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Reviews Categories | Feedlines (coax, ladder-line, etc.) | Radio Shack TV Twin Lead Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack TV Twin Lead
Radio Shack TV Twin Lead Reviews: 24 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $3.99
Description: 300 ohm TV Twin Lead
Product is in production.
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W3HD Rating: 0/5 Sep 1, 2007 20:05 Send this review to a friend
Garbage Junk  Time owned: more than 12 months
All I can say is JUNK!
KN4LF Rating: 0/5 Mar 8, 2007 12:20 Send this review to a friend
Garbage  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The Radio Shack 300 ohm (TV) twinlead is very lossy and breaks easily in the wind, due to the small diameter of the enclosed stranded wires and also as there are no slots cut in the insulating material. It also reacts to surface moisture and dirt, which throws off it's characteristic impedance.

If you want high quality low loss Ham Radio 300 ohm window line get it from the R.F. Connection.

Thomas Giella, KN4LF
Lakeland, FL, USA
KX0R Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2005 19:58 Send this review to a friend
Good balanced line!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Radio Shack twin lead is so good I have to add a few comments beyond what's already been said here. Be sure you get the good "low loss" twin lead. This line has decent quality, foam core, good black polyethylene, and #20 stranded copper conductors. Like all transmission lines, it's a compromise between price, performance, and weight; but this is nice material for ham radio.

I've used a 50-foot section of this line to feed various dipole-type antennas for Field Days and QRP-portable work. What I like about the line is its good RF performance, light weight, and easy handling. Because I use my portable antennas on several bands, I like balanced line and balanced tuners. You can feed a regular 1/2 wave dipole with this 300-ohm line, and it will work nicely despite the 4:1 mismatch, as long as you have a decent tuner. The losses may well be less than what you'd have with matched lightweight coax! Don't bother with the folded dipole concept - it's not worth the trouble, unless you want perfection on just one or two bands.

You can feed the same plain (not folded) dipole antenna with twice the frequency - two half waves in phase - and despite the impedance of several thousand ohms at the center, the Radio Shack line will do a nice job. My favorite "can do" antenna is a 40-meter dipole cut to about 66 feet. I use it with QRP radios on 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters. Remember that no balun is required at the feedpoint.

One thing I like about twin lead is that you can use banana plugs and jacks with it. These are inexpensive and convenient for portable work. Put a couple of banana females on your dipole center insulator and just plug in the feedline. You can put males on one end of a section of feedline, and females on the other, and then you have a extension cable in case you have a high tree and need a little extra line. String it through the trees, lay it on the ground, run it into your tent or your car - this stuff is nice for low power. It also handles well, doesn't get caught in the bushes, and rolls up easily.

One of my best tips is to make up a couple of extension lines, maybe 8 feet and 15 feet, and stick in the extra line in case there's a problem getting a good match on one or more bands. Don't worry about Smith Charts or SWR - you're going to have standing waves for sure - just use a good balanced tuner and tune out the reactance. One of the benefits of a true balanced system is that you need no ground at all, as long as the weather is dry and there's no static buildup. I've operated portable many times with no ground at all, totally balanced, with great results.

I also like window line for QRP work. It probably has even lower losses than the RS twinlead, and it's rugged. However, the RS twinlead is much more friendly in the woods or over bushes, it's lighter hanging on the antenna, and it's easier to pack.

I've never run much power through the RS twinlead, but I think you should go easy on it if you know you have a severe mismatch. It ought to handle 100 watts in most situations, and perhaps much more if well matched. Use window line or open-wire for high power.

I recommend you buy and use this great twinlead if you're comfortable with balanced line - I don't think you can beat it for multiband QRP work. Few things work so well for so few bucks.
N2NFG Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2004 11:08 Send this review to a friend
Best kept secret  Time owned: more than 12 months
None of the previous reviews seemed to specify exactly which Radio Shack 300 ohm line they were talking about, so some clarification is necessary. The Shack offers two different kinds of the stuff. One is the light duty stuff, with rather light gauge wire; perhaps 20ga. The insulated wire is thicker than the plastic spacing material. Good stuff for short runs(less than 50'),portable or temporary antennas, indoor folded dipoles, j poles, etc. It will handle 100 watts easily, probably more with no problem. There is a better bargain than the Radio Shack stuff, you can find it at Home Depot. In the wire department, they have 300 ohm flat twinlead that is considerably more robust than the Radio Shack stuff. 5 cents a foot and they can cut it to any legnth you want. While you're there, get some stranded wire,PVC pipe for insulators, and some rope. Make yourself a genuine "Home Depot Special" wire antenna. If you want to get fancy, you can also pickup some heat shrink tubing for the joints, and if you don't want to make your own insulators, get some nice bright yellow egg type insulators in the electric fence department. (about 2 bucks for a bag of twenty)You'll end up with an antenna that will be just as good as any commercially made counterpart, and the glowing satisfaction that you made it yourself at a fraction of the price. I just can't understand why anybody would ever buy a premade wire antenna. And NO, there are no secret formulas, dimensions, or parts only available if you buy XYZs $200.00 hunk of wire. A simple web search will get you the dope on any antenna out there. There's no magic! Years ago, there was a company in Florida making an antenna matching device that doubles as a center dipole insulator. Guaranteed 1.5:1 match on any band. When the ARRL reviewed it, they couldn't get it apart, it had been filled in with epoxy. They had it x-rayed and found that it contained a circuit board populated with parts that mostly were not connected to anything, and some swamping resistors that were connected between the feedline and antenna elements. Perfect 50 ohm match, no matter what legnth the elements were, any band. There is currently a well known company that manufactures something similar in a complete antenna package, rather expensive too. The problem here is that these resistors eat up at least half of the power your transmitter is putting out. Out of the 100 watts you send to the antenna, 50 watts make it to the antenna elements. Now you can easily work the world with 50 watts, it's only 3db down from 100 watts. But, that is ALSO 3db down on the receive side. That's a noticible difference! No thank you, if I want to run 50 watts, I'll turn down the power on the radio, If I want 3db of attenuation, I'll crank the RF gain down a bit. Now back to Radio Shack, remember, the topic of this review? They also have a much better grade of 300 ohm twin lead. This stuff is foam filled between the conductors and the shape is kind of like a flat oval. The conductors are a heavier gauge than the thinner stuff, I think 18ga.. This is the stuff I call the best kept secret in feedline. It's very strong and suitable for permenent installations. Contrary to what some may say, it WILL handle substantial power. I've run 1KW+ through it with no problems at all feeding dipoles, loops, and verticals. The only caveat is to be very careful when stripping the wire so all strands remain intact. Don't use wire strippers! Use a utility knife to cut right down the middle as far as you need, then score/cut the insulation around the wire. If you even nick the wire, it's as good as gone, so don't go as deep as the wire is. Now you have sort of an ear to grab onto. Twist in a clockwise direction until the insulation breaks free from the wire, then pull it off. This works best if you only try to remove 1 1/2"-2" at a time. (That's really all you need to make a good solder connection.)On the subject of soldering. Don't use TOO MUCH solder! This is why many wire antennas fail. You just want a good solder joint between the feedline and antenna element. If you glop solder on the entire joint right up to where the element wire stops twisitng back on itself, it's gonna fail(break). Guaranteed. The cause of this is the flexible wire flexing against a rigid object, the solder soaked joint. It WILL break, usually sooner than later. Best to leave a good 2"-3" of the overlap unsoldered. Put some heat shrink tubing or tape over it if you want, but no solder! Anyway, at $9.99 for a hundred feet of the stuff, the Radio Shack "good stuff" is not only a best kept secret, but a best buy as well.
73, Bob
N2RRA Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2004 07:24 Send this review to a friend
Great stuff  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Why order expensive ladder line. Go to your local Radio Shack and you'll be happy.

Short and simple: Dipole for 80m, up the city, tunes 10-80m no problems, and even have one in the Catskills, NY at elevation 2800ft. above sea level, heavy winds, and extreme weather and no problems.

Going to build a full loop next with it. Excellant ladder line for all conditions, and operations.


NE0P Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2003 00:34 Send this review to a friend
Works great, and easy to find!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built a homebrew G5RV in 1998 using the radio shack twin lead for a feedline, and it is still going strong, with one move from Iowa to Oklahoma in that time period. The best thing about this twin lead is that it is available down the street from you. You come up with an idea for an antenna, go to Radio Shack and get the twin lead and copper wire, and you are on the air that afternoon. I did have to stop a Lowes for some PVC pipe and screws, but all antenna materials were available locally. I later added a balun (Ordered from AES) and some 75ohm coax (bought locally) to move the RF out of the shack, but the twinlead hasn't missed a beat. It has handled the weather very well. I have not run more than 100 watts through it, but the antenna loads flat on all bands with the MFJ 941D tuner except for 160, but it even gets a signal out there.

KG4ZMC Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2003 23:47 Send this review to a friend
Cheap twin-lead  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought a roll for a test antenna. Worked great.Now have about 45 feet feeding my 80 meter loop. It DID show a lower s.w.r versus coax and tunes very easy into the 4-1 balan in the MFJ-949E tuner. 1:1 on 10-80 with ease. Get signal reports from 40 over 9 from a barefoot Kenwood TS-820S. GREAT STUFF. Got to go and get a couple more rolls.
LNXAUTHOR Rating: 4/5 Oct 24, 2003 21:15 Send this review to a friend
Does the job!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
- it does the job... while some folks use it for feedline, i used several feet to build a weather-resistant j-pole...

- cut a piece about 56" long, made the resonant cut, soldered on some coax w/a BNC connector, punched a hole in the 'top; end, threaded a nylon loop, then stuffed the length inside a cut length of .5" pvc pipe...

- capped the top end of the pipe with a small pvc cap, about over an inch of the nylon loop, and voila! an instant weather-resistant 2M antenna!

- total cost? a couple dollars... works great.... i clamped the pvc pipe onto the back deck, then ran the coax into the kitchen...

- as i live in an antenna-restricted condo community, i now i won't have to stand out on the back deck in the cold to rag chew on the repeater...

- i give the TV twin lead a 4 - because it's from Radio Shack... the product is unremarkable really, and is overpriced as twin lead goes... (you only find deals at Radio Shack on discontinued or returned items, and ham radio is dead, dead, dead at Rat Shack)...

- 2M bike mobile hams have been using this stuff to make cheap antennas... instead of using a pvc pipe, they just epoxy the resonant length onto a thin fiberglass flag mounted on the rear carrier, then run thin (mini-8x) coax along the bike frame to the HT...
WB4TJH Rating: 5/5 Oct 24, 2003 20:23 Send this review to a friend
cheap, available , works  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought a hundred feet of this stuff for ten bucks at Radio Shack and so far after 7 months in the sub-tropical southwest Florida sun, it has performed flawlessly with no cracking! I work mostly HF qrp and have no reason to use anything else on my combination 80/40 Alpha Delta dipole. With the twinlead, I can work all bands from 80 thru 6 meters on this one antenna, which was primarily designed as a two band system when used with coax, and narrow banded at that.. Get yourself a hundred is one of the best bargains in ham radio and basically NO loss in a hundred feet. Who needs lossy coax that radiates everywhere and costs you dbs when you can get the radiation "up there" where it belongs with basically no loss....and for 10 bucks per 100 feet.
KI7YY Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2003 12:35 Send this review to a friend
Good Stuff  Time owned: more than 12 months
For the price this stuff is a real "sleeper". Lower loss than any coax and very easy to work with. I have not tried it with power levels above 100 watts, but with an mfj tuner am able to tune all bands with an 80mtr horizontal loop. It stands up to the Wyoming winds very well. A real bargain!
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