If Your Wellbrook Loop Is Outside-Check It!

ridgescan

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Signals have been ever getting lousier over a long period of time on my Wellbrook. I've been so enthralled with my wire antenna lately and also for the last few years I've been leaving the Wellbrook alone. So today it really started to show signal degradation especially in MW. Upon dismounting it and inspecting everything, it looks like birds got to the silicone sealer I applied to the +/- studs on the aluminum loop. This caused crappy connections on both and also the screws weren't at all tight anymore. So I re-did and re-sealed those and then I unwrapped the weatherproofing from the connector and found something interesting; this blue stuff went from the center conductor, right across the dielectric to the braid. So I re-did a new connector there. This loop is active so I wonder if some sort of what...electrolysis type thing occurred to cause that blue stuff.
Anyway, the Wellbrook is working like it did when new. Happy about that.
So my advice here is, don't let that active loop outdoor antenna go too long without checking this stuff. My Wellbrook is up there for years getting beat-up on one way or another. It's up 50' so it gets the maximum weather, wind. ocean salt...and birds!
 

kruser

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Yep, the blue stuff could have been from some sort of electrolysis action. Being as the coax has power on it, that makes sense.

What are you using for coax seal? Anything I've used seals very well and does not let moisture in. It also must be cut to remove, there is no unwrapping it!
A lot of people use simple electrical tape but that's a very bad idea. Most electrical tape will usually allow moisture in in between the wraps. Then it becomes trapped and eventually goes to work when it reaches the good stuff!

Glad you got it working! I have a Pixel model I put up on my flat roof years ago. I checked it for any signs of corrosion or water ingress but it all looked great. Doing antenna maintenance is something I bet a lot of people don't do. It's not always the easiest thing to do when you factor in the possibility of rusty hardware that must be worked around before you can even get to the antenna. It can be a pain in the rear for sure.
Squirrel's are my worst enemy. The use my larger coax like LMR400 like a climbing rope. The outer jacket is just soft enough for their tiny sharp claws to dig into so they can climb it to the roof. I always worry the claws will penetrate the outer jacket and let moisture in but so far I've not seen any evidence of that. At least they don't sit there and gnaw on the coax or other wires!
 

ridgescan

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Hey kruser! I use good old Scotch 33 and I wrap the heck out of the whole thing, even overlapping the very edge where the connector hooks to the loop amp. I am sure no moisture got in there as everything was as clean as when I first installed it-it's just that little blue stuff that happened and I do believe that was electrical somehow.
I'm definitely going to keep opening it up and checking for that as a yearly good practice!
 

ridgescan

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Some silicone sealants have acetic acid in them, very corrosive.
Yeah you're right. The stuff I use is called Harvey's. It's a "caulk" type acrylic latex sealer and it states it can be used outside. It was doing fine for years until something picked at it.
Andy at Wellbrook says to just put Vaseline on those studs but I wanted something better on them.
 

Token

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Yes, you do have to do some maintenance on most antennas, and the Wellbrook is one I have to work on every 3 to 5 years.

The screws that hold the loop element to the amplifier module have a tendency to build up a very fine corrosion inside the plastic, were the screw meets the loop, and this causes poor connections. The first indication for me is when I start to see the antenna noise floor rise and it starts to loose directionality.

So, about every 4 years or so I take the antenna down, clean and reseal the coax connections, check the terminal screw connections, and make sure the mounting bolts are retightened.

Most of my antennas are on a cycle of maintenance of some kind. Right now one of my triband beams is nonfuncitonal, and I need to lay down the tower to see what is going on. That antenna has been up and untouched for over 20 years.

T!
 

a29zuk

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Hey kruser! I use good old Scotch 33 and I wrap the heck out of the whole thing, even overlapping the very edge where the connector hooks to the loop amp. I am sure no moisture got in there as everything was as clean as when I first installed it-it's just that little blue stuff that happened and I do believe that was electrical somehow.
I'm definitely going to keep opening it up and checking for that as a yearly good practice!
Over the years I have taped up motor leads for motors being splashed and soaked with coolant or oils. The Scotch 33 works great and keeps the motor leads bone dry if wrapped properly. Even when the motor head is filled with liquid. So I use it on my antennas and have never had a problem with moisture getting into the connections.

Jim
 

ridgescan

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Over the years I have taped up motor leads for motors being splashed and soaked with coolant or oils. The Scotch 33 works great and keeps the motor leads bone dry if wrapped properly. Even when the motor head is filled with liquid. So I use it on my antennas and have never had a problem with moisture getting into the connections.

Jim
You can literally form a "cast" with 33. It's wrap-art:D
 

WA8ZTZ

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Feb 23, 2014
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Scotch 33, good stuff... have gone back to splices made over 30 years ago and they look good as new.
OK, so you have to pay $3-4 per roll but it won't turn all gooey after a year like the cheap stuff.

Another good product for sealing coax connections outdoors is OZ Gedney NEER duct seal.
You can mold it into any shape you want and it stays soft forever making it easy to remove.
Got what's left of a 5 lb bag of it in the garage that has to be at least 40 yrs old and it is still pliable.
Also will not corrode metal. You probably won't find it at the DIY store, have to go to the electric supply house.
 

ridgescan

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Scotch 33, good stuff... have gone back to splices made over 30 years ago and they look good as new.
OK, so you have to pay $3-4 per roll but it won't turn all gooey after a year like the cheap stuff.

Another good product for sealing coax connections outdoors is OZ Gedney NEER duct seal.
You can mold it into any shape you want and it stays soft forever making it easy to remove.
Got what's left of a 5 lb bag of it in the garage that has to be at least 40 yrs old and it is still pliable.
Also will not corrode metal. You probably won't find it at the DIY store, have to go to the electric supply house.
Yes Sir! I get mine at Home Depot here.
 

JerryX

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Nov 9, 2017
Messages
68
For sealing outdoor coax connections, I use 3M Temflex 2155. This is a rubber splicing tape that molds and conforms to a connection and forms a solid barrier. It's cheap too: $2.68 a roll at Lowes. I overwrap the Temflex with one layer of Scotch 33+ tape for UV protection.
 
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