Sourcing Pipe Clamps
In order to keep your elements nice and aligned/straight, the use of ‘Hydraulic Pipe Clamps’ is recommended.
The major player in the supply of clamps is Walter Stauffenberg of Werdohl, Germany [commonly called ‘Stauff‘]. They are the de-facto standard in hydraulic clamps and components
Stauff clamps have been around for more than 50 years and over time, the range has expanded to cover near every diameter of tube on the planet including imperial and metric sizes. They are key components in the hydraulics industry.
So, what type of clamps are available, where can I get some from and more importantly – how much do they cost?
Stauff clamps come in many different materials ranging from polypropylene to more exotic materials such as ‘Santropine’. Clamp materials commonly used for antennas and element mountings are ‘Polypropylene’, ‘Polyamide’ and ‘Aluminium’. Clamps are also available in both ‘Standard’ and ‘Heavy Duty’ variants.
Polypropylene: Is a thermoplastic polymer and similar to polyethylene. Known also as ‘PP’, these clamps are coloured green and have the lowest tensile strength. The clamps are good for higher frequency antennas as there is no carbon in their composition. Best use is at VHF and UHF or for higher band HF antennas.
Polyamide: Is a thermoplastic polymer with repeating links. Nylon 6 and Nylon 66 are typical polyamide materials. Known also as ‘PA’, these clamps are coloured black and have a higher tensile strength when compared to the Polypropylene [PP] green clamps. The clamps are good for HF antennas and the carbon in their composition [which makes them stronger] doesn’t seem to affect tuning. However, at high RF power levels [over about 5kw] the carbon can start to react and resonate. I’ve seen PA clamps melt at 6kw, whereas a PP clamp would still be stable – even at levels of over 10Kw. At lower VHF the carbon in the clamps can alter the resonant frequency of an attached tube, albeit only slightly. However as the frequency used increases, the frequency shift and de-tuning can become quite pronounced [especially at UHF] making the antenna perform totally different to any computer model – normally much poorer.
Not recommended at VHF/UHF.
Aluminium: Or ‘AL’ clamps can be used for mounting an antenna stub mast to the antenna mounting plate. They can also be used where continuity is required. Normally, AL clamps are not used to mount elements otherwise you’d get a dead short across the whole array.
Standard Type Clamps: Stauff’s Standard type clamps use M6 stainless fittings and are good for general all-round use.
Heavy Duty Type Clamps: Stauff’s HD clamps use M10 or M12 stainless fittings and are really beefy. They are best used for element mountings where extreme weather is the norm.
A Stauff Catalogue PDF can be downloaded here directly from Stauff’s Webshop – Germany
So – how much do the clamps cost? Even as a premium product, Stauff clamps used to be fairly reasonable up until about 5 years ago. Since then the price has steadily increased overtime and some of the heavy duty aluminium clamps like Groups 6 and above are now eye wateringly expensive.
Here’s a rundown of the some retail prices I found in January 2022. I’ve given just a few examples of popular clamps that the home builder would potentially use. Price is per clamp which includes 2 clamp halves and no other hardware. VAT/Delivery will most likely be extra.
Group 1a Standard PP – £0.90
Group 1a Standard AL – £4.41
Group 2 Standard PP – £1.02
Group 3 Standard PP – £3.24
Group 2 Standard PA – £1.17
Group 3 Standard PA – £1.40
Group 4 Heavy Duty PA – £6.04
Group 6 Heavy Duty AL – £19.50
Alternatives to Stauff
Stauff are regarded as ‘THE‘ clamp to use. You’re unlikely to go wrong with them and they have a great technical support team should you need any assistance. However, if price is a factor for you – then there are alternatives out there. Companies such as Ehrco sell their ‘Blue Clamps’ which are made in Italy. Ehrco UK also operate a trade counter from their factory in Dudley [West-Mids] although they don’t seem to sell clamp halves online.
FTi also sell their own version of hydraulic clamps however the site seems to deal with trade only with no web sales. Whilst I’ve never used anything at Vortex other than Stauff, people tell me the alternatives are a good and cheap. What I can say is that the Stauff variants will still be good in years to come.
Notes to readers: The supplier information on this page and website is based purely on our own experiences and does not in anyway endorse any of the companies mentioned above.
Q82.uk or G0UIH have no commercial interest in any companies listed on this site.
Prices are general costs only and depending on the supplier may differ.