[AMRadio] Antennas


Jim Wilhite w5jo at brightok.net
Fri Oct 16 20:33:49 EDT 2009


For almost all the past week it has been foggy, drizzly and dark here so 
I spent most of my time in the shack working on things indoors.  One 
thing I did is hook my antenna analyzer to the feedline of each of my 
antennas to see how they might perform this winter season.  I do regular 
maintenance on my equipment each year by pulling transmitters and 
receivers out of the cabinet to look for anything burned, smoked, 
cracked or not just right.  It was time for the antennas to get a once 
over since it has been over 4 years since installation.

Well two of the three showed that things had changed significantly in 
the last 2 or 3 years.  So today, I changed the feedline to my 80/40 
meter dipole and the one that feeds my beam.  The match to both had 
deteriorated to a degree and, if allowed to remain in their present 
state, would be worse before this winter season was over.  It turned out 
moisture had seeped into some of the feedline  where it attached to the 
antennas, contaminating the coax.

I changed the coax and method of connection to the antennas today 
because the weather was just beautiful.  Now the analyzer reads that 
match efficiency and phase angle are on the money.  We aren't going to 
have too many more days that lend themselves to work outside, so I urge 
you to pick a nice day like it was here and check all your antennas to 
be sure they will hold up this winter.  Another thing I did is use a 
pliable seal on connections outdoors.

A little preventative work today will keep those AM radios going this 
winter.  Something I discovered this past week is that if you will look 
for a product called "Tacky Tape", it is much like the famous "Coax 
Seal" sold by radio people for a big price for a little bit.  Tacky Tape 
is just like it and you get a lot more for your buck.  Do a search for 
it, I found it for $2.99 for 5 yards X 1/4 inch wide.  Coax Seal was 
$3.80 for 1/2 by 5 ft. 1/2 X 12 ft. was over $16.  Have fun this winter 
and I look forward to talking to many of you on the air.

73

Jim/W5JO 



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