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Old 23-04-2019, 10:48   #1
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VHF cable stuck in the mast

The boat was re-rigged and the antenna exchanged, but they forgot to clamp the cable. It dropped into its conduit and ripped the connector off in the process. It can now be seen with an endoscope 750mm down from the top. The conduit is about 32mm ID and the cable about 8mm OD.

I spent hours trying to fit a noose made from fishing line around it using a loop feeder made from a coat hangar. It works in the cockpit, but at height is hard. Plus the endoscope gets in the way and I canít use it to help position things, so Iím working blind. Itís worse as the conduit is offset from its access hole, so little movement is available.

I canít pull the cable out from the bottom as it goes round too many bends. It will be a while until the next mast pull.

Any ideas?
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Old 23-04-2019, 10:54   #2
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Originally Posted by poiu View Post
The boat was re-rigged and the antenna exchanged, but they forgot to clamp the cable. It dropped into its conduit and ripped the connector off in the process. It can now be seen with an endoscope 750mm down from the top. The conduit is about 32mm ID and the cable about 8mm OD.

I spent hours trying to fit a noose made from fishing line around it using a loop feeder made from a coat hangar. It works in the cockpit, but at height is hard. Plus the endoscope gets in the way and I canít use it to help position things, so Iím working blind. Itís worse as the conduit is offset from its access hole, so little movement is available.

I canít pull the cable out from the bottom as it goes round too many bends. It will be a while until the next mast pull.

Any ideas?
Does your scope have a port on it to pass stuff through it? If not, tape a wire grabber to the scope so that you can see the end and guide the grabber that way.
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Old 23-04-2019, 11:05   #3
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

If all it took to remove the connector was the weight of the coax, you are lucky in that it was a bad connection to begin with.
I’m assuming you can’t push the cable up front m the bottom?
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Old 23-04-2019, 12:27   #4
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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If all it took to remove the connector was the weight of the coax, you are lucky in that it was a bad connection to begin with.
Iím assuming you canít push the cable up front m the bottom?
Itís a 25m mast. The cable weight is substantial. Fat heavy coax and I canít push it up. Itís no surprise to me the connector broke off.
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Old 23-04-2019, 12:33   #5
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Originally Posted by bensolomon View Post
Does your scope have a port on it to pass stuff through it? If not, tape a wire grabber to the scope so that you can see the end and guide the grabber that way.
I canít pass stuff through. I donít know what a wire grabber is. Iíll Google it. The antenna cable is 10mm dia, so will need to be the right size.
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Old 23-04-2019, 13:15   #6
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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The boat was re-rigged and the antenna exchanged, but they forgot to clamp the cable.
Who are "they"? Do they have any responsibility for your predicament? Maybe they should be providing you with the tools to grab the cable and pull it up.
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Old 23-04-2019, 13:29   #7
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

If the cable's stiff enough, I'd try a fibreglass tent pole with a suitable wood screw epoxied to it. Insert the pole down the conduit and screw it into the cable. Withdraw the pole and cable in one smooth action, maybe with a bit of soapy water thrown in for lubrication.


Well that's the theory, anyway!
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Old 23-04-2019, 14:05   #8
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

I think he'd have more luck with a gyro-magnetic sky hook.
How on earth is he going to screw in an epoxied wood screw into a cable inside the mast?

OK, I was in Mackay a couple of months ago and I realise it's another world ... ...
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Old 23-04-2019, 14:23   #9
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

Use an electricians steel fish tape ($12-15 at HD or Lowes) and make the end into a V shaped hook with pliers. Tape to the end of the scope or just play out enough to grab below the end.
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Old 23-04-2019, 14:40   #10
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
I think he'd have more luck with a gyro-magnetic sky hook.
How on earth is he going to screw in an epoxied wood screw into a cable inside the mast?

OK, I was in Mackay a couple of months ago and I realise it's another world ... ...
Well, it's most likely wedged because it hasn't fallen further. And it's 10mm diameter. And it's stiff. And the dielectric insulation should a screw quite well. And the tent pole acts as both a guide and a handle to screw it in with. Note by tent pole I'm referring to two man tent style, not circus marquee style.

Worth a shot if a snare won't fit around it.

PS. Mackay didn't offer enough choice of soy milk latte's for your pallete or are we just a bunch of redneck in your opinion?
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Old 23-04-2019, 16:23   #11
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Who are "they"? Do they have any responsibility for your predicament? Maybe they should be providing you with the tools to grab the cable and pull it up.
My problem is of split responsibility. I used a maintenance guy to fit the new antenna and a rigger to install the mast. No one is owning up to liability. They are both equally responsible in my view, but I am left holding the baby. I should ask the rigger for tools. The installer lent the endoscope.
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Old 23-04-2019, 16:25   #12
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
If the cable's stiff enough, I'd try a fibreglass tent pole with a suitable wood screw epoxied to it. Insert the pole down the conduit and screw it into the cable. Withdraw the pole and cable in one smooth action, maybe with a bit of soapy water thrown in for lubrication.


Well that's the theory, anyway!
Maybe. Iíll check the picture I took. I think itís a solid insulator, so that will be really hard to do.
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Old 23-04-2019, 16:29   #13
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Originally Posted by 1affiah View Post
Use an electricians steel fish tape ($12-15 at HD or Lowes) and make the end into a V shaped hook with pliers. Tape to the end of the scope or just play out enough to grab below the end.
Iíve got a nylon fish tape. Itís no use as far as I can see. Too waggly. How is a steel one better?
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Old 23-04-2019, 16:33   #14
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Does your scope have a port on it to pass stuff through it? If not, tape a wire grabber to the scope so that you can see the end and guide the grabber that way.
Is this what you meant? I found other types that didnít look of potential. This might work so long as the grip is strong. Itís a hard plastic coating on the cable.

https://www.amazon.com/X-Long-Flex-C.../dp/B0793JWN3H
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Old 23-04-2019, 16:52   #15
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Re: VHF cable stuck in the mast

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Originally Posted by poiu View Post
Is this what you meant? I found other types that didnít look of potential. This might work so long as the grip is strong. Itís a hard plastic coating on the cable.



https://www.amazon.com/X-Long-Flex-C.../dp/B0793JWN3H
Iím sorry to hear about the problem you have.

I have one of these ďgrabbersĒ and it probably wonít lift a long coax cable.

If you can attach a keyless chuck like some electric drills use to a long rod that might work. Open the jaws just enough and push them over the cable end. Turn the shaft to clamp the jaws onto the cable. You would need to practice on the ground to work out the technique. Some keyless chucks can grip really hard.

But you are fighting a really difficult problem. The cable will be slippery and may be jammed. You may need to pull the mast. That will relieves a lot of the force required to pull the cable back up.

When you get the cable back use a Chinese finger puzzle cable gripper to avoid the problem in the future. There should never be any weight placed on a coax connector. They arenít designed to hold any weight.
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