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Re: [TowerTalk] Aluminum radials

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Aluminum radials
From: "KA9OFM John Garrett" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 13:41:05 -0500
List-post: <>
Unfortunately the chromite conversion coating does not give aluminum any
more hardness. Plus the cost factor may not be worth it. Then again it all
depends on the intended use. A ground radial system does not need to be of a
hard metal. There also are a variety of aluminum products available that are
reasonably priced such as 6061-T6 which offer a high degree of corrosion
resistance, but it's downside is it only being 2/3 as strong as 2024-T3
Both of these are widely using in aircraft.

I have no idea what the longevity of 6061-T6 would be if it were buried, but
I'd almost bet that it would hold up for a very long time if it were solid
rods instead of tubing.

Every material is prone to break down eventually. I helped a fellow with a
ground radial system back around 77 and it was made from 1/2" rebarb that is
used in concrete roads. His system is still working today. Back then copper
was cheap and it would have been preferable but he got the rebarb for free
so you can't argue with the economics of that.

John, KA9OFM

On 7/14/06, Nick Pair <> wrote:
> Yes I have heard of this. Years ago when I used it I think it was called
> zinc chromate and was a primer for aluminum. This maybe different to what
> you refer to, but I have also seen the stuff in aircraft and surplus
> military radio gear( the jungle proofing was different) on Al panels. I
> don't think it would survive the direct burial test because somewhere it
> would be scratched and breakdown at that point. I've never seen a conductor
> with this type of coating but it maybe in use somewhere. ;-)
> Thanks for reminding me of this product. I have some aluminum I was
> thinking of painting ( bare aluminum dish on tower to stop corrosion in the
> acidic rain we have here) with spray paint and was wondering if it would
> stick. I know it will over chromate primer.
> 73
> Nick
> On Fri, 14 Jul 2006 00:38:43 -0700 (PDT), you wrote:
> >
> > Aluminum is a wonderful metal, they just haven't yet figured out how to
> make it hard and corrosion resistant and still high conductivity.
> ------------ REPLY SEPARATOR ------------
> Actually they have figured it out. The chromate conversion coating
> process makes aluminum corrosion proof even in a high temperature salt
> spray environment, and the coating is highly conductive. It's widely
> used in the aircraft industry but may not be practical for radials.
> Bill, W6WRT
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