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 DIY aluminum antennas

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karelgol
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karelgol


Call Sign : 19-CT-024
Posts : 102
Times Thanked : 4
Join date : 2020-05-21
QTH or Location : Steenwijk, JO32bs
Equipment Used : Dynascan AT5555,President Lincoln I, President Bill Asc, KL-200P, T2LT, 5/8 Gainmaster, Emperor LA-50
Age : 63

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PostSubject: DIY aluminum antennas   DIY aluminum antennas Icon_minitimeTue Sep 08, 2020 4:34 pm

When building aluminum antennas, how do you connect the pieces? Any experience with those low temperature welding sticks with flux included? Suppose thats some kind of soldering.

73

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Victor
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Victor


Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 Ham M7VIC
Posts : 3418
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PostSubject: Re: DIY aluminum antennas   DIY aluminum antennas Icon_minitimeTue Sep 08, 2020 8:19 pm

Hi Karel,

I suppose it depends on what kind of antenna you're building and pieces you're connecting really.

Stainless steel fasteners are usually used for fixings subjected to weather conditions as they are more resistant. However they are galvanically incompatible with aluminium. (Look for bimetal reactions and the periodic table.) As such some antennas use plastic fixings to separate the aluminium from the stainless screws etc. There are less problems with stainless fixings on large areas of aluminium and hence why stainless clips can be used on aluminium tubes and small contact threaded sections. (Tap the aluminium to accept a stainless thread and use a washer at the head end.)

There are plenty of homebrew antennas out there on the internet to get some good ideas of fixing systems.


As for aluminium soldering I can only give you my personal experiences.
Basically, a royal pain in the backside! Wink

I had an aluminium heatsink from a radio restoration that had a broken fin and being an old radio a replacement was unavailable. Seeing as I had the fin I too thought about soldering and ordered some fluxed aluminium welding rods. I decided to try it out first on a different aluminium heatsink before repairing the original and glad I did. Would not solder for love nor money despite videos making it look easy!

The solution in the end was to heat the aluminium up first in a kitchen oven to 200'C before attempting the weld. Worked a treat! I did the same for the restoration piece and it worked out great.

But it'll be a little difficult to stick an antenna in the kitchen oven Wink

I suppose the secret is in heating the aluminium to temperature first but a bit difficult with a torch and large section.


So that said, I'd use stainless bolts and plastic washers myself.


Hope that helps.

All the best,
Victor
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