Homebrew Ladder Line : What do you use for spreaders?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KD8NPB, Feb 26, 2011.

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  1. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    So what did you use for your homebrew ladder line as spreaders?

    Coat hangars?
    Bic pen bodies?
    Cutting board?
    PVC pipe?
    The bones of your enemies?

    Let me know, I'm curious to see what is cheap and works.
  2. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Electric fence insulators---drilled on each end to accept small cable ties with which to secure the wires on either side. Nifty and inexpensive.
  3. WX7G

    WX7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used fiberglass rod, PVC, and thick double stick tape. The old way was wooden dowels boiled in parafin wax.

    Building ladder line can be time consuming. The double stick tape made for quick assembly but is limited to small flexible wire.

    Small diameter PVC pipe and #14 stranded THHN (house wire, insulated) can be assembled quickly. Drill holes in the PVC that are just a bit larger than the insulated wire. Pull things taut and put a drop of super glue at each PVC-wire junction.
  4. W0BTU

    W0BTU Subscriber QRZ Page

    One time, I used 1/4" square Teflon, spacers about 2" long. Small pieces of copper wire kept the spacers in place.

    Another time, I used 1.5" long spacers made from plastic coat hangers. To drill the spacers, I made a simple drill press fixture with a piece of wood and small nails. (The nails were a tiny bit smaller than the wire diameter.) I think I made 100 spacers in less than a 45 minutes with that, including the time spent sawing them to length in a band saw. http://picasaweb.google.com/katie65752/BeverageAntennas#5430779137687258338. Wire spacing: 1.1". Keep the wires under tension, and you can use one spacer every 10 feet.

    I saw a design a few months ago made from hollow rigid tubing and two cable ties. Very innovative.

    There's a guy on eBay selling snap-on spacers for #14 THHN that look pretty slick.

    Homebrew ladder line has much less wind load than window line.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  5. W5DXP

    W5DXP Ham Member QRZ Page


    This commercially available line uses 1/2" black irrigation pipe for the insulators and it is hard to beat. It is inexpensive and designed to withstand water pressure and UV sunlight for years. If there was a better insulator available for less money, I expect these guys would be using it.
  6. W0BTU

    W0BTU Subscriber QRZ Page

    Looking at that web page reminds us of another advantage of that design over window line: no impedance change when wet!

    And ice would have less effect, as well.
  7. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    If I were EVER to consider making and using ladder or open wire feeders, I may use the sacred bones of my ancestors as spacers.
    Coax forever.
  8. W0BTU

    W0BTU Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, both coax and open wire line have their place.

    For example, try feeding an 80-meter dipole with coax, and operate it on all bands 80-10. Won't work. :)
  9. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have heard of using old Polaroid film spindles, if you can find any.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  10. W2VW

    W2VW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Effort verses payoff. Window line losses when wet are much higher than line with low surface area between conductors.

    Most window line is too wimpy to feed anything much shorter than a half wave. I know a few people on 160 who would set window line on fire if they used it.

    Otherwise keep up the fine work HF! I enjoy your posts.

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