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OTA Forum Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
tricky said:
I notice you're just using electrical tape to fasten you cable to the mast? I was listening to an installer while he was talking to a customer on the phone and he said taping 75 ohm cable to the mast and tower was fine as the cable is shielded. He said to wrap several wraps of tape around the tower or mast then tape the cable in.
Whats the consensus on this?
Glad you spotted that: people might be tempted to use nylon ties of the kind where one end fits into a slot at the other end and then you cinch it tight. Don't do it. With time the tension will cause the coax cable's protective sheath to crack or break through, or the cable's copper conducting core might even snap with a hard enough bendback. Even worse are any kinds of ties with wire cores, like the kind that you see holding a new device's power cord in a loop from the factory.

Electrical tape is the only way to go. Its extremely resilient to rain and cold, with the added benefit that you can apply it in such a way that the cable never has more than a gentle curve to it if it accidentally gets pulled. I remembered that from when I used to work for a cable TV company a long time ago so I did it that way again. Also I used the weather boots that came with the CM4228 balun and the AP8275 preamp, but I went the extra bit to apply some Armor Coat all purpose roof patch sealer, which goes on gooey and black but dries into a dark grey rubbery coating that insulates and weatherproofs anything. Then I used black electrical tape around the CM4228's balun. Remember, I live on the Wet Coast, so I don't take any chances! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Roofing Tar and Silicone for Antenna Installation

Silicone is ideal for waterproofing bushings and connectors. Silicone is not your best option for applying to roofs or shingles because it can ball up in certain temperature and moisture conditions and lose its adhesion.

For anything that touches the roof and/or shingles I use Armor Coat Roof Patch All Season Hole & Crack Sealer (UPC# 592107036) available at RONA, Canadian Tire, hardware stores, or Home Depot. I get the 300ml tube and put it in a caulking gun, then I spread it with a putty knife if needed. This stuff is terrific and handles all the elements and extreme temperature fluctuations. There are other brands that are similar to my favourite.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
plutoz said:
i don't like the idea of fastening anything to my roof shingles
We've talked about the successes and benefits of using roofing tar in one or two of the threads here and in my own experience it protects excellently if you have to drive a few lag bolts into your roofing.

I wouldn't trust an unaffixed tripod, so if you don't want to pop holes into the roof you probably need to look at some sort of weights such as sandbags or something else that is heavy and might look more esthetically pleasing if its in sight.
 

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Which sealant is best for rooftop cables?

I have been told by a pro installer to not use silicon sealant on coax wire connections because it will deteriorate the plastic jacket on the wires. I bought some acrylic based sealant and I hope it won't cause any problems.

Does anyone know what sealant is ok to use on wires. I noticed that the cable guy used a stretchy tape that had the consistency of chewing gum and after drying was impossible to rip off. I wish I knew what it was.
 

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Hi Mark,

It's called "self-vulcanizing rubber tape" and electrical supply houses, antenna installers, or electronics/HAM shops should have it. I've used lots of it to waterproof connectors up top for HAM radio purposes. The stuff works great and holds up very well over time.

-Rob-
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also Mark if you go back through this thread you'll see posts that deal specifically with the topic of not using silicone products for such uses.

A friend of mine who works for BC Hydro gave me a roll of the tape Rop mentions and it is great, except that he gave me the 1 1/2 inch wide stuff which is a little cumbersome for taping cable ends so I'll look for some 3/4 inch.
 

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Rob thank you for helping me identify what that mysterious stuff was. I have been trying to figure it out for a while.

Stampeder I actually did read through the thread before posting and there is mention of not using silicone on asphalt roofs but you actually stated
stampeder said:
Silicone is ideal for waterproofing bushings and connectors.
I have used silicone in the past to seal around cable and telephone wire where they went through a concrete wall into the basement and haven't noticed any ill effects on the wires. I still need to use something to seal the new holes I made to for the antennae wires and I hope that the acrylic based caulking will be ok.

I found the rubber tape on the US Home Depot site listed as 'Silicone Rubber Fusion Tape' but nothing on the Canadian site. Hopefully Canadian Tire or Rona will have it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
MarkTO said:
Stampeder I actually did read through the thread before posting and there is mention of not using silicone on asphalt roofs but you actually stated...
MarkTO, nothing personal but I often check if people have read up because there are sometimes those who don't.

Regarding silicone for fittings, mea culpa about that quote. I was referring to asphalt repair tar as the best for roof jobs when you were talking about connections. Not enough caffeine was in my system yet, I guess. I will add that if you want really long term protection then use the roofing tar on the connections rather than the silicone. BTW I've never heard of deterioration of coax sheathing from silione products. :)
 

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MarkTO said:
I found the rubber tape on the US Home Depot site listed as 'Silicone Rubber Fusion Tape' but nothing on the Canadian site. Hopefully Canadian Tire or Rona will have it.
I managed to find 'self-vulcanizing rubber tape' in Canadian Tire. It is sold under the name 'magic wrap' and you will find it in the tape or plumbing section. The price is a bit steep $7.99 for 16' but it should be enough for a few installations.

Thanks for everyones help.
 

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Painting your antenna

Is there a special kind of paint I could use to blend my antenna to my roof colour? If so what is it called?:confused: :confused: :eek:
 

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MarkTO said:
I managed to find 'self-vulcanizing rubber tape' in Canadian Tire. It is sold under the name 'magic wrap' and you will find it in the tape or plumbing section. The price is a bit steep $7.99 for 16' but it should be enough for a few installations.

Thanks for everyones help.
The Cable TV guys call it "Sap Tape" It's great stuff for outdoor electrical work.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Personally I would not paint an antenna, and if they come out of the factory painted its usually been anodized as part of the RF capabilities. You could try an acrylic enamel for durability. Like HDTV101 says, it has to stick to aluminum but maybe also galvanized and/or stainless steel, depending on the fittings. Make sure the paint is non-metallic because even the smallest amount of metal in it could ruin the antenna's gain. Satellite dish paint would be perfect, but its only in gray from what I've ever seen. Are you sure you want to try this?
 

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stampeder said:
Are you sure you want to try this?
Well now that you mention it, I don't think I will do it.:eek:

Thanks for your replies. :)
Ben
 

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Protecting connections

Folks, I'm thinking of protecting the 4228 antenna/balun connections with:

  1. MotoMaster Ignition Protector (spray can, "Forms a clear protective coating on exposed ingniton parts")
  2. Permatex Dielectric Tune-Up Grease
  3. Magic Wrap (self vulcanizing rubber tape)

Your thoughts, please? All of these or any combination thereof? Something else, perhaps?

Oh, yes! How about those ground connections on the mast, tower and lightning arrestor? They need protection from the elements, don't they?

Your assistance is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Folks, I'm thinking of protecting the 4228 antenna/balun connections with:
  1. MotoMaster Ignition Protector (spray can, "Forms a clear protective coating on exposed ingniton parts")
Since you're thinking of going to Canadian Tire just walk over to the paint section and pick up a tube or can of Roofing Tar. Roofing Tar is easy to apply, handles all weather conditions, and when it has fully dried/cured is fairly easy to remove with a putty knife and varsol.

Don't forget to put a drip loop in your cables. Make sure your cables have weather boots, which you can get from The Source if you need. If the cables already have F-Connectors on the ends that you aren't going to want to remove, just cut one side of the new weather boots entirely lengthwise with a sharp knife and wrap them around the connectors and cable ends, then apply the Roofing Tar to weather seal them. Use roofing tar on balun connections too.
 

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COAX SEAL

It's a putty/Rubber tape sort of stuff in a roll, sort of looks like a roll of Electrical tape. I bought some at Radioworld in Toronto and I also managed to find some at Princess Auto before.
Once you wrap it around your connections, you can mold it to seal them up.
It hardens over time.
Out of curiosty since everybody seems to be trying other stuff to do the same thing, would vaseline seal it up without causing any problems?
I know somebody who used to put that on their battery terminals on his car battery.
By the way is that magic wrap stuff the same as coax seal? It sounds like it.
Where can you buy that?

Stimpsonjcat
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sealant posts/Silicone posts

stimpsonjcat, there's a post earlier in this thread by Rop about sealant tape, and my friend the former BC Hydro lineman gave me some too. Is that the same stuff you mean?

timbo and everyone, check out the posts in this thread that deal with the pros and cons of different sealants. Also you'll see info on not using silicone products.
 

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Thanks, stampeder. I'll save myself a couple bucks and a trip by using the roof tar I've got on hand.

stimpsonjcat, that Magic Wrap is at Crappy Tire and it sounds exactly like the putty/rubber tape you describe.

Cheers!
 
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