I am looking for a reliable antenna wire for SOTA antenna homebrewing. I have tried multiple types of copper wire and the common issue with it is that sooner or later wire strands get broken at the flexing points.
So far I tried the same type of wire used for sotabeams linked dipoles and found it too fragile.
I tried thicker wire 20 AWG, 16/0.2 mm, which I bought at RS components. It holds longer and still quite light weight.
And finally I tried a typical 2.5 mm^2 audio cable for verticals. It’s more expensive and more heavy, but the advantage is that it’s easier to handle with frozen fingers on the wind and it holds much longer compared to the first two options.
I can see that some designs use copper clad steel wire. For example like this: Wire Cable and Connectors - Copper plated steel Wire Material | DXE HAM Radio Equipment or from thewireman.com
Is it worth trying? Can anyone give me a hint on where I can buy such wire in Europe to save on shipping from the NA.
73 de LB8CG/Mihail
If you can wait until he gets going again, I suggest you check out Peter Bogner (DK1RP)'s company DX-WIRE.de
He has a good range of different antenna wire options.
If it has to be strong and robust, DX-WIRE FL. If you need it light, DX-WIRE UL.
I totally agree!
It seems that he stoped to ship outside of Germany… Website doen’t have english version anymore, last time I placed the order it was just ignored
Hm… site is closed now, but if I recall it correctly this wire can handle high load, like snow and ice because it has kevlar fiber thread, but otherwise it’s and ordinary copper wire which should not be bent frequently at the same place…
Maybe you need strain relief and a good winder? Multistrand wire will not break after hundred of flexings if the radius of bending isn’t too small. I have broken two antennas, on both occasions a gum tree grabbed the wire and would not let go. It won the tug of war which caused the wire break. Otherwise failures were with BNC connectors.
Hi Ed, that link in your posted worked for me OK. In the intro text of German was an English sentence saying they were closing for a few days. Noting that there was no English version of the site.
I only ever use this stuff now. It works well for me, offers plenty of bandwidth on resonant antennas and is strong and robust - an essential quality given the amount of use and punishment my gear gets.
Here’s a translation of the notice text on Peter’s website:
We are currently completely overloaded. Therefore the shop will be closed for a few days to clear up the backlog!
This is why I made the comment about if one can wait a while. After Brexit, it’s not so easy to buy things out of the UK, so this German supplier may be one option for Mihail in Norway. It’ll certainly be easier than buying from the US.
Have you observed if the green wire has lower emissions than the older yellow wire?
SOTABEAMS carries DX Wire UL
Not connected etc.
Thanks for the hint I forgotten that this can be ordered from Sota beams. But it’s has the following clause in the description, so I am bit skeptical:
“very lightweight design means that this wire is more vulnerable to damage from kinks or sharp bends than other types of wire. For best results, handle the wire carefully to avoid these. If storing this wire on a winder, using a figure-of-eight winding pattern can reduce the risk of kinking. Also note that winding it too tightly should be avoided, as this may cause sharp bends in the wire.”
Is perhaps the low temperature in your area a key factor that limits the life of your wire? I have been using the standard yellow cable from Sotabeam since years without a single break, and I do apply tension on it.
Sure I spend time in each activation to store with care in a figure of eight, using this winder:
It avoids sharp bends and works great to extend it without any kink.
Regarding DXWire, Peter Bogner (owner) sent me recently some articles. Despite his web is no longer in English, you can email him and whenever he’s got free time he still will ship outside DL.
Good luck in your search
I use light, cheap PVC hookup wire for dipoles etc. (EDIT: Just like Ignacio EA2BD uses) I have done since 2006 and have never yet had a break in the wire. I have had the wire fail at both crimped and soldered joints despite considerable amounts of strain relief being used. But break in the wire? No. The current 60/40/30 dipole was made in 2011 and has done 400-500 activations.
I have written numerous times that when working for a defence contractor, the majority of field failures were in connectors, either cable connectors or PCB connectors and everything was done to ensure these met their lifetime number of uses. It taught me to treat all cables with care and respect.
I have mainly home made figure-of-8 winders made from 5mm thick corrugated plastic sheet cut to size. The material is used for estate agent/realtor signs on houses for sale. The wire is not wound tight but only tight enough to not fall off the winder. I never tug or pull the wires, but manually untangle it if caught in the heather undergrowth etc. I never use the antenna to support the pole but guy the pole separately. Everything is done to keep the wires untangled and unstrained.
It’s possible that with you being in Norway where it gets much colder than the UK, that the temperature is having an effect on the insulation causing it to crack and thus allow the wire to fail. The fix to that is to use wire that is less stiff when really cold and to reduce the winding radius when storing the cable so it is under less stress.
You can try silicone insulated wire which remains flexible down to -40C. It will be heavier per unit length than PVC. This looks interesting Silicone Cable Flexible Wire 8/10/12/14/16/18/20/22/24/26/30 AWG Various Colours | eBay
You can try Kevlar reinforced wire which you wont break but will be expensive.
I have been using the SOTAbeams light wire at home where it runs through tree branches which occasionally rub it in the wind and it turns a 90 degree angle round a nylon fishing line insulator loop in an inverted-L while also being under quite a lot of tension. That arrangement has been up more than a year I also have a length of it I use in my 40m EFHW inverted V for portable. It has withstood being coiled up in a “thumb and index finger figure 8 wind” after use dozens and dozens of times.
I do have a reel of the kevlar core SOTAbeams wire but I am keeping the kevlar core for when I need to pull a tank out of a ditch or something similar. It is noticeably heavier in weight and gauge than the lightweight wire.
I once broke sotabeams lighweight wire by acidentially stepping on it while pulling it and it took not much force to do that. I always afraid to step at such thin wire as well, some force and slight rubbing against the rock and wire is gone. But most often copper strands just wear out near attachment points, connectors, “links” etc. May be I should try to invent move efficient strain relief method…
Evidence suggests the opposite.
I just use 7/0.2mm hook up wire. The only problem is that it isn’t resistant to chewing by sheep.