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Ask SAIL: Some Random TLC

Radome

Q: I recently removed my radar’s white radome, which covers the internal rotating antenna. I gave the radome a light sandblasting to clear it of years of grime and discoloring. Should I paint it, too? — B. Anderson, Aberdeen, MD

GORDON WEST REPLIES

Stop! First, make sure the radar is turned off, and no one could accidentally turn it on with you at eye level near the radar internal arm. For the now-whiter radome, no paint is necessary. However, a coat of wax will help keep it shiny. Be sure the inside of the radome is clean and clear of any sand-blasted debris. You don’t want anything getting into the gearing.

With a damp cloth, you can also gently clean the face of a phased array antenna with those little target-like circuit board elements, but do this lightly. On a slotted array aluminum large element, blow away any dust or spider webs. Reassemble, and likely you will see long-range targets better. Just make sure the radar is totally off before you get anywhere near the antenna.

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