3L SteppIR Oct 2017 Paint Job

After removing the fiberglass poles from my 3-element SteppIR yagi antenna in preparation for the possible arrival of Hurricane Nate in October 2017, I decided to paint them. The antenna was installed in December 2012 and had been up for nearly 5 years.

The first thing I did, and I highly recommend this, was to watch the YouTube video by Max George, NG7M, on painting SteppIR antenna poles. You can find the video here. Like Max, I used Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Deep Green Enamel Topside Paint because it was readily available at the local Lowe’s store.

Work Location & Setup

Work location is very important. I would recommend either a well-ventilated indoor location or somewhere outside with a cover.More

Photo 1 – Elevating the work platform makes sanding and painting easier.

Sanding the Poles

I sanded the poles with 150 grit sandpaper. I also sanded the heat shrink tubing at the joints since I planned on painting them too. More

Photo 2 – Fiberglass showing through the old paint after sanding
Photo 3 – Gloves caked with paint residue after sanding poles

Removing Excess Glue from the Heat Shrink

If your SteppIR antenna uses heat shrink tubing at the joints of the poles, then you may want to consider removing the excess glue that seeps out from under the heat shrink during installation.More

Photo 4 -Before and after removing heat shrink tubing glue at the joints.

Rotating the Poles while Sanding and Painting

When I sanded the poles, I rotated them on the saw horses and it worked well. Max rotated his poles while he painted, but I found it difficult to keep the heat shrinked joints on the saw horses when the poles were rotated and it may have been because I was working too fast. The poles wanted to slide. This is not important when sanding, but very important when painting because you don’t want the freshly painted surface of the poles to accidentally touch the saw horses and mess up the paint.More

Photo 5 – Painted poles secured by cable ties.

First Coat of Paint

I used a good quality 2″ bristle paint brush to paint the first coat. The brush was designed for oil based paint and I wore powder free non-latex gloves. It took me nearly three hours to paint six poles. I wasn’t happy with the result.More

Photo 6 – Brush streaks in the paint after first coat.

Painting the Heat Shrink Tubing

Three days after putting the first coat of paint on the poles, I painted the heat shrink tubing where the poles were originally cable-tied to the saw horses.More

Photo 7 – Heat shrink tubing painted with a 47 cent 1″ foam brush from Walmart with excellent results

Second Coat of Paint

The next evening (Wednesday), I started putting a second coat on the poles. I was so happy with the results using the foam brush on the heat shrink tubing that I decided to use foam brushes on the 2nd coat as well.More

Photo 8 – 2nd coat of paint on the fiberglass poles using a foam brush came out very well

The following Saturday (October 21st), I was able to put the second coat on the 2nd and 4th section of each pole along with all the heat shrink tubing. On Sunday, the poles looked perfect to me. The painting was over. I used less than a half quart of paint. On the windless morning of Saturday November 4th, I re-installed the poles onto the antenna and all is working fine.

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Photo 10

In the spring of the next year (2018), I converted my 2-element SteppIR back to 3 elements and painted the fiberglass poles on that antenna. That page is here.

73, Don AA5AU