Antenna Elements Bugged – Insect Damages to Aluminum Tube

In the takedown of the former Main K9ZW station tower an element from my Tennadyne T-28 LPDA broke in handling!

The inside of the aluminum element was a power like sand, and the inner wall of the element had been reduced to powder.

Broken Aluminum Element

The break was crisp and was more a snap.

So what might have done this?

Turns out that insects had nested in the element and I’d imagine the ph-change they caused, along with their remnants holding moisture had caused corrosion. Perhaps something along the line of the ammonia that decay can cause?

Here is a picture of the bugs:

The Dead Insects that caused the Damage

A quick check shows a few more elements I’m suspecting to have a dead bug problem.

It isn’t the hardest thing to change out elements on this T-28’s design, and I will be investing if enough elements have an insect problem to the point I’ll order a new set of elements rather than fabricate a handful of replacements myself.

Really curious what the insect is, now it causes the damages, and what can be done to avoid the problem?

In hindsight I might have taken a clue when on occasions I observed a woodpecker investigating on the antenna. Infestation?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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