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[TowerTalk] Broken elements

To: "Towertalk@Contesting. Com" <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] Broken elements
From: "WD4K" <>
Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 09:41:02 -0500
List-post: <>
Without starting the dreaded rivets/aircraft/antenna debate again, something
should be said about constructing antennas with rivets. Case in point I have
in the air now 46 Force 12 elements, 3-C31XR's, Mag340N, 180B. A couple of
the C31's have been up, down, disassembled, reassembled at a different
qth--ie: a LOT of chance for poor assembly and screwed up rivet holes.
However, I have never ever had a broken tip, wallowed out holes or any other
problems with these antennas or their durability. None...
The reason I suspect is that I take the time and do it right with the best
techniques and equipment possible. Early on I did try to assemble them with
a $5 riviter and found that the assembly was ragged, loose crooked rivets,
unpulled or pulled through center pieces-- a mess. Even rivets that looked
ok, when tapped on or pushed revealed they were not right.
I knew trouble was brewing if I left tham that way...I made sure I used the
right drill bit, the right size to remove any questionable rivets. After
drillout, if the hole was enlarged by the drilling, I moved up to the next
size rivit. I then bought the best riviter I could find and the difference
in the solidity of the install was dramatic. I have since bought a
commercial air riviter and it does a terrific job. My antennas get weather
abused also, I am on a 760' hilltop with valleys in the nearfield in three
directions so they get not only the brute winds daily but the updrafts as
well.. with no problems, knock on wood. When I hear wallowed out rivet holes
and other problems, from experience my first thought is less than perfect
assembly methods. If I ever experience broken tips or other problems I will
be the first to report it, I have no blind allegience to Force 12. Maybe I'm
lucky, but it can't all be luck. I have a C3 and C4 next to go up and I will
put them up with total confidence that they will perform just as
well..Hopefully in the next few days since sticking my neck out here, I
won't find antenna pieces in the yard :)

Tommy WD4K


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