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N5016R

Photoetched antennas

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Cutting VHF antennas with tiny locator pegs from brass sheet is driving me crazy. I mess up 70% of them, half of the rest flies away from my tweezers when almost ready... I have a number of stalled projects because I can't find the strength to start working on these.

Why aren't any proper photoetched aircraft antennas available?

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Danny Coremans did a photetch detail sheet for his 737s. It's available on his website. You need to click on Skyline Models, then on 737 kits. because the way he set his site up there's no way to do a direct link to any particular page. 2 identical frets sell for 6 Euro.

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I cut my antennae from .010 plastic strip and superglue them in place without locator pegs. The odd one pings out of the tweezers never to be seen again but it's the work of seconds to cut a replacement. I've rarely had them come off the model but again if that happens it's the work of seconds to cut and attach a replacement.

If you decide to use the Daco fret recommended by Jessica note that the locating pegs are flat so you're either going to have to cut slots in the model to take them or drill holes of sufficient diameter and fill round the pegs once the antennae are in place.

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Danny Coremans did a photetch detail sheet for his 737s. It's available on his website. You need to click on Skyline Models, then on 737 kits. because the way he set his site up there's no way to do a direct link to any particular page. 2 identical frets sell for 6 Euro.

Thank you Jessica. Do you think I could use these for other Boeing products too? A generic aircraft antenna set would be very nice.

I cut my antennae from .010 plastic strip and superglue them in place without locator pegs. The odd one pings out of the tweezers never to be seen again but it's the work of seconds to cut a replacement. I've rarely had them come off the model but again if that happens it's the work of seconds to cut and attach a replacement.

If you decide to use the Daco fret recommended by Jessica note that the locating pegs are flat so you're either going to have to cut slots in the model to take them or drill holes of sufficient diameter and fill round the pegs once the antennae are in place.

I attach my antennas before painting so they have to be sturdy to survive. These brass antennas can take a lot of punishment and they always stay in place. I'm afraid I'd constantly knock plastic ones down.

That's what I feared. I cut mine with a 0.5mm peg so all I need is a hole to position them. These pegs are rather delicate and the main reason why making them this way is very stressful.

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My suggestion? Cut off the pegs and fix them with white glue or Kristal Klear or similar. They are easy to attach after painting, and have more 'give' so are less likely to snap off than if using superglue.

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I've never made antennae from anything other than plastic but if you're committed to using brass a suggestion I've heard is that instead of making a peg you cut the antenna with a bit of extra depth and sandwich it between the fuselage halves when you're assembling them. Before you glue the halves you obviously have to file a shallow groove to take the antenna but it sounds a lot easier than trying to cut a peg.

Buzz, that's an interesting point about Kristal Kleer. I've rarely had a problem with superglue but I must try Kristal Kleer to see how it works with plastic antennae.

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While Danny's antennae were made for 737s, all Boeings and Airbice antennae have pretty much the same shapes, so you can get away with using them on whatever model you like.

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Danny sells a detail decal sheet for the A320 family which includes an etched brass fret similar to the B737 one but specific to Airbus. As well as the antennae it gives you corrected winglets. The product number is SKY144-57.

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Thank you all for the suggestions. I think I'll give the Daco antennas a try.

I've never made antennae from anything other than plastic but if you're committed to using brass a suggestion I've heard is that instead of making a peg you cut the antenna with a bit of extra depth and sandwich it between the fuselage halves when you're assembling them. Before you glue the halves you obviously have to file a shallow groove to take the antenna but it sounds a lot easier than trying to cut a peg.

Buzz, that's an interesting point about Kristal Kleer. I've rarely had a problem with superglue but I must try Kristal Kleer to see how it works with plastic antennae.

I used to do them like that when I cut them from litho plate (much thinner than brass). I didn't sandwich them tho but rather cut a notch for them after the halves were together. I tried that now on my 767 and it works with brass as well. Still a lot of work to make it look decent.

I always attach everything before painting. Less chance to mess up the paint job.

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A general comment about navigation and communications antennas seen on commercial passenger aircraft (and other aircraft for that matter). Most of the common types are actually made by companies who specialise in these things. It is rare for an airframe manufacturer to design/manufacture antennas. Sensor Systems, Cobham, etc are some of the well known manufacturers. Once you know the system, it's pretty simple to home into the specific antenna type/family. Manufacturers websites will usually have some sort of basic product data which usually includes general arrangement drawings of their antennas, from which you may appropriately scale your required dimensions. :winkgrin:

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