[TowerTalk] Bamboo Quad Spreaders

Robert G. Strickland rcrgs at verizon.net
Thu Dec 27 13:12:21 EST 2007


Having spent some 15 years with a commercial quad (Lightning Bolt) that I 
modified every other year in one way or another, I can't recommend bamboo 
for spreaders. Most of the bad press about quads resulted from using bamboo 
for spreaders. I imagine using bamboo seems pretty close to something for 
nothing; thus, its popularity. However, there is no way, beyond 
experimental fun, that bamboo will equal the performance of fiberglass 
poles/rods/etc. The fact that one needs to resort to exotic treatments (see 
other posts) reflects bamboo's inherent problems as spreaders. It seems 
that the various treatments are an attempt to change the bamboo into a 
virtual synthetic product. Why not just get the "synthetic" product to 
begin with? With fiberglass spreaders, one can specify all the important 
parameters and be fairly confident that the resulting mechanical structure 
will perform as desired. In the 15 years I used a quad, I never had a 
single mechanical failure, and I live in a tough winter environment 
(Syracuse, NY). I did recently take the quad down and replace it with a 
SkyHawk because of ongoing maintenance requirements on the band switching 
electronics/mechanics up at the antenna. The mechanical aspects of the 
antenna never failed. While commenting on quads, I would also add that the 
type of wire used and how its attached to the spreaders are as important as 
the spreader material, and perhaps even more so. Also, also, for a multi 
band quad, performance is best when each band is fed separately; I learned 
that one after much frustration, modeling and experimentation.

All that said, it's a great antenna. Worked 330 DX with it and never felt 
at a disadvantage because of the antenna that I was using. Hope the SkyHawk 
does as well.

Happy New Year.


At 12/26/2007 18:58, WA3GIN wrote:
>Hi Folks,
>Santa brought me a dozen 40ft bamboo stalks freshly cut and ready for 
>drying and UV sealing treatment.
>I'm looking for suggestions regarding the sealing paint/varnish material 
>In the past 920 years ago) I used marine spar varnish which was mixed for 
>100% outdoors use...much has changed in the paint/varnish industry since 
>then.  I have no idea what works today.
>I tried polyurethane on one element and it flaked away in a few years of 
>exposure to the sun.
>I'm also open to speader color ideas. I know from experience that people 
>who paint their front doors black experience severe wood spliting, 
>apparently from the excessive heat build-up when the doors are exposed to 
>sunshine, so I think black is not a good color but what about silver, 
>white, sky blue?
>Thoughts are welcome,
>TowerTalk mailing list
>TowerTalk at contesting.com

Robert G. Strickland PhD ABPH - KE2WY
rcrgs at verizon.net.usa
Syracuse, New York  USA

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