Copper theft deterent

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Joe Friday
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:47 am

Copper theft deterent

Post by Joe Friday » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:16 am

Yesterday I was called by a client on a AM-FM combo tower site that it looked like we had been the victim of copper theft. When I arrived I quickly confirmed that we had indeed had a significant amount of copper stolen. The 120ft 3" copper strap between the base of the tower and the TX building was gone, as well as all of the strap bonding the tower to the ground system. Several shorter pieces of conductor were missing as well.

I seem to remember that there was a tar-like material that could be applied to the new copper to make it less appealing to steal. We will be adding cameras and a DVR system to this site as well.

Thanks!

Kevin

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kkiddkkidd
Posts: 735
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

Re: Copper theft deterent

Post by kkiddkkidd » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:52 am

We use plain old roofing tar. Be careful to get the REAL gooey, sticky stuff and not the emulsion type. I have found that some (if not all) of the emulsion type coatings have little to no adhesive properties to metal. It will stick for a long time but can be fairly easily removed after it dries completely.

I also have used polyurethane external glue to glue treated lumber over particularly tempting targets to both conceal it and contaminate it to the point that it is worthless.

I have also experimented with the spray on bedliner coating that seems to be holding up fine but it has only been a year.

I just had a customer with some minor vandalism damage myself. They only stole about 10 or 15ft of 4in strap total but it was enough to take the station off the air due to VSWR fault.

They tried to cut the feed tube from the ATU output but judging by the multiple marks left by some type of cutters... That didn't work out so well.

Later,
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

TPT
Posts: 820
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: St. Marys, WV

Re: Copper theft deterent

Post by TPT » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:59 am

Roofing tar. Don't know how well it actually works--but at least it doesn't cost much to cover exposed strap with the stuff. Bit messy--but you can buy a cheap brush (or push broom for large sections) to put it on. Theory is the scrap metal dealers don't want to fuss with the stuff. Also helps disguise the copper, random thief looking beer money may not think there is anything worth stealing.

Interesting side to this: Studio for one of our stations is in a split level house on 3 acres--1627 Rosemar Rd., Vienna, WV. Look closely at the coax going from the building to the STL tower (Google street view--just to the left of the house). That's copper pipe running from the house to the tower, mounted on pieces on conduit pounded into the ground. It's tied to the tower at the top, and to a ground strap at the house. Painted black. Never been bothered since we built the site back in 2009.

Lee_Wheeler
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:53 pm
Location: Kansas City

Re: Copper theft deterent

Post by Lee_Wheeler » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:34 pm

I've been doing a two part method. The first is to spray it with cold galvanizing to make it not look like copper and then I buy some tree wound sealer spray. The spray doesn't stay as gooey as tar over the long run but it is such a mess that there is no scrap value in the copper if you do steal it. What I like about those methods is that it is really fast and easy to apply the stuff.

...Lee

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kkiddkkidd
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

Re: Copper theft deterent

Post by kkiddkkidd » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:00 pm

Lee_Wheeler wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:34 pm
I've been doing a two part method. The first is to spray it with cold galvanizing to make it not look like copper and then I buy some tree wound sealer spray. The spray doesn't stay as gooey as tar over the long run but it is such a mess that there is no scrap value in the copper if you do steal it. What I like about those methods is that it is really fast and easy to apply the stuff.

...Lee
I must remember the tree wound spray... I have actually used it on trees and it had pretty good adhesive properties. At least on me and my shirt...
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

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