best or acceptable wire size for dipole
I am building a dipole and while pricing wire , I start wondering which is better for a dipole solid copper wire or stranded....14AWG or 12AWG or 10AWG ???
my thoughts are that solid wire would be better , because the RF signal runs on the outside of the wire.....???
the larger the wire the more braod banded the antenna will be ???
thanks for any guidance
The difference in conductivity for solid vs. stranded copper wire is so small as to be un-measureable, at least by any methods a ham radio operator is likely to have in their possession.
However, solid wire is more likely to become brittle due to flexing in the wind, and more prone to break sooner than equivalent stranded wire would.
There are several types of copper wire available, in many different gauges. If you want to have the wire rather hidden, you obviously would need to go for some smaller stuff such as 16 or 18 gauge. But if you have no problem with that, you will want to go toward 14 or 12 gauge. Remember, the lighter stuff can stretch, twist and break, and the heavier stuff can cause problems just because of its size and weight.
There is a type of wire that is very strong, and still conducts very well. I am referring to copper-clad steel cored wire. However this stuff is quite difficult to work with, as it tends to coil and kink unless you have a means to keep it stretched out as you work with it.
For general all around use, I would probably stick with something like 14 ga stranded wire.
SVD got his post published first. It is good to see that we agree!
Hope this helps! 73, and welcome to the avocation. Jim
Ham Radio, Amateur Astronomy, and Model Airplanes - what better way to spend some time!
No time is ever wasted that is spent LEARNING something !
Last edited by WA9SVD; 07-28-2008 at 11:49 PM.
I use 14, 16 or whatever guage I have available (or whatever's on sale). While diameter does have an effect on broadmanding the antenna, for HF, the difference between 18 and 10 will be pretty negligible. I've even used 17 ga Electric Fence wire ($8 /1/4 mi). But it's icky to work with / solder to.
Some years ago I was fortunate enough to acquire some Down Rigger
Stainless Steel Fishing line --approximately 2/16 Inch thick -it is not easy to work with but makes a perfect antenna --strong-won't break-won't rust-
I am still using it for a G5RV Ant and have had several dipoles .Never any problems and it radiates excellently.
If you have access to any sea going commercial fishing boats -their lines are changed frequently and the used line scrapped-Normally !!
Should have added --this wire is not solid --it is braided--Sorry !!
::Glad it worked for you! But if it had been copper, depending on its length, it could be as much as 3 dB more efficient. Stainless steel is not a good conductor, and its skin resistance (for RF) at 10 MHz is about 4x copper. If it's a very short antenna, like a 2m dipole, probably not much difference. If it's a long antenna, like a 160m dipole, the difference is very measurable.
Originally Posted by VE6RA
The electric fence wire is hard to work with if you get the galvanized steel but you can get aluminum electric fence wire and it's much easier to deal with. Not as easy to kink, etc. If all you can get is the steel wire, give it a shot, I've used it for years. If you experiment with antennas a lot, it's nice to have a cheap source! Don't worry about the guys who tell you the steel wire won't work, the skin effect is "thicker" on less conductive wire so it's almost a wash at HF for a normal dipole.
The aluminum is probably a better choice if you can find it. I get it at Tractor Supply, I got some for FD and the 80m dipole I used fed with twin lead worked great.