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Author Topic: what gauge wire should I use to make dipole?  (Read 427 times)
KB3RKJ
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Posts: 18




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« on: July 31, 2008, 05:37:47 AM »

I am planning to put up a 130 foot doublet, fed with ladder line.  Is there any advantage to using a thicker gauge wire, such as 10 gauge stranded instead of a thinner wire such as 14 gauge, 16 gauge, etc?  The wires will be stretched between two trees, with each end of the wire going through an insulator which will be connected to a tree branch via some type of nylon rope.  At the center, it will be fed by ladder line.  Does the thickness of the wire make any difference?  I am intending to use this antenna, probably with a tuner, for 80 meters through 10 meters.  
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2008, 06:21:16 AM »

I use stranded 14 Ga, hard drawn for my wire antennas.
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WA7NCL
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Posts: 625




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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2008, 07:41:58 AM »

Electrically you will not see much difference between the wire gauges you are thinking about.  Your main concern with tree mounted antennas is mechanical strength.  The trees move in the wind and you want the wire to be strong enough to survive the stresses.  Stranded wires in the range of #16 to #12 are usually plenty strong.  Avoid soft drawn solid wires because they stretch.  When you put the ropes to hold your wires up, try to put them across a relatively springy branch so they can act as shock absorbers when the wind blows.  If you attach to the trunk of the tree, you will need a pulley and weight, bungee cord or spring as a shock absorber.

I have wire antennas that use THN#14 stranded wire from the hardware store that have been up for 6 years now.  They are in fir trees that are about 60 to 90 ft tall.  I use 3/8 black dacron antenna rope looped over springy branches to hold them up.  Simple, and seems to work pretty well.
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K2MK
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Posts: 394




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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2008, 06:10:39 AM »

I've had excellent success with 14 gauge insulated flexweave wire. It's available from several on-line ham suppliers. Yes it is more expensive then house wiring but it has 3 advantages.

First it never kinks. You can wind it up and unwind it numerous times and never a kink. Second, you can tie the ends to the insulators. Tying makes it very easy to untie and re-tie when you do your length adjustments. Lastly, it solders very well, much better than house wiring.

I made the change to flexweave after having house wire dipoles break off at the center insulators. Must be the constant flexing. Then try to resolder house wire that has been in the weather for a few years. I also remember using a house wire that had a clear plastic coating over the insulation. In time the coating yellowed and split and fell to the ground in 6 to 12 inch lengths. Preceeded by unsightly hanging chads.
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NK5G
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Posts: 102




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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2008, 11:54:26 AM »

Watch out using smaller wire. Birds can't see it and can knock it down...rather funny to watch however.
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