When tougher weather comes our way, there are steps we have to take to protect things around our house from the elements. The same goes for organizations & entities that must protect mast cable assemblies from all manner of environmental “boogeymen”. Some of the more destructive weather operators of mast cable assemblies must contend with is extreme cold. Complicating matters even more is the fact that extreme cold can vary depending on the area/region the mast cable assembly makes its home most of the time. Nonetheless, protection from frigid elements is vital to the longevity and optimal functionality of any mast cable assembly.
If you live in an area of the United States that has an average summer temperature of 95°F during the day & an average winter temp of 55°F. There are other places where average daily summer temps are 80°F but winter temp averages are 20°F or lower. What does all of this mean? It means that cold weather protection for mast cable assemblies WILL mean something different to different users. It also means that people who don’t experience significant cold weather events will be planning for them, and that lack of planning can have consequences.
Cold weather isn’t just a drop in air temperature. There is a change in humidity that must be considered. Also, keep in mind that moisture isn’t just in the form of rain. Snow can be incredibly problematic when it accumulates. What’s more, mast cable assemblies usually operate in an extended mode, leaving everything exposed and high off the ground. A combination of moisture & cold air temperatures can lead to the accumulation of frost and ice, which have been shown to have devastating effects in terms of damage caused.
The key for protecting mast cable assemblies in cold weather environments comes down to planning ahead & thinking critically about how best to keep the structure safe while not interrupting its operation. Things to consider include:
Winterizing — The preparation for cold weather will vary between entities, but it’s important to have a plan. This may involve use of antifreeze in certain areas of the mast assembly & a durable cover.
Physical State of the Mast — Will your mast be nested? Fully or partially extended? Does the position of the mast change regularly? Each poses a different set of circumstances for cold weather preparation.
Moisture — Snow, rain, ice, and frost can all lead to the cables becoming brittle & losing flexibility. Jacketing & insulation of the cables can also be damaged.
Signal Transmission — Transmitting information is a primary function (e.g., news stations or telecommunication), so regular inspection of cables & connections is necessary. Look for anything that’s loose that can be damaged by wind, check seals for degradation, and certainly look for corrosion.
When designing mast cable assemblies, work with a manufacturer that has a background in design. You also want to work with a manufacturer that can help take you through building and delivery, all the while providing advice on how best to protect your investment against the elements. It’s also important to work with a manufacturer who has years of experience & has a working relationship with a number of clients in various industries. This background gives the manufacturer an opportunity to provide you with insight that can prove to be beneficial in your mast cable assembly’s final design.
Contact a technical expert at LoDan Electronics, Inc. for information on weatherproofing mast cable assemblies, as well as advice on how to design a future project to handle the elements.