Saturday, 25 October 2008

Cushcraft R6000 Repaired and Refurbished

R6000 My R6000 is several years old now. I took it down 2 years ago intending to repair and refurbish it in a few weeks. Typical of my many projects lying around the garage this one always seemed to take longer than usual. If any of you are familiar with the R6000 it is quite a tall antenna. I've had it lying across a portable workbench and plastic lawn chairs for support. Last winter I took the traps inside and spent a couple of weeks cleaning adding new stainless hardware and sealing the traps. The original hardware nuts inside had become corroded due to moisture so they were all replaced. Everything was double checked and then new caps installed and then sealed with Silicone II to waterproof them.

The most complicated part of the project was the repair to the main insulator base. Originally an unprotected tube of fibreglass, UV had deteriorated it so the polyester surface had evaporated and left bare fibreglass fibres that absorbed dirt and moisture.isolatorf2_r

Show here as an example is the R5 fibreglass insulator in the same sorry state mine had become after 6 years exposure to Ottawa weather conditions.

I purchased a fibreglass repair kit at Canadian Tire where you mix resin and hardener and paint the resulting mixture on the old surface. You have about eight minutes to work the mixture before it hardens. I did this in two stages, sanding between the coats and re-opening the bolt holes with a cordless drill. After the final coating of resin, sanding and making sure the bolts fit through the holes I spray painted the repair with bumper paint, flat black, with 2 or 3 coats. Bumper type paint is very tough and now provides a UV blocking layer to prevent any further deterioration.

repairedHere's what the repair looks like. Again this is a Cushcraft R5 photo the repair looks very similar to my Cushcraft R6000. The R6000 is still sold retail in Canada for about $450CDN. I purchased my copy second hand and used it for a season out here till the brutal winds loosened everything up. Every piece of hardware was replaced with stainless steel. In a refurbishment like this a Dremel tool in invaluable for cutting new stainless steel hardware down to size and removing corrosion and polishing. The R6000 is a great performer and have worked Antarctica using 20 watts on PSK. The R6000 uses a set of elevated ground radials and there's no need for installing a ground radial system. The antenna instructions require the antenna to be at least 10 feet off the ground. I have mine sitting about 4.5 feet above ground but may elevate that when I erect the antenna this coming week. I'll post actual close-up pictures when I get it mounted in place. I also intend to add three guying ropes to stabilize the antenna during high winds.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

No comments: