Sunday, 14 June 2015

Hot Stuff and a finished project

So I have finished installing the radials on the vertical antenna. In the end I decided I'd read the instructions and see how they say to earth it and this is what the instructions gave me:

This is my completed attachment to the bolts that hold on the insulator at the base of the bracket. Check it out after the break to see how I got to this point.

I'm glad to see you're interested. So to start with I was still trying to solder the copper wire onto the aluminium bracket. One though I had was that it might not be sticking to the aluminium much because of the oxide layer that it gets. So I got my grinder out and cleaned it up a bit. I did just use the normal grinding disk that was already in the tool. I know these can get gummed up by aluminium but I was only skimming a little off so it wasn't a problem, thankfully. So here is a picture of what it looked like after cleaning it up a little:

 However that wasn't working for me with electric irons so I figured I'd get some more heat onto the job. Enter a propane torch borrowed from Dad. With that going this is what things looked like:

Now that didn't work either for some reason. At the time I figured that if I could get the solder to sit on the piece then it might flow. So I unbolted everything and put the base on top of the stump to get it fairly level. Unfortunately my phone seems to have deleted all of the photos from that stage so I can't show you how it went. Needless to say it didn't work. Thinking about it, the aluminium probably wasn't hot enough, but the solder was too hot meaning that it would ball up and run off the aluminium rather than running over the surface.

So at that point I decided to take a break, unfortunately without a kit-kat, and read the instructions that I had been given. Now the first page of these has a large area where the ink got lifted off or something at one point but it was still readable on the sides. So reading what little I could I discovered the "Fig.5" showed how to connect an earth. Upon looking at "Fig.5" It seemed to indicate that the bolts at the base were for earthing and sure enough when I looked there was a bit of wire wrapped around one of then and a fair bit of galvanic corrosion and a lot of white slightly powdery aluminium. So I cleaned that up with the grinder again and crimped on some connectors, added some brass washers, then put everything back together again.

I do apologize for the lack of pictures in this post, but sometimes there's nothing we can do with the technology we have.


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