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Author Topic: New dipole, advice on wire size  (Read 2098 times)
KJ4RQV
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« on: November 01, 2010, 10:36:16 AM »

The winds of last week took down my CF, 130 ft dipole so I will be stringing up a new one. I have a spool of copper clad steel with a 55,000 lb tensile strength--Mig wire. It is .045 dia which works out to a 17 gauge wire.

My question is simple, What do you think? Is this too thin for a decent antenna?

Thanks, Don
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W4VR
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 11:42:08 AM »

55,000 pounds?...that has to be the weld psi.  That wire should work OK for your antenna.  Make sure you don't kink it, because once it does it will rust out at that point.
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KJ4RQV
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 11:58:25 AM »

It is the weld strength but it sounds good! It will be tough to string but is one of my considerations. The other one that just came up is telephone cable. I guess I would have to solder the two strands together but it is extremely strong and also free.
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 12:05:46 PM »

Quote from: KJ4RQV
...I have a spool of copper clad steel with a 55,000 lb tensile strength--Mig wire....


NOT a good choice for antenna wire.  The copper coating is extremely thin and will corrode off very quickly.
(One friend put up a long wire and said it only worked well for foggy night.)  The underlying steel is a
relatively poor conductor for RF due to hysteresis losses.

True CopperWeld(c) is 40% copper and 60% steel, and is a much better choice if you need strength.

But I'd also look at what caused the other antenna to fail:  kinks and knots will be weak points, especially
soldered joints in stranded wire.  If you strung it between two trees and didn't use a counterweight at
one end or otherwise allow for the trees to sway in the wind, you need to fix that rather than just using
stronger wire.
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KJ4RQV
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 04:42:43 PM »

The failure was structural--the limb that I was using for the center broke in the storm.

I am re-building using a 40 foot tower/mast that I bought the other day from a friend for $50.00. It is in excellent shape and will be my new support for the dipole hence the questions that are coming to my mind. This is a good time for innovation and improvement.
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N7DM
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 02:18:42 PM »

I'm a believer in #14 house wire [insulated or not].  Pretty tuff; I have some been in use for decades. One time 'a while ago' I hung up an antenna made from un-wound speaker magnet wire. It was supposed to be invisible. Worked fine until snow made it look like mooring line!  Have used 100% cotton 1/4 inch window weight line, soaked in 'salty' water on a Field Day. Worked 'fair' until it dried out.

Yup... HOUSE WIRE.  That stronger stuff is too heavy and sags badly

dm
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 02:48:35 PM »

I'm a believer in #14 house wire [insulated or not].  Pretty tuff; I have some been in use for decades. One time 'a while ago' I hung up an antenna made from un-wound speaker magnet wire. It was supposed to be invisible. Worked fine until snow made it look like mooring line!  Have used 100% cotton 1/4 inch window weight line, soaked in 'salty' water on a Field Day. Worked 'fair' until it dried out.

Yup... HOUSE WIRE.  That stronger stuff is too heavy and sags badly

dm

One trick I learned when making quads and other wire antennas when using 14 ga house wire. Stretch it out first. Otherwise over time it will stretch and change the resonate point on your antenna. Maybe not such a big deal on 80 or 40 but the higher bands it will effect over time.

I used to tie mine to a tree, and use a piece of pipe on the other end to wrap the wire around. Then a couple of quick tugs on the wire and it was good to go. You'd be amazed at how much that stuff will stretch.
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N7DM
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 02:53:21 PM »

Yes... true, about stretch. Whenever I am building with it I clamp one end in my garage vise, go to the other with Vise-Grips, clamp on AND *yank*....Straightens out the bends, etc, too...........   Although since I use tuned feeders on everything I never sweat exactness of length.......

dm
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W6USC
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2010, 05:52:58 PM »

im a fan of #14 gauge stranded  wire you buy at Home Depot or Lowes
about $40.00 for 500 feet on a spool
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K5TR
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2010, 06:44:04 AM »

im a fan of #14 gauge stranded  wire you buy at Home Depot or Lowes
about $40.00 for 500 feet on a spool


Yep

This is what I use.  I find it works great and holds up very well.

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George
K5TR
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2010, 03:20:53 AM »

Ditto...I agree with George and the First Post...Simple good ole 14 Gauge has always worked well.
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