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Author Topic: Wire Recommendations for buried radials  (Read 1585 times)
KE5OKQ
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Posts: 201




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« on: March 25, 2013, 06:39:34 PM »


I am looking to bury radials for my ground mounted vertical to replace the #14 coated wire the possums and dog dug up.  Any recommendation for a good wire that wont curl up when you lay it that won't break the bank?
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KK4RHF
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Posts: 30




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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 10:04:14 PM »

I would use the same wire that they use to connect to the ground rods for the electrical installations like the ones in your breaker box in your house. The wire is a large diameter(Surface area) and stiff enough the critters won't dig it up. I would bury it about six inches deep just to be sure. Also it has a high current carrying capacity and would work well for static electricity  dissipation.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 10:09:18 PM by WQNP788 » Logged
N4NYY
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Posts: 4820




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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 04:56:00 AM »

Same wire. #14 stranded. Put  lug on the end and use a long nail to hold it in place. DX Engineering sells lawn staples. Dogs and opossums will dig up any wire.
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5689




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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 05:09:26 AM »

I would use the same wire that they use to connect to the ground rods for the electrical installations like the ones in your breaker box in your house. The wire is a large diameter(Surface area) and stiff enough the critters won't dig it up. I would bury it about six inches deep just to be sure. Also it has a high current carrying capacity and would work well for static electricity  dissipation.


Too expensive and not needed. 

I have used all sorts of bits of copper wire, both insulated and uninsulated, stranded and solid, even have used lengths of enamel or varnish coated magnet wire, of all different gauges but likely not to exceed around the 14 to 16 AWG mark, to build my radial fields under the various vertical antenna installations over the years. 

It is more important to establish good solid connections when piecing these together, twisting and soldering well. 

And a good copper ring around the base of the antenna for attaching radials.  Ring of Copper Tubing works well, or the ring could indeed be made from that solid copper grounding wire. 

I've also never looked at the Radial Field as a one-time installation, saving up lengths of "found" free copper wire to ADD to the radial field as time goes by.  A single wire can be placed under the sod rather easily by cutting a slit trench first, using the edge of a shovel or a mattock, etc.  A piece of wood shingle with the business end cut in a half round made a dandy tool for pressing said wire down into the slit in the ground. 

Some of the free wire sources, from memory:  Keep eyes open for building remodeling, demolition, etc. and be sure to ask if you can have some of that wire recently pulled from conduit, etc.  because these days, they may be counting on the copper salvage sales rights.  Any rewiring that you do yourself may cough up copper wire that, while not so suitable for reuase in AC power circuits, can easily be turned into ground radial wires.  Again, don't be afraid to splice together to make required length.  Solder.  Old Telco wire, which is not a very large gauge, can make very good radial wire as well.  There is nothing wrong with 20 or 22 AWG wire for this purpose. 


73
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N4OGW
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Posts: 316




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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 06:05:54 AM »

Same wire. #14 stranded. Put  lug on the end and use a long nail to hold it in place. DX Engineering sells lawn staples. Dogs and opossums will dig up any wire.

Yes, but get solid rather than stranded. First, it is usually cheaper than stranded. Second, it is much easier to clean solid wire in case you need to fix an old connection. Third, you can silver solder (braze) it so that the connections pretty much last forever.

Tor
N4OGW
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N4NYY
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Posts: 4820




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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 07:16:09 AM »

Same wire. #14 stranded. Put  lug on the end and use a long nail to hold it in place. DX Engineering sells lawn staples. Dogs and opossums will dig up any wire.

Yes, but get solid rather than stranded. First, it is usually cheaper than stranded. Second, it is much easier to clean solid wire in case you need to fix an old connection. Third, you can silver solder (braze) it so that the connections pretty much last forever.

Tor
N4OGW


Huh? Solid wire is a total pain in the ass to straighten out and keep from coiling back up. Secondly, I have found no difference from soldering stranded or solid. Brazing? Totally overkill.

When I connected my ground radials, I soldered a lug to them, and the the solder connection is permanent. I occasionally removed the lug to wirebrush it out and then reattach to antenna.

It's fairly simple. Don't overcomplicate it and make the person do unnecessary work.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 07:19:54 AM by N4NYY » Logged
W8JX
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Posts: 6679




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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 07:38:52 AM »

Huh? Solid wire is a total pain in the ass to straighten out and keep from coiling back up.

Only if it is cooper weld/copper clad which is a copper coating over a steel core which is very tuff to straighten. Soft drawn solid copper wire is very easy to straighten and form. Hard drawn copper is more difficult than soft but manageable.   
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
N4NYY
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Posts: 4820




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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 07:53:07 AM »

Huh? Solid wire is a total pain in the ass to straighten out and keep from coiling back up.

Only if it is cooper weld/copper clad which is a copper coating over a steel core which is very tuff to straighten. Soft drawn solid copper wire is very easy to straighten and form. Hard drawn copper is more difficult than soft but manageable.   

What is the solid at Home Depot? Even Romex copper is still not as easy to straighten than stranded.

He can use whatever he has that he does not have to buy. But that 14 ga stranded is very easy to work with.
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N0YXB
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Posts: 331




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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2013, 08:20:16 AM »

Totally agree.  I used 14 gauge stranded wire for my radials.  1000+ feet of 6 gauge solid copper wire would have been an unnecessarily expensive endeavor.  Buy a spool or two of 14 gauge stranded wire from your home improvement store, roll it out and use plenty of landscaping staples.  By summer the grass will cover your radials.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 10:03:58 AM »

For a lot of good quality, cheap radials, look for a big
electronics surplus place in an industrial area.
Here in So Cal (The San Fernando Valley anyway) we are
lucky enough to have Apex Electronics.
http://www.apexelectronic.com/

Don't let the fancy web site fool you, this is a Pickers Paradise!
They have an entire acre of tall outdoor pallet racks.
(%98 of the stuff they sell is not listed on the website, IMHO)
They have a 10,000 square foot facility packed to
the RAFTERS pallet racks filled with stuff, and in the
Wire Dept too.

They sell wire and cable  by the POUND, not by the foot.
Every kind, type and size of wire you can think of and them some.
I have never gone there looking for a specific type of wire
(i.e.: 20AWG Silver Teflon, Blue) and not come home empty handed.

There HAS to be place like this within driving distance of you.
You just gotta ask around, especially the "old timer hams",
God Bless them!

Good luck with your project!
73, Ken  AD6KA
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N4OGW
Member

Posts: 316




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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 02:51:48 PM »

Same wire. #14 stranded. Put  lug on the end and use a long nail to hold it in place. DX Engineering sells lawn staples. Dogs and opossums will dig up any wire.

Yes, but get solid rather than stranded. First, it is usually cheaper than stranded. Second, it is much easier to clean solid wire in case you need to fix an old connection. Third, you can silver solder (braze) it so that the connections pretty much last forever.

Tor
N4OGW



Huh? Solid wire is a total pain in the ass to straighten out and keep from coiling back up. Secondly, I have found no difference from soldering stranded or solid. Brazing? Totally overkill.

When I connected my ground radials, I soldered a lug to them, and the the solder connection is permanent. I occasionally removed the lug to wirebrush it out and then reattach to antenna.

It's fairly simple. Don't overcomplicate it and make the person do unnecessary work.

Yes, stranded is easy to solder when new, but what about when 5 years later you cut a radial and want to repair it? Or need a new lug on it? With solid you can just sand or steel wool the wire and it is easy to solder 20 seconds later. Good luck trying to solder old oxidized stranded copper!

Tor
N4OGW

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N4NYY
Member

Posts: 4820




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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 03:26:07 PM »

Quote
Yes, stranded is easy to solder when new, but what about when 5 years later you cut a radial and want to repair it? Or need a new lug on it? With solid you can just sand or steel wool the wire and it is easy to solder 20 seconds later. Good luck trying to solder old oxidized stranded copper!

I cut back the insulation a couple inches, and no problem. If I cannot cut back any insulation, I brush with 000 or 0000 steel wool. Done it many times with no problem.

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