*EDITORIAL* Old Yagi Facelift

Last week, when checking out garage (yard) sales in the local Brisbane area, I stumbled upon an old 3 element yagi for 27 MHz going cheap at just $30 AUD !!!!!  

Old Yagi elements

Now I’m the first to admit that $30 is a deadset bargain for any ‘Aunt Anna’ but the yagi was so badly corroded and rusted in places that I’m sure most radio comms hobbyists would’ve passed it over as being past its used by date.

Not this little camper!

“Some quick cosmetic surgery and the yagi will be as good as new!” I thought.

After knocking the YL seller (whom just so happened to be an old CB’er with the Delta Tango group in Australia) down a few bucks (well…$1.50 to be precise lol), I left the garage sale with the yagi fully intact (only because I couldn’t pull it apart),

Some second-hand books, children’s toys and baby clothes also found their way in the back of my 4WD before we hurried off to the local hardware store to pick up some surgical instruments for an antenna facelift. 

These included a wire brush, a can of WD-40, a pair of synthetic latex gloves, some sandpaper, and a bottle of Blitz acid solution.

All up, a cost of $25.00 AUD.

Soon I was back at the home QTH and Dr Darren was ready to start his antenna facelift!

First, after disassembling all the aluminium elements from the boom, I removed all the rust and corrosion with vigorous brushing using steel wool (See pictured above) and a wire hand brush. 

[Note: This took about 20 minutes and gave me a great cardio workout but could’ve been halved if the potential YL nurse who was kicking back on the couch watching TV had given me a helping hand liked I’d asked :-(]

Next, I treated all of the yagi elements, as well as the boom, with WD-40 penetrating oil (See pictured above) overnight.  

Known as “the can with a thousand uses”, WD-40 protects metal from rust and corrosion, penetrates stuck parts, displaces moisture, and lubricates just about anything! 

The only thing you can’t do with it is drink it!  Apparently…

The next morning, I put on some synthetic latex gloves and a pair eyeglasses and gave the yagi boom and elements a good soaking and brushing in an acid bath of Blitz Aluminium Cleaner (See pictured below).  

Having used this stuff in the past on my dinghy’s hull to clean off stains and corrosion, I knew it was the real deal and would get the antenna looking better in no time. 

In less than 30 minutes, in fact, I’d removed the thick layer of oxidation and revealed an antenna sexier enough for anyone’s ham tower!

[Note: Acid solutions (Also known as ‘aluminium brighteners’) made especially for cleaning aluminium are available in most well-stocked hardware stores].

After prepping the antenna in a relaxing acid tub — minus the bubble bath — I later sanded out the corrosion pits with fine wet sandpaper to give the elements and boom a smooth baby’s bottom feel. 

After approximately 10 minutes, they were all in pristine condition and the antenna, once fully assembled, was ready to undergo testing for SWR and a resonant frequency.

In summing up, the previously owned 3 element yagi antenna I’d acquired at a garage sale for just $28.50 had more than tripled in price thanks to less than an hour on the operating table and a few extra bucks investment. 

Actually, once the rust and corrosion had been surgically removed, the revamped antenna  — with a facelift even Pamela Anderson could be proud of — looked as good as new!

Apart from giving second hand antenna purchases a visual overhaul, an antenna facelift is also recommended for your existing aluminium antenna at least once every 2 years. 

When exposed to air, aluminium oxidizes very fast so be kind to your Aunt Anna with some simple love and care and she will be kind to you 😉

73 de Darren, 43DA001