[TowerTalk] Penetrox; Scotchbrite & steel wool

Brad Anbro n9en@hotmail.com
Thu, 16 Mar 2000 21:13:34 CST

In regards to cleaning antenna elements to insure a good electrical
connection, and to give the material a "new-looking" appearance, I
use the following method. BTW, I came about this process by trying
quite a few methods over the years and I haven't been able to improve
on this. So here goes...

First, I get some VERY FINE steel wool, wet the element piece down
with water (to keep the friction to a minumum - the idea is to clean
and polish the material, not to scour it!) and add a small amount of
liquid dishwashing detergent to the steel wool. I then scrub the el-
ement, moving the steel wool in the same line as the element (not
twirling the element in the steel wool) and the steel wool removes
the dirt & oxidation while leaving the material with a bright, pol-
ished-looking appearance. The steel wool has to be rinsed out peri-
odically with water and more detergent added to it because the steel
wool gets saturated with dirt & oxidation particles, the soap be-
comes depleted, etc. The aluminum material also needs to be rinsed
off periodically as a large amount of dirt, etc., will collect on

If one neglects to rinse the steel wool & clean off the tubing dur-
ing the process, the effectiveness of the cleaning process will be greatly 
lessened. If you follow these instructions and "get a feel"
for the method while doing it, you will wind up with element pieces
that look just like NEW.

For the INSIDE of the element ends, where the next piece fits inside
of it, I use various sizes of stainless steel bristle brushes, with
detergent applied to the bristle brush, as in the steel wool. The
inside of the tubing needs to be rinsed out thoroughly, to remove all
of the dirt & oxidation particles that the bristle brush has loosened
up. Using both of these two methods will result in clean, bare metal
both on the inside and outside of the tubing.

After the element pieces have been cleaned, rinsed & allowed to dry
(I wipe off the outside of the tubing with a clean rag, after I get
done cleaning it and set the tubing up vertically, to allow all of
the water to drain out) then when I go to assemble the element pie-
ces together, I slide the one piece inside of the other, to the pro-
per dimension, take a pencil and go around the smaller tubing where
it sticks out of the larger tubing. This lets me see how much of the
smaller tubing will be going inside of the bigger tubing and then I
apply a thin film of Penetrox "A" to the marked portion of the small-
er piece & re-assemble the joint.

I have been following this ritual for many years and I wind up with
an antenna that really shines when the sun hits it and all of the
electrical joints have good electrical continuity. My "system" in-
volves a lot of work but I end up with an antenna that looks and
works just like a brand-new one would.

I hope that this is of some benefit to someone. 73 es gud DX de

is of some benefit to someone.
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