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Old 07-14-2017, 07:02 AM   #21
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Sand lightly and brush paint with Rustoleum oil based paint (not rattle can). You need to get 2-3 coats to properly cover the hairy stuff. Also, find a way to hang the antenna while you paint, so that paint runs down the length rather than pools on the underside. Did mine. Looked and felt better than new!!

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Old 07-14-2017, 11:48 AM   #22
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Rescue Tape??

Ken Diestler
Galveston, Tx
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:45 PM   #23
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Unless yours is different, my 'rescue tape" did not stand up at all well when exposed to sunlight. It seemed like UV degraded it pretty quickly. So you would end up replacing "hairy" with "sticky"!!!
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:59 PM   #24
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I would mix up some epoxy and paint it with a heavy coat. once it cures, use an orbital sander to sand off the stray hairs, then coat it with another coat to seal it.

Is the damage from weather or lightning? I had one that blew out with a lightning strike. Looked like a brush on one end. Simply replaced it, and the radio, wiring, etc.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:00 PM   #25
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Few things in life are forever so replacing it makes sense to me. I replaced mine a few months ago because the outside surface was failing (but apparently not as badly as the OP's) and I could hear the element inside rattling when I shook the antenna.

A VHF antenna is an important piece of safety equipment so this is not the place to "cheap out". I don't know about the OP's 16' antenna but my 8' antenna was about $150 and I got a top of the line model. At my age, I expect it to last a lifetime.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:49 PM   #26
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Antenna output is usually pretty easy to check.

They last a long time, longer than the fiberglass support, especially if it is just an extension and nothing to do with the actual antenna....even if it is the antenna, the outside of the glass has nothing to do with the antenna performance.

Replacing faulty gear or things that wear out is one thing, a simple spruce up to fully functioning gear makes a lot of sense to me.

The less expensive antennas have wire as the antenna and it just hangs in the fiberglass. The better antennas have a copper rod for the antenna and is usually affixed well inside the fiberglass support tube.

I have repaired many a broken antenna where just the glass was broken but the actual antenna was fine. They work 100 percent and have for decades on commercial boats and my own.
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Old 07-14-2017, 02:40 PM   #27
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I agree with Psneld, if there are no active elements in the lower mast, just paint it and forget it. If, however, it is active, avoiding metallic paints seems to be the the common advice from electronics pros.

If the antenna is really old, while you are at it, you might also inspect the coaxial cable for signs of deterioration and especially check the connectors for corrosion etc. Most antenna performance issues are related to the connectors and cable, not the actual antenna unless it is physically damaged.

When you are done, if you haven't already, try out the Sea Tow automated radio check system. Just make a call on VHF 26 or 27, and a couple seconds later, it will be rebroadcast back to you, so you get to hear exactly how well you are transmitting. You can check here for the station location nearest you:

Happy painting
M/V Pelago
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:25 PM   #28
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Thanks for all the responses. I like the idea of coating first and sanding second after much of the hair is incapsulated.

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