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Author Topic: Cushcraft Ringo Ranger ARX-2B improvements?  (Read 3945 times)
KE2KB
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Posts: 216




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« on: December 07, 2012, 07:10:54 AM »

Hi;
Recently, i needed to remove my ARX-2B from the roof. On inspection, I found that the clamp securing the tuning rod to the tuning ring was loose, even though I had wrapped it with electrical tape during assembly. I do not like the design of the clamp. Although I do not recall what the clamp on my previous ARX-2 of 25 years ago looked like, I do not believe it was such a poor design as this one.
I am looking for something to replace the clamp assembly before I re-install the antenna.
I had thoughts of something along the lines of a "split bolt" which are used for splicing large conductors used in electrical service drops, etc; but these will not allow a wire to enter at any angle other than 0 or 180 degrees, so would not work for the ARX-2B.
If I had access to a machine shop, I would design and fabricate a part myself, but I do not.
So what I am looking for is a part that probably has some other use which I could purchase inexpensively.

Here is a link to the illustration of the tuning ring and rod from the assembly sheet:

http://i425.photobucket.com/albums/pp335/CPSK/ARX-2Btuningring.jpg

Any ideas?

Thanks

KE2KB
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20666




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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 10:00:59 AM »

I wouldn't bother wrapping tape on stuff like this, it might actually make it worse.

That connection doesn't need any weather protection.  The machine screw can loosen up because it's biting into what is essentially a thick aluminum wire, and over time and thermal cycling, the stainless steel bolt will lose solid contact with the aluminum.

It's not the clamp that's at fault, it's the material of the ring.  Tape won't help.

I've used Ringo antenna since they were first introduced to the market about 42 years ago, and discussed the design a lot with the inventor, Les Cushman W1BX (who ran Cushcraft).  He recommended that if anyone wanted to make this a more "permanent" antenna, replace the aluminum ring with solid hardened copper. Wink

My take is, for a "very permanent" installation I expect to last many years in the weather (through thousands of thermal cycles and such), use better antennas that were really designed for it.  If I install a Ringo in a place where it's serviceable, I just do annual maintenance on it, including tightening stuff that comes loose.
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W0FM
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Posts: 2057




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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 10:59:05 AM »

Frank

Another alternative could be some percussion hardware.  If you have a drum shop or music store nearby, stop by and talk to a drum technician or repairman.  I had a box full of connectors quite like what you have there.  They were commonly used to clamp cymbal stands or accessories like cow bells, woodblocks, etc to a drum kit.  They are usually steel and chrome plated.  (We drummers always gravitate to chrome and sparkle  Grin

This doesn't address the deificiency of the soft aluminum ring that Steve speaks about, and would still require inspection, but I always cussed these clamps because they held on too well and wouldn't loosen up when I wanted them to.

Good luck.

73,

Terry, WØFM
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W0FM
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Posts: 2057




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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 11:08:59 AM »

What you'll be looking for looks something like this.  

http://www.samash.com/p/Latin%20Percussion_LP235%20Cowbell%20U%20Clamp%20(3/8%22%20Diameter)_-49988978?cm_mmc=GoogleShopping-_-Drums-_-Channeladvisor-_-Latin+Percussion+LP235+Cowbell+U+Clamp+(3/8"+Diameter)&utm_source=GSH&utm_medium=CSE&utm_campaign=Channeladvisor&CAWELAID=1594695360&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CKn10Zz-iLQCFQGFnQod30wAZQ

If you find one small enough you'll find that the thumbscrew will give you more torque on the connection.  Either way, a drop of ThreadLok would be something to think about also.

Terry, WØFM
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KE2KB
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Posts: 216




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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 12:22:27 PM »

What you'll be looking for looks something like this.  

http://www.samash.com/p/Latin%20Percussion_LP235%20Cowbell%20U%20Clamp%20(3/8%22%20Diameter)_-49988978?cm_mmc=GoogleShopping-_-Drums-_-Channeladvisor-_-Latin+Percussion+LP235+Cowbell+U+Clamp+(3/8"+Diameter)&utm_source=GSH&utm_medium=CSE&utm_campaign=Channeladvisor&CAWELAID=1594695360&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CKn10Zz-iLQCFQGFnQod30wAZQ

If you find one small enough you'll find that the thumbscrew will give you more torque on the connection.  Either way, a drop of ThreadLok would be something to think about also.

Terry, WØFM
Thanks! That's exactly what I need. I'll just have to check the diameter of the components, and head out to the Sam Ash store. There's one really close to me.

Frank KE2KB
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W0FM
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Posts: 2057




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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 11:07:22 AM »

Frank,

By all means, don't buy one of those clamps new!  They are NOT worth $12.  Offer the drum tech a buck for a used one if it suits your needs.  Those thing are just as good used as they are new.

Happy hunting.

Terry. WØFM
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KI4SDY
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Posts: 1452




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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 09:04:39 AM »

Why over-engineer a solution to your problem? If you have the best spot on the tuning ring identified for lowest SWR, just solder the clamp in place. The bolt will just be a decoration.  Wink
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13574




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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 12:56:53 PM »

Quote from: KI4SDY
...If you have the best spot on the tuning ring identified for lowest SWR, just solder the clamp in place...


He probably doesn't because the ring is aluminum.  But a sheet metal screw and
some Ox-Gard should do the job.
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KI4SDY
Member

Posts: 1452




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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 03:52:13 AM »

Aluminum can be soldered using the simple cooking oil method. There are also special fluxes and even aluminum solder made by the Harris corporation just for such use. Cleaning the surface oxide off the aluminum is the key to success here, but it can be done. If you need more information regarding soldering aluminum, contact David Pippen, Asst. College Professor, New Mexico State University at dpippen@nmsu.edu. He should be able to guide you through the process.  Wink

I do agree that Ox-Gard should have been used to construct the antenna originally. Painting this aluminum antenna would also have been a good idea and probably would have helped to lock the clamp bolt threads into place, in addition to preventing corrosion.  Grin
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