Topics

Weep holes


Dave
 


Has anyone drilled small drainage holes in the tubing above the fiberglass insulation pieces?   I took my HF9V apart to relocate it today and the whole thing was full of water. 

~73~
Dave
WK4T@...
Merritt Island, Florida


Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Club
Long Island CW Club #523
SKCC# 22353
10-10# 45258
QCWA# 38181


Mark Brueggemann
 

> I took my HF9V apart to relocate it today and the whole thing was full of water. 

Sounds like a Florida problem.  :-)  At least you don't have to worry about the water freezing and busting it open.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


 

Dave,
i thought about that once and then realized that the tubing to fiberglass interface should be sufficient to let water out.  When I took mine off the post, I found that so much dirt had accumulated that it was blocking the water from exiting the base of the antenna.  I cleaned the inside of the tubing and the fiberglass and then rinsed with denatured alcohol and reassembled.  I check it every once in a while and it seems fine to date.  The reason I refrained from drilling holes is the fear that i would weaken the tubing where it gets the most stress from the antenna moving.  I bought my antenna in the mid eighties and is still perfoming with regulare maintenance of course.
Al
WB9UVJ


Tim N8NEU
 

The last time I had my Butternut HF6V down for cleaning I took a hack saw and made 2 grooves into the fiber glass insulation support. The grooves where 180 degrees on opposite side of each other. No water yet. I live in Pennsylvania and dont need no water in the antenna come the winter months.


Tim - N8NEU
DMR ID 3158619
FN00ah



-------- Original message --------
From: Al WB9UVJ <markaren1@...>
Date: 6/15/20 12:55 (GMT-05:00)
To: Butternut@groups.io
Subject: Re: [butternut] Weep holes

Dave,
i thought about that once and then realized that the tubing to fiberglass interface should be sufficient to let water out.  When I took mine off the post, I found that so much dirt had accumulated that it was blocking the water from exiting the base of the antenna.  I cleaned the inside of the tubing and the fiberglass and then rinsed with denatured alcohol and reassembled.  I check it every once in a while and it seems fine to date.  The reason I refrained from drilling holes is the fear that i would weaken the tubing where it gets the most stress from the antenna moving.  I bought my antenna in the mid eighties and is still perfoming with regulare maintenance of course.
Al
WB9UVJ


Dallas N5FEE
 

I have water damage on my HF6V as well.  It split one tube and pulled two other tubes away from the Fiberglass.  I put a couple photos in my folder but don’t see how to put a link in this message. 


Steven AC2XM
 

That is a pretty severe split - thanks for posting the pictures.

Steve


Charles Boehnlein
 

I have the same damage as yours at the insulator that pulled away on both sides but mine is not as bad yet, your photo
https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/0?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

This is your second photo
https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/1?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

My split tube was much higher than yours and I drilled a small hole at the end of each side of the split so it does not spread. I'm going to jb weld epoxy my split and put an end cap back on the tip of the antenna. My hf6v is over twenty years old but after a fix or two should be good for another 20 :)


Charles Boehnlein
 

Dallas I forgot to mention that you right-click on your photo and then click copy link address and then you can paste it into your post. 73 and thanks for sharing.

Charles wd4w


Dallas N5FEE
 

I worked on my antenna a bit this morning and I think I have a likely solution to the water entry problem. The antenna obviously gets water because the elements are smaller the higher you go away from the ground and water can weep in at each joint. This is like shingling your house starting from the top.  Every joint is subject to leaking water inside. 


I repaired one joint as an experiment and it looks very promising.  I wanted to pass along what I’m doing in case anyone else is re-working theirs now. I cleaned and de-oxidized the tubing both inside and outside at the joint area and then covered the joint with heat shrink tubing and it looks pretty good.  I used regular heat shrink tubing, because that’s what I have on hand, but it is available with a sealing compound that might be a better solution. The type with the sealing compound is made for well pump electrical wires and such and can be used submerged.  


Here are photos of before, during, and after cleanup.  I have used this metal polish for many years and recommend it.  It deoxidizes, polishes and leaves a protective film.  The little foam pads are great too, they have a scrubbing side made out of soft plastic that cleans well but does not scratch or remove metal. My total clean time on this joint was about 10 minutes. 

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/7?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0
https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/8?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/4?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/3?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

Dallas
n5fee

 


Tim N8NEU
 

Be careful of the kinds of sealers used on the tubing joints.

I learned a very import lesson and down time on my HF6V antenna. Being the novice that I am, while assembling the HF6V last year, I wrapped the mateing ends of each aluminum tube with a small section of electrical tap. I was hoping this would keep out rain water or melted snow during transmittion.

After a few months my SWRs rose dramatically on all 6 bands. I check my coax. I checked the tuner. I checked the radio. I could not figure out what happened

I finally took the antenna down and disassembled it. It seems at every tube connection that had the electrical tape was placed, there was a build up of a sticky substance. I had no idea what is was or where it came from.

In talking about my experience with a good ham friend told me that most likely the heat generated in the aluminum tubing during transmittions melted the tape's adhesive and worked it way into the joints. Thus causing Insulated contact at the different sections of the tubes. The adhesive was very time consuming to remove from the inside of each tube.

I put a small tar ball in the opening at the top of the antenna tube. As mentioned on this group. I cut 2 groves along the length of the fiberglass rod to let water out. I did not want to drill holes as this weakens the strength of the tubes. Especailly at the bottom where stress load can increase during high winds. 

I have not had a problem since adding the "weep groves".



Tim - N8NEU
DMR ID 3158619
FN00ah



-------- Original message --------
From: Dallas N5FEE <n5fee@...>
Date: 6/17/20 16:32 (GMT-05:00)
To: Butternut@groups.io
Subject: Re: [butternut] Weep holes

I worked on my antenna a bit this morning and I think I have a likely solution to the water entry problem. The antenna obviously gets water because the elements are smaller the higher you go away from the ground and water can weep in at each joint. This is like shingling your house starting from the top.  Every joint is subject to leaking water inside. 


I repaired one joint as an experiment and it looks very promising.  I wanted to pass along what I’m doing in case anyone else is re-working theirs now. I cleaned and de-oxidized the tubing both inside and outside at the joint area and then covered the joint with heat shrink tubing and it looks pretty good.  I used regular heat shrink tubing, because that’s what I have on hand, but it is available with a sealing compound that might be a better solution. The type with the sealing compound is made for well pump electrical wires and such and can be used submerged.  


Here are photos of before, during, and after cleanup.  I have used this metal polish for many years and recommend it.  It deoxidizes, polishes and leaves a protective film.  The little foam pads are great too, they have a scrubbing side made out of soft plastic that cleans well but does not scratch or remove metal. My total clean time on this joint was about 10 minutes. 

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/7?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0
https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/8?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/4?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/3?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

Dallas
n5fee

 


VE9AA - Mike
 

I REALLY doubt this theory !  I've never seen an antenna "heat up" like you describe.  If your antenna heats up, you have serious resistance problems. (ever seen ice melt off your antenna when you transmit? No? That's because that's not the way RF works....)

More likely whatever it is you're talking about happened just due to normal sunny weather. Black tape gets warmer than white tape or shiny aluminum in the summer sun.

No need to tape your connections, drill weep holes or anything else.

YMMV

Mike VE9AA (ham since 1978; electrician in a former life)

On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 06:43 PM, Tim N8NEU wrote:
In talking about my experience with a good ham friend told me that most likely the heat generated in the aluminum tubing during transmittions melted the tape's adhesive and worked it way into the joints

 
--
Mike VE9AA


Al W9KXI
 

Water in the antenna.  Interesting.  I like in upstate New York and installed my HF9V in 2007.  I've never had a problem with water in the HF9V.  …I've had water make its way into my (VHF) 7/8" hardline but that's a different subject.

 

Al - W9KXI

FN12ne


Reg G0OOF
 

I used self amalgamating tape around the metal joints including the nuts and bolts that secure them, when I had my HF-6V from new two years ago. Took it down for maintenance this spring and removed the tape. All the joints were free of corrosion and water. Also I have made Perspex covers ( that look like upside down open rectangular boxes ) for the capacitor assemblies, feed point and coil Q to protect from the rain.
For some reason never been able to tune the 10m band to resonance where I want it but that is another story.

Reg G0OOF  (also an electrician in a former life)


Scott AC8DE
 

Dallas,

 

Let me address a few things for the group.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but with respect, you are taking the cleaning too far.  You are not the first to make this error.  I'm a bit OCD myself and I totally get what you are doing as I tried to do the same thing in my early years as a ham, until my Elmer admonished me when helping him with an antenna.  It appeals to the side of me that likes a nice shiny looking antenna, but experience has proven that taking an oxidized antenna down to the bare aluminum is not a good thing.  Aluminum oxide is your friend.  Embrace your ugly oxidized friend, don't get rid of him.  Also, water in the antenna is expected.  Holding water is not good, but some getting inside is OK.

 

  • On a rare occasion, I have heard of Butternut antennas holding water at the insulators.  Doesn't happen often.  Usually, the slop between the insulator and the tubing is great enough that it simply leaks out.
  • If your antenna does have a tight tolerance at the insulator/tubing joint, consider yourself lucky.  Usually, you get some mechanical "wiggle" at those joints that allows a bit of an angle to be formed.  It isn't much at first, but as the antenna wiggles in the wind, the tolerance gets larger and the joint starts getting very sloppy.  Without guying, this will cause the aluminum to crack.  With a tight tolerance at first, it will probably never get sloppy, as there is no movement at the joint. (NOTE - I always recommend guying.)
  • I would not do anything to modify the aluminum in the way of a weep hole, as this creates a stress riser near the joint.  If your antenna is holding water at an insulator, what I would do is to take a dremel and grind a very shallow slot or two into the insulator so it can drain.  It will not take much, so don't make a huge slot.  A .020" deep channel is plenty.  Wear a mask and gloves.  Working with the fiberglass rod sucks.
  • Makes sure the rubber cap is on top of the J-tube, which slows the water ingression greatly.  But I have had Butternuts without the cap and they did fine and did not hold water.  Wasn't an issue.
  • I do NOT recommend trying to keep water out of the antenna completely, other than having the grease at the joints and the cap on the J-tube.  Why?  Because whatever tries to keep water out will also keep water in!  Heating and cooling from the sun and weather will draw condensation internally, no matter how you seal the antenna.  The condensation needs to be able to dry out.  I've had A LOT of antennas over the years from verticals to Yagi's and about everything in between.  Water in the aluminum tubing is expected and will not hurt it, as long as it can dry out.
  • Aluminum oxide on the antenna is a GOOD thing.  DO NOT remove it!  Once the aluminum gets oxidized, it forms a protective surface and it won't get any worse.  Well, it will slowly darken over the years, but structurally or electrically, the antenna will not suffer because of it.  Aluminum oxide is a very, very hard substance (it's used to make sandpaper) and forms a tough "skin" on the soft underlying aluminum.  What I do recommend at the time of rebuild/disassembly is to use some automotive polishing compound and just rags or some other mild method and lightly "smooth" the aluminum just to the point it feels relatively smooth but doesn't change the color overall, then make sure any cleaner residue is removed.  It will not take much rubbing at all to do this.  You do NOT want to completely remove the patina from the oxidation on the majority of the elements.  If you've already removed the patina, it's going to patina again in a few months anyway, unless you paint the antenna.  Most paints will also break down in the sun as well.  (Frankly, the patina makes it less noticeable visually, which is also a good thing.)
  • Any cleaner that "coats" the aluminum can hinder conductivity within the joints and will break down quickly in the UV of the sun within a week anyway.
  • If you have completely removed the aluminum oxide from the joints and you reassemble the antenna, you stand a much higher chance of the sections becoming stuck over time.  If the tubing within the joint has oxide on it (even on new tubing, they have some oxidation on them due to the tubing aging in the air over time), it stands a much lower chance of a heavy new crusty white oxide build up between the sections, as they won't "rust" together nearly as badly from new oxide formation.  Aluminum oxidizes very slowly compared to steel once the initial oxidation has formed.  Aluminum has a relatively "porous" surface when new; lots of little cavities.  These cavities and the outside surface oxidize.  The cavities exude the white oxidization due to moisture in them and a hard skin is formed.  Once the porous surface oxidizes, unlike steel, very little of that white crusty oxidization will form again, because the pores of full of oxidation already.  But when you take it down to bare metal via being worked with abrasives, you have scraped into the surface and uncovered more unoxidized aluminum pores that will again oxidize heavily again initially.
  • Conductivity - It is true that aluminum oxide is an insulator.  But it is also true that the aluminum oxide skin is extremely thin.  Because the skin is so very thin (less than .001" thick), it will not be resistive enough to DC, let along AC at RF frequencies, to even be measured.  Then if an electrical anti-seize is introduced between two mated and pre-oxidized aluminum surfaces, it will likely never have an issue electrically or mechanically.

 

73,

Scott AC8DE

 

From: Butternut@groups.io On Behalf Of Dallas N5FEE
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 4:32 PM
To: Butternut@groups.io
Subject: Re: [butternut] Weep holes

 

I worked on my antenna a bit this morning and I think I have a likely solution to the water entry problem. The antenna obviously gets water because the elements are smaller the higher you go away from the ground and water can weep in at each joint. This is like shingling your house starting from the top.  Every joint is subject to leaking water inside. 


I repaired one joint as an experiment and it looks very promising.  I wanted to pass along what I’m doing in case anyone else is re-working theirs now. I cleaned and de-oxidized the tubing both inside and outside at the joint area and then covered the joint with heat shrink tubing and it looks pretty good.  I used regular heat shrink tubing, because that’s what I have on hand, but it is available with a sealing compound that might be a better solution. The type with the sealing compound is made for well pump electrical wires and such and can be used submerged.  


Here are photos of before, during, and after cleanup.  I have used this metal polish for many years and recommend it.  It deoxidizes, polishes and leaves a protective film.  The little foam pads are great too, they have a scrubbing side made out of soft plastic that cleans well but does not scratch or remove metal. My total clean time on this joint was about 10 minutes. 

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/7?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0
https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/8?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/4?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/3?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

Dallas
n5fee

 


 

Dallas,
Certainly an interesting fix.  Please be aware that the heatshrink in that color is likely not stabilized for UV and may break down.  Should you do this again and want really watertight seals, they do manufacture heatshrink that has meltable material inside the tubing.  (think hot glue)  It will melt when you shrink the tubing and give a water proof seal.  I have seen some at Harbor Freight but I don't know what size it was.  If you can order from McMaster Carr, they carry it in a variety of sizes.
Al
WB9UVJ


 

Tim,
Your electrician friend is thinking to his experience with loose electrical connections heating up with current through the connection.  Unless you are running full power, this is unlikely for most of the antenna.  The antenna does move though and that movement at the joints likely allowed the adhesive on the tape to migrate and pass into the joints.  Also many tapes do not have UV stabile adhesives.  The sunlight can breakdown the adhesive and cause it to 'flow' off the tape.  I found an electrical tape at Home Depot a few years ago that has no adhesive.  It binds to itself when you apply it.  As I remember it is a 3M product and I don't remember where I put it.  If I find it, I will post the name.
I live outside of Chicago and have never sealed the antenna joints.  I do take the antenna apart every year or so and clean the joints and use Penetrox liberally.  That might be enough to keep most of the water out.  We don't get tropical rain here but it does snow and freeze.
Al
WB9UVJ


Siegfried Jackstien
 

scotch 23 or 13 ... self amalgating rubber band

dg9bfc sigi



Am 18.06.2020 um 23:39 schrieb Al WB9UVJ:

Tim,
Your electrician friend is thinking to his experience with loose electrical connections heating up with current through the connection.  Unless you are running full power, this is unlikely for most of the antenna.  The antenna does move though and that movement at the joints likely allowed the adhesive on the tape to migrate and pass into the joints.  Also many tapes do not have UV stabile adhesives.  The sunlight can breakdown the adhesive and cause it to 'flow' off the tape.  I found an electrical tape at Home Depot a few years ago that has no adhesive.  It binds to itself when you apply it.  As I remember it is a 3M product and I don't remember where I put it.  If I find it, I will post the name.
I live outside of Chicago and have never sealed the antenna joints.  I do take the antenna apart every year or so and clean the joints and use Penetrox liberally.  That might be enough to keep most of the water out.  We don't get tropical rain here but it does snow and freeze.
Al
WB9UVJ


Barry <boat.anchor@...>
 

Dallas
Here on the wet coast we don't get severe frost so I just rely on using
much Penetrox on each joint to do the waterproofing.
cheers de Barry
va7gem


On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 01:32 PM, Dallas N5FEE wrote:

I worked on my antenna a bit this morning and I think I have a likely solution to the water entry problem. The antenna obviously gets water because the elements are smaller the higher you go away from the ground and water can weep in at each joint. This is like shingling your house starting from the top.  Every joint is subject to leaking water inside. 


I repaired one joint as an experiment and it looks very promising.  I wanted to pass along what I’m doing in case anyone else is re-working theirs now. I cleaned and de-oxidized the tubing both inside and outside at the joint area and then covered the joint with heat shrink tubing and it looks pretty good.  I used regular heat shrink tubing, because that’s what I have on hand, but it is available with a sealing compound that might be a better solution. The type with the sealing compound is made for well pump electrical wires and such and can be used submerged.  


Here are photos of before, during, and after cleanup.  I have used this metal polish for many years and recommend it.  It deoxidizes, polishes and leaves a protective film.  The little foam pads are great too, they have a scrubbing side made out of soft plastic that cleans well but does not scratch or remove metal. My total clean time on this joint was about 10 minutes. 

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/7?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0
https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/8?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/4?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/3?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

https://groups.io/g/Butternut/photo/248851/2?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

Dallas
n5fee

 


Barry <boat.anchor@...>
 

Reg
What do you use to glue the Perspex together
TVM
Barry


On Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 07:28 AM, Reg G0OOF wrote:
I used self amalgamating tape around the metal joints including the nuts and bolts that secure them, when I had my HF-6V from new two years ago. Took it down for maintenance this spring and removed the tape. All the joints were free of corrosion and water. Also I have made Perspex covers ( that look like upside down open rectangular boxes ) for the capacitor assemblies, feed point and coil Q to protect from the rain.
For some reason never been able to tune the 10m band to resonance where I want it but that is another story.

Reg G0OOF  (also an electrician in a former life)


Reg G0OOF
 

Barry
It is similar to the glue used in plastic model kits. Unfortunately I cannot tell what the ingredients are, as the tube I ordered on Ebay here in the UK came from Poland and all the information is in Polish.but it is termed "Rigid plastic glue"
Hope that helps.
Reg