eHam Forums => Mobile Ham => Topic started by: AA4PB on June 13, 2003, 01:23:52 PM

Title: Ham Stick Reliability
Post by: AA4PB on June 13, 2003, 01:23:52 PM
I have had several Ham Stick type antennas (more than one mfg) become intermittant after 6 mo to a year of use. Signals and band noise would sharply cut in and out as the whip was moved a small amount. This morning I removed the outer covering from the base of the latest one (a ProAm) to take a look. I find that the end of the wire is pushed down into a groove that had been cut in the threaded metal fastener. It looks as though some type of glue or epoxy was used to hold the wire in place. Where there was glue, there was corrosion. The corrosion was only near the glue and so it did not look like a water entry problem. The outer covering was in good shape until I removed it. At any rate, it is the corrosion around the joint between the wire and the fastener that is causing the intermittant.

It looks like the mfgs need to find a better means of attaching the wire to the fastener in order to improve the long term reliability.

Title: Ham Stick Reliability
Post by: K0BG on June 13, 2003, 01:33:40 PM
The fact they are not well assembled is prima facia evidence to their low cost and lack of longevity. These units are hard to repair as the amount of heat required to solder or braise the connection will just destroy the fiberglass shaft. Caveat Emptor.

Alan, KØBG

Title: Ham Stick Reliability
Post by: AF4OB on June 17, 2003, 02:43:02 PM
I have run the hamstick by lakeview for years with no problem on 40 meters

Title: Ham Stick Reliability
Post by: KE4SKY on June 30, 2003, 03:09:34 PM
Where hamsticks fail is just above the solder joint where the wire coil is soldered into the ferrule at the base.  With repeated mobile flexing and off-road tree bashing, the wire work hardens to develop a brittle failure where it bends over the sharp corner of the threaded brass base.  

It's an easy fix. Strip off the heat shrink for the bottom 1" or so above the threaded base. You will probably find the broken wire there.  Clean the broken end of the wire bright with steel wool, flux and tin it with eutectic rosin-core solder, then solder a flexible jumper of stranded AWG16 insulated wire about an inch long between the coil and the metal base.  I further stabilized mine by coating the new assembly with some 2-part golf club epoxy or you can coat it with West Marine Liquid Electrical Tape to seal it against the weather.

Title: Ham Stick Reliability
Post by: K6SDW on August 06, 2003, 07:01:16 PM
I have been using the Hamsticks for several years and they take a beating in mobile service and I haven't had one fail as yet?


Title: Ham Stick Reliability
Post by: KE4SKY on December 31, 2003, 01:51:13 PM
You must not drive on the same tree-bashing back roads in West Virginia that I do.  There are some advantages to wide open spaces. 73

Title: Ham Stick Reliability
Post by: KB2CPW on January 05, 2004, 06:34:29 PM

  When I want to repair an antenna, I simply go to the local back trails and pick up all of the pieces you guys knock off of your antennas. I can usually make or repair 5 or 6 of em when you guys are done off roading.. :-)  Regards. Richy N2ZD