steel wool.  It is possible--and very likely--that small slivers of the steel wool will be imbedded in the aluminum elements, causing problems in the future in the way of rust and corrosion.  Even though they are more expensive, instead of steel wool use scotchbrite pads.  If any particles of those pads are left behind, at least they won't corrode and cause future problems.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6061




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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2004, 06:46:07 PM »

I should have been more specific, causing problems in the future by rust and corrosion altering the antenna SWR at its connections.
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K0BG
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Posts: 9901


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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2004, 07:47:39 PM »

Now that you have been properly blasted....

Cleaning aluminum is not necessary unless you are R&R (remove and replacing) it at another location. Steel wool can be used, but it is best to use ordinary sandpaper. Once cleaned, a liberal amount of NoOx or similar non oxidizing compound should be used on the joints. New stainless steel clamps are in order as well.

If you really are gungho, you could clean the intire antenna and spray paint it with some forest green paint ( or stucco, or whatever ) to match its surroundings.

The ARRL Handbook has lots of suggestions along this topic.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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W5ONV
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2004, 12:51:22 AM »

Scrub,Scrub,Scrub !!
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 13580




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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2004, 05:00:21 PM »

Again, more information would be useful...

One common problem at antenna connections is a joint
between copper (the coax cable) and aluminum (the
antenna.)  These metals do not play well together, and
such joints will tend to corrode, especially when the
joint gets wet.  (*ANY* dissimilar metals will have
this problem to some extent, but these two are a
particularly bad combination.  Steel and aluminum will
also cause problems.)

Once it has corroded, you may need a knife or file to
get down to the bare  metal again - presuming there is
enough aluminum left to use.  Prevention is the best
approach:  using a stainless steel bolt for the
connections with stainless steel washers between the
two materials will help a lot.  Sealing the joint with
a non-corrosive sealant will keep the water out.

Connections between aluminum sections should have a coat
of anti-oxident paste (available in electrical supply
stores).  This is especially important for telescoping
aluminum sections if you ever want to get them apart
again.  The same applies to a steel screw into threaded
aluminum.

I haven't yet found a reliable method of separating
tubing that has corroded together, so prevention is
the best approach.
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