Anyone found a spray product to improve conductivity between outdoor antenna elements & main boom?
Have a large Winegard outdoor, directional antenna - 6.5 yrs old. Near their "top of the line."
Also use their pole mounted pre-amplifier, with indoor power supply.
When antennas are newer, or after the long process of spraying WD40 on every connection (element to boom), reception is excellent.
Same issue with the last Winegard. After only a few years, the signal quality / strength goes from perfect to unwatchable.
Winegard said all aluminum antennas connections (element to boom) must be bare metal & start to oxidize.
Their solution - replace it.
High rainfall may speed up the problem?
In the past, when reception degrades, and SNR and "signal strength" both drop, I've sprayed WD-40 on all element connection points. Seems to restore the SNR & signal strength values. Must repeat every few months. A pain - up on the roof.
Maybe there's a better product for this?
Tried an "electronic switch / contact" type of spray. Didn't seem as effective as even WD40.
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Back in the old days, we used to spray wet Distributor Caps with WD-40 to help stop Cross-Firing in the Distributor. Worked great, especially in heavy rain or after driving through a puddle.....
Try a shot of White Lithium grease. See if that lasts longer.Got my retirement plans all set. Looks like I only have to work another 5 years after I die........
The Caig Labs products would be the only thing I would consider. Its an excellent contact cleaner that won't trap moisture
like WD-40 would (or any grease for that matter). I've used it before from my bench tech days and as an avid ham radio
operator. Worked better than anything else I've found.
I'll check out Caig's products. Though DeoxIT D-Series - Contact Cleaner & Rejuvenator says works "on all metal connectors and contacts," it sounds too good to be true. (aluminum for normal electronics or electrical contacts, etc., is fairly rare). I doubt it cleans oxidation from every metal. But Caig's support / CS may know about aluminum.
Re: WD40, trapping moisture, etc. All I can say is, in the past when the / an antenna was basically gone, and nothing left to lose by trying WD40 (or any spray), the WD40 revived it. Several times.
But, eventually the oxidation could progress, where it's not effective.
I would also inspect the feed line and replace if necessary. If coaxial, replace RG-59 with RG-6 for lower signal loss.
If RG-58, replace directly.
If by "main boom" you mean the tube running from the font to back that supports the other elements, it doesn't even have to be conductive so I would look elsewhere for the problem. It's convenient for the manufacturers to use the same material for the boom as the elements but from an electrical aspect, each director (front end) is a resonant antenna in it's own right and the dipole (bit connected to the cable) is resonant somewhere around mid TV band. At their center points where they mount to the boom there isn't any voltage anyway so whether electrically connected or not makes little difference. I would concentrate on the dipole and cable connections. Also check that moisture hasn't entered the end of the cable, especially if it is of the 'open cell' type with air gaps around the center wire. Any water, whether entering as liquid or as condensation in the cable will seriously degrade it's performance and increase the signal losses along it's length. It may not be visible of course as gravity tends to make it head downward away from the antenna itself. A 'dirty' trick I have used, and only in an extreme case with open cell cable, was to attach a car tire pump to the cable at the TV end, after running a few seconds a fountain of water shot out at the antenna end!
Beware of metal laden greases, although most 'greases' are water repellent, the metal content can make electrolytic corrosion a problem instead.
what about the paste that is used in breaker panels from the meter. the wire is aluminum, and the paste keeps the wire from oxidizing and allows electrical conductivity.
did not see it right away, but nic2k4 suggested the same thing.If it's an ambulance...you got a chance. If it's a hearse...it's even worse!!!--Judge Alvin "JP" Valkenheiser
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Good replies, thoughts. (Wish I had "the" answer). A thought: are most people that "get great reception for 20 yrs from same antenna" using a powered pre-amp (mounted on mast)? I do.
Don't know if that low voltage is a factor in this equation, that kinda seems like pre-mature failure compared to the life / performance many say they get from a single antenna.
Re: 'open cell' type coax. Can you see that, looking at only the cut end of a cable (before, or after installing connector)? Just looking at the end, how obvious would gaps be between the center insulation & main conductor?
FWIW, I'm not married to WD40. I tried it once, as last resort & it worked (for several months). So, kept using it. After spraying, reception usually quickly goes back to cable quality (& TV's signal meter confirms). At least, until next time reception suddenly drops & I spray again.
Bicycle pump - good one. But, good tip. I have one - also a "mini" compressor. Won't hurt to try. We've had record breaking rains - all May . But... each of the many times in past, I didn't find (or check) moisture in cable, connections, etc. I hope there's a better explanation / long term solution for the continuing problem.
But almost every time I finally spray it, reception improves back to what it was in 1 -3 days. It can't be all coincidence that it's helped 5 - 8 times? on 2 separate Winegard antennas.
Yes, I checked screw connectors, conductors, etc., each time. And esp. the 1st several times, checked reception & signal strength, after doing those (before spraying). When reception suddenly dropped, they rarely helped. I still do the other checks.
Except 1 time - spraying didn't help. Checked all other connections & the conductor for tarnish, corrosion, dirt...
That time, found moisture inside the 3' cable from antenna (plastic circuit box) to the pole mounted pre-amp. Found that because the usual "inspecting" all line connections, then spraying WD40 didn't help.
There is no spray to remove aluminum oxidation (unless you start thinking about highly corrosive thing like H2F - for example aluminum alloy wheels rim cleaners use H2F to dissolve thick aluminum hydroxide layer and enlight surface) - good contact between aluminum parts can be achieved by applying tight contact (pressure) , to improve robustness and immunity to corrosion you may consider use of ceramic antiseize spray (copper antiseize may lead to electrochemical corrosion between copper and aluminum).
So first remove excessive hydroxide layer and second apply ceramic antiseize and at third step a sufficient mechanical pressure to achieve good contact (remove air between parts and crush thin oxide layer).
Also plating with other materials is a option (special solder and flux allow to cover aluminum with thin layer of less corrosive material).