How are telescopic antennas made

Telescopic antennas, repair possible?

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Every collector of portable radios knows a thing or two about how difficult it is to find suitable replacements for telescopic antennas. Hundreds of different types are or have been in use. Today it is almost impossible to find suitable telescopic antennas of older design in specialist shops. In the 70s and 80s, remnants of these antennas were offered at low prices in various electronics stores. Happy those foresighted who struck back then.


Is it possible to repair telescopic antennas at all? In principle, yes, suitable material must be available and “knowing how” is a prerequisite. To know how, you first have to know how the telescopic antenna is constructed:

The antenna consists of a number of tubes of different diameters which, when pushed together, make up the telescope. The last and thinnest part is usually a solid wire that carries the tip (button). A telescopic antenna can only be dismantled if the "lock" can be removed. And this is where the difficulties begin. The closure can be screwed, soldered or pressed in. Screwed or soldered will probably have to be loosened, when pressed in it is very difficult or even impossible to get to the innards without damaging them. Once the lock has been removed, the telescopic tubes can be pushed out downwards. Various small parts immediately fall down, these are the "guides", mostly small brass plates that are attached to the lower end of the tubes. These guides have the task of blocking the pipes at the end when the antenna is pulled apart. Each tube is cranked inwards at the upper end, where the guide is then stopped. The guides also have the task of generating a certain amount of friction so that the pipes can be held in any position.

If missing or broken pipes are to be replaced, the diameter and length of the replacement pipes must exactly match the original. Therefore it is advisable not to dispose of defective antennas or parts of them, but to collect them, maybe you will be happy again….

It is easier to repair bent antennas. Under no circumstances use any tools such as pliers or the like for aligning (straightening). The antenna is carefully bent straight with just your hands and fingers. This avoids additional kinks and dents that can be caused by tools.

If a pipe has broken off and both parts are still there, you can try to connect these parts by soldering. However, this only makes sense if the break occurred in the lower third of the pipe:

The tubes are usually made of chrome-plated or nickel-plated brass, so the soldering point must be freed from chromium or nickel inside and outside so that a durable soldering can be achieved.

Please note: all subsequent thinner pipes must be shortened accordingly, because otherwise the antenna cannot be completely sunk (dead space behind the repair point). Therefore, this repair only makes sense in the upper part of the antenna, otherwise the extended antenna will be too short.


Unfortunately, my experience in repairing antennas is not very great. Although my pool of telescopic antennas and parts thereof is relatively large, the chance of finding a suitable piece remains very small. So I often have no choice but to replace the defective or missing original antenna with a modern, similar telescopic antenna.

I would like to ask colleagues to contribute their experiences and tips on this subject, thank you.

This article was edited 05.Oct.06 09:12 by Gerhard Heigl.