by PADRE – WØWPD

There’s an old, but not accurately certifiable tradition about putting up Ham antennas in bad weather.

It goes something like the following: any antenna erected during bad weather (snow, sleet, rain and/or heavy wind) will work and perform very well. There’s an implied corollary which says antennas put up and/or serviced during nice weather won’t work very well —if at all.

In my early days as a Ham my best efforts deferred to the old traditional wisdom.

To the moment, however, I’m addressing this matter since we’re between fair and bad weather. It is time to check our antennas and guy lines. (Notice I didn’t say “guy wires).” Non metallic “guy lines” are to be preferred, unless you’re using them as counterpoise and/or radials in which case they should be wires.

Coax connectors and screw terminals can loosen over time with vibration, expansion and contraction of temp changes and loose installation in the first place.

Besides, an area of concern should be how water-tight the connections are to begin with. At the very least coax connections should be wrapped with plastic electrician’s electrical tape, with several overlapping layers and a temp range for one’s environment. Not all electrical tape is the same.

Another treatment for the connector is a product with various trade names. I have used “NOALOX” very satisfactorily for many years. It means, “NO ALUMINUM OXIDATION” and is used to coat the center contact and sleeve of the coax connector. (Do not bridge the two with the compound … it is very conductive). It can be obtained at electrical supply stores. I also use Noalox between sections of a telescoping antenna.

Use the Noalox as you put the fittings together, use pliers to snug the fit, then apply the tape mentioned above. This will last for several years.

Now is also a good time to check the nuts, lock-washers and bolts on brackets and c-clamps.

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