Wire size for antennas

G’day everyone,
I was wondering what wire sizes (AWG) everyone is using for their EFHW, EFRW and dipole antenna’s when out and about on summits (QRP CW mode)?.
Also, for any VK members, where are you sourcing your wire from in Oz as well?

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Mark I tried to email you from you QRZ page with some relevant info for vk SOTA but its a dud. If you are interested email me
Ian vk5cz …

sent you an email Ian


For lightweight kit I use light duty hookup wire. 7/0.016 insulated. Then for a bit more robust antenna, 14/0.2 insulated.

Rocky Electronics just down the road is my supplier.

Insulated wire is less affected by contact with foliage and curious people who just have to touch the wire won’t get a burn. It is easy to wind up in the classic figure 8 on a homemade former.

On my first activation I used 1.6 mm HD copper. Not as convenient for the rucksack but I had a G5RV made of this ready to go.


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I gather the “7” in the above is the awg size and the “.016” is the metric size in mm. From what I searched so far,iIt looks like small twin lead speaker wire split in half. Correct?

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No. It’s 7 strands of 0.016mm wire. I use 7/0.2mm as that’s standard hookup wire and available from any electronics retailer.

G’day Mark,
as Richard has said, most of us use simple “hook-up wire”. I try to buy the silicon-rubber-covered type as I find that it is less likely to tangle.

Ian has probably pointed you to a good supplier - otherwise, I would have said Jaycar or JB HiFi. The other option is to buy via eBay out of China.

73 Ed DD5LP (VK2JI)


Hello all,
Using the following here. Very kink resistant test lead wire, and a good trade-off for strength and resistance, even for the lowest frequency bands.

105 strands, AWG 20. Black for stealth; red for visibility.


I used many kind of wires, all are working.
After many trials, my parameters are
1 - tangle free
2 -kink free
3 - tangle free
4 -kink free
5- mechanical resistance
6 -bright color
7 - weight (goes with size and HF resistance)

No, I am not double counting ! Tangle free/kink free are to me the most important parameters of choice.

For a dipole, light wire, eg the lightweight type you can find with Sotabeam, gives less sag, less wind resistance. Teflon or silicon covered is better, to avoid tangling.

Most often, I use my wire vertical, along my pole, and radials on the ground. For this purpose, what I prefer is the type of wire mentionned by Ken K6HPX, wire covered by silicon rubber. Absolutely .tangle free, kink free.
From the bottom of the pole, for the radial(s), I just throw the wire(s) on the ground, (like throwing a ball), and the wire deploys itself straight, alone. EASY !
Then, automatic tuner, and I am qrv all bands.
(I amcurrently selling my K1, with internal automatic tuner, and I am now wondering if I made the right decision)

I prefer bright color wires, easier to see in the air or on the ground.

73 de Pierre F5MOG


Thanks for the replies fellas. Much appreciated

My SOTA antennas almost all have 26 AWG
… and are yellow insulated
… are winded according to EA2BD.

73 Armin

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Simple hook-up wire, 0.25 mm2 (0.56 mm diameter, AWG 24, braid) yellow or orange isolated.

(Using this methode the last 30 … 40 or so years for different stuff.)

Wires are used for many years without problems, from summer to winter.
20 m wire for a EFHW (only one link, no coils or traps), attatched only at the ends, no problem.

73, Ludwig

26awg or 28awg here. Usually cheap wire from Amazon that runs $5-$10 per 100’ roll.


According to @2E0YYY wire diameter is irrelevant as long as it is pink wire :yum:


Where can I get pink wire?!

Sotabeams yellow wire lasts longer than sotabeams brown wire. I only ever seem to find the latter once deployed by tripping over it with inevitable results. I reckon pink would last even longer!

I think he’s hoarding it Matt!

I use the Sotabeams yellow wire a lot and it will handle in excess of 100w, had some great DX using the Band Hopper IV Inverted V dipole which is strung with the Sotabeams yellow wire. It does stretch over time, so I have to restring the antenna once every 18 months or so, but for weight vs performance it is hard to beat.

Cheers, Mark.


I picked up a 25m length of Teflon insulated 1.2mm OD wire. It looks like 12 or 13 strand but I don’t have a micrometer to measure the individual strand diameters. Noticeably heavier than PVC insulation.

I paid, I think, €5 for it at FN Rally last summer.

I use #26 or #28 teflon insulated stranded wire. - fred kt5x 900+ activations


I do too Ed. It is a little more expensive, but it goes onto the winders so much easier than standard PVC coated wire. Having said that my oldest antenna (60/40/30m link dipole) is made from standard lighting cable and is still doing fine.


For many years I’ve been using #24 AWG stranded type E teflon wire. The mfr of my wire is Thermax, but there are others. The code on the tag on a spool is 24-TE-1936 WHT.

24 is #24 AWG
TE is teflon
1936 is 19 strands of #36 AWG
WHT is white

The stated OD of the silver-plated stranded copper conductor is 0.023 inches. The insulation OD is 0.043 inches. That means that the insulation thickness is about 0.01 inches. The military number M16878 is on the tag. I found a “make offer” deal on Ebay years ago. Maybe you will too.

I’ve seen tin-plated teflon wire for sale on Ebay, as well as other low-quality versions. Be careful to buy what you really want.

White is not good in the snow, but otherwise it’s better than black. Black is bad because people may walk into it. Colors are better. My favorite SOTA antenna is 65 feet of red #24 stranded teflon wire with the same specs as above. I’ve used the same wire for about 1000 activations over several years, and I’ve only had to repair it a few times, usually at the link, or at the mini-banana connector on the fed end.

I do alpine activations, and low weight is very important. RF and physical performance is important too. #24 stranded is ideal for use on lightweight graphite/carbon poles. #22 is too heavy for a longer wire, it sags down more, or pulls the pole over more than #24. I have used #26, but it’s more prone to break, kink, or tangle than #24. It would be good for a back-up antenna.

Thicker wires are much easier to splice in the field than thinner wires. I have “fixed” #24 teflon with just a knife.

In high winds, telescoping poles whip around, sometimes violently, and so do trees. A fair amount of tension is needed hold the wire up high enough, and #26 copper is too fragile for conditions on local alpine summits. In the snow wires are tricky to handle, they get caught on snowshoes, boots, bushes, rocks, and the snow itself, and they are subject to jerking in the course of setting up or taking down, as well as during a windy activation.

EZNEC models reveal how the losses increase with thinner wires. They also show how the silver plating slightly reduces wire loss at RF. Overall I think #24 is the best compromise. If you use a heavy pole, #22 might be better. #26 is ultralight, and you get more loss, so use it if you’re careful.

Teflon is a good choice for running the wire through or across tree branches, over rock outcrops, lying on the ground, in the snow, etc. There’s still coupling through capacitance, so RF can be lost, but teflon is a low-loss dielectric, so that helps. I’ve not seen any arcs at the 10W level, even at high-impedance points.

Teflon may flow or thin under pressure, but it rarely cracks. It holds up really well to UV radiation, which is strong in the alpine environment.

Teflon insulation has good characteristics in cold conditions. It will kink, but it recovers well. Silicone may also be an excellent choice.

Below 0 degrees C PVC wire tends to stiffen, but #24 stranded PVC wire should be OK for many operators. This is a a good low-cost choice.

Much of the PVC stranded hook-up wire available is tin plated. This is not good for RF, since RF flows mostly in the outer part or “skin” of the wire. Tin increases the RF resistive losses!

Many people are using #26 copperweld, “spider wire”, stealthy, and it certainly works. This is steel wire, copper plated, with insulation. I’ve never used it. Losses surely are greater than #24 teflon, and it’s probably hard to splice in the field. It’s light and strong, so good for the alpine zone. It’s hard to see - use it if you’re careful.

I’m sticking with the #24 stranded teflon wire. The military uses miles and miles of it for many good reasons!