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New Member
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Registered: ‎05-11-2011

Painting the antenna

Hi all

I have an antenna ""Ubiquiti Networks AirMax 5GHz, 2x20dBi/90 Sektor" and I hang it on the building of the church. My question is - can I paint it the color brown? and if so what paint I used. Unfortunately, the church is old and is protected by law and must adapt to the requirements.

thank you in advance for your help
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Re: Painting the antenna

So long as you paint it with a paint that contains no metal you will be fine. Latex paints should work well as do most common spray paints that adhere to plastic. Be sure to give the radome a light sanding prior to painting and if you use a primer make sure that it, too, contains no metal.
Most paints won't stick very well to the plastic but once the paint is dry, if you don't handle the sector excessively, the paint should stay stuck just fine.
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Re: Painting the antenna

Obviously you don't want to use metallic zinc cold galvanizing paint, but I've used some "metallic" paints in the past with zero problems - they use Mylar for the metallic effect.
I'm not thrilled about using the non-primer required one step spray paint after I saw it craze (minor surface cracking) of clear plastic, which could eventually split open the plastic entirely.
Someone tried Krylon paint and saw a one or two dB loss. I never bothered to confirm that... but considering two wraps of Scotch 33 tape can detune a VHF antenna, I'm not surprised.
Two coats of latex paint with primer on scuffed surface is pretty reliable.
What do *I* do? Pay a body shop to use DuPont's Imron or Sherwin Williams' Polane. That is used on aircraft radar radomes.
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
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Re: Painting the antenna

quick and dirty way to test the paint is to paint an object and put it in the microwave (UBNT eth port cover for example).
The item should not get heated.
A for the elements proofing (weather, etc), consult the paint supplier.
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Re: Painting the antenna

quick and dirty way to test the paint is to paint an object and put it in the microwave.


Now to throw a wrench in the works - something that I'm prone to do to demonstrate critical thinking - how can a sheet of Plexiglas that does not heat up in a microwave, still be used as a lens at microwave frequencies?
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
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Re: Painting the antenna

Now to throw a wrench in the works - something that I'm prone to do to demonstrate critical thinking - how can a sheet of Plexiglas that does not heat up in a microwave, still be used as a lens at microwave frequencies?

Dear Sir,
I find your post fascinating, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter and/or fanclub.
- esseph


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Re: Painting the antenna

Now to throw a wrench in the works - something that I'm prone to do to demonstrate critical thinking - how can a sheet of Plexiglas that does not heat up in a microwave, still be used as a lens at microwave frequencies?


You're testing the paint, not what is painted Man Tongue


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Re: Painting the antenna


would like to subscribe to your newsletter and/or fan club.
I do not engage in news letters, fan clubs or any form of social networking.
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
New Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎05-11-2011

Re: Painting the antenna

Thank you all for your help. The antenna is painted with silicate paint. I did not notice any difference in signal levels. The antenna is almost invisible on the wall of the church. And the idea of microwave oven is great and I would not hit it.
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Re: Painting the antenna

Now to throw a wrench in the works - something that I'm prone to do to demonstrate critical thinking - how can a sheet of Plexiglas that does not heat up in a microwave, still be used as a lens at microwave frequencies?


Good point.

So for the OP question lets refer to a cover (protecting the innards from elements), not lenses (focusing RF energy).

If the cover is attenuating the RF, this is not good for the performance. Absorption of energy shows as heat and with microwave punching higher Watts, this can be easily tested.

So the point is. Get an object that does not get heated in the microwave. Paint it. Dry it. Microwave it. If it gets heated, the paint is not to be used for antennas.

Cheers,

Gregor
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Re: Painting the antenna

...because diffraction is not the same
as absorption. For an optical analogy,
a lens isn't opaque to light, but it is
able to bend it (change its direction).

For paint, use a Krylon spray can designed
specifically to paint plastic. Don't use any
primer coat, and don't use a solvent to
prepare the plastic. Just wipe it clean with
a damp cloth, let it dry and paint it.

If necessary, use several very thin coats
and not one big thick drippy one. Dave

> HQ in Seacoast region New Hampshire U.S.A.
> Ubiquiti Certified Trainer [UCT] for:
     UBWA [AirMax] / UEWA [UniFi] / UBRSS [routers]
UBNT.NH@gmail.com
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Re: Painting the antenna


For paint, use a Krylon spray can designed specifically to paint plastic.

One of the Krylon "Dual" primerless spray paints can craze the clear plastic used for headlight covers, it may also affect other plastics. The plastic in my case became very brittle and frangible. Trying it again with Krylon grey primer did not cause crazing.

Test first for RF transparency. Some Krylon paints will attenuate 2.4 GHz as was discussed on DSLreports at length.

Don't use any primer coat, and don't use a solvent to prepare the plastic.
Remove the manufacturing mold release film, usually a silicone base. Wipe down twice with mild solvent - lighter fluid, mineral sprites, or kerosine. Use a primer coat.

Just wipe it clean with a damp cloth, let it dry and paint it.
See above.
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
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Re: Painting the antenna

I've had some customers use the gray or black BBQ paint. Apparently they had problems with a hot radio on a 95 degree day, this BBQ stove paint did the trick, I didn't see 1db change in the signal either..
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Re: Painting the antenna

I don't know what a 'dual' Krylon paint is.

Use the Krylon 'Fusion' line--it is designed
for direct use on plastic--without a primer.
It also needs no plastic prep; its own
solvents will easily disolve any thin oils.

Headlight lenses are acrylic or polycarbonate;
plastic used for the radios is ABS. No problem. Dave

> HQ in Seacoast region New Hampshire U.S.A.
> Ubiquiti Certified Trainer [UCT] for:
     UBWA [AirMax] / UEWA [UniFi] / UBRSS [routers]
UBNT.NH@gmail.com
Emerging Member
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Registered: ‎08-29-2011
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Re: Painting the antenna

Now to throw a wrench in the works - something that I'm prone to do to demonstrate critical thinking - how can a sheet of Plexiglas that does not heat up in a microwave, still be used as a lens at microwave frequencies?


That is a really interesting question. I wish I had the formal education in physics to answer it. I do remember something from Mr. Wizard on TV that I think said that lenses work because light travels at different speeds when it travels through them. Maybe you could make a microwave lens out of the solids in paint too?
I don't know enough about anything to have credibility on this forum so no matter how awesome something I say might sound, don't hit the like button, I beg you!Icon Redface
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Double Irony?

I do not engage in news letters, fan clubs or any form of social networking.


Dear WHT,

I know this might sound crazy, but sometimes people on the internet are mean. ;-) The above was one of those times. Captain Funny Pantz was being sarcastic when he asked about your newsletter.

What would totally be awesome is if you knew that and you dared to attempt the rarely seen in the wild double-irony smackdown with your reply. Please please please tell me it was so!
I don't know enough about anything to have credibility on this forum so no matter how awesome something I say might sound, don't hit the like button, I beg you!Icon Redface
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Re: Painting the antenna

The length of such a lens would be four feet for 2.4.
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
Ancient Member
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Re: Painting the antenna

No smack down intended. I just don't the social networking.
Besides, I've outgrown using colored highlighters in
the white pages for a trick list.
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
Emerging Member
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Re: Painting the antenna


Besides, I've outgrown using colored highlighters in
the white pages for a trick list.


So much for me explaining things. Heh heh, I have no idea what using colored highlighters in white pages for a trick list means. Icon Redface

Anyway, just to make sure I don't seem any more obnoxious than I intend, I am not making fun of anybody or criticizing anything. I remember the first time someone hit me with that "newsletter" comment as a reply to something I said on the internet. I felt like a complete loser. Now whenever I see it it makes me laugh and feel bad for the target.

Anybody want to subscribe to my newsletter? It's hilarious!
I don't know enough about anything to have credibility on this forum so no matter how awesome something I say might sound, don't hit the like button, I beg you!Icon Redface
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Re: Painting the antenna

Dear WHT,

I know this might sound crazy, but sometimes people on the internet are mean. ;-) The above was one of those times. Captain Funny Pantz was being sarcastic when he asked about your newsletter.

What would totally be awesome is if you knew that and you dared to attempt the rarely seen in the wild double-irony smackdown with your reply. Please please please tell me it was so!


It's a slashdot.org meme Man Happy It was meant to be funny, but somewhat serious as well. (Not that I wanted a newsletter, but that I respected his comment)


isp builder | linux sorcerer | datacenter automation conjurer | blog: blog.engineered.online
link to our slack channel on the blog