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Where can you buy higher voltage hookup wire?

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by W0BTW, Apr 16, 2012.

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  1. W0BTW

    W0BTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Anyone know where you can buy a selection of hookup wire (20-22 ga stranded and solid) with a voltage rating higher than 300 volts? I want to rewire some of my boat anchor transmitters that run 5-600 volts and more. It would be great to be able to buy an assortment of colors rather than having to buy rolls one at a time. Please tell me this is not a dream....Hi
  2. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    IME, it's not a dream. This file (attached) from Alpha Wire may help you know what to look for. Searching "600V hookup wire" on Google Shopping, I see lots of possibilities.

    Attached Files:

  3. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was looking for the same thing back in January. I only found single color HV wire on one of the smaller suppliers. Recently I saw a suggestion to use clear hose e.g. PVC over regular wire and examples were given including some old Collins equipment that did this.

  4. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    aka "spaghetti sleeving". Wire is widely available with various insulation types, rated up to 300V. 600V-rated insulation is not as common (and not as inexpensive) but still can be found. Expect to pay a premium for that, if you want 19-strand silver plated w/ PTFE insulation. 7-strand tin-plated w/ PVC insulation will be a lot less expensive.
  5. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know if this helps, but when I run cables I put a short piece of the same color shrink over each end for ID.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  6. K1ZJH

    K1ZJH Ham Member QRZ Page

    RadioDaze ( ) carries varnished, cloth-covered
    wire in both solid and stranded 22 gauge, and in several colors with a 600 volt rating. They added
    it to the catalog several years due to requests for hookup wire with a higher voltage rating.

  7. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Alpha, Belden, and other wire mfg. do make 600 V insulation hook-up wire.
    Vacuum tube parts suppliers often have in stock.

    It is usually more expensive than common 300 V, PVC insulation hook-up wire.
    There is also PTFE insulated hookup wire, some versions rated at 1,000 V or greater.

    You can purchase from electrical distributors, plus McMaster-Carr.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Lots of HV PTFE insulated stranded and solid conductor here, cheaply:

    Most is available "by the foot."
  9. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are loads of wire out there that have a 600V rating. We use it all the time at the cement plant I work at. We have 480V 3 phase. We use THHN PVC insulation rated at 600V. The PTFE stuff is slick, really, and it can be a pain to strip if your strippers are not just right.
    McMaster Carr has THHN and you can buy 100ft spools for under $14. Check it at;
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  10. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    My guess is that 300 volt wire will stand much more. Maybe the mfr did not see a need for a higher rating, or didn't want to spend extra time and money to get it.

    I checked some very old AWM (appliance wiring material) PVC wire rated 105 degrees C. No marked voltage rating.

    I wrapped aluminum tape around a section and put 3kv dc on it for an hour, then 5kv for a few seconds. No breakdown.

    This test doesn't take into account long-term corona (ozone) problems, which I don't think would be a problem at 600 volts.

    I would not be afraid to use your wire at 600v, especially with typical ham use. This assumes that a breakdown would not be a personal safety problem.

    . Ins Test.JPG
  11. KF7MBM

    KF7MBM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I suppose if you are in a real bind that you could cut the ends of a test lead set that's rated 600V or higher. It'd be expensive as all get out to cut the leads on my Fluke T5-1000 but they are rated 1000V.

    I have about 30' of Locomotive wire that's rated 1200VDC (Lots of rubberish insulation, not so much wire) from Boeing Surplus back in the mid 90's. . I miss that store.

  12. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    I picked up a few dozen rolls of multiple colors from All Electronics about 6 months ago, 20-22 gauge and reasonable. Ive also picked up reels of Teflon insulated at a recyclers for next to nothing as they cant use it but its not a good color match in BA's.
    If you want heavier find a trashed clothes dryer and strip out the wire, they are loaded with typically 12-18 600V 105*C.

  13. W0BTW

    W0BTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for all the posts, suppliers and ideas! I'm going to order some different colored spools of wire, clear and colored tubing and shrink tube. John, Your HV experiment with the appliance wire was interesting. I would be curious to see what happens when you try it on some of the wire used in some of the old WRL and heath kits. Then again maybe it is better I don't know!


  14. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not planning on any more tests, but if someone wants to send a wire sample and return postage I can check it up to 8kv.

    The only thing I can think of that a brief test doesn't cover is any long term corona (ozone) degradation, which is a tricky situation. Probably not a problem at usual ham voltages. Various plastics have very different resistances to ozone. This may
    be listed in a wire spec if you can find it.

    A long time ago my co. used a special single-sourced hv wire to feed the maggy in a microwave oven. A strike or fire (don't remember) stopped our supply. I used RG-8 as a substitute, and U-L ok'd it. Expensive, bulky, hard to work with but it kept
    the production line running. A lab I had worked in used RG-8 at 50kv!! in a pulse generator. Very short-time use tho.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  15. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Did You test it with the Aluminum foil Grounded ?
  16. KJ6LFD

    KJ6LFD Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the past I have used Packard 440 secondary ignition wire for HV. It is a classic wire core ignition wire from "back in the day." Dunno if it is still available. Only made in black.
  17. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The foil was connected to the negative terminal of the power supply.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  18. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I know a lot of older wire is under rated.

    When I used to test wire before it could be used for Aircraft it was much better than its rating. Mil spec tho.

    Almost all of it was Teflon Insulation. PVC would not fly.

    The most fun we would have was to charge a roll of coax with HV using a megger , then give it to a buddy and ask him to put a connector on it. What a shocking experience. I know it was rude and Horse Play was wrong.

    It was almost as much fun as Throwing a charged Auto Distributor Capacitor to someone after you charge it up, and say catch.

    I think a lot of this new wire is cheap now a days. The old stuff made in the USA was better.
  19. WA7KKP

    WA7KKP Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I've had need of wire for plate voltage >1kv, I would find a tv set and cannibalize the HV lead to the ultor -- that's the socket on the side of the tube. Also something that works well is test prod wire. Get the real flexible stuff, with the rubbery insulation, like Simpson uses with their leads.

    Gary WA7KKP
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