Contributors report differing experiences regarding deterioration of
various wires used as radials. Don't forget, soil chemistry has a lot
to do with whether a particular kind of wire survives for a long time or
only a short time. Much is determined by pH. Acidic soil, pH lower
than 7.0, attacks iron and copper. Alkaline soil, pH over 7.0, attacks
aluminum. pH near 7.0 attacks metals more slowly than those with pH
more different from 7.0, indicating greater chemical activity. There
are other factors, for which others are more qualified than I am to
explain. I hope they will add to this.
I suspect that some forms of insulation offer some protection, some more
Since electric fence wire is inexpensive, we can afford to replace it
every few years. Test the soil and choose steel or aluminum fence wire
according to pH.
My experience, in soil with pH about 6.8, is with enameled copper, from
an old transformer. It has survived about 10 years, now. It was placed
on top of the soil with grass mowed short, and has long since been well
covered, but not deep. If I hadn't stumbled on a spool of thousands of
feet of it for scrap price, I would have used fence wire, and would have
experimented with both steel and aluminum to satisfy my insatiable
curiosity as to how it might survive in this soil.
I guess we need to post this now and then for those new to the hobby and
those whose memory is slipping :-).
73 de WOØW
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