Q: Now that it is coming in to the winter months, can ice forming on the antenna cause problems for a radio link?

Yagi antennas.

Generally the effect on a Yagi antenna can be as much as 50% loss (3dB down) with a large effect on VSWR for heavy icing. According to wind direction and path direction this will generally not stop the radio link working provided there is adequate fade margin in the radio path.

End Fed Dipoles (EFD) and Co-linears.

The effect on EFD and co-linears is similar to that of a Yagi, however the effect in the direction that the wind is blowing from can be significantly more. The effect is in fact  a reduction in  efficiency and can make the antenna no longer Omni-directional. If the signal path is in the same direction as the wind, this could have a significant effect, possibly enough to stop the link working.

Folded Dipoles

These will be affected in a similar manner to End Fed Dipoles. If you start to experience alarms on the links that have been working well up to the time of adverse weather, suggestion would be firstly to check on the antennas and clear any ice or snow build-up on them, before reporting that the system is faulty and requesting a callout from an engineer.

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