Assembling Your New Antenna

Some antennas are easy to assemble and have few parts to worry about.  A Yagi, on the other hand, can have dozens of parts and the assembly can take hours.  These suggestions pertain to a large antenna like a Yagi or large vertical.

  1. RTFM.  (Read the flippin' manual!)  Make a photocopy of the manual or print a PDF from the manufacturer's website.   Keep the original in nice shape for later reference.
  2. Inventory and sort all parts.  Contact the vendor if any are missing.
  3. Set up sawhorses to assemble the antenna on.  It is a lot easier than working on the ground.
  4. Put a large blue tarp under the entire assembly area.  Trust me on this one.  You will drop a lot of hardware, and the tarp makes it easy to retrieve.  If you omit this step, you can expect to spend a lot of time on your hands and knees in a futile search for tiny parts!
  5. Lay out all parts on the tarp and identify them per the parts list.  Take a sharpie and mark the part numbers on the various boom and element sections.  If you need to remove the markings use alcohol and a paper towel.
  6. Use a magnet to check all hardware.  If the magnet is attracted to the part, it is not stainless steel.  I suggest that you replace ALL non stainless hardware.  This won't cost all that much, and will pay off big-time in the future.
  7. Dry fit the the boom, traps and elements and consult the instructions for measurements.  The measurements are absolutely critical. 
  8. Once you have it all together, triple check the measurements and parts placement.
  9. Pay particular attention to markings on the traps - you don't want to put them on backwards!
  10. When you are confident that you have it all correct, take your sharpie and mark all of the connecting points with a ring around the tube.
  11. Lube the connecting points with Penetrox A, install the hose clamps and slide the sections together.  Tighten the hose clamps.
  12. Yagi antenna traps will have drip holes.  They face down when the antenna is in place.
  13. Once it is all together, check the measurements once more, and then stand back and look at the whole works.  Does everything look right?  Compare it to the instruction manual and make sure that the elements and traps are in proper order.
  14. Take a break and come back the following day and check the whole works!
  15. The weather will soon remove most of the labels on your antenna, so use an electric engraving tool and mark the antenna model number on the boom near the feed point.  IF it is a trapped antenna, mark each trap with the part number or band and an arrow pointing to the center the boom.  This will make things a lot easier if you every disassemble it.