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Author Topic: What is the smallest gauge steel wire you know of?  (Read 1496 times)
KC0BUS
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Posts: 22




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« on: August 25, 2005, 07:10:23 PM »

Hi all,
  I am looking for the smallest guage steel wire I can possibly find for making nearly invisible antennas with. So far, the smallest steel wire I know of is at Davis RF. They have #26 gauge steel copper clad wire. This is the smallest steel wire I know of that would work for my purposes. Does anyone know of any smaller steel wire than this? Since we're talking about such small wire here, it must be steel in order to make up for in strength what it is lacking in overall physical size. Yes, there is magnet wire that is smaller than this but I have never seen any magnet wire that is steel. (It's usually copper that stretches way too easily.)

Here's the link for those interested:

http://www.davisrf.com/ham1/flexweve.htm

Many thanks,
Scott
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K1BRF
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2005, 07:43:39 PM »

32 Steel Gauge (Lacing Wire) for Beading carried in the jewelry trades.

This wire is about as thick as general sewing/beading thread, and about as strong. It has decent tensile strength when pulled straight, just like thread, but as soon as it gets kinked it is prone to breaking. It can be cut with scissors if you hate your scissors (it ruins the scissors' edge).

The reason this size of wire is often called "lacing wire" is because that's what it's really good for; lacing together rows on wide petals and leaves, or binding petals together at their bases. It is so thin that it hides nicely, especially if you use a light colour such as gold/brass for light areas or a dark colour such as green for dark areas.

Tie it off at the ends by wrapping it around the wire of the outside row several times and twisting it off against itself, then hide any extra material inside the closest element.
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WA6BFH
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2005, 08:07:50 PM »


Your results may be very disappointing!

I recall when I lived in an apartment many years ago, and got some kids to climb a baseball diamond “foul-ball pole” to support one end of my hidden HF wire antenna (#28 enamel coated transformer wire). I cranked the power a bit higher one day to maintain a contact, and blew the wire like a fuse! Never found anyone else to help me put up a new one. I was SOL for HF!

You seem to ask quite a few rather unusual questions. My thought is, do you really need to go to such bizarre extremes?
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CARLKG6WTF
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2005, 11:00:46 PM »

Scott,

You can try with aircraft safety wire (stainless steel wire). It's very strong and won't rust.

Check this website: http://www.acespilotshop.com/pilot-supplies/tools/milbar-safety-wire-17wa-020.htm

Carl - KG6WTF
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K0BG
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2005, 05:54:31 AM »

If you don't mind spending a few bucks, and some time looking for it, you could use braided monel. The smallest I've seen is about size 24. It is strong, light, conducts almost as good as copper (it is an alloy of copper), and the color blends itself well enough you can see it from a few feet away. It isn't cheap!

If you live along the coast, this is the stuff to use. It just doesn't corrode, even if it's bathed in salt water.

You might try here. http://www.mwswire.com/ I don't think they sell retail, but they can tell you where to buy it.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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K0IZ
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2005, 06:05:54 AM »

Buy the #26 and put it outside until the bright copper tarnishes to bronze color.  Virtually invisible.
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AD5X
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Posts: 1438




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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2005, 07:05:32 AM »

Why not hang some different wire gauges up and see what you can really get away with?  I used 20-gauge enameled wire when I was in college, and it was virtually invisible from about 20 feet away.

Phil - AD5X
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KA5N
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Posts: 4380




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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2005, 07:23:06 AM »

As others have pointed out, small guage enameled copper wire (even #18 or #20) is hard to see.  If someone does see it, they will likely ignore it and not one in a million will say:  "A-HA!  A clandestine amateur radio station!"
Don't be parnoid.  You are more likely to cause trouble by running a lot of power and getting into telephones and such.  Stick to reasonable sized wire and 100 watts.
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N3JBH
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Posts: 2358




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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2005, 08:41:07 AM »

hello scott the the waterbury company makes a steel wire thats 5 thousanth's of a inch thick and is strong for it's size. incase your wondering .0005 is about the smae thickness as your hair. or in comparsion it take 5000 of these layed sise by side to make 1 inch. now if that is not invisble enough paint it light blue and white and light gray in a flat non glossy paint and in a non symetrical pattern and i and i bet you never see it in the air if placed high enough.
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HA5RXZ
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2005, 11:04:14 AM »

It was coax and towed behind a torpedo after launching for navigation and command. I can't remember the gauge but I seem to remember it was about 1.5mm diameter.

I could give you more details but I would have to kill you <s>

HA5RXZ
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13580




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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2005, 12:30:41 PM »

I've used #28 copper for antennas quite successfully,
even at 100 watts output.  If you get smaller than about
#32 the birds can't see it in time to avoid it.

Perhaps you are trying to pull too much tension on the
wire?  Certainly you don't want to hand a long length of
coax from such a dipole, since the cable will be too
visible.  Otherwise just don't pull it so tight:  even
on an 80m dipole, I've never had magnet wire stretch due
to the tension.
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AD5SM
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2005, 08:43:17 PM »

JBH,
Five thousanths of an inch is .005 and it would only take 200 of those to make an inch.  .0005 is 5/10,000ths and would need 2000 to make an inch.
Rob
(Math Police) ;-)
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