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Author Topic: Waterproofing Connectors  (Read 12306 times)
W6UV
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Posts: 538




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« on: August 24, 2010, 01:57:14 PM »

What is the current state of the art for waterproofing coax and other connectors used in an outdoor environment?

Last time I had to waterproof connectors, many years ago, I wrapped the connectors tightly with black electrician's tape and then sprayed the tape with an aerosol acrylic spray. Connectors waterproofed this way would last for a a year or two before needing to be redone.
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K3GM
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 05:02:58 PM »

You'll get plenty of recommendations!  I don't think the "science" has changed that much, actually....

My preferred method is to first wrap the connector with cheap vinyl electrical tape with the sticky side out, followed by good 'ol coax seal, then overwrapped by 3M #33 black electrical tape.  If done correctly, the joint will be waterproof for years.  
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 05:05:12 PM by Tom Hybiske » Logged
AD5X
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 06:30:28 PM »

I use Liquid Electrical Tape or Plasti-Dip.  Been using these products for several years.  They work great, and easy to peel off if you need to get to the connector later on.

Phil - AD5X
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K9KJM
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 11:15:27 PM »

K3GM has the current state of the art method being used nowadays.

(The pros use a much larger product than ham grade "coax seal" but it is the same basic product, and the outer wrap plastic tape is 2 inches wide.)

That spray on or brush on type sealers were used for a short time in the 1970's only. Only until everybody found out how short lived it really was!
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AE5JU
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 09:58:09 AM »

http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/guest-post-weatherproofing-antenna-coax-by-paul-ae5ju/

I use the method mentioned above.

73
Paul - AE5JU
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N7WE
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 11:56:43 AM »

Friends in the telecommunications industry tell me state-of-the-art is non-adhesive self-sealing silicone tape.  Sells under many brand names (CoaxWrap from RF Parts, Rescue Tape, many others) and it's a bit spendy.  They say ease of install, quality of the seal, and ease of removal justifies the cost.  They call CoaxSeal and its equivalents "monkey poo" and laugh at those of us who still use it!  73,

Rick - N7WE
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2010, 01:54:53 PM »

What is the current state of the art for waterproofing coax and other connectors used in an outdoor environment?

Last time I had to waterproof connectors, many years ago, I wrapped the connectors tightly with black electrician's tape and then sprayed the tape with an aerosol acrylic spray. Connectors waterproofed this way would last for a a year or two before needing to be redone.


Two layers or Scotch 33
One layer of Scotch 130C
One layer of Scotch 33
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 12:47:45 PM by Philip Camera » Logged
K3GM
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2010, 06:18:52 PM »

Friends in the telecommunications industry tell me state-of-the-art is non-adhesive self-sealing silicone tape.  Sells under many brand names (CoaxWrap from RF Parts, Rescue Tape, many others) and it's a bit spendy.  They say ease of install, quality of the seal, and ease of removal justifies the cost.  They call CoaxSeal and its equivalents "monkey poo" and laugh at those of us who still use it!  73,

Rick - N7WE
SteppIR uses this tape on their fiberglass radome joints.  It's pretty nice stuff.  As you wrap it, you pull and stretch it a little, and it quickly melds with the wrap under it.  When putting mine together, I got some extra tape at Home Depot.  As you mentioned, it isn't cheap .
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W3LK
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2010, 06:47:06 PM »

For years I have used three layers of Scotch 33 (alternating wind directions) and then two coats of PlastiDip. I have had such connections sit in water for weeks on end without any evidence of leaking.

That is the same process I use on the connection for my HS-1800 mobile installation and the connection is over five years old and has gone through two Baltimore and three Connecticut winters with no problems.

FWIW, CoaxSeal is the LAST thing I would ever put on any connection.
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
KB1NXE
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Posts: 310




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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 07:36:44 AM »

The Silicon Tape now has the TV Hawkers selling it for relatively cheap.  I have bought it from these guys and it is the same stuff (I had several rolls of Rescue Tape previously).

Here's the link:

https://www.mightyfixit.com/flare/next?tag=im|sm|go|tm&a_aid=011&a_bid=bc30650e&chan=G&data1=TM

Tip:  Give them a fake phone number (or your bosses, ex, etc) to avoid calls.
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WW5AA
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2010, 04:07:06 AM »

I just use good quality connectors dipped in mineral oil before connection and a drip loop. Never had a problem.

de Lindy
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NA0AA
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Posts: 1042




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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2010, 11:32:49 AM »

Liquid electrical tape works fine for me, I've used it outdoors with good success.

I also use 3M 33+ and 88 [thicker] tape.

When you can take the time to properly do the Liquid tape, it's awsome and not impossible to remove.

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W6UV
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Posts: 538




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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2010, 01:00:00 PM »

I think I'll go with the self-sealing silicone CoaxWrap.

Since I've got a roll of old coax and a bunch of spare connectors laying around, I'll make up some short test sections using the various methods suggested on this thread and leave them out in the sun/rain for a few months and see how they do.
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KD4COX
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 03:34:20 PM »

For our VHF antennas at work, I did up as follows:
Prepare connector with silicone grease.
Slide on a 6 inch section of heat shrink tubing.
Wrap with upside down electrical tape.
Apply coax-seal (the stickygooey kind)
Slide over heat shrink tubing.
Heat and shrink. It should squish some of the seal out the ends of it.

We also spray painted all our coax to match the roof or tower, with UV resistant paint. That was vanity though.

My lines outside at home are ladder line, which I solder and cover with liquid tape.
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WS4E
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Posts: 223




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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 08:24:23 PM »

Silicone tape like this  stuff is awesome.
http://www.rescuetape.com/

It goes under several brands, and you can even find it at Lowes and Home Depot sometimes.


It's self sealing water proof, like having your connector encased in a rubber innter-tube.

And its NO STICK at all....so the cool thing is you take a razor knife, slice it down the length and it all peals off together in one big peace.  And you have totally pristine access to the connector with zero mess or goop or stick or anything.

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