[TowerTalk] guage of wire for 500 watt antenna?

Bob Shohet, KQ2M kq2m at kq2m.com
Tue Dec 5 10:11:26 EST 2017

Hi Dave,

I used to use stranded years ago – Wireman #13 Poly, but the constant flexing (from the wind) weakens it and it broke a lot more often than solid.  Solid was also a lot cheaper, more readily available and easier to work with.  No comparison at this qth.  The THHN at my Lowe’s and Home Depot is solid.  Some people don’t like solid because it supposedly stretches, but if it does, that has never been a problem for me.

Flying debris?  That is frequent on my hilltop.  60 – 70 mph and greater wind gusts are unfortunately far too common here – about 10 – 12 times per year on average not including Hurricanes or Tornados.  The Nor’easters and T storms are particularly savage.  The really dangerous winds start about > 60’ above ground where they are the highest points around for miles and up at 130’ on my top tower it almost looks like the jet stream at times – at 130’ it is 940’ ASL and the valley in Danbury, CT to the West is at ~ 250’ ASL.  (The West is by far my best direction).   My shack is in the basement with tiny windows looking out so I am reasonably safe when I operate.  :-)


Bob, KQ2M

From: Dave Sublette 
Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2017 5:25 PM
To: towertalk at contesting.com 
Cc: Gary Slagel 
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] guage of wire for 500 watt antenna?

I thought stranded came out the winner in the great wire discussion here a few weeks ago.  I remember the THHN from Lowe’s part, but I forget if it was stranded or solid…. BTW if the weather is bad enough for flying debris, I don’t think I would be operating.  I would have myself in an inside room without windows  :-)


Dave, K4TO

> On Dec 2, 2017, at 5:21 PM, Bob Shohet, KQ2M <kq2m at kq2m.com> wrote:
> I would suggest that you buy the wire ( I would use gauge 14 solid copper PVC coated THHN, readily available and reasonably priced at Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.) and put up the antenna at your qth and see how it fares in Winter cndx. (I use either gauge 14 or gauge 12 for all the wire antennas at my qth).  If the antenna survives then you know that you are ok.  If not, then you may want to go with a heavier gauge.  Although there won’t be ice and snow in Belize, there will be wind, rain and flying debris if it gets windy enough and you want your wire to be strong enough to survive without breaking.  You want the PVC coating on the wire to reduce the effects of abrasion, corrosion by salt spray and to reduce the rain noise on your antenna.
> 73
> Bob  KQ2M
> From: Gary Slagel via TowerTalk 
> Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2017 5:00 PM
> To: towertalk at contesting.com 
> Subject: [TowerTalk] guage of wire for 500 watt antenna?
> I'm hoping to get to Belize to work ARRL DX CW contest this year and I'd like to take my Elecraft KPA500/KAT500 and operate 500 watts. I will be at a friends house and not next to the ocean so I'm thinking of getting a doublet up in the air as far as I can on a fiberglass pole, feeding with 450 ohm ribbon and tuning it on 10 thru 40 and maybe 80M. 
> The fiberglass pole won't take too much weight so I'd like to go as small as I can on the wire.   Any suggestions or input?
> Thanks, Gary KT0A 

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