I used to wire-wrap lots of boards when my job was more real devices electronics based than now where it’s all virtual electronics and systems. I don’t think I’ve built anything with wire-warp techniques since the mid-90s. As such I have quite a significant amount of wire-wrap wire. Probably over 100m in assorted colours.
It’s all 30AWG single core (1/0.25mm) and covered with Kynar insulation. So has anyone used wire-wrap wire for antennas? Or should I put it into the electronics recycling skips at my local recycling centre?
I do use from time to time a wire-wrap antenna (minimum size) with my ATS-3b. 21m length, end fed for 40 and 20m and I always made contacts without any problem. I didn’t realize a difference beside of the weight.
I built a complete set of half-wave end-fed antennas (and their counterpoise wire) from exactly this type of wire - it worked fine.
it is stronger than you would think, is light and takes up very little space when packed.
the most I have run through these antennas is 25 watts - what it would be like at say 100w - I can’t say, it might get a little warm - but if the antenna is resonant, probably not.
When I switched to using linked dipole antennas, where the wire also acted as the guy rope for the squid pole mast, this wire was not used, rather more sturdy wire.
Here you can JUST see it (red) in the picture above the “miracle tuner” on the back of the FT817ND:
Well the strength or lack of it was what was a possible concern. I know how fragile single core wire can be. I was thinking it should be fine if you don’t kink it and keep the bending radius large. But it’s nice to know it is usable Ed.
The last time I dealt with wirewrap technology was in the early 90s. It was an old telephone distributor.
As far as I can remember, the wires were quite stubborn…and you always had to be very careful when stripping the insulation that you didn’t scratch the wire… it then broke right there. I couldn’t imagine using them as antenna wire for /p application. But I could very well imagine the wires as coil material for qrp.
You just have to be careful with the stripping tool Armin I’ve found both wirewrap tools and their inbuilt strippers. What I can’t find is my OK Industries battery powered wrapping tool. I’ve not seen it since I lived in England when I stop and think about it. I don’t need it for antennas but it’s bugging me as to where it is hiding!
I’ve used some thin stranded wire I bought from Rapid electronics a long time ago. I think it’s 10/0.1 hookup wire and I’ve used it for a 60m EFHW.
It generally works OK but sometimes it will snap which needs repairing in the field. Usually when it’s really gusty and the pole is waving around (constant wind seems OK) or if the wire has got caught on a thistle or some heather and I try to jiggle it free.
The short answer is “Why not?” Especially if you have to carry the
stuff up the mountains, and only run low power, etc.
A lot of “surplus” items became available when they closed down
our local telegraph office many years ago. One thing was wire, a lot
of wire, mostly 22 gauge that we used for everything. And I still have
my manual wirewrap tools, too! We changed from solder blocks to
wire wrap just as I was a newbie to the company about 60 years
ago. Of course they didn’t take out the solder blocks, so we had
both right up to the 1990s. Correction! They we had “Punch-on”
blocks. They were terrible! (I still have my punch-on tool, too!)
I have had a lot of 22 gauge wire antennas, including 80 meter
inverted Vs and they work fine. And I do run high power, up to 1 Kw.
I have a 40 meter inverted V made with 14 gauge wire with the ends
tied off with 22 gauge wire to a tree limb on one end and a fence on the
other end. Last winter the fence blew down, the 22 gauge broke leaving the antenna in good shape. Nice safety factor.
I think #30 AWG is too small for anything but an ultra-light SOTA antenna. Maybe you could twist 3 or 4 wires together to make it more sturdy. I think some of it is silver-plated…not sure.
Most of my tiny SOTA tuners are wired point-to-point and soldered, with single-conductor wire-wrap wire. I have some #28 AWG, and it’s really nice. #30 is good for close quarters and for low capacitance. This wire is almost perfect for building small gadgets.
It’s not a problem at the speeds the the signals were switching in those days. But as you raise the speed trying to get all the bits of a parallel signal to arrive at the same time is why everything went from parallel to serial. i.e. PATA to SATA on disks, PCI to PCIe for buses etc. And of course switching to differential signalling.
I’ve had wirewrap boards with signalling at up to 10MHz working fine. Only on very few occasions did I have to carefully re-route or shorten some wiring. But that was as I first said back in the 90s. When I think on now, I can’t remember when I last wired up something with a CPU, EPROM, RAM etc. Nowadays you just buy a Raspberry Pi (Pico or W) or Arduino etc. for the smarts in a project which is why I have tubes of Z80, 6303 & 80186 CPUs looking for something to be used in!
Here is a 68000 CPU board which I constructed sometime in the late 1980’s. It is clocked at 8MHz.
It could be replaced by one SMT device now.
I was told that wirewrap was more reliable than soldering as it did not suffer the effects of vibration, and changes in temperature caused the connections to tighten.
This technique was used in aircraft electronics at the time.
From memory of modelling the EFHW, 30AWG is thin enough to cause measurable loss of efficiency as an HF antenna (not that you would actually notice). My conclusion was that 0.5mm diameter (24awg) plain copper or silver plated, was as thick as is needed for efficiency reasons. (Tin rates as lossy, but I have no idea just how thick the tin plating on hookup wire is, i.e if it is << or > skin depth).
If you are keen enough to use wire wrap wire on a summit, you have earned your Weight Weenie Lithium Medal.
Ah, well, like all good threads on here, you don’t know what may happen when you ask a question. The idea of a functional super-lightweight antenna to go with my QCXs sounds worth an afternoon of messing about. Even if it’s noticeably sub-par compared to other antennas, it wont have cost anything more than my time as I have a fair amount of wirewrap wire which has sat unused for 25 years.
@G8VNW Nick, just like something from my early years at work when I had a full head of dark hair 8MHz 68000, 68681 DUART and 64k of SRAM on a double Eurocard board with DIN41612 connectors. I never used LS family but HCT instead.
That may be the theory Simon, but we know that theory is not to be trusted!
I made simple wrap-wire EFHWs for my visit to the UK from Australia in 2012 (light and small is important when travelling) they worked fine even laid over high grass or hedges, on fence tops or even on the ground. The 5w SSB from the FT817 got me contacts on 40m from Yorkshire to Scotland, Cornwall, Holland and many places in between.
As always the best antenna for an activation is the one you have with you at the time and one of the favourite sayings from the ham who taught me the City & Guilds AR course was that antenna operation is not a science, it’s magic - you never know what will work until you try it.