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Old 03-03-2011, 18:28   #1
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Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Hello,

I installed a GMR 18 Radome on my Pearson 26 last year and it's served me very well. I did the installation with the mast up by drilling a small hole in the front of the mast and snaking the two cables down, then fishing them out of a small hold I drilled near the bottom. I made sure the cables went aft of the spreader bar inside the mast so as to stay out of the general vicinity of the halyards. I pulled the cables tight, but not too tight, and installed two rubber gaskets where the wire passes through the aluminum, and then applied caulk.

The radar works beautifully, but I do hear the sound of the cables lightly slapping around the inside of the mast, especially when the boat rolls at anchor. The sound is not that bothersome, but it does make me wonder about the general wear and tear on the cables, especially where they turn a sharp corner and come in and out of the mast.

I know that installing a proper conduit would probably have been preferable, but I did not. I am not going to be stepping my mast this year either before the season starts, but I'm wondering if there is anything I could/should do to tighten things up. I thought about drilling another tiny hole halfway up the cable height, then snag and pin the cables to the inside of the mast with a zip tie or something. I think it would be easy enough but I'm not sure if it is really worth it. Or maybe I should just ignore the noise and plan on replacing the cables when they eventually chafe through. Any suggestions or opinions?

Thanks, Jack
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Old 03-03-2011, 18:35   #2
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Waiting for the cables to chafe is easy, but the short you will get will happen just when you are trying to go in between two rocks and a reef, in fog, at night after two days of sailing by radar alone because the GPS also failed.... you get the idea. Cable ties might help in the short term. Anyone with better ideas?

Cheers
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Old 03-03-2011, 18:38   #3
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Jack, If it is fairly easy to pull the cable, attach some heavy duty wire ties to the cable about every couple of feet, don't cut off the tails, and pull the cable back through, it will solve the problem. Chuck
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Old 03-03-2011, 18:40   #4
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

The first issue is if you are real sure the cables do not cross with the halyards.

Now on our mast we had a similar cable issue. I climbed to the spreaders with some fine wire and spectra line. Fished the cables thru a small mast hole with the wire and then tied with the spectra. Took me many tries and you need some sort of nearly opposite set of mast holes - at spreaders, at mast steps, etc..

Not seaworthy ;-) but works till the day the stick is off the mast and a proper solution can be applied.
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Old 03-03-2011, 18:54   #5
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Thanks...

When you say 'attach ties', Chuck, and 'tie with spectra', Barnakiel, do you guys mean secure the cables to each other? Or to something on the mast? Or what?

It will not be that easy to pull the wires, but not impossible either. Obviously it's not the most fun job in the world. The zip tie idea seems a bit easier, but may have its downsides. I really don't think the cables are touching the halyards. They seem totally frictionless and they the cables were pulled tight enough that they should be out of the way.

I should probably step the mast next year and redo the other wiring anyway, but it's just not on the agenda for this season's maintenance.
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Old 03-03-2011, 19:12   #6
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Suggest you put up with it this year; it won't damage the cables.

Then, when you pull the mast next year and redo the wires, do it right: install a proper channel for the wires. Usually, this is a PVC tube, riveted to the mast, with all the mast wires running inside. Be sure also to run a messenger line so you can add or change cables easily in the future.

Bill
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Old 03-03-2011, 19:17   #7
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

That's a pretty agreeable answer, Bill. Will do.
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Old 03-03-2011, 20:32   #8
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Suggest you put up with it this year; it won't damage the cables.

Then, when you pull the mast next year and redo the wires, do it right: install a proper channel for the wires. Usually, this is a PVC tube, riveted to the mast, with all the mast wires running inside. Be sure also to run a messenger line so you can add or change cables easily in the future.

Bill
And when you install a conduit, use LOTS of rivets.
I only used as many as the original failed conduit had (it was too thin and fell out in pieces when the boat was trucked from Mexico) and it slapped just like the wires had before replacement. I had to go up the now stepped mast in a bosun's chair and add lots more rivets.
Originally, the rivets were about 8 feet apart. I went to 4, then finally 2 foot spacing to get it totally quiet.
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Old 03-03-2011, 20:47   #9
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Suggest you put up with it this year; it won't damage the cables.

Then, when you pull the mast next year and redo the wires, do it right: install a proper channel for the wires. Usually, this is a PVC tube, riveted to the mast, with all the mast wires running inside. Be sure also to run a messenger line so you can add or change cables easily in the future.

Bill
I would be concerned about the rivets ends chaffing the wire cables. Some larger masts already have an internal tube extruded inside for running wires, not sure about a 26' boat.

On a 30' long mast I had once, while it was down, I just used marine sealer to glue in a 1/2" PVC pipe. By laying the mast flat with the side down I wanted the conduit on, I laid out the conduit, applied the sealer, slid the conduit into the mast glue side up. And when it was in position I rolled it over onto the sealer/glue. I slid the conduit in & out a bit to get the sealer to adhere, then let it cure for 3 days.
One might have to take a long pole with a brush on the end to clean with water the inside of the mast so the sealer will stick to the metal.
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Old 03-03-2011, 21:44   #10
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Pool noodle. Cable ties. Done.
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Old 03-03-2011, 23:22   #11
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

I used the cable tie method as well. Just zip them around all the wires in the mast (and nothing else) every few feet and leave the tales on as mentioned. Done. No added weight and no slapping around. It's worked great for me so far. The wires I removed were wrapped with foam- I'm sure it worked well too (the mast was down when I bought the boat), but the new wire bundle certainly weighed quite a bit less than the old. My Cape Dory is no race boat so weight isn't critical, but any less weight aloft is a good thing in my book (at least when it is easy to accomplish).
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:40   #12
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

A set of three cable ties, oriented at 120 degrees (from each other), forms a 3-leg stand off, keeping the cables from slapping the inside of the mast.
Fix the sets (of 3) roughly every 2 - 5 feet up the mast.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:08   #13
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
A set of three cable ties, oriented at 120 degrees (from each other), forms a 3-leg stand off, keeping the cables from slapping the inside of the mast.
Fix the sets (of 3) roughly every 2 - 5 feet up the mast.
Good advice, like orienting double hose clamps to 180 degrees where possible...not something I regularly see, however.
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:46   #14
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

I think the cable tie method is better because foam will collect moisture and cause corrosion and the conduit method puts unnecessary holes in your mast plus more extra weight.
kind regards,
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Old 04-03-2011, 20:30   #15
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Re: Radar Cable slapping inside mast.

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Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Thanks...

When you say 'attach ties', Chuck, and 'tie with spectra', Barnakiel, do you guys mean secure the cables to each other? Or to something on the mast? Or what?
The Spectra way (I bet any other material could be used but I used Spectra for chafe resistance and UV properties):

- I attached (taped) the Spectra twine to a piece of stiff SS wire.

- Then I led the wire/twine into the mast, on one side of the offensive cable, out thru the opposite hole,

- Now I went thru that opposite hole, round the other side of the cable and back into the hole on my side,

- Now I tied off the twine (in my case - to a spreader base).

The holes must be roughly vis-a-vis. The SS wire must be stiff to be able to manipulate the cable.

Easy but it took a couple of tries before I made it.

b.
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