Quick and Easy Roof Wire Tie-Down's

by W5JGV

An easy solution to the mess of wires draped across your rooftop!

I've seen quite a few rooftops where the wires running from the hamshack to the antennas are just laying across the roof, in an unsightly arrangement. Unfortunately, this also tended to describe my setup until I decided one day to correct the mess. After searching for a neat, easy and inexpensive (read - dirt cheap) solution, I came up with a simple but effective solution.

My roof, being typical of the construction used in this area, is asphalt shingle applied over a plywood base. I am very hesitant to attach anything to the roof that requires making a hole through the shingle, because that is almost a guarantee of a roof leak in the future. I needed something different, perhaps something that I could "stick" to the shingles without damaging them.

In the past, I have simply placed the cables flat on the roof and then stuck them in place with a glob of roofing cement. This works, but one of the disadvantages of this method are that since the roofing cement tends to harden with age, it's often quite difficult to remove the cables at a later date without damaging the cable or the shingles. Also, the solvent in the cement may injure the cables and cause problems. After some problems with the roofing cement, I switched to using RTV, also known as Silicone Rubber adhesive to hold the wires in place. This worked better, but unless I used a lot of it at each attachment point, it was too easy to break the cable free of the adhesive. Something better was needed.

After looking through my scrap metal stockpile (what True Ham throws ANYTHING away?) my eyes happened upon a length of aluminum angle stock. Suddenly, the finished attachment fitting popped into my mind! Eureka!! Simplicity itself!

Simplicity Itself!

Fabricated from a 3/4" length of 3/4" X 3/4" x 1/16" aluminum angle stock, the attachment fixture has a hole drilled through the center of each side. One hole measures 1/4" in diameter, and the other hole measures 3/8" in diameter.

Oblique View of the fitting

Be sure to smooth off the corners and the edges to avoid damaging the cables or yourself.

Splootch! Attaching to the shingles.

To attach the fixture to the roof shingles, simply spread a generous glob of RTV adhesive over an area of about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Work the adhesive against the shingles thoroughly so that it will bind well to the shingle. Use a thick enough amount of adhesive so that the pulling load will be spread out over the entire adhesive area should something snag the attached wires and try to rip the attachment fixture loose.

After spreading the adhesive, carefully press the fitting with the 1.4" hole down against the adhesive so that it almost touches the shingle. Be sure to orient the fixture so that the upright portion of the fixture is lines up parallel with the intended path of the wires to be attached to the fixture. If you have applied enough adhesive, it will squirt out of the hole as shown here.

All blobbed up and ready to go!

Next, cover the bottom portion of the attachment fitting and the adhesive you have already placed on the shingles with an overcoating of RTV adhesive about 3/8" thick. When this hardens, it will be almost impossible to rip loose by accident. Should you wish to remove the fitting, carefully trim the adhesive off of the top of the fitting and then carefully slide a sharp knife between the fixture and the shingle. Remember that I mentioned to set the fitting *almost* down against the shingle? That was to allow you some room to get a knife between the shingle and the fixture if you need to remove the fixture.

Fitting in use on roof.

Using a length of THHN insulated # 14 AWG solid wire, the wires are securely fastened to the attachment fixture. Leave the ends of the twisted wire long enough so that you can remove it later if you need to remove or attach wires.

Fixture as seen at a distance.

Installed attachment fixture seen on the roof.

Find the Fixtures!

Can you see all four of the attachment fixtures on the roof? After the adhesive had hardened, I was able to attach the wires to the fixtures.

73, Ralph W5JGV


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