How do you weather-proof your feed line connections and the coax itself? Some coax claims to be direct-bury or buriable (my word processor spell check does not like that word). Just cover it over with dirt and forget about it. That idea never appealed to me so I have always insisted on running short lengths of PVC and placing my coax inside that conduit. The last time I did this I
neglected to seal the underground junction of the two 10 foot pieces before placing it under the soil. Water got in. Of course, there was no harm since I had to dig it up anyways. My original plan was to bury the PVC and then snake the RG8X coax through it. That works well for about the first six inches. Then it won’t go anywhere. You can do it with RG8, the thick stuff, but not RG8X. So, I dug up the PVC, glued together the underground portion, dropped the coax through it and then snugged the 90 degree angles at each end. That went well enough.
Next, how do I keep the connection between the short length of coax coming from the antenna and the feed line dry? In the past I would wrap it with a very fine product called Coax Seal. It came in 5 or 12 foot x ½” rolls. The product is quite flexible and nicely conforms to the connectors and keeps water out. I would also cover the whole mess with electrician’s tape just to be sure.
Recently when I wanted to purchase some more Coax Seal I ran out of luck. My old standby, Radio Shack, no longer sold it. They are not the source of ham radio supplies they once were. I was lucky to get out of there with a roll of solder. I checked online sources and found that a 12 foot by ½” roll was going to cost about $6.00 plus another $6 for shipping at most places. That didn’t sound like a very economical way to make a purchase. I know, I could just buy $50 worth of other stuff and it would even out; but, I did not need all that other stuff! Where to go?
I went to my local box store, Home Depot. I came away with something called Duct Seal. They use it to seal those heating ducts that are in your house. It said it was moisture resistant and I recalled seeing it used on holes in the house that the cable guy made outdoors. I gave it a try. Once again I smothered the my PL-259’s and barrel connector with the product. Then I wrapped it all in electricial tape. The first time it rained I had big mess of goop and plenty of trapped water. That was a failure. It looked like I was going to have to order $50.00 worth of Coax Seal.
I made one more desperate search of Home Depot and I happened upon Scotch
Professional Grade 2228 Moisture Sealing Electrical Tape. Wow, that name sounded like a description of just what I was looking for. For about $8.97 I got a 1 inch by 10 foot roll (that would be equivalent to 20 feet of one half inch material). The stuff works great. Since it is so wide it does not take much to cover up the connection quickly. It stretches nicely and adheres tightly. I put it to use and did not use any electrical tape.
The only other precaution I am now using is my water bottle. I surrounded the entire junction with a plastic water bottle to help keep the majority of the rain out. So far it is working well. I expect it will get through the winter just fine! Bring on the DX.
Note: While cutting a hole in the bottom of the water bottle I managed to let the craft knife slip. This produced much blood and four stitches to close up the wound. It’s kind of like those old cartoons in QST where the guys only put up antennas when it is snowing. I am real good at injuring myself. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes. Always cut AWAY from your hand.