aCappella’s Helm – Antennas

Thanks to our friends at http://www.activecaptain.com/ we are republishing this post. It isn’t often that I run across something I’ve never before heard of but this is a great tip for anyone who is fighting with deteriorating antennas.

Every person walking down the dock had the same reaction, “I didn’t know you could do that!” So we thought it would be good to pass along one of our latest discoveries.

Many boats like ours have white, fiberglass antennas. Over time the fiberglass starts to come out causing uncomfortable handling as the microscopic shards penetrate the skin. This is especially bad at the top where the antennas bend in the wind causing the paint to flake off over the years.

As part of our total electronics refit this winter, we decided it was time to replace our sad looking antennas. Fortunately, the topic came up when we were meeting with the owners of Lambs Yacht Center. Downing asked a key question: “Are the antennas still working?” Well, yes, in fact they were performing as perfectly as the day we first keyed the mic’s some 9+ years ago. “Then why not just paint them?” he asked. We responded, “You can do that?”

We did some research and discovered that even on Shakespeare’s website they give advice about painting the antennas:

http://www.shakespeare-antennas.com/media/faq.asp?c=9&q=17

This would save a lot of money and avoid the hassle of running cables through the bases of the arch. We honestly had no idea this could even be done.

We purchased a quart of Easypoxy white from Defender (think Defender first!) for about $30. The antennas were lowered, disassembled into sections, and hung in reachable areas around the upper deck. After some cleaning and light sanding, 2 coats of paint were applied while we were at Ortega Landing. To complete the job, another light sanding should be done and a final coat should be applied – we’ll finish that when we get to the Chesapeake in about a month.

We found that Easypoxy went on better with a normal brush than a foam one. The brush strokes seem to magically fill in and produce a nice, glossy finish. It all cleans up easily with mineral spirits.

Replacing the 16 foot VHF antenna and 22 foot SSB antenna would have cost around $800. It would have taken about 3-4 hours of effort to complete. Instead, the cost of painting them was about $35 and an easier 3-4 hours of effort (not one curse word).

The antennas have now been in their new painted state for about a month. The new radios work great and the antennas are shiny and white and perfect. This is a great little job that’s easy to do and makes for a nice spring project.

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Filed under Boat Maintenance, Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Fishing News, Lake Boating, Navigation, Sailing News, Uncategorized

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