Entry Date: June 10,2020
Some time in January 2020.
weather in ohio is cold and you would think after living here for 57 years I would be used to the fact that winter time is cold. still don't like it.
being couped up all winter and wanting to get ready for some updates to my scanners, antennas and maybe putting up a tower this year, I have a couple ST2 antennas, a good vertical, and a good yagi pointed where it needs to be, what really is there to add to the antennas I already have? planned on taking the 2 ST2 antennas down and put new matching transformers on them, they have the original ones from when new which is a long time ago so I am sure they could use new ones, maybe even change out the coax, all kinds of things to think about in the winter months and start planning for when the weather starts to get nice enough to get outside to do some repairs and add something new.
I have had several discone antennas through out the years , they SUCK, never was happy with the performance of a discone, so what else is there, ST2 no longer made, I got a yagi for local coverage, I have a good vertical for local stuff, I even have a AT-197 military 200-400mhz discone specifically for MilAir.
There really is nothing I would consider buying. I don't listen to Digital phase I or phase II or any of that encrypted radio shit, call me old school, but i can't stand the way the new digital voice sounds, it's horrible, so no dedicated 800mhz antenna is needed because of that.
weather starts to warm up and I decide to go up and take down the two ST2 antennas to replace the transformers and clean up the aluminum, and check the insulators for cracks.
one of the antennas was in pretty good condition still, but the other one was bent from being up for 10 years or so, but the insulators will still good. So i took them both down hauled them to the basement and gave them both a good examination. ounce I had them down and started looking at them both close up, they were both bent and some of the tubing was split and just not looking good, I was pretty sure at least one of them could be put back up but one of them needed repaired first or the next big wind could destroy it, maybe not but then again why take the chance since you can't buy them any more unless you could find one maybe on eBay and plan on spending some Stupid price. they are the best antennas I ever purchased. so if one is good and one is bad I think I am still doing pretty good with coverage for the scanners.
So i get some stuff gathered up and get ready to TRY and straighten some of the bent radials. YEAH, that is not going to happen, made out of the cheapest tubing know to man, I am going to break this and then have to replace it, so I just stood there and looked at this really great antenna that was in bad condition and I did not trust putting it back up at 30' on an antenna mast.
What the hell, I'll just build a new one from scratch and make it so it can't bend like this old one and with a thicker insulator for more support on those long center radials.
ENTRY DATE: August 1, 2020
Thinking about the tubing I was going to use to beat the thin walled tubing used in the ST2 antenna i knew i wanted thick wall, I even considered using solid tubing but because of the weight and the fact the solid tube would add MASS to the antenna I decided to just use heavy walled tubing.
I also wanted to make sure I used a much thicker insulator at the center of the main long radials, this was another Sore spot on the ST2, the center insulator after several years was giving people problems, there was a fix of adding a fiberglass bicycle flag pole to the center and zip tie it to the main center radials to give it some much needed support. I was not going to build an antenna that was weak in the center especially considering the added weight of using thicker walled tubing.
So I looked at a bunch of options and made a choice, I later changed the original insulator which was white in color to a Black insulator made of even better grade marine plastic, I am glad I changed to the black, it will provide better long lasting stability in the sun.
Then we had aluminum flat plate to consider for the Wing elements and to use as mounting plates for attaching the secondary radials to the main long radials, I wanted to stay as thin as possible yet thick enough to make sure it did not bend in the wind.
I can't remember off hand the thickness I ended up using, but it was a little thicker then the ST2 wing material, and ended up working out well for what I needed, Thin yet strong and weighted nothing.
Then square tubing for the main mast was easy, I went a little thicker material then the original ST2, the tube on my ST2 from moving several times over the years was smashing, so a little thicker should prevent that from happening, not much thicker but a little.
So material was a BIG part of my decision making process. I needed to beef up this new antenna and I was willing to spend extra money to make DAMN sure this antenna did not Bend or Break in the high winds,Snow or anything else. Build it very very Strong was my idea of the whole process and PURPOSE of building a copy of a great antenna that was just to weak to last very long.
I tried and tried to figure out screw lengths and I bought what I thought was the correct lengths.
ounce everything was ready to assemble I found out most of my figuring was off, and that fact I made several on the fly changes during the build it changed things and I ended up with most screws either way to long or 1/4" to short, This pissed me off because I knew going to the local hardware store and buying 4 of this and 7 of that was going to not be very cost effective, So i decided to buy all my hardware on line, everything from nut's to washers the screws all in stainless and 100 of every size from 3/8" to 2", I ended up with so much hardware I had to buy a new storage cabinet just to hold all of it. BUT I have every size I need and more.
Nothing worse then needing a 1 1/4 screw and having longer of shorter but not the size you need.
My original purchase of material was for the most part all good, The only thing I changed as mentioned above was the insulator material, Other then that I am still using all the original material from day one.
There was an issue with the connecting rods(i call them that) that connects the front elements to the center elements and then to the rear of the antenna, some might call the the Transmissions lines, they connect all the elements together. The ST2 used about a 1/8" thick aluminum rod bent around the pop rivets or in my case screws, SO i bought what I thought was (and by the description) soft aluminum 1/8" round bars, You can bend this with your hands no problem, But when you try to bend a tight "J" or hook on the end to put around the screw, The material cracked in the tight radius of the "J" part of the bend.
Well Shit.........., O.K., so I looked at Aluminum wire, and I bought a small spool of 1/8" diameter aluminum wire, it worked Perfect. Aluminum Rods could not handle the sharp bend, the wire would bend as sharp as you wanted and not crack or break, so it was perfect what what I needed.
This material buying and sorting out was of course AFTER it took me a while to recreate the ST2 in AutoCad, I wanted a Cut Sheet spelling out all the pieces, lengths, amounts, whole locations, whole sizes, spacing and anything else I would need to allow me to build this antenna and have a printed drawing to assist and for my Records should I ever decide to try and Sell this antenna to a Mfg. Some day I might, Who Knows.
Been raining all morning so I thought I would add a little info here, I would Much rather be testing, then typing........ More to follow......