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KA3JOI
10-18-2008, 04:02 PM
I have been given a 3-Element Trapped Beam Antenna, in pieces. The aluminum is in pretty sad shape, corroded & dull looking. Is there a way to clean this with chemicals or should I just work on it with steel wool? Thanks.

Paul, KA3JOI

K7RQ
10-18-2008, 04:20 PM
In the aircraft industry they say never use steel wool to polish aluminum--something about it leaving steel particles embedded that cause further problems. 3M Scotchbrite cleaning pads have worked for me if the corrosion isnt too severe. Might try that.

Hal

AC0FP
10-18-2008, 05:41 PM
I've always used steel wool without problems. I have seen some aluminum cleaners on the market but never tried any of them. For flat aluminum surfaces I use sandpaper in a vibrational sander.

73,

Frank:)

KA5ROW
10-18-2008, 06:17 PM
I have used 0000 steelwool works fine just was off the residue with water and a rag. you could go back over it with Scotchbrite to remove any steelwool residue.

Do not use steel wool on the trap enclosures wool particles can get in them and cause problems. If you completely dissemble the traps you can clean the enclosures. When assembling your antenna use penatrox on aluminum joints. This will eliminate any corrosion it also will make a good connection and easy disassembly.

K9STH
10-18-2008, 08:19 PM
I avoid steel wool at all costs. Even with careful cleaning there is still a very good possibility that there still will be small particles left embedded in the aluminum and eventually those particles will rust.

As for a "dull" surface: Remember that aluminum oxides within microseconds of being exposed to the air. Now if there is pitting or a white residue then the aluminum should be cleaned. But, if the only thing is a "dull" surface, then cleaning will not really do any good.

Using a fine "grit" sandpaper or a bronze wire brush will generally remove any corrosion. There are various products that can be put on the surface where telescoping aluminum tubes are present to insure a good electrical connection and to keep the tubes from seizing.

Glen, K9STH

KR2D
10-20-2008, 02:45 PM
I'm currently cleaning and re-assembling a vertical that I purchased used.

I'm using a large steel wire brush, a small stainless steel wire brush (looks like a tooth brush) and a wire brush made for prepping copper pipe before soldering. The pipe brush is one handle with two different size round brushes at the ends for internal cleaning, and two holes thru the handle with wire bristles for the outside. You'll find that pipe brush in the plumbing department at any home improvement store. I'm not sure what I will use for the inside of the smallest tubing - maybe an abrasive paper wrapped around a small rod.

NoAlOx and OxGuard are two products meant for assembling wire and conduit connections. They ensure the connection is solid and prevent seizing. Both are available in the in electrical section of any home improvement store.

N2RJ
10-20-2008, 04:43 PM
Aluminum oxide is a good thing, unless it is a surface on which you are making electrical contact.

N8YX
10-20-2008, 05:45 PM
Use "Hagerty's Metal Polish", "Flitz", "Collinite Metal Wax" or "Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish". Follow with a good coat of "Collinite Insulator Wax".

All of the above work well on my motorcycles' aluminum rims AND on my antennas... :D

VE3BJR
10-20-2008, 08:12 PM
Hi there:

I have always used "Haggertys" polish and have found it to do the best job.

Previous trials have been done with vinegar, but with poor results.

73 and good luck and have a good day.

Louie
ve3bjr

KV9L
10-30-2008, 08:38 PM
Buy 2 of these buffs, http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/bluejob.html
Use one for brown compound and the other for white. You could go with a black then do brown and skip white depending on the oxidation on the parts. Since the aluminum is already pretty much smooth I would suggest 800 to 1500 grit Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper for cleaning connecting points.

You can take any old antenna and make it look newer than new with minimal effort and time spent. Chrome plated if you will :cool:.

73,
Aaron Lamb
KD4GSL/9

AI5DX
10-31-2008, 06:19 AM
In the aircraft industry they say never use steel wool to polish aluminum--something about it leaving steel particles embedded that cause further problems. 3M Scotchbrite cleaning pads have worked for me if the corrosion isnt too severe. Might try that.

HalActually the scotchbrite pads are the best for the application,this bieng my experience from bieng an electrician for almost 18 yrs and working on high voltage gear for most of that time. Also dont forget to use some DEOX at the mating surfaces of the sections after you clean it up and start the reassembley.

AC0GR
11-01-2008, 04:34 AM
I recently used ScotchBright 'For Metal' pads and dish soap when I refurbed a used ATB-34. Made sure to rinse well, and used NoAlox when reassambled.

It was very much like the example on THIS (http://www.mydarc.de/dk4qt/basteln/atb34/atb34-beam.htm) webpage.
(The server wasnt responding when I posted this, hopefully it will return.)

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