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Removing Copper Antenna Tarnish

March 6th Fact-of-the-Day

Copper tubing or large-diameter bare copper wire is sometimes used to construct small VHF and UHF antennas of various types, because copper is a good conductor that is easy to bend and easy to solder. However, unprotected copper surfaces soon tarnish when exposed to the elements, increasing RF skin resistance. Furthermore, it is difficult to establish a low-resistance connection to tarnished copper if a copper antenna that has tarnished is subsequently modified. Tarnish can be sanded or scraped off copper surfaces, but sanding or scraping removes some untarnished copper below and it is difficult to sand or scrape cracks and other irregular surfaces. An easier method is to apply a generous coating of salt to a quarter-section of lemon and then rub the lemon over tarnished areas. Flood the copper and especially any insulators with water afterward to remove residual lemon juice and salt and you will have a clean, bright, and like-new copper surface. ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.

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