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[TowerTalk] Splicing antenna wires

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Splicing antenna wires
From: (Rus Healy)
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 1997 10:10:38 -0500
Reading W2UP's post made me realize that a lot of people probably struggle with 
splicing busted antenna wires, or tacking some extra length onto the end of a 
dipole. It doesn't have to be painful. Go to the electrical department at Home 
Depot (or Osh, or Chase-Pitkin, or whatever) and get a bunch of split-bolt 
clamps. These little copper-and-brass marvels are meant for splicing together 
multiple ground wires inside electrical junction boxes. They make very good 
mechanical connections and come in a bunch of sizes. I probably have a dozen of 
them in the air outdoors. Since the materials are compatible with antenna wire, 
there's no corrosion to worry about, and they require just a box-end wrench and 
socket wrench to assemble. The two smallest sizes you'll find are the best ones 
for antenna use. They install in such a way that the splice area doesn't bend 
the wires, minimizing stress on the joint. Works great, even for wires under 
great stress. You can install them on existing wires without breaking the wire, 
also, since the split bolt and nut come apart. I also use them to attach 
multiple radials to a single wire at vertical antenna feed points.

I had an 80-meter dipole that Trey and I put up during his visit last April 
(when it was about 35 degrees outside), about 60 feet up in the trees. When the 
central suport rope failed, the dipole was pulled apart by trees swaying in 
opposite directions in a big wind storm. (We get a lot of that here in the 
Rochester area.) The #14 stranded, insulated wire was spliced a few feet from 
the feed point with a split-bolt connector, but the failure occurred where the 
wire itself stretched and finally broke about 15 feet farther out from the feed 
point. That made a believer out of me.

--73, Rus, NJ2L

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