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[TowerTalk] Antenna Element Corrosion

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Antenna Element Corrosion
From: (Roger L. Elowitz)
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 01:23:05 -0500
Hi Gang,

I've really used up all the humor possible on this subject but it was great
fun while it lasted.  While polishing elements with Scotchbrite pads or
steel wool or whatever will clean off the corrosion... IMHO,  I seriously
doubt it will make one iota of difference in the performance of the antenna. 

The serious point that needs addressing is the electrical contact between
aluminum tubing sections.  Here is where things make a difference.  Scouring
the inside and outside of the elements where they come into contact probably
makes sense.  Then, an absolute MUST is coating the inner tube with some
kind of conductive lubricant such as Noalox or Penetrox or the like.
Failure to do this will ultimately make it IMPOSSIBLE to ever separate the
tubing sections later.

Finally, and here I'm no expert, I think the tubing electrical continuity is
mostly made by the mechanical-electrical junction supplied by either a rivet
or a sheet metal screw or a stainless hose clamp pressing the tubing
together.  No gold, no copper plating, no BS.

Welding element junctions while doing wonders for electrical conductivity is
a VERY BAD IDEA if you ever had to disassemble this monster.  Scratch the
thought from your mind. Antennas are supposed to come apart someday.
Unwelding things is a nasty idea.

All the foregoing seems to be sufficient to usually guarantee successful
beam construction or else I'm sure the very conservative guys who haunt this
reflector would have long ago screamed that there is a better way of making
those joint connections. Also consider all the work it is to get those beams
in the air and keeping them there... Why fool around with less than the best
way to make those connections?  Doesn't make sense.

Now, if you're retired like me... and you have nothing better to do to keep
your hands busy and you love to fill your lungs with aluminum dust.... go
ahead and shine up those aluminum elements and coat them liberally with
Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Lacquer and step back and admire how pretty it
all looks glinting in the sunlight.... Just don't ever believe it works any

But seriously.... do treat those element joints properly and in spite of all
the exterior element corrosion and discoloration.... the beam will most
likely work just fine... all other things being equal.

Roger, K2JAS

Oh.... and be sure to mount a plastic owl on it just so that it doesn't get
lonely at night!


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