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Author Topic: Aluminum antenna lifespan  (Read 1728 times)
N2QLT
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Posts: 27




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« on: January 26, 2012, 10:46:55 AM »

I am looking to collect opinions on antenna lifespan. I have a Tennadyne T6 LPDA that is about 17 years old. Recently, a couple of the larger elements have snapped off at a point about 6 to 8 inches from the boom. This occured during windstorms. My options are to repair the broken elements (the antenna isn't easy to get to), replace all of the elements, or replace the entire antenna. My first notion was to repair, but now I wonder if the rest of the elements will break off, one at a time. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Thanks.

Scott
N2QLT
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KF7CG
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Posts: 840




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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 10:53:20 AM »

I have no info on tenadyne. I do know about Mosley though; they tend to last forever with just a little occassional maintenance. The maintenance has as much with coax replacement as antenna work.

I have an old TA33, not a TA33M, but an original TA33 that I bought second hand about 35 years ago and it is still quite servicable.

Your biggest question is how much metal fatigue was introduced to the elements by the strong windstorm. Otherwise, good antennas last forever.

David
KF7CG
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KF6ABU
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Posts: 351




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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 02:15:03 PM »

Without high wind, or iceloading, or vultures landing on the elements.. these antennas can last longer then you. If the cost is lower, fixing it it worthwhile. My Mosely TA-33 is well over 30 years old. Its in perfect functional state. My 30+ year old TH5-DX is in perfect functional state.
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W8ATA
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 08:13:13 PM »

This past summer I sold my Mosley TA-33 which was one of the first 50 Carl Mosley turned out in the summer of 1957. They were distinguishable by the red insulator blocks. I did replace a couple of traps a few years back and the insulator blocks before that. That was 54 years of the same antenna still going strong. Quite a run!

73,
Russ
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6045




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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 05:40:43 AM »

I have a Hustler G7 that wans't taken care of, and the radials on the bottom had rotted.  Replacing them and weatherproofing the base with some clearcoat spray solved the problem nicely.  That was over a dozen years ago, and the antenna is still going strong, and the radials aren't corroding away either.

My suggestion is to take down the antenna and examine every element, insulator and connector.  If the majority of the elements look bad, replace the antenna.  If not many of them look bad, rebuild it.  Replace the broken elements--and the ones that look like they've been weakened.  Clearcoat the assembly with Krylon clearcoat spray, then reinstall the antenna.  You'll be good to go for many years.
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K3SF
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Posts: 52




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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 06:56:28 AM »

hi

Based on you short description, i am assuming the following. That the elements failed due to metal fatigue as the result of a number of bending events due to winds and other weather conditions. The question i pose " are the other elements subject to the same events and the same bending events?"  My response would be similar but not the same as this is due to element  length and thickness, in short the geometry of the other element are different and most likely will fail in a similar fashion just hard to tell when and where.

you seem to have choices. One, refurbish the antenna by inspecting and replacing the appropriate elements. Two, refurbish the antenna by replacing all the elements. Three, replace the current old antenna with a new one.

I would rule out One because it is hard to detect metal fatigue without complex test gear

i would recommend doing a cost analysis of choices two and three and see what fits your budget. Also factor in that new T6 or even T8 have improved overall construction methods since you first purchased one and other antennaes on the current market may suite your current operating modes.  I currently have a 6 year old T8 that i greatly enjoy.

hope this info helps

Paul K3SF





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AA4PB
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Posts: 12899




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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 07:27:22 AM »

I'd contact Tennadyne, explain your issue, and ask if they have any design improvements on their more recent versions that might influence your repair/purchase decision.
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N2QLT
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Posts: 27




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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 08:13:27 AM »

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. The Tennadyne is a fantastic antenna. I spoke with Roger at Tennadyne and he was very helpful. He offered to send repair parts when the first element broke. Then another element broke and I inquired as to replacing all of the elements. The cost to replace them was not too much less than replacing the whole thing. But, if I replace the whole thing, it would be with a T8. Budget begins to become an issue! The Tennadynes are GREAT antennas. And the conditions where I live are brutal in the winter. Right now I am leaning toward bringing the T6 down, and replacing the portions of the elements that connect to the boom. At least until I can afford a T8. Getting by with half-square wire antennas for now, but can't point the buggers! You can get pretty spoiled with a Tennadyne.
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