July 23, 2003 - Steve Morris K7LXC gave a seminar entitled "The Ten Most Common Tower Building Mistakes" at the Coos County Hamfest last Saturday. Steve works for Champion Radio Products in Woodinville, Washington. Notes from his seminar can be viewed by clicking here.
In addition to the information given on the above website, Steve also answered many questions and gave tips on other things related to tower construction and maintenance. One of the things Steve touched on was how to seal coax connectors the professional way. Steve recommends the following proceedure:
Wrap the connection from bottom to top with high quality vinyl electrical tape such as Scotch 33. He specifically warned against using inferior electrical tape. Stretch the tape as you wrap except for the last turn. On the last turn allow the tape to relax. This prevents the tape from forming a "flap" later on when the last wrap of tape relaxes and begins to peel off. Also, cut the tape cleanly using scissors. Don't break the tape by either stretching it until it snaps or by tearing it. Cutting it cleanly with scissors will prevent the tape from peeling off later.
After wrapping with electrical tape, wrap it a second time using a gummy sealant such as coax-seal. Form the coax seal around the taped joint.
Finally, after wrapping with coax-seal, wrap the joint from bottom to top using the electrical tape. By wrapping from bottom to top you create a "shingle" effect which prevents water running down the cable from penetrating openings in the tape.
Some wondered why the first wrap of tape, since the coax-seal will adequately seal the connection from weather. The reason for the first tape wrap is to make it easier to take the whole thing apart. Coax-seal will stick to the connections and cable and is extremely difficult to remove. By wrapping with tape first, you make it easy to remove the coax seal and prevent it from permanently sticking to the cable and connectors.
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