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Author Topic: Picture Wire  (Read 678 times)
AB2SW
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Posts: 34




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« on: March 16, 2006, 10:08:34 AM »

Has anyone ever tried using picture hanging wire for antenna use. It's 24ga. galvanized and comes in 250ft. for $6 and very flexible. The stuff on the radio market for 24ga. wire is expensive and I need to make it as invisible as possible. Any comments?
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K5DVW
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Posts: 2193




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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2006, 10:35:44 AM »

It might be fine to use for an antenna that is to be inside the house, but I wouldnt put it outdoors. Eventually, and probably sooner than you'd think, the wire will corrode. Also, if you're talking about 24ga wire for a dipole, that's very thin. It'll break pretty easily outdoors.

The cheapest thing I've seen is the #14 copper wire that you can buy by the spool at the hardware store. That's what I use anyway.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 10:37:30 AM »

It's steel, it rusts and it can "bite" you (sharp edges/wire ends where cut).  However, of course it will work as antenna wire.

One "plus" is, it's solderable.  

I don't think it's the most "stealthy" wire going, though.  For "stealth," I recommend insulated wire, using an insulation color that blends in with the background as much as possible.

WB2WIK/6
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KB4EMF
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Posts: 387




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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 11:04:37 AM »

You can use enamel wire (magnet wire) if disguising your antenna is important.  You can also use 18 guage copper weld wire.  They are not terribly expensive, and they are very strong.  Also being 18 guage, it is thinner than commonly availalbe stuff.  That's what I use.
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N3BIF
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Posts: 1190




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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2006, 02:31:53 PM »

  I used 2 "spools" of the stuff each 50 foot long I bought from a dollar store as the elements to a folded "slinky" I built. Stretched each side to about 12 feet Fed it with twinlead and she loaded up just fine via my tuner. Made a few contacts before I got bored with it.
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KC8VWM
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Posts: 3124




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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2006, 03:06:28 PM »

One characteristic I noticed about picture hanging wire is that it rusts very quickly.
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K5LXP
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Posts: 4448


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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2006, 03:57:49 PM »

Steel wire is fairly resistive, 7-12 times as much as copper.  I'd be hesitant to use a thin steel wire for a long HF antenna.  For short VHF/UHF antennas it's  OK.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KA5ZCB
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2006, 06:32:07 PM »

I was browsing in  HarborFreight.com store
the other day and wondered about getting a
spool of  MIG-Welding  0.035" Copper-Coated
steel wire for use on my camping-QRP-diPoles...

any comments or experience with it ??
It was by the pound, not foot, so I don't
know how many feet is on their small spools.
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KC8VWM
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Posts: 3124




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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2006, 08:02:22 PM »

Tensile strength is another consideration when using any solid wire. Materials may vary. Generally speaking the easier a solid wire bends, the easier it breaks when stretched.

Slinkies are a good idea becuase they are made from zinc coated tempered steel and are also rust resistant.

Incidently, a slinky is 80 feet of wire into a two-and one-half-inch stack of 98 coils.

For those of you that are bored and want to hear the "slinky song" here it is:

http://www.messiah.edu/hpages/facstaff/barrett/slinky/slinky.wav

73
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K5DVW
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Posts: 2193




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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2006, 04:51:23 AM »

Re: Cu coated Steel welding wire. I've used it to make a top hat for an HF vertical and found that outdoors, the steel rusted out from inside the copper coating in a hurry. I dont think the Cu coating is really that thick. Brass weldling rod is much better.

Still, for an HF dipole, you just cant beat either copperweld antenna wire, or plain old solid copper conductor wire. Pay a little more and just do it right.
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13026




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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2006, 12:18:22 PM »

copper-coated welding wire - bad idea.  The copper is
extremely thin and can corrode off in no time.  One friend
says he put up a big wire antenna using the stuff and it
worked great the day he put it up, but not the next day
(though that does seem a bit extreme to me.)

I've used copper-coated welding rods for VHF antennas
because they were stiffer than the brass ones, and when
I tested one later it was down more than 10dB and rusted
on the surface.

Real CopperWeld has about 60% steel for strength and 40%
copper for conductivity, not just a thin coating flashed
on the outside.
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KC8VWM
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Posts: 3124




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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2006, 09:41:39 PM »

..Interesting. Thanks.
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