Depending on where you are in the world the crappy winter weather is just around the corner or maybe already in full swing, giving your CB antenna the ride of its life for a few months. Having suffered the complete destruction of a great antenna in the past (more on that in a bit) I like to get outside and take a good look at the thing before the wind and rain takes hold.
Quick Winter Antenna Checklist
With enough movement bolts and screws can easily come lose over time and this isn’t something that can be spotted be a visual inspection from the ground (unless its very bad). If you can get up to the antenna and go over every joint all the better. I like to take out anything that has worked its way lose and redo with a healthy dose of nut lock.
Check for give in the main bracket where it meets the antenna and the wall itself. If you’ve used the correct wall bolts there shouldn’t be any problems in this area but its always good to check.
Coax designed to be used outside is made to be flexible but enough movement can cause problems with the wire inside or the plastic coating. Even a small crack in the outer protective layer will give fluid the chance to get in and start eating away at the copper inside.
There’s also the damaged that can be quickly caused when coax constantly rubs against the outside of buildings. It doesn’t take much accidentally sanding down of the outer coating by the side of a brick building to make holes.
Try to secure outside coax so it doesn’t have too much room to move about without pulling on the connections.
Remove the main connector in the base of the antenna and check for water incursion. Most rust can be cleaned off but if the plug is very badly corroded don’t be afraid to whack a new one on, its less hassle in the long run.
Covering the connector with quality waterproof tape goes a long way to keeping water out. I’m not talking about normal electrical insulation tape which has a very short life span when exposed to the elements but something like Scotch Super 33+ Vinyl Electrical Tape
Small precautions and changes made now can make doing the same maintenance next year that much easier.
The Utter Destruction Of My First CB Antenna
As a young convert to CB radio and having suffered from the limitations of a mag mount on a biscuit tin for long enough, plans where made to get something better on the go. Luckily my home (at the time) was blessed with a fair bit of altitude making me willing to put in effort to put up a proper antenna.
The only problem at the time was a severe lack of funds to do the job with.
You’ve got to understand I’d just left school for college and there was very little spare money floating around to spend on radios. Having done almost everything I could in my scant free time I’m pretty sure it took a full 6 months before being able to go and get the beast that was my first proper CB antenna.
Consisting of a half wave dipole with 4 very large ground plane radials the chosen antenna was a thing of beauty and I rushed to get it installed.
A few days later it sat nicely attach to the sheds flat roof on what with my major lack of knowledge seemed like a stable antenna mounting. The first thing I saw when waking up in the morning, it worked flawlessly throughout the long summer months until a typical rough winter arrived.
Looking out one morning to see the antenna dashed against the garden fence was seriously heart breaking and even with the briefest glance could tell it had been turned into no more than scrap metal.
Knowing what I do now (hindsight can be cruel sometimes) there would have been a few guy wires added to the setup just to be sure the antenna stayed where it was supposed to be, no matter what winter threw at it.
Rain Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia