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Re: [TowerTalk] Aging antennas

To: <>, <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Aging antennas
From: "" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007 20:16:23 -0500
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Little Elves are coming at night and fixing it for you.-James
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bob Bogash" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2007 4:35 PM
Subject: [TowerTalk] Aging antennas

>I think it was Orson Wells who had a commercial that said "No wine
> before its time."  Do your antennas age like fine wine?  Mine do.  Have
> for years and years.  Well, at least they need a few days aging.
> I've been playing with antennas for a long time.  When my Dad died two
> years ago, I went out in his yard and there she was, my dipole antenna
> still strung between two trees, just like I had left her 50 years earlier.
> I have 9 antennas.  A 70 ft random wire, a 400 ft long wire, a G5RV, a
> 20 m dipole, 20m Hamstick, 10m vertical, 15m vertical, Hustler 4 BTV,
> VHF discone, etc etc.  No beams (yet.)  After cutting, erecting, playing
> with an antenna, I start the measurement game, using either an MFJ-259B
> or Palstar ZM-30 antenna analyzer.  After a million iterations, trips up
> the ladder, on the roof, etc, I get it as good as I can get it.  But
> wait!  We're about to make a "swell gal sweller."  You see the next day,
> my numbers have changed.  Usually for the better.  I've noticed this
> phenomena for years.  Over a few days or even a week or two, the antenna
> seems to "settle in." -- "the final numbers can be dramatically
> different from the first.  In fact, I've learned not to cut, close up,
> stow my gear for a few days until this settling takes place.
> I had this happen again over the past few days reminding me of this
> phenomena.  Has no one else noticed this?
> My Hustler 4BTV suddenly had a high SWR.  Troubleshooting lead to a
> burned connector in the coax that had resulted in a dead short.  I took
> the antenna down, repaired the damage, checked everything out,
> reinstalled it, and ran the numbers.  Before this episode, the
> 40/20/15/10 meter SWRs were:  1.4 / 1.6 / 1.8 / 1.1.  After reassembly
> and reconnection of leads and radials, the numbers had all jumped to
> over 2.0 - some over 3.0  I wanted to use this antenna for 20m on this
> weekend's contest, so after a whole lot of finagling, I got 20m down to
> about 2 - 2.2.  I used the antenna for a while at reduced power on
> Friday nite.  On Saturday morning, the SWRs had fallen into
> "operational" areas, but still high.  I used the antenna normally all
> day Saturday.  By Sunday morning, the SWRs had fallen more - to 1.2 /
> 1.6 / 1.7 / 1.1 - I'm better off than before!
> As I've mulled this, I hypothesized that putting RF through the lines
> and the antenna had burned out moisture and eliminated areas of high
> resistance on mating antenna and connector surfaces.  But wait - I've
> had this "next day improvement"  on antennas that had never been fired
> up.  And, on my 400 ft long wire which has no connectors - it runs
> directly to a 4:1 balun next to my radio.  This antenna, which is up 40
> ft in the trees was a big disappointment when I installed it.  But over
> a period of weeks, indeed months, it's SWRs continued to improve, as did
> it's on-the-air performance.  It truly was "mellowing" and aging
> gracefully.  I was picking up entire bands that were unusable at the 
> outset.
> I'm totally convinced that this is a real phenomena, albeit one I do not
> understand.  I have both of Ward Silver's antenna comparison books, and
> I have often wondered whether the performance figures derived from tests
> performed a short time after an antenna was installed and hooked up,
> would be accurate the next day, or the day after.
> Just a little empirical knowledge gained over years of playing around
> with antennas while my hair turned white.
> Comments anyone?
> Bob
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