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Aerial/Antenna Wire

Hello all,

For those of you that construct your own antennas for SOTA, which sort of wire do you use for the antenna.

The reason I ask, is that having carried out a number of activations, I have had my antenna wire snap during an activation twice. It snaps at the weakest point with the most play at the antenna top.

So I am after a strong, light, flexible antenna wire, and was just wondering what others use.

Regards,
David
G4ZAO

1 Like

I swear by this stuff. I now use this for all my antenna builds, and they have stopped breaking like my efforts with other wires tended to do!

2 Likes

I use 1 mm² wire.
No need to have coils it can make 40m, 20 and 15m. Made this antenna from https://www.sotamaps.org/extras

73’s
CS7AFM

Hi David,
Another vote for the wire from SOTABeams - I prefer the yellow coloured - it’s easier to see than the green.

73 Ed.

1 Like

I use PVC Red 16/0.2mm stranded from Rapid, but of course other suppliers are out there. I reinforce termination points with shrink-wrap sleeving and contact adhesive. I take care to avoid twisting while winding onto the tent peg used to deploy the aerial, particularly at sub zero temp. I renew the wire about ever 50 activations. or when a section looks a bit distressed. Failure rate has been very low.

Part No 01-0935 100m.

Regards
David
G0EVV

That looks a bit heavier than the wire I use. I think mine is 13/0.1mm so half the size of yours. Failures have only occurred at connections to links, etc. and the current 60/40/30 dipole dates back at least to 2009. It only supports its own weight. I known Tom uses the antenna as a guy as well and I don’t like that from my career experience but he does use a much beefier wire than I do. Likewise I use lots of heatshrink and strain relief and wind in a figure of 8 to reduce twists etc.

I use the Clansman antenna wire, it’s not quite as light as some others but it’s constructed as a copper braid sleeve over a kevlar core and then covered with Green pvc. I’ve heard that the Army also use it for towing trucks!

3 Likes

A friend uses galvanized fencing wire. Doesn’t go portable unless there are trees for support and never had a wire break.

I’ve used the thin copper stranded wire similar to SOTABeams’ offering. I’ve had two breakages when the wire became entangled in branches at significant height and the only means of retrieval was to pull, hard, very hard. I’ve have other antennas made from heavier hook-up wire and they have never broken.

Like Andy I don’t use the antenna as a serious guy.

If you are having regular breakages it seems you have too much tension on the wire. It will radiate just as well if it droops as if it is absolutely taut to within a pound of breaking.

The strongest per kg weight is the silver plated steel DXwire. If you break that you really are doing something wrong.

73
Ron
VK3AFW

I use the (horrendously expensive) silicone rubber insulated wire for test meters and use the dipole legs as two of my three guys. The only time I had a breakage was when it was lying on the ground and I tangled my foot in the wire near the dipole centre.

1 Like

Another vote for the Sotabeams thin wire. I’ve had no breakages, but the main reason
I like it is that it handles well in sub zero temperatures as well as in warm weather. Some of the other stuff I’ve tried goes from floppy and easily kinked in summer, to springy and tangly in winter!

I used the thin SotaBeams wire as well. What I have found is the more tension, the faster it breaks. My dipoles are always have slack in them. EFHW are about the same tension wise.
Malen
VE6VID

All,

Thank you very much to all who replied to this thread. It has been really interesting to see what you all use, and given me some ideas.

I have been using the thin SotaBeams yellow wire (7/0.2mm), and have had two breakages in about 90 activations, so I suppose I shouldn’t grumble. My antenna wire doubles as an antenna guy as well, on two legs of the antenna. Inevitably the wire is reasonably taught, and I guess this stresses it.

So I have just made up my latest antenna using the SotaBeams Heavy Duty green wire (32/0.2mm), but immediately noticed the difference in weight, as well as strength. Extra weight to carry on an activation, but I will give it a try and see how it goes.

I was interested in David G0EVV’s 16/0.2mm red PVC wire suggestion as this is somewhere between the two wires I am currently using, so I have just ordered some.

Once again thanks to all for your observations and comments.

73’s
David
G4ZAO

David,
I don’t know about availability across the pond, but Davis RF Poly-Stealth is my wire of choice. They have added 22 gauge to their product line, formerly 13, 16 and 26 gauge only. I have used the 18, 22 and 26 gauge - 18 is a bit much for SOTA in terms of weight and bulk. But for super light the 26 gauge is awesome and has handled 100 watts with no issue.

Perhaps this seller has overseas sales.

73 & Good Luck,
Howard KE6MAK

https://www.amateurradiosupplies.com/category-s/218.htm

3 Likes

Hi David
I have been using https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/antenna-wire-lightweight-500m/
For the last 3 or 4 dipoles, EFHW and linked dipoles and not had any problems

Paul

1 Like

Hi Sergio,
Thanks for the photo, interesting to see your construction.
What are the connectors you are using to form the links?
73, John M0VCM

Hello all,
My exclusive antenna wire is AWG 20-gage EZ-Hook 9505. A bit heavier than some, however, have never had a break in years, and it is low loss, even for 160M, and is ultra flexible. It consists of a PVC outer jacket, and 105 strands of AWG 40 tinned copper. I do wind 5 turns one way, then 5 the other way. Multiple choices of spool length are available. See: https://e-z-hook.com/wire-cable/wire-spools/9505-wire-spool-20-awg-pvc/
All Best, Ken K6HPX

I use SOTAbeams Yellow wire for all my antennas, got a roll years ago plus the odd made up antenna from Richard. Main change I made was only 1 Alligator clip per link as this seems to be the spot where failure happens probably 2 times in 300 odd summits.
Method of rolling up is on Pinky finger and Thumb in a figure of 8 tie off string first then antenna ending at the feed point. Coax rolls up separate using same method.
Ian vk5cz…

2 Likes

All,

Once again, many thanks for all your comments and observations, which have been enlightening and very helpful.

73’s
David
G4ZAO

John, I have used 2mm RC bullet connectors for the best part of 10years. Lightweight, easy to connect/disconnect when wearing gloves, reliable, cheap.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=2mm+bullet+connectors&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_odkw=rc+2.00mm

3 Likes

Hi,
Follow this link to company DX-wire the example in the link withstands force of 60 kilograms, have a look at the other ones fro the company:


Hope this is a good one for you.
73
Patrick ON4BCA
1 Like