Paul Randall G3NJV
New to 23cm so bought an antenna from a well known manufacturer last April, supplied from a well known BIG ham outlet in the UK. This antenna looked solidly made and I was pleased with my purchase.
First used for the 23cm AC in May and taken down this weekend because bad SWR.
Shock, horror, the antenna is grossly corroded after less than 8 months outside. Still in warranty.
The boom is clean but all the element rods are deeply corroded, I mean this is DEEP corrosion, the sort you get with Mazac dinky toy metal.
The N connector is covered in brown rust from corroded mounting screws. The balun is so corroded the sealer weatherproofing the driven element box has detached.
The antenna was supplied assembled just needing the two halves to be mounted to the mast.
The factory assembled it without any protective compound (Duralac) between stainless steel and aluminium components - a recipe for rapid corrosion as any sailor will tell.
I've emailed the UK supplier, they referred me on to the manufacturer.
The manufacturer blind sided the complaint, saying their antennas were good, where I lived was bad. I need a specially made antenna. They suggested sandpapering the corrosion from the elements would make the antenna "good as new" as a temporary measure and I'm also offered a set of replacement elements - without any suggestion these will last longer.
Rebuiding the antenna is a lot of work; short rods held in plastic clips incredibly hard to line up properly without a factory jig. I don't trust my eyesight. I'm also questioning - should I be doing this on something still in warranty?
OK OK so I live in Cornwall with salt winds but my TV aerials, Jaybeam and Tonna ham aerials didn't corrode, just got blown apart. Hundreds of thousands of aluminium satellite TV dishes around here not "specially made" Even my home-made 2m "PVC yagi" using welding rod elements lasted over 5 years without corrosion, only dying recently due to metal fatigue (but not before working D4 on 2m and 70cm :-)
Am I out of touch or being told porkies? I would have thought if you needed "professional" software to design a good antenna, sandpapering the elements might not be ideal?