Monday, August 2, 2010

Antenna Maintenance

Been pretty busy rebuilding my "M2" VHF/UHF antennas. When I pulled them off the roof of my bachelor pad, they'd been up there for almost ten years. I hung them in the rafters here at the house when I moved in, and finally got around to taking them down to check them out, and hooo-boy, were they ever crusty! Basically, I'm taking them apart, sanding all the corrosion off the aluminum parts with 150-grit "Wet or Dry", cleaning them good with denatured alcohol to get any skin oils and other "organic" gunk off them, and painting them with a self-etching primer made for bare aluminum. After the primer sets up nice and hard, which seems to take about THREE DAYS in the sun ( ! ), I'll give them a top coat of a low-reflectance flat gray-blue so they blend in with the sky, and hoist them up on the tower I'm extending.
I'm also making up new baluns for them, as the old ones were hard and brittle from being outdoors all these years. I'll be using much higher quality coax, better connectors, and checking them on my network analyzer set to make sure they're 1/4-wavelength at the center of the frequency bands I'll be using. And I'll be sealing them on their mating connectors with some good heat-shrink tubing that has the meltable inner liner so they're sealed up from the stuff we call "weather" out here in SoCal.
I'm about 90% finished with the UHF antenna, and about half finished with the VHF antenna. The UHF one was pretty easy to do as the elements are only about 8" long, but the ones on the VHF are about 24" long and get kind of "whippy" when you try and sand them.
And yes, I'm taking pictures of the whole project, so get ready to be bored by another one of my Radio Adventures!
On the 2A side of things, I snuk out to the range today, renewed my membership, and blasted off about 100 rounds of 45ACP.
And I can still get them all in the black at 25 feet!


  1. Good shootin', Tex!

    Query: who do I have to bribe to get three days' worth of sunshine? We've barely had three days, total, in the last month.

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  3. Hah!
    Yeah, it's usually pretty boring out here this time of year; cloudy in the early morning (Marine layer), and then sunny the rest of the day.
    Tell you what....If you can ship some of the freedom you enjoy up in Alaska down here, I'll ship a few boxes of sunshine up your way.
    Johnny Carson once said that California was a perfect example of the fact that when you have lots of sunshine, you can sure grow lots of fruits and nuts!


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