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Thread: Steel vs Copper Antenna

  1. #1
    Master Navigator HUGH's Avatar
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    Steel vs Copper Antenna

    I have a horizontal delta loop of some 220ft x 158ft x (82ft across the far end). The wire was stranded copper of 4mm cross-sectional area (0.006 ins) with PVC coating. The height is 50ft so the feeder was about 40ft long of the same wire (coarse stranded for electrical wiring) and 8 inch spacing. The whole had about 6 ohms resistance.

    This worked well for about 20 years but stretched considerably requiring hoisting up on the support pulleys each year. I was a little lax about the concentric fibreglass support pole at the shack end of about 2.5 inch diameter, only using one guy rope and a half-hearted "stiffener" halfway up to stop bowing. The copper was considerably heavy so naturally the pole eventually disintegrated in a storm so I thought of Kevlar-reinforced only to find that here it's only available in 50m lengths and it's quite expensive.

    I bought some ultra-flexible steel wire with a PVC coating, it is much lighter but the antenna resistance is about 20 ohms and the feeder spacing (copper wire) is now 6 inches. I find the antenna current to be about half and the results comparatively inferior. Enquiries of some local hams showed some had tried galvanised steel fencing wire but I suspect these were not principally current fed like mine.

    The new pole is the same 2.5 inch with 2 guy ropes in the proper place plus a "stiffener" (no comments please) about half-way up. Any comments welcome.

  2. #2
    Pope Carlo l NQ6U's Avatar
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    Steel reinforced multi-strand copper wire is available but $$$ (or, in your case, ). I have also seen copper plated steel wire, which was cheaper but even harder to find.

  3. #3
    Administrator N8YX's Avatar
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    Copperweld is what you seek. Don't know if it's the same stuff Carl is referring to but it was designed for this sort of application.
    "Everyone wants to be an AM Gangsta until it's time to start doing AM Gangsta shit."

  4. #4
    Master Navigator K4PIH's Avatar
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    As long as it works. In the past I've used electric fence wire, scrap copper wire from a defunct telephone exchange,
    "Don't put it on the plate if you can't eat it!"

  5. #5
    Master Navigator HUGH's Avatar
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    "Copper" telephone wire would be good as here it's an alloy with steel (understandable). I know it's near impossible to solder. It isn't left "lying around" any more by the telephone companies".

  6. #6
    Master Navigator HUGH's Avatar
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    I see now a copy of the Kevlar version has just become available in 100m lengths at a little under 1GBP per metre specially made for one on-line retailer. There's also a cheap one with effectively just one 22 gauge copper wire but it is very thin overall.

  7. #7
    Master Navigator K4PIH's Avatar
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    When I used the scrap telephone hookup wire it was all in varying lengths. Some 2-3 feet long, some of it longer. Just end scraps from reels and clipped off short pieces from a wire run from one punch block to another. A lot of soldering to get enough for 2 legs of an 80 dipole but it worked really well. Found it in the inside plant area in a large Tuffy plastic garbage can, asked if I could have it.
    "Don't put it on the plate if you can't eat it!"

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