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Author Topic: Thin wire/ "Invisible Antennas"  (Read 36050 times)
AD0AE
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Posts: 78




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« on: May 24, 2012, 07:52:38 PM »

Hi All-

A few nights ago I discovered a whole bunch of 22 gauge wire I must have forgotten about.  I thought about possibly using this wire as an a so called "invisible antenna."  I also saw a slick picture in the June issue of QST where a ham took some golf balls, thin wire and was able to hang a wire in a tree.  This seems like a pretty good "easy-up/easy-down" antenna idea. 

With respect to thin gauge wire, what would be a nominal power range to use on a transceiver?  What are some common antenna designs that could work with thin wire?  Is it possible to make a dipole or is an end-fed antenna more common?

Thank you all and 73s,
Steve
AD0AE
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KF7CG
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2012, 04:12:52 AM »

Thin wire antenna for HF generally work well in any configuration where you can maintain the continuity of the wire. Power levels are governed by the same rules as thicker wire antennas.

Because of the better colling of a thin wire antenna as compared a thin wire connecting in a enclosed space, one can generally greatly exceed the nominal power handling of the wire.  Watch out for fire hazards and running too much power where it is hard to physically replace the wire and then go for it.

KF7CG
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K5LXP
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2012, 04:57:37 PM »

what would be a nominal power range to use on a transceiver?

Any wire gauge capable of supporting its own weight as an antenna is more than capable of handling amateur power levels (1500W).


Quote
What are some common antenna designs that could work with thin wire?  Is it possible to make a dipole or is an end-fed antenna more common?

Any kind you want.  If it doesn't break, it will work fine.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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N4JTE
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Posts: 1154




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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 05:02:45 PM »

Making the feed line invisable becomes the real challenge, any size antenna wire will work.
Bob
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13029




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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 08:18:31 PM »

I often use #22 stranded, insulated wire for antennas.  No problems at 100W, and likely will go
much higher.  Magnet wire (solid copper) requires more care as you have to make sure it doesn't
kink, which greatly reduces the strength.  But I've used an 80m dipole made from #26 magnet
wire for 6+ months (including winter winds, but no snow loading) and it still held up.  Don't
try to put a lot of tension on it, however.

A practical lower limit is around #32 or so, because the birds don't notice it in time to avoid it,
so you have a lot more breaks to mend.


What sort of antenna you use depends a lot on your individual circumstances.  For example,
if you can run the coax along the building to a corner, then run wires out from there, the
antenna doesn't have to support the weight of the coax.  Sometimes an end-fed wire is
the best you can do, sometimes you can arrange a loop antenna, or any number of other
options.
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KB8ZF
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2012, 05:48:45 AM »

I am using the #26 gauge insulated wire from the Wireman, I put up a 20 meter dipole on my balcony here where we live in an apartment on the second floor (top floor). The antenna is configured in an upside down U with the end of the legs about 8 feet off the ground, they are hidden in the J channel of the siding going down the building and fed with RG-8X mini coax. I have made contacts to Europe, the Caribbean, all over the US on 20 and have tuned it with a Palstar AT-2K tuner for 40 meters and do well on 40 also Europe and local also. I thought my ham radio days were over here in the apartment but I am shocked at what I have been able to do with the "make-shift" antenna and a hundred watts.
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WX7G
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 08:26:06 AM »

The #26 wire from The Wireman is great wire. I've also used #32 wire from Radio ShackTMand it makes an almost invisible antenna. At least until frost sticks to the antenna. It is delicate and you can expect to replace it several times a year.
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WB0U
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 11:24:40 AM »

I put up a cheap and dirty 20 meter dipole using #32 magnet wire and fishing line.

The center is supported by 10 feet of 1 1/2 inch PVC that is tie wrapped to my deck railing.  The open line feed line is inside the PVC tube for a better appearance.   

I expected this antenna wouldn't survive a single winter but it has been up since 2008.

73, Lynn
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 03:15:39 PM »

I put up a cheap and dirty 20 meter dipole using #32 magnet wire and fishing line.

The center is supported by 10 feet of 1 1/2 inch PVC that is tie wrapped to my deck railing.  The open line feed line is inside the PVC tube for a better appearance.   

I expected this antenna wouldn't survive a single winter but it has been up since 2008.

73, Lynn

That's pretty cool.

Now, if you expected it to last forever, it would have broken the first day. Tongue
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VK2WF
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 02:06:00 AM »


To prevent the icing problem - run a bit of DC though it to warm it up.
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W7MJM
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 12:29:19 AM »

I've had good luck with Davis RF "Poly-Stealth" 26 gauge 19 strand insulated copperweld steel wire which I bought at HRO. They sell it in 100 foot rolls. I used about 140 feet to make a full wave 40 meter delta loop. It's flexible, strong enough and doesn't stretch like copper stranded wire of similar gauge. 
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 11:28:31 AM »

Quote from: VK2WF

To prevent the icing problem - run a bit of DC though it to warm it up.



That works for a folded dipole or a loop, but it gets a bit tricky with a standard single-wire dipole.
(You'd need to use two wires for each element, fed in parallel for RF and in series for DC.)
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K3AN
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2012, 08:07:59 AM »

The 26 ga. "stealth" wire sold by The Wireman and others is remarkably invisible to non-hams. I ran such a wire across the common parking lot of the townhouse we rented years ago. It was in the open, no more than 25 feet off the ground. No one saw it for almost a year, until a neighbor had a visitor who was a ham. He spotted it immediately but the neighbor never complained. I think most people are tolerant of low-profile "exceptions" to HOA and zoning regulations, but you better not interfere with their home electronic systems! I ran 5 Watts. No problem.

Regardless of what kind of antenna you plan to install, get on very good terms with your neighbors before you put it up. It's hard to turn in a neighbor who's a good friend or golf buddy or one whose wife socializes with your wife, whereas it's easy to turn in the reclusive crank next door.
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HFCRUSR
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Posts: 139




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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2012, 07:58:46 PM »

FWIW I run a fat #12 100' wire that has a jade green coating that blends into blue sky very well making it pretty much disappear in the daytime. It shows on overcast days and at dusk but still not as much because of low contrast..hey-as long as it's clear and daytime, it can be an unobtrusive wire most of the time.
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K0YQ
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Posts: 439




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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2012, 03:09:24 PM »

I used some of the 26 gauge poly-stealth wire as a base fed 70 foot inverted L, about 30 feet vertical and rest horizontal.  Had a bunch of radials buried and used an AH-4 tuner to feed at the base.  Greatly exceeded my expectations and couldn't be seen unless you were right in the yard.  It sure beat having nothin' by a mile!
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