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Author Topic: Another antenna question  (Read 2257 times)

Posts: 56

« on: February 11, 2007, 02:06:28 PM »

I have probabily 50 feet of copper wire that is bigger then #9 , I also have some solid rod about 1/4"
and about 5 or 6' long and maby galvanized , will any of this work to build antenna?


Posts: 8911


« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2007, 06:34:54 AM »

Almost any electrical conductor can be used to make an antenna.  You often just need to use what's right for the job mechanically.

I wouldn't recommend galvanized rod for antenna conductor myself, but it would work in a pinch.  People use their galvanized towers as antennas all the time, though those have *much* larger surface area and so aren't as lossy as your galvanized rod.

Copper is a very good antenna material.  The large copper wire would be good for making stiff elements for a 2m groundplane antenna or some such.  However, I wouldn't use it for an HF dipole just because it would be heavy.

It all depends on what antenna you're making.  I've used everything from #30 magnet wire through 2" aluminum tubing as the radiating elements of antennas.

You might want to pick up the ARRL antenna book as a good start on antenna building.  Lots of good information there, including some on materials selection.  



Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.

Posts: 17483

« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2007, 11:16:24 AM »

It certainly can be used - the question is what frequency you want an
antenna for.  The copper wire is rather heavy for self-supporting
designs below 2m, but will work for a dipole or loop with strong enough
supports.  (The concern is purely mechanical - primarily supporting the
weight.  Electrically it will work just fine.)

I've used #12 or #10 solid copper wire for yagi elements on 2m.  Again
the thicker wire being heavier the elements may tend to droop a bit
if the antenna is subject to vibration.  I tend to use #8 aluminum wire
instead because it is lighter and stiffer. But it would work very well in a
quad, for example, where there is a framework to hold the wire in shape.
Plastic water pipe is very good for this, especially on 2m, and I have
several quads built this way.  For bands above 2m the wire should be
stiff enough to hold its own weight as a dipole and can be used for
yagis - the only thing to remember is to adjust the yagi design for the
wire diameter you are using.  The "cheap yagi" designs from WA5VJB
(available as a download from if you look around) use
copper or aluminum wire or rod and are very easy to build and match.
I think they are designed for 1/8" elements, which is #8 wire, so you
shouldn't need to make any corrections for element diameter.

The galvanized rod is a bit harder to find a use for, for two reasons.
First, steel (and the galvanized coating) aren't as good of a conductor.
Second, and more importantly, the rod is a bit too short for a lot of
possible uses.  But it could be used as a quarter wave vertical for 6m
with some wire radials.  You could also use it as the top whip of a
loaded antenna, perhaps using the copper wire for a loading coil and
the lower portion of the radiator.  Except for severely shortened
antennas, the conductor losses probably won't be a problem at HF.
You could bend it into an extended double zepp for 440 MHz, but
you'd need 10 feet of it to make one for 2m.

Posts: 56

« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2007, 04:48:01 AM »

Thanks guys.. I am ready to take my test soon. I have been making about 85% to 97% consistantly on the practice test.. I am trying to wait till a time my wife can get out of her online classes so she can study and take them with me.She has spring break i think in april.. I am right now delving into the aspects of building my first antenna for the first radio.. I want a 2M/70cm mobile for my first.. Don't want to dive in to deep,to hard on the pocket.. We are also wanting to get handhelds.. Thanks so much for the help

                         Roy & Mary
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