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Old 05-28-2019, 08:12 AM   #1
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Can I paint my VHF antenna?

I bought a new antenna for my flybridge VHF. To get added height I used an old base which I ran the coax through. I painted the base white and with the new antenna it looks great.

My other antenna is getting "hairy" and it isn't white anymore so it looks unsightly compared to the new one. It is fiberglass, Can I paint it or should it be replaced? It is for the VHF in the lower station which literally never gets used but...

Thanks, pete
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:27 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. PM. Yes you can. No "special" paint needed.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:43 AM   #3
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As previous, you definitely can. Did this with an extra long SSB antenna. One tip: find a way to hang the antenna vertical before painting. That way you will collect any runs at the (masking tape covered) threaded end. You will not end up with flat spots on the side of the antenna.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:44 AM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. PM. Yes you can. No "special" paint needed.
Here's your chance to paint it pink with white dots, make it look like a mushroom.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:15 AM   #5
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Its a huge pita to do, fiberglass jaggers get everywhere including in the paint. You waited too long, throw it (carefully) away and replace.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:25 AM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. X. A PIA? Yes but not huge IMO. The way I proceeded was to decant a small amount of paint into another container so as to not contaminate the whole can with jaggers and give the ant' a coat. Let that dry, sand and give another coat etc. You will reach a point where there will be a smooth coat. Rinse your brush between coats so as to reuse and use a new brush for the final coat. (I use Harbor Freight chip brushes-usually about $10 for 20 or so when on sale) WEAR GLOVES! (for the "jaggers").
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:53 PM   #7
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Before you go through all that work, check the antenna VSWR with a meter. Corrosion ages the antenna internal solder connections and UV attacks the exposed coax cover causing cracks which let water in.
If you still have low VSWR have at it otherwise safer to replace.
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:22 PM   #8
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Have not done it but some have suggested using heat shrink tubing instead of paint, my old Shakespeare antennas could use some attention as well but so far up on the arch they are out of sight out of mind. Sounds a lot less messy.
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:22 PM   #9
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I had my big antennas painted on my charter boat. Spray primered; light sanded to knock the fuzzies off; then Awlgriped. Worked extremely well and the paint finish has far exceeded the life of the original coating.

Only caution: Make sure the paint doesn't contain any metal of any kind as it will greatly impact the signal transmission.

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Old 05-29-2019, 10:29 PM   #10
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Now I'm thinking about doing it
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:39 PM   #11
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Wonder how that heatshrink handles light exposure? When I've used colored heatshrink to mark dock lines, it's always faded to a cream color in fairly short order.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisjs View Post
One tip: find a way to hang the antenna vertical before painting. That way you will collect any runs at the (masking tape covered) threaded end. You will not end up with flat spots on the side of the antenna.
That is a great tip! Never thought to do it that way. Yes, painting horizontally creates flat spots and ridges. Been there.

I never stop learning. Especially on a forum like this.


As far as the fuzz on the antenna, which is the end of the glass fibers, I knock it down a little bit with a scotch brite pad and brush on a light coat of polyester resin to seal the fibers. Epoxy resin can be used too, whatever is on hand, but poly is a lot quicker. After full cure, scuff with scotch brite and paint. I use whatever paint I have on hand but usually System Three water based LPU paint.

Make sure to wear latex, nitrel or rubber gloves. The glass fiber fuzz will make your hand itch.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:19 AM   #13
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and yet, as far as I can determine, no one mentioned wearing a face mask filter when sanding.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:21 AM   #14
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Wonder how that heatshrink handles light exposure? When I've used colored heatshrink to mark dock lines, it's always faded to a cream color in fairly short order.
I have used wire ties with pretty good success. Of course you will have to replace them once a year, they become brittle. I feed the ties through the lines.
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