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Re: [TowerTalk] Soldering Radials?

To: "'Rob Atkinson'" <>, <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Soldering Radials?
From: "Wes Attaway \(N5WA\)" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 22:01:03 -0500
List-post: <">>
Here is a step-by-step outdoor soldering technique that I have used at least
a thousand times over the past 30 or so years:

1. Materials: Copper strap; sheet copper; copper pipe; copper wire in any
combination; regular 60-40 solder; muriatic acid (from any paint store); a
jug of water; a small can of black roofing compound; excluding the copper,
the total cost of all this is only a few dollars.
2. Tools: one ordinary propane torch with an ordinary nozzle; a roll of
regular 60-40 solder; a couple of stiff paint brushes of any age or quality;
3. Background info: The two main impediments to outdoor soldering involving
copper are heat and cleanliness of the metal.  Most folks don't get enough
of either so they have poor results and give up.  Longevity of the
connections, assuming proper soldering, is achieved by proper protective
4. Procedure: dilute a few ounces of muriatic acid 50-50 with water; don't
breathe the acid fumes and store the muriatic acid outside or you will rust
every tool in your workshop (as I found out the hard way a long long time
ago); support the main pieces (if sheet or strap) on a 2x4 or equivalent as
necessary to get them off the ground, swab the copper surfaces (I am
assuming copper strap or sheet) with the acid and briefly scrub with a stiff
brush; rinse surface with a splash of water;  join the pieces and apply heat
for 30 to maybe 60-seconds; apply solder; you will be pleasantly surprised
by the results because you will have a nicely soldered connection;
5. Wait a few minutes and then apply the roofing compound; the seal will
last (by my own experience) at least 30-years under dirt and leaves and in
open air;

This is not a complicated procedure and once you do a few connections of
wire to strap, strap to sheet; wire to pipe, etc, etc you will find that
things will move along a lot faster than if you spent your time fighting it
with a soldering iron and steel wool, or even brazing gear.  The joints will
be perfect every time as long as you get the surfaces clean (using the
acid-water dilution) and the heat.

This is a simple and inexpensive solution to a problem that too many hams
gnash their teeth over.

------------------- Wes Attaway (N5WA) ------------------ 
1138 Waters Edge Circle, Shreveport, LA 71106 
    318-797-4972 (Office) - 318-393-3289 (Cell) 
        Computer Consulting and Forensics 
-------------- EnCase Certified Examiner --------------- 

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Rob Atkinson
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 9:14 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Soldering Radials?

It would be great if one you guys with a lot of brazing (I think I got
it right this time) experience would post a list of the tools and
materials to get to do it right.



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