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Re: [TenTec] What about antenna wire? What to buy?

To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [TenTec] What about antenna wire? What to buy?
From: Stuart Rohre <rohre@arlut.utexas.edu>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 17:45:37 -0600
List-post: <tentec@contesting.com">mailto:tentec@contesting.com>

Many wires will work at 100 watts.  For stealth and durability, stranded 
no. 22 light blue insulated hook up wire will work if your feedline is 
supported to not put weight upon the flat top wires, (elements) of your 
dipole.  You could also use up to no. 14 ga conduit wire, insulated in a 
light blue to blend in against the sky, if it is in the back yard, and 
less visible, therefore from the street.

Even bare stranded no. 14 wire, widely available, and at Radio Shack, as 
well as at ham suppliers like The Wireman, and Coaxman, will make a low 
profile dipole.  The bare wire eventually oxidizes black, but that does 
not affect the conduction which is under the coating.  If you have 
soldered your feeder connections, that is, when the wire was new and 
shiny.  14 Ga. can support twin lead or ladder line feeder strain 
relieved to a center insulator.

For end and center insulators, I have used for Field Days for year, 
white vitamin pill bottles.  You can punch holes to hold a synthetic 
line halter for the end tie offs, and two holes to pass the end of the 
dipole element through.  Or course, more durable plastic insulators 
could be made from PVC 1/2 inch plumbing fittings, or commercial ceramic 
insulators can be purchased from the Wireman or Coaxman or ham 
distributor stores.  Make sure to buy glossy, glazed ceramics if going 
that route.  Another way to secure end halters to the pill bottle is to 
simply drill the cap, and knot a line inside the cap, pass the line thru 
the hole and screw the cap on the bottle.  Then you only need two holes 
in the bottom of the bottle sides for the loop of the wire element.
Don't worry about the inductance of the loop of wire, it will only add a 
capacitance hat effect, as it connects, (solders) back onto the standing 
part of the end of the wire element.

For your line to hold up the ends, pick a UV resistant material.  Nylon 
will stretch, and work for a couple of years, but you might as well 
spend a little money on the better line materials that will resist UV.
The white plastic pill bottles hold up pretty well, but are easily 
replaced if they tear in a wind, or decay due to weathering.  Ceramic 
insulators, if not dropped on hard surfaces, should last longer than 
your antenna wire, and feedline.  I use some from 54 years ago, at the 
start of my ham career.

Home center stores usually have anything you need to make a very 
workable and economical antenna.

GL and 73,
Stuart Rohre

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