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Chattanooga Amateur Radio Club

"Discover the magic and camaraderie of amateur radio!"

Baby, It’s Gonna Be Cold Outside!

Is your radio gear up to the task of emergency communications?

Before winter sets in, check your coax and connections, power sources and connections.

Make sure your antenna, poles, towers, and all support wires and structures are up to the task of bitter cold and harsh, blowing winds.


 Antenna Weatherproofing by Phil Mullins

As the we enter the winter season many amateur operators should preform preventive maintenance checks on there antenna systems as part of normal home or auto checks. This is a preventive actions to avoid early failure of antenna systems due to weather and corrosion.  Below is a short check list for both fixed and mobile installations. Some of these are best done when the antenna and feed line is installed and some are maintenance checks.

  • Rain loops in feed lines & strain relief  –  Install a rain loop in the coax feed line and use strain reliefs due the tension on feed lines.
  • Stainless Steel hardware vs plated hardware tighten and use lock washers  – check all hardware for signs of corrosion rust and missing items. Use stainless if possible for long life instead of plated hardware.  Use lock washers and tighten properly.
  • Nolox or Penatrox conductive grease –  Use Nolox for aluminum and Penatrox for dissimilar metals to prevent oxidation and rust.  This is allow you to have much longer life and make it easier to replace when the time comes.
  • Coax / feed line connections – Check and tighten  coax  and wire connections,  use coax seal to help kept out moisture, check for good solder connections
  • Insulators and stand offs –  check for proper mounts and condition replace any cracked or broken. Use proper materials for UV protections due to sunlight.
  • Lighting Protection – Check and tighen ploy phasers, ground rods they do work lose with expansion and contraction of the summer and winter temperatures.  It only takes a few mill-ohms to present a large current when dealing with high volotage lighting.
  • Rope pulleys and cable clamps – Check hardware and lube if required, replace any frayed rope of cables and use stainless steel, galvanized or brass pulleys not plated.  Adjust any counterweights on the end of ropes as needed.
  • PVC  Conduit / Traps – clean out any weather traps and keep drains clear
  • Weather seal entrances for feed line through using coax of ladder lines keeps the imposture and cool air from entering the shack.
  • Tree Limb pruning  – Winter is a great time of year to do pruning and remove interfering limbs and other plants.

This should help you stay on the air, when the weather is bad is not the time to wish you had done this.

Phil Mullins


 

This document is available as a downloadable PDF on the On-Line Documents Page.

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