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Author Topic: Soldering Antenna Wire  (Read 5809 times)
N4NYY
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Posts: 4818




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« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2012, 07:58:13 PM »

Use a butt connector. Crimp, then solder.
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AA4HA
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Posts: 1591




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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2012, 07:01:51 AM »

Use a butt connector. Crimp, then solder.

Many crimp style butt connectors are made of fairly soft materials and do not make a very solid mechanical connection. The standard "buy them by the box, red/blue/yellow" butt splices have practically no ability to provide for a rigid mechanical connection. The connector body may be tin plated copper that is soft enough for someone to form a crimp with a hand-tool.

There are more durable mechanical crimp connections like Brundy connectors that use a hydraulic press to "swage" the metals together (deformation of the metals into a plastic state so they really are one piece). You can see some of those used on high voltage transmission towers where there may be tens of thousands of pounds of tensile force on the connector.

Most people are not going to have the means to install a hydraulically crimped connector as they are sized very exactly for the wire in question. I would not trust a standard, off-the-shelf tin coated copper compression crimp for anything other than a temporary, emergency repair.

The Bell/ Western Union splice is very robust and reliable, even if you do not solder it. Remember that solder is not to make a mechanical connection. In this application it is to provide a filler material on the electrical connection.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
N4CR
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Posts: 1694




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« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2012, 02:26:27 PM »

I would do a Western Union splice and haul it back up into the air.
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73 de N4CR, Phil

Never believe an atom. They make up everything.
W1RML
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2012, 07:29:12 PM »

Thanks to everyone for the replies.  The commercially bought dipole had insulated, stranded 14 gauge wire, so I did an in-line splice, soldered it with flux, added some heat shrink and it was as good as new.  In fact, it was better than before since I managed to get it about 5 feet higher in the air.  I tested it with my antenna analyzer and got a nice 1.5:1 SWR on the desired frequency.  All is right with the world.     
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AB3CX
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Posts: 637




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« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2012, 07:40:44 PM »

Propane torch, silver solder and flux, after polishing the wire clean with a piece of plumbers screen mesh.  Fast, easy. Don't burn yourself, though.
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W4VR
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Posts: 1198


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« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2012, 07:32:06 AM »

I use a blow torch to solder my antenna connections outside, but you have to be careful you don't burn yourself.  I use the type with the built-in igniter.  I used a soldering gun in the past and in cold weather I just could get enough heat to do a decent job.
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N8CMQ
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Posts: 390




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« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2012, 07:16:12 PM »

I would recommend the western union splice and silver plumbing solder.
The plumbing solder will not corrode as fast as tin/lead alloy, and
silver oxide is still conductive when most other oxides are not.

If you are worried about shortening the wire with the splice,
you can add a wire in the middle and have two splices.
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