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Anyone refinished an Outbacker mobile HF antenna?

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by K5DH, Feb 20, 2019.

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  1. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    My ancient Outbacker Perth (which I bought new in 1994) is badly weathered from 25 years of exposure to the elements. The black finish is dull and chalky, and it has worn completely away from the little "humps" over the banana jacks for each band tap. The entire antenna is covered with spider-web cracks in the finish. There are hundreds of little pits in the finish. There are some larger cracks up near the top from a pigeon strike at 65 MPH (that was quite an impact!). The antenna still works gangbusters, but it's just so darned ugly, and I worry that moisture may find its way inside through the pits and cracks. Have you successfully refinished your Outbacker antenna? I've tried several times to get a response from Outbacker (in Oz) and Alpha-Delta (the US distributor), but so far no one has answered my inquiries. I need to do something, but obviously I don't want to disrupt the antenna's functionality. Could I just clean off the dirt and chalk and apply some kind of marine-grade urethane clearcoat? It will never look "pretty", but I want it to work and I want it to last. Opinions, please. . .

    73,
    Dean K5DH
     
  2. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Who cares? It is a 1994, correct?
     
  3. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I care. Sure, it's 25 years old, but it still performs wonderfully and suits my needs perfectly. I'd like to keep it that way. They no longer sell Outbackers here in the States, and the Perth model is no longer made at all. Shame. It's a fantastic performer. Even after 25 years out in the weather.

    Anyone have any worthwhile comments or suggestions?
     
    K3RW and KE8FWJ like this.
  4. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You can spray it with high voltage lacquer, but you'll have to cover up the holes where the jumpers go. However, if the outside vinyl is that bad, you should replace it as no doubt the inner wires are corroded as well. Since you can't buy one, you could replace it with some of MFJ's hamstick-like antennas, and actually increase the performance.
     
  5. KF4ZGZ

    KF4ZGZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it were mine ....
    I would find some of the really big heat shrink tubes, start at the bottom and overlap as needed for weather proofing, then cut out the tap holes.
     
    W1TRY likes this.
  6. N7EKU

    N7EKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Dean,

    I'm not sure I would work to hard cleaning off the antenna -- just wipe it down well with thinner. If it looks good when it's wet with thinner, then it should be fine to re-coat. I would probably do like you are thinking and use a marine grade finish. That should be good for bad weather and for UV. I would just use a paint brush and keep it out of the plug holes. It should look great when done!

    73,


    Mark.
     
  7. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    K0BG -- You don't seem to be a fan of Outbacker antennas. I've had 25 years of great performance and amazing durability from mine. The only antenna I've used that performed better was a ridiculous 13 foot tall Texas Bugcatcher that I used in a pseudo-center-loaded configuration back in the 1980s and early 1990s (replaced by the Outbacker when I bought a new truck in '94).

    KF4ZGZ -- I though about using heat-shrinkable tubing, but it typically doesn't last long in the Texas sun. It gets brittle and cracks fairly quickly.

    N7EKU -- We're thinking alike on this. I guess I'll give it a try when the weather warms up a bit.

    Other opinions and inputs welcomed!
     
  8. WB4TAA

    WB4TAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just a thought...Maybe a powder coating or asking someone that has a powder coating business...There has to be something you could use....They would mask off the banana plug jacks I'm sure.....
     
  9. N7EKU

    N7EKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hmm,

    Some plastics would melt at powder coat curing temperatures so you'd have to know about all the plastics used in the antenna.

    73,


    Mark.
     
  10. KF4ZGZ

    KF4ZGZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can get UV resistant heatshrink tubing.
     
    WA8FOZ likes this.

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