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Old 29-10-2013, 16:09   #1
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Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

I have my mast down, which only happens every ten years or so. Our vhf radio works great, however i wonder how old the coax and connections are. Boat is from 1961. Does vhf coax go bad? Is there a way to test it?

If aluminum connections are a bit rusty, time to change?

Curious your thoughts

Christian
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Old 29-10-2013, 21:06   #2
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

the coax can get water into it. and will corrode over time. if you cut the ends off, and strip it back you'd find out. as the ends would be the worst spot. you can test the radio / coax / antenna with an swr meter.
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Old 29-10-2013, 21:12   #3
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

I would replace the coax and antenna regardless.
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Old 29-10-2013, 21:18   #4
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

Probably worthwhile replacing when you have the mast down, especially when you have no idea how old it is. It is much easier to replace now than when the stick is up.
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Old 31-10-2013, 08:20   #5
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

I agree with the previous replies. It makes little sense not to replace it with modern, good quality, coax and connectors while the mast is down. Chances are any other old wiring it the mast is past it's due date, also. Check for corrosion at any connections.
If there is rust on the coax connectors, they are probably nickel plated steel, not aluminum. Good luck.
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Old 31-10-2013, 10:26   #6
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

And while you're at it, pull out every piece of electrical wiring in the mast, and probably the fixtures. From your statement regarding the age of the boat and the frequency of removal of the mast, you probably have some surprises waiting for you. When the mast is down, it's relatively easy to do this work. When it's up, it's a real bear. Also, pull out the sheaves and grease the axles, check each and every fastener to see if it simply snaps off with reasonable torque. It's better to fix this stuff now before it costs a heck of a lot more later.
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Old 31-10-2013, 10:28   #7
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No brainier
Require the whole mast while you can
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Old 31-10-2013, 17:47   #8
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

Translation: Require=Rewire?
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Old 31-10-2013, 17:48   #9
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

REWIRE! Darn AutoCorrect!!1
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Old 31-10-2013, 18:05   #10
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

If it ain't broke.........break it.
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Old 31-10-2013, 18:20   #11
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

Our coax in the mast went bad at 11 years...... Replace it now! Make sure you use the correct size for the length of your run. Gold plated connectors are a good idea as well.
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Old 31-10-2013, 18:23   #12
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

With all respect to the "if it ain't broke" crowd--that is fine for weekend pleasure boaters but this is a cruising forum. And for a cruising boat something is going to break damn near every day. The key is staying one day ahead of the big ones and doing ongoing preventive maintenance. The best time to do that is when systems are open, down, or otherwise available.

When the mast is out it's a good time to:

Rewire
Relamp
Inspect/replace sheaves and sheave bearings
Remove, inspect, and replace tangs and through bolts as necessary
Visually inspect spreader fittings/et

It's a great deal harder to do with the mast up and the whole idea is keeping the mast in the boat, the people on the boat, and the water out of the boat

And preventive maintenance is the easiest way to do that
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Old 31-10-2013, 18:26   #13
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

replace the coax and wires and light fixtures while you can. also take a look at the mast step and spreaders.
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Old 31-10-2013, 18:28   #14
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Berg View Post
With all respect to the "if it ain't broke" crowd
I've read all the comments and they seem to agree on the need for replacement. Who exactly is the "if it ain't broke crowd"? The OP? He just asked a question.
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Old 31-10-2013, 21:48   #15
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Re: Vhf coax, if it aint broke...?

I just went through this. Rewired the whole mast, redid all the rigging, replaced all the lighting, new VHF antenna, new mast head instrument, and a radar. Be sure to use the right wire, don't assume that the gauge that is currently in the mast in the right one.

The cost of rewiring the mast is negligible when you amortize it over 10 or 15 years.

This is also a good time to reanodize the mast step and cut off any problem areas at the base of the mast.
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