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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-19-2012
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Wired Up My Mast

Got the mast rewired today...

Wires were running up the backstay for VHF and Mast light when I got the boat...Everything worked, but I wanted to add a"Steaming/Deck light" mid mast and didn't want exposed wires showing..

I tried fishing a wire down the mast (there were existing holes mid, top and bottom of mast) but ran into "Something"..

I pulled the masthead and the baseplate and looked in with a flashlight and saw blocks of "foam" like cushion foam...

I taped a long screw to the end of some fiberglass chimney cleaning rods and poked and twisted and pulled block after block out...bout 16' of rod I worked from each end ...coming out the top was easy but the ones near the halyard cleat hardware were getting stuck and breaking up...I did finally get them all out..

I tied the VHF cable to a 4 wire cable (for mast and steaming lights) and a Cat 5 cable (for wind instruments) with "Zip ties" 3 each every 2'...I left the zip tie tails sticking out 120* apart to help stabilize the cables in the mast and reduce "clanging"... (rather than put foam blocks back)

Re install mast head and base plate and tucked the excess wire back up the base hole and ready to step mast when I get to the marina this spring...although I do need to install and connect steaming light and hook up mast light and wind sending units...
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Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Wired Up My Mast

Oh great and I was going to take you sailing! Looks like you'll be in the water before me! Not Fair!----Dale
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Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Wired Up My Mast

Thanks for some good ideas. I lowered my mast to do similar work. I want to check and or replace the VHF cable....that's important! I want my radio working! I'm also going to use the zip tie idea since I'll be replacing the other wires and re-doing my spreader lights.
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Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Wired Up My Mast

My boats stripped down and spread all over the barn.... that's just one checkmark on a LONG list of stuff to do before I launch...Hoping to be ready by early June..!!

So still looking forward to some May cruising dates off the left shore...
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Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Wired Up My Mast

Squidd, your long-tailed wire ties should do the same thing that the foam did. Most "low loss" coax has a foam insulation in it, and the foam tends to break down from the weight of the cable itself hanging vertically, so you can figure about five years before performance has degraded enough to think about replacing it.

If you pick up an SWR meter and test the rig a couple of time each year, or just leave it inline behind the radio, as long as you still show a good SWR, the cable is still good enough. When it starts going up...time for new coax.
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