Selecting Wire for an Antenna

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Wire used in an antenna is one of the most important factors to consider when you are completing your antenna system and its installation. There are many types of wires available and different systems can have their unique compatibility with each of these types. The types mentioned below are used to make the receiving antennas

antenna wire

Stranded vs Solid

Stranded wires are used quite commonly and give favorable results when make the antenna. It is quite durable and manageable. They are definitely preferable over the solid core wires because they come with a high level of flexibility. But on the other hand, if you use a thinner wire, you will soon find it broken even with a little pressure.

Read: How Bad Weather affect CB Antenna

Coated vs Bare

You can call an insulated wire the coated one while the one without insulation is called bare wire. The coated wire should be preferred when making an antenna because the antenna has to be in contact with metal ground plane all the time so the insulation will help you handle it easily. In case you are bound to work with a bare wire, then keep it away from any metal because any such contact will lead your system to short circuit and can badly affect its performance. Static discharges can be generated that are further disastrous to your system’s functionality. Both types of wires have their own pros and cons but generally they both can be used as the number and intensity of the received signals will be the same through both of them. Even the coat of insulation will not affect your signals.

Thickness

The concept of gauge comes into play when measuring a wire’s thickness. A thin wire will have a higher gauge number and vice versa. Often such wires, especially those with gauge number 22 or 24, are used in pairs to make the connection and the antenna more effective. The wire with the gauge number of 18 or 16 gauge also does a great job.  If you are looking for some affordable option then you can buy the lamp cord from any hardware store near you. Sometimes you can complete your job by having half the wire and splitting it and using it with the heavier gauge wire. In the areas where the weather is often unpredictable and rather harsh, heavier gauge wires are preferable as they can face the weather changes quite tenaciously.

 Copper vs. Everything Else

Generally the nature of the wire is of secondary importance. Most of the users prefer the copper or aluminum wires for this purpose. The signal strength, however, remains somewhat same with all of these types available. For making the right decision in selecting the nature of the wire, consider the price and location from where you can get it easily.

Read: How to adjust SWR meter

Simple rules to follow

Once you are done with the selection of the most suitable wire for your antenna, consider the following rules one by one for sure:

  • Use a coated/insulated wire if you have to leave the wire on the ground after making all the connections.
  • On a snowy surface, any type of wire can be used as the snow will keep it insulated.
  • If you will keep the wire in the erect position and away from any metal surface, then any kind of wire will serve the purpose.
  • Only use the insulated wire if you doubt for anything conductive to be near it.
  • Only use the heavier gauge wires in areas where the weather is stormy or highly windy.

Once all this is checked, start setting your system up and be careful while experimenting with something new with your radio or your antenna.

TIP 1

It is from a radio operator who has been in the field for quite a time and had started working as a SWL since his childhood. Throughout his 20-year amateur career, he found experimenting with the antennas most interesting of all. He introduced us all to a relatively new type of wire called the poly-stealth wire. He claimed that it is really strong and comes with a good insulation. Generally this wire is used for making the antennas in 13 gauge. It blends seamlessly into the entire system and will not distort your outlook for the system as a whole.

TIP 2

That operator furnished us with another handy tip and that is using silicone seal for making all the connections secure. 3M is a preference as it makes the seal completely moisture-free and makes the sealing easy and smooth. Such seals will help prevent corrosion of the antenna and other metal components involved in the connections. Once the silicone seal is up, not even the worst storm would be able to defeat your antenna anyway.

These tips are all workable and can really serve as a guiding start if you keep a serious eye on them as the antenna is the most sensitive and the most pivotal part of your radio system. Its health means the perfection of your system as a whole. So the more you will stick to these points, the better you will be able to make your wire, connections and the antenna itself worth all your efforts.

If you think you have any suggestion regarding choosing antenna wire. Share your experience with us.

READ :Scoop of 2016 – Is it really a beast?     

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One thought on “Selecting Wire for an Antenna

  1. Baxter Abel

    I appreciate your guidance as to what materials work for wires being connected to antennas. I wonder if fiber optic cables can function when hooked up to antennas or if they aren’t compatible? I’ll be looking out for more ways to use antennas more effectively.

    Reply

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