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What would be the best way to waterproof this connection?

JoshuaHufford

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Ubbe

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It's only to the left and right of the nut that are open to the enviroment. Start 1/2 inch out from the nut at one side and wrap electrical tape the whole way over the nut and then a 1/2 inch at the other side. Apply coax seal or butyl tape so that it covers 1 inch out at the sides of the nut. The heat from the sun will quickly make the glue on electrical tape be like syrup and gooey and will stop doing it's job as a moist insulator, so the coax seal must cover a larger area than the tape. Put some coax seal on the end of the shrink tubing just to be safe if it doesn't have an enough tight fit.

/Ubbe
 

mmckenna

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Thanks for the help.

Just out of curiosity, would surrounding the whole thing with silicone or hot glue work?
It might, if you got everything coated. But you need to be concerned about how the adhesives will survive in the ultraviolet light, some adhesives break down pretty fast. The procedure that Ubbe replied with is similar to what the industry uses, and it's proven to work.
 

mmckenna

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What about shrink tubing?
Regular heat shrink usually won't do much.
Marine grade heat shrink with the adhesive lining will usually do a pretty good job. Most high end connectors come with a section of the adhesive lined heat shrink in the kit to seal the cable to connector interface on the back and help with strain relief. That doesn't remove the need for proper weatherproofing over the entire thing.

Cable TV industry often uses the adhesive lined heat shrink, and it works well, but they use long sections of it and their connectors are often closer to the overall size of the cable, so not such a big thing to cover.
 

jaspence

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There is a product called "COAX-SEAL". I just took down an antenna that was up over five years and the connections were as clean as the day I installed them. It is not real easy to remove, but far better than any tape I have ever used.
 

mmckenna

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Coax-Seal is a brand name, and good stuff. Self amalgamating tape, butyl-rubber, self fusing silicone, all good choices.

Industry standard is to torque the connection to manufacturer specs.
Test and make sure it's good.
Put a layer of electrical tape over the connection. Start low and work up, do a "half lapped and back" wrap, where each wrap of tape overlaps half the previous wrap. Work up towards the antenna, then reverse direction and go back down to the starting point.
-make sure you don't cover weep holes on antennas, those are necessary to allow condensing moisture to exist the antenna, they are usually well marked by the manufacturer.
After the tape layer, overwrap that starting at the TOP and working down and continuing a bit down past the tape. Overlap each wrap.
Work the tape together with your fingers. This should allow you to mold it evenly over the connection.
Often another layer of electrical tape over that using the "half-lapped and back" procedure above, covering all the sealing compound is recommended.
I've got one contractor that follows all that up with a coat of "Scotch-Kote" sealant to seal everything.

Done right, the connection will be protected from the environment and won't have any issues. I've seen 20-30 year old installs come down and the connections are still bright, shiny and clean with no issues.

Big issues people have is they don't cut electrical tape. They'll grab it and pull until it breaks and then complain about "cheap tape". What happens when you do that is the plastic tape stretches and spreads out the adhesive too thin to work. The end of the tape will quickly start unraveling. Always cut the tape with a pair of scissors or a sharp knife.
 
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As mmckenna said, butyl tape is pretty much an industry standard. It is known by the names Coax-Seal, Vapor-Wrap, Monkey ****, etc. Personally, I prefer self amalgamating tape such as Nashua Stretch and Seal (which is easy to find at Home Depot, hint, hint) as it doesn't require the courtesy wrap to keep the connector clean. I will also say, there are some cases where one tape works better than the other...for instance, due to it's malleability butyl tape works best when dealing with ground kits.

Here is a quick stepped visual for self amalgamating tape...





Note, the cross hatch pattern from the outer down/up pass. One thing mmckenna didn't mention, it is recommended to orient the final tape wrap to start below the connector wrap above the connector so water beads down the layer similarly to the layering of shingles on a roof.
 

mmckenna

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Yeah, that self sealing silicone tape is nice stuff. I used that on a repair a few weeks back. Good stuff...
 
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Yeah, that self sealing silicone tape is nice stuff. I used that on a repair a few weeks back. Good stuff...
It doesn't get "stale" like butyl does...typically found in the specialty adhesives isle at your local HD. I've found using the HD app in-store to search it's location is the quickest way to locate it. $6 or so a roll.
 
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