K6JRF's Page
formerly W6FZC

Bird Spike Repair by Robert's Sign

Photos by K6JRF
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(Updated: Jul, 16 2011)

Oh, Oh . . . bird poop on the deck . . .

Click on any image to enlarge
In late May 2011, I noticed a few "beans" (my term for fruit pits) laying on the deck but I didn't pay much attention to the cause. This week, I saw the infamous tell-tale of bright-orange colored bird poop on the deck and some floating in the pool. How is that happening? I looked up and saw that Bird Spikes were missing on TWO (2) of the G6 colinear radials! Panic!!

About 1-1/2 yrs ago, I did investigate ladder truck companies in San Diego and found Robert's Sign & Lighting. After talking to Bill Miller, the owner, I felt that he could be just the ticket for easy antenna repair and installation. He bought the business from "Robert" who retired and he has been running the business for 10 years. Although I never had occasion to use his services, I kept the info ready for such a time . . . and the time has come!

The 40 ft ladder extension was ported to his present truck and has been in use daily for 10 years. Bill says it's time for a new truck since there's a lot of mileage on the engine.

The ladder has full controls on top so it requires only one operator. All motors are 12VDC so it's not complicated to repair. The only drawback is that limited ladder extension range of about 40 ft. This requires that there isn't a large setback from the access point to the tower. In my case, it's only about 18 ft, so there's no problem getting to the top antenna as long as the tower is fully down.

The picture shows Bill maneuvering the ladder to get to the tower. For my installation, there was just enough ladder to reach the tower.
This picture shows Bill replacing the Bird Spikes on the G6-144 colinear.

The 3 years since it was put up have taken a toll on the both antennas but especially the colinear so that two (2) of the radials were bare! I thought that the Bird Spikes would have lasted much longer on that antenna but I guess the small radial size caused the bird spikes to work loose and come off.

Of course, the starlings gathered there throughout the day doing their thing . . . singing and crapping!
After the G6 was completed, he moved down to the CD-78 and repaired some of the missing/broken sections and well as the broken/missing cable ties.

As I observed the ease of the repair, I thought that this is definitely the way to go. I explained to him that a "normal" way of repairing this would be to remove the CD78 via sling on the antenna driven by a rope and pulley get it down. The G6 could then be taken down for repair on the ground. To do this takes about 6 - 8 hours including the returning the antennas to the tower. The ladder truck makes it very pleasurable.
Here we see a close up of the CD78 Bird Spike repair and replacement.

The "bucket" is very "open" and you need to climb the ladder to get into it. I volunteered initially to do the repair and I had him almost talked into it but decided that the repair is not brain-surgery so I let him do it. I'm glad for that decision!
As I mentioned earlier, 3 years has taken its toll on the G6 radials since two of them were essentially bare! I thought that the Bird Spikes would have lasted "forever" on that antenna but after looking closely, the small radial diameter (3/16") and the large bird spike base (1") doesn't present a large enough surface area to "hold" the bird spike on the radial against the effects of time and weather.

The CD78 by contrast, has faired much better. None of the bird spikes were lost but some were broken by rope/sling technique used to raise the antenna to the tower. Those as shown were replaced.

As the final picture shows, now both are as good as new. When the tower was elevated, I looked up and saw a starling coming from the 'fruit' tree heading directly for the G6 radials. As he got close, the bird spikes became apparent and he flew away!

K6JRF = 1, Birds = 0!

My comment on the main page has been proved; " . . if you let them land, you will have a bird problem" ! Certainly that statement is obvious but what this incident proved is that you can get rid of them quickly by replacing the bird spikes which guarantees that birds can't land even if they have before! Two days later, there's not even one bean on the deck or in the pool.

Robert's Sign & Lighting
Office: 6373 Jeff St, San Diego, CA 92115
Cost: $75/hr with a 1-1/2 minimum. Price starts at your door.
Contact Bill at 619-231-2353 (office) and 619-726-3369 (cell).


Email him here


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