Sunday, May 4, 2014

Water + PL-259 = no radio for the day!

The waterlogged  PL-259
Well FINALLY I was able to get some radio time it has been so long and really there were no good reasons just what I call excuses!  On Saturday afternoon it was time to get some long over due radio time in. I ran my coax jumper  to the 1788 MFJ loop from my K3 radio, I settled into my radio chair and flipped the switch…..and……it was time for Murphy to visit me! With the MFJ loop you are supposed to tune the loop for peak noise and this was just not happening. I was getting numerous peaks but the SWR was all over the place! I thought about it for some time and after trying numerous ideas it finally hit me! I have a 6 foot coax tail on the loop and via a coupling I connect the coax from indoors. It was really raining the last few days and the balcony was very wet and "normally" my outdoor coax tail is in a plastic zip lock bag. This past rain storm was also accompanied with a strong wind and somehow the coax was removed from the bag and was in the water. I removed the coax and checked it with my ohm meter and it showed a high resistance between the centre conductor and shield. So it seems water has made it's way into the PL-259 connector and after installing a new piece of coax and doing some check with great results it was time for bed. My loop is supported by the MFJ tripod. I have a cover over the loop it to help disguise it and kinda makes it look like patio furniture. There is lots of wind being high up and on the lake so the cover has to be secured around the centre pole of the tripod. It's great that the antenna works perfect with a cover and with it secured as well I just want to come up with an easy way to connect and disconnect the coax from the antenna. I don't want to remove the cover or un-secure it from the centre pole. Any ideas from ham world would be approbated.
A shot of the balcony antenna open for suggestions. 

4 comments:

  1. Hello Mike, a struggle with an antenna can be rewarding. Well done. 73, Bert

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    1. Good morning Bert, yes I am still finding myself ironing out some wrinkles regarding the antenna.
      Mike

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  2. Hello Mike

    One way to prevent this kind of thing happening again might be to terminate a short length of coax to a BNC or preferably a N type socket in a waterproof box attached just below where you tie off the cover. When not in use the socket can have one of those blanking caps attached to keep the water etc out.

    As unlike most PL259 plugs BNC and N type plugs have compression gaskets that make them reasonably waterproof as long as the lead inside is unplugged when not in use it should be ok for the occasional shower. Though some self amalgamating tape or similar over the cable entry would not go amiss.

    I used to use something similar when before I moved to my present QTH from one similar to yours, I still use magnetic loops as I have found that they seem to work well in difficult environments but now have no issues with waterproofing as they now live in the loft.

    Regards

    Kevin
    G6UCY

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    1. Kevin thanks very much for taking the time to post a comment, I did not know with both the N and BNC connectors that were fairly water tight. I was thinking alone the same lines as you posted to run a short piece of coax to a water proof box……or something like it. I just have to spend some time and get down to it.
      Mike

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