Technical Articles

DX Engineering Winter Purchasing Guide (Part 1): Put Station Weatherproofing Tops on Your To-Do List

As the weather turns colder and Contest Season fades into the past for another year, it’s a good time to think about shack upgrades and smart maintenance practices to keep your amateur radio haven in top shape for the months ahead.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to protect your investment and prevent downgraded performance is through weatherproofing outdoor connections. As experienced hams know—and new operators often discover too late—moisture is enemy-number-one when it comes to coax connectors. Corroded connectors can lead to arcing, shorts, high SWR, and other significant RFI issues, all of which can be better handled with an ounce of prevention (a quality weatherproofing kit) rather than a pound of cure (connector replacement).

For a great demonstration of what you’ll need and best weatherproofing techniques, watch this DX Engineering video, “Weatherproof and UV Protect Your Coax Cable Connectors,” featuring Mark, W8BBQ and Rod, K8RR:

And don’t forget that water penetration doesn’t only wreak havoc on coax connectors. You’ll also need to protect antenna joints, junction boxes, steel hardware, and other vulnerable non-weather-resistant equipment. Take a moment and read this OnAllBands article on The Importance of Weatherproofing Lightning Protectors.

Here’s a rundown of the weatherproofing kits you’ll find at DXEngineering.com.

DX Engineering Coaxial Connection Weatherproofing Kits

These kits contain two types of ¾ inch tape (sealing and vinyl) that provide an inexpensive and effective barrier against moisture and UV damage. Each weatherproofing kit contains a roll of 3M Temflex™ 2155 Rubber Splicing Tape TES-2155 (a conformable, self-fusing sealing tape used as the water barrier) and a roll of 3M Vinyl Electrical Tape—in your choice of three grades—for a UV barrier: Scotch Super 88 Premium, Scotch Super 33 Plus, or economy 3M Tartan 1710. Materials are made for easy application and removal if maintenance is required.

Each kit will weatherproof six to ten double connections, depending upon the number of overlapping layers used. Choose the economy kit for temporary weather protection and one of the professional-grade tape kits for long-term installations.

What do hams say?

Five Stars: “If you are moisture-proofing your connections, then these are the products that you need. Buying them together like this in kit form gives you more bang for your buck.”

Five Stars: Perfect combo. The Temflex is great for waterproofing connectors. The Super 33+ is very flexible and great electrical tape.”

DX Engineering Kits with Self-Adhesive Weatherproofing Material

This combo falls into the category of “you can never have enough of this stuff around the shack!” The kits come with a 3 inch x 6 inch self-adhesive, malleable, and water-impermeable weatherproofing sealer that withstands temperatures of -65 to 180 degrees F without cracking. This non-conductive, reusable material does not harden and can be cut to the desired shape per each weatherizing application. Also included is one of three grades of vinyl UV-resistant electrical tape: Scotch Super 88, Scotch Super 33 Plus, or 3M Tartan 1710. When weather-sealing, it is recommended to use a wrap of vinyl tape first, then apply the sealer, and finish with another wrap of tape for easiest removal when future maintenance is required.

The DXE-WK-PRO kit comes with five rolls of Super 88 Tape and 3 inch by 6 foot weatherproofing sealer for protecting coax connectors, lightning protectors, and other equipment.

What do hams say?

Five Stars: “This is a great waterproofing kit. I have used it on several connections that are exposed to weather and have not had any problems with water intrusion. Would use it again without hesitation.”

Visit DXEngineering.com for all your weatherproofing needs, including Times Microwave WSB Series Weatherseal Boots for LMR-195, LMR-200, LMR-240/DXE-8X and equivalent cables; 0.405 inch diameter coax such as LMR-400, RG-8, DXE-400Max, DXE-213 and equivalents; and LMR-600 size coax.

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