Topics

Cleaning Jetlube Copper LUbricant ?


David KK7SS
 

Any suggestions for cleaning old, weathered Jetlube SS-30 Copper Lubricant ?
Would like to refresh all coil connections WELL before winter comes..

Dave KK7SS


Bob wo6w
 
Edited

Hi Dave,

For major service I use Flitz metal polish, cut up Scotch-Brite pads, various size dowels and a hand drill. Select the dowel size to match the surface being cleaned, wrap with Scotch-Brite, spin with the drill. Quickly cleans down to bare metal ready for a new application of SS-30 lube and reassembly.

This is the most efficient and thorough method I’ve found to date. Gloves highly recommended... it makes a bit of a mess!

I've created a photo album to show the setup...

Scott makes a point about leaving the thin layer of hard surface oxidation in place. I've added the following to my photo posting and to this thread: 

CAUTION: I'm not an authority on cleaning/maintaining antenna and may well have been overly aggressive with this cleaning. Consider not taking the metal down to a bright finish and leaving the thin layer of hard surface oxidation in place. The cleaning shown was after 20 or more years in service. I used SS-30 on re-assembly and the antenna is running well four years later.



Best regards,
Bob


Mark KB8SW
 

I have used various sized firearm bore cleaning brushes attached to an electric drill motor. 
They are made of brass and cause little if any damage to the inside of tubing. Can be dipped in a solvent if needed. 
Mark KB8SW


On Jun 23, 2020, at 12:11 PM, Bob WO6W <bobhome@...> wrote:

Hi Dave,

For major service I use Flitz metal polish, cut up Scotch-Brite pads, various size dowels and a hand drill. Select the dowel size to match the surface being cleaned, wrap with Scotch-Brite, spin with the drill. Quickly cleans down to bare metal ready for a new application of lube and reassembly.

This is the most efficient and thorough method I’ve found to date. Gloves highly recommended... it makes a bit of a mess!

 


I've created a photo album to show the setup...

Best regards,
Bob


Scott AC8DE
 

Just remember that you do not want to take it down to the bare metal.  Only get the top layer of rough whitish oxidation off and leave the thin layer of hard surface oxidation in place.

 

As far as a chemical to cut old anti-seize, you can use acetone or maybe a spray chemical called "Clean Streak".

 

73,

Scott AC8DE

 

 

From: Butternut@groups.io On Behalf Of Mark KB8SW via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 5:18 PM
To: Butternut@groups.io
Subject: Re: [butternut] Cleaning Jetlube Copper LUbricant ?

 

I have used various sized firearm bore cleaning brushes attached to an electric drill motor. 

They are made of brass and cause little if any damage to the inside of tubing. Can be dipped in a solvent if needed. 

Mark KB8SW



On Jun 23, 2020, at 12:11 PM, Bob WO6W <bobhome@...> wrote:

Hi Dave,

For major service I use Flitz metal polish, cut up Scotch-Brite pads, various size dowels and a hand drill. Select the dowel size to match the surface being cleaned, wrap with Scotch-Brite, spin with the drill. Quickly cleans down to bare metal ready for a new application of lube and reassembly.

This is the most efficient and thorough method I’ve found to date. Gloves highly recommended... it makes a bit of a mess!

 


I've created a photo album to show the setup...

Best regards,
Bob


Bob wo6w
 

Scott makes a point about leaving the hard layer of surface oxidation in place... 

I've added the following to my description of the photo album I posted as follows:

CAUTION: I'm not an authority on cleaning/maintaining antenna and may well have been overly aggressive with this cleaning. Consider not taking the metal down to a bright finish and leaving the thin layer of hard surface oxidation in place. The cleaning shown was after 20 or more years in service. I used SS-30 on re-assembly and the antenna is running well four years later.


 

I don't usually disagree with Scott but...
Here in Chicago, in the land of winter salt spray, the aluminum oxide can buildup pretty nasty and effectively weld the joints together.  I have read that AL oxide is conductive which is what makes anodizing happen.  Penetrox has taken care of my joints pretty well thus far but I use denatured alcohol to get rid of old Penetrox and then a water pipe brush to clean when I need to.  These little devices are meant for preparing copper pipe for soldering.  A quick swipe cleans the surface.  The one I have is for inside and outside of 1/2" and 3/4" pipe.
Al
WB9UVJ


Scott AC8DE
 

Al,

 

I live in Ohio, also the land of winter salt spray.  Granted, no salt gets near my antennas.

 

Aluminum Oxide is an electrical insulator (look it up), but because the film is so thin that forms on top of the aluminum, it is not effective as an insulator at RF frequencies.  Too much of the build up of the loose crusty stuff WILL resist the flow of RF electrical energy.

 

From a chemical oxidation protection standpoint, what happens if you take aluminum tubing joints apart after the initial aluminum oxide forms, you can easily clean off the crusty white loose oxidation.  Too much of that crusty white stuff and you'll never get the tubing apart as many of us, including you, are painfully aware.  What you want to leave on is the really thin hard layer of oxidation that turns the surface dark.  This thin layer will effectively protect the underlying aluminum and slows the continuing oxidation down to a crawl compared to a new un-oxidized surface.  If you clean it all off and get to the underlying unoxidized silver aluminum metal, you have to start all over with the oxidization process, which is really aggressive at first due to electrolysis.  But with the insulating properties of an aluminum oxide "skin" left intact, the electrolysis process is very slow.

 

I've cleaned a lot of different antennas and I can assure you that one that is not taken down to bare metal when being rebuilt no longer oxidizes very fast in the joints.  A new one oxidizes fast.

 

73,

Scott AC8DE

 

From: Butternut@groups.io On Behalf Of Al WB9UVJ
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 4:09 PM
To: Butternut@groups.io
Subject: Re: [butternut] Cleaning Jetlube Copper LUbricant ?

 

I don't usually disagree with Scott but...
Here in Chicago, in the land of winter salt spray, the aluminum oxide can buildup pretty nasty and effectively weld the joints together.  I have read that AL oxide is conductive which is what makes anodizing happen.  Penetrox has taken care of my joints pretty well thus far but I use denatured alcohol to get rid of old Penetrox and then a water pipe brush to clean when I need to.  These little devices are meant for preparing copper pipe for soldering.  A quick swipe cleans the surface.  The one I have is for inside and outside of 1/2" and 3/4" pipe.
Al
WB9UVJ


 

Scott,
I looked it up and yes aluminum oxide is highly resistive.  I don't have much of a choice with salt in the winter here.  The local library parking lot is adjacent to the rear of my yard.  I assume there is a lot of salt and other garbage in the air when it rains as well.  Before i started using Penetrox or something else, I had a hard time pulling the antenna apart for maintenance.  Now I do not have an issue.  Before Penetrox, I had a few little envelopes of lube that was packed with Mosley beams.  It was green, thick grease but that is what I used.  It felt like it had some particles in it.  There used to be a business radio store in Oak Park that also catered to hams.  They sold a lot of GE trunk radios and that is where I found the Mosley grease.  The neighborhood they were in was not the best so I stopped going there.
Al
WB9UVJ


Chuck W3ON
 

Hmm
I have been reading, with interest, this thread about Weep Holes, Aluminum Oxide, Retrofitting etc. I can report that several years ago
my approximately 20 year old HF6V antenna quit working. I tried all of the usual things recommended to get it to work. I also spent money for new
capacitors as I had no way of checking them. They sure are expensive. Of course, I got my replacements from DXEngineering.

So, that summer, I took it down and proceeded to take it apart, and that was no easy task mostly due to some
aluminum sections sticking together. So I had to drive apart with a cut off broom handle. I was frustrated trying to figure out whether it was worth while to go through this
effort, rather than simply buying another antenna. I had many of my fellow hams state that it was not worth the effort,
and that I should get a different antenna due to the cost of the parts, my work etc. But I soldiered on and took it apart.

Upon inspection I found each aluminum section had some kind of gunk on the inside of each tube. Then I read all about this
aluminum oxide issue. So, I cleaned it all off down to bare metal with light grit sand paper. I know that is not recommended,
but that is what I did.

I then tried to see if I could get some sort of conductive grease, as I no longer had any of the
original stuff. I asked and asked about what is recommended. I got all sorts of advice, from using Penatrox, Penn Union CUAL-GEL, etc.
Most of it was not available in my area. So, I talked to the hams at DXEngineering. They suggested the JET LUBE SS30. But
I thought that it was very expensive. But I bit the bullet and purchased a small can of it. When it arrived I found that the lid on the can was
loose and some of the JetLube had leaked out. A quick call to DXEngineering, resulted in another shipment too me.
Upon its arrival I discovered that it was very thick, and that I had to use gloves to handle it as it stains anything that it
touches. I then reassembled the antenna using the JetLube.

Oh, another thing that I did was to change the bottom insulator as I found that the antenna was wiggling. After installation of the new
bottom insulator, I the found that the antenna was no longer wiggling. I did get another one from DXEngineering. Again not a cheap item.

This whole project, took me-working when I wanted as that was a really warm summer with high temperatures, about six weeks to accomplish.
I am not sure how much I spent on parts. I seem to remember about $300.

Would I do it again. I dunno. Last fall on a whim, I bought an HF2V antenna and installed it also in my garden area.

Today, my old refurbished HF6V appears to be working ok. I have not had it cleaned, and adjusted in several years. I still like the
Butternut HF series of antennas. In my case the antennas have been in use, with occasionally having to take them down for
maintenance.

Today if I was to do it again, I think that I would switch to one of those 43 foot antennas made by Zero5. I know
this is blasphemy, but my main problem is that I do not have a lot of room for ground radials. My current ground radial system
generally is poor as I am mostly using my metallic fence as a radial system. I know. I know. That is not recommended, but that
is what I can install. That's why I state if that antenna fails again, it will be one for the scrap pile. Provided I live that long. Hi Hi.
I know another ham in my area who also is using his metallic fence with decent performance.

As far as weep holes, I did not make any attempts to install weep holes. Mostly because I didn't know about, or even consider it.
I do believe that it is important for those insulators to NOT wiggle. As I remember it, on a previous retrofit, on the original insulators I seem to remember
lightly sanding off that blank gunk as it was all over the insulator. I assumed that it was probably leaked aluminum oxide and could have been
part of the poor performance of the antenna. Then when I reassemble the HF6V, I discovered that it was wiggling. That's why I replaced it
with a new insulator.

Oh, by the way, I did install a short three rope guy system just above the top coil assembly, using a small hose clamp, and three small triangular
shaped brackets with some sort leads of 1/4 inch poly rope with each tied to my metallic fence. This is described somewhere in the
files section of this group. Does it help. Not sure. I do note that the tip of my HF6V is no longer banging in to my neighbors lower tree branch
like it did before. I know. I know. I should go and cut that branch. But it is NOT on my property, and I do not want to even attempt going
into his yard. Every time I look into his yard, I see that huge tree, it has to be about 40 feet tall, I keep wondering when it is going to
break, as it is a very very old tree. Sigh. What we have to endure trying to install antennas in a small suburban lot. Hi Hi

So, that is my experiences  with my last retrofit. It was to me, a lot of work, frustration, and more money than I had expected to pay.
Am I happy today. You getcha. The less that Ihave to do climbing up to my garden for maintenance is a good thing.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blarney. Hi Hi.

For those of you performing retrofits, all that I can say is take your time. Get and use that JET LUBE SS30. Keep looking for cheaper capacitors, as
they are still expensive and are usually what goes bad on them as they are exposed to the elements 24/7. Some have placed shrouds over the
capacitor assemblies. I have not done that. If you are lucky enough to have some one give you an HF6V for free, it is well worth it.

73 de Chuck W3ON


Scott AC8DE
 

Chuck,

 

>>Today if I was to do it again, I think that I would switch to one of those 43 foot antennas made by Zero5.

 

What you need to understand is that a 43' monopole is a NON-RESONENT antenna.  You cannot beat a resonant antenna with a non-resonant one 99% of the time.  It also has some strange take off angles on many bands.  Compared to a Butternut, it will be relatively deaf on most bands and not reach out nearly as well.  And electrically, it can be problematic if you hit it with power due to high reactance.  OK, so the Butternut has more parts... but they last a very long time if taken care of.

 

A few bullets on a 43'er.

  • below 17M, is a pretty decent radiator if it has a good radial system
  • Much better than average on 20M 5/8 λ
  • Is a cloud-warmer above 20M
  • Is quite difficult to match
  • High SWR on most bands (non-resonant)
  • Requires a serious tuner at the antenna base due to being non-resonant
  • It's much bigger and requires a much more significant guying set-up.
  • Cannot take it down easily without a tilt base, where a Butternut is a 5 minute 1 man job with no tilt base.

 

As far as a "wiggly" insulator, yes, they do wear over time.  But if the antenna is guyed, a loose insulator won't matter.

 

73,

Scott AC8DE

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Butternut@groups.io On Behalf Of Chuck W3ON
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 7:59 PM
To: Butternut@groups.io
Subject: Re: [butternut] Cleaning Jetlube Copper LUbricant ?

 

Hmm

I have been reading, with interest, this thread about Weep Holes, Aluminum Oxide, Retrofitting etc. I can report that several years ago my approximately 20 year old HF6V antenna quit working. I tried all of the usual things recommended to get it to work. I also spent money for new capacitors as I had no way of checking them. They sure are expensive. Of course, I got my replacements from DXEngineering.

 

So, that summer, I took it down and proceeded to take it apart, and that was no easy task mostly due to some aluminum sections sticking together. So I had to drive apart with a cut off broom handle. I was frustrated trying to figure out whether it was worth while to go through this effort, rather than simply buying another antenna. I had many of my fellow hams state that it was not worth the effort, and that I should get a different antenna due to the cost of the parts, my work etc. But I soldiered on and took it apart.

 

Upon inspection I found each aluminum section had some kind of gunk on the inside of each tube. Then I read all about this aluminum oxide issue. So, I cleaned it all off down to bare metal with light grit sand paper. I know that is not recommended, but that is what I did.

 

I then tried to see if I could get some sort of conductive grease, as I no longer had any of the original stuff. I asked and asked about what is recommended. I got all sorts of advice, from using Penatrox, Penn Union CUAL-GEL, etc.

Most of it was not available in my area. So, I talked to the hams at DXEngineering. They suggested the JET LUBE SS30. But I thought that it was very expensive. But I bit the bullet and purchased a small can of it. When it arrived I found that the lid on the can was loose and some of the JetLube had leaked out. A quick call to DXEngineering, resulted in another shipment too me.

Upon its arrival I discovered that it was very thick, and that I had to use gloves to handle it as it stains anything that it touches. I then reassembled the antenna using the JetLube.

 

Oh, another thing that I did was to change the bottom insulator as I found that the antenna was wiggling. After installation of the new bottom insulator, I the found that the antenna was no longer wiggling. I did get another one from DXEngineering. Again not a cheap item.

 

This whole project, took me-working when I wanted as that was a really warm summer with high temperatures, about six weeks to accomplish.

I am not sure how much I spent on parts. I seem to remember about $300.

 

Would I do it again. I dunno. Last fall on a whim, I bought an HF2V antenna and installed it also in my garden area.

 

Today, my old refurbished HF6V appears to be working ok. I have not had it cleaned, and adjusted in several years. I still like the Butternut HF series of antennas. In my case the antennas have been in use, with occasionally having to take them down for maintenance.

 

Today if I was to do it again, I think that I would switch to one of those 43 foot antennas made by Zero5. I know this is blasphemy, but my main problem is that I do not have a lot of room for ground radials. My current ground radial system generally is poor as I am mostly using my metallic fence as a radial system. I know. I know. That is not recommended, but that is what I can install. That's why I state if that antenna fails again, it will be one for the scrap pile. Provided I live that long. Hi Hi.

I know another ham in my area who also is using his metallic fence with decent performance.

 

As far as weep holes, I did not make any attempts to install weep holes.

Mostly because I didn't know about, or even consider it.

I do believe that it is important for those insulators to NOT wiggle. As I remember it, on a previous retrofit, on the original insulators I seem to remember lightly sanding off that blank gunk as it was all over the insulator. I assumed that it was probably leaked aluminum oxide and could have been part of the poor performance of the antenna. Then when I reassemble the HF6V, I discovered that it was wiggling. That's why I replaced it with a new insulator.

 

Oh, by the way, I did install a short three rope guy system just above the top coil assembly, using a small hose clamp, and three small triangular shaped brackets with some sort leads of 1/4 inch poly rope with each tied to my metallic fence. This is described somewhere in the files section of this group. Does it help. Not sure. I do note that the tip of my HF6V is no longer banging in to my neighbors lower tree branch like it did before. I know. I know. I should go and cut that branch. But it is NOT on my property, and I do not want to even attempt going into his yard. Every time I look into his yard, I see that huge tree, it has to be about 40 feet tall, I keep wondering when it is going to break, as it is a very very old tree. Sigh. What we have to endure trying to install antennas in a small suburban lot. Hi Hi

 

So, that is my experiences  with my last retrofit. It was to me, a lot of work, frustration, and more money than I had expected to pay.

Am I happy today. You getcha. The less that Ihave to do climbing up to my garden for maintenance is a good thing.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blarney. Hi Hi.

 

For those of you performing retrofits, all that I can say is take your time. Get and use that JET LUBE SS30. Keep looking for cheaper capacitors, as they are still expensive and are usually what goes bad on them as they are exposed to the elements 24/7. Some have placed shrouds over the capacitor assemblies. I have not done that. If you are lucky enough to have some one give you an HF6V for free, it is well worth it.

 

73 de Chuck W3ON

 

 

 

 


Nolan - KI5IO
 

RE: >> possible consideration of a 43'

Well ... I did just that a few years ago.  I had my 2nd HF6V that I had refurbished and grew to an HF9V and had it tuned quite well.  Typical somewhat limited suburban lot so the radial field was OK (not great), but my HF9V was working FB.

Then ... I got a wild hair to sell it and get a 43'.  I did get a ZeroFive (excellent quality and service). Easy to put in. Added some more radials and went to town with my K3.

It was OK ... simply not great and Lord knows I tried everything possible, but the 43' just did not even come close to what my HF9V had been doing.

I've since sold the 43' and am on the lookout for another HF6V or HF9V to install.

Probably will be ordering the HF9V I have in my 'wish list' at DXEngineering and (for once) get a brand-spanking new Butternut.

Reason I'm hesitating on a used one is that by the time I'm done refurbishing it I'll have spent close to if not more than what a new one will cost me.

43' antennas are good, but was a bust for my QTH.  My HF9V was aces!!!

--
73  -  ki5io
Nolan Kienitz
Plano, TX