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600 ohm open wire (ladderline) construction

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by VA3GRV, Oct 5, 2006.

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  1. N4AUD

    N4AUD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used small diameter PVC pipe for spacers, people have cut up plastic coat hangers as spacers, and currently I am using "mini popsicle sticks" available at craft stores as spacers. I've used regular 12awg insulated stranded wire as a conductor and am currently I'm using some "lamp cord" that I pulled apart as my conductor. I don't expect it to hold up in the weather but for now it is working. I use "Goop" industrial adhesive to fasten the spacers once I get them in place.

    You'll have to stretch out both conductors and apply the same amount of tension to both when you are placing your spacers. If you have one wire more taut than the other, your spacers will not be straight. I just drilled holes in my popsicle sticks with my drill press and slid them on, but you can obviously cut a slit and slide your spacers on. If you are going to use PVC, plastic coathangers or some other material for your spacers and you don't have a bandsaw, it can get really tedious cutting the spacers one by one with a hacksaw. That's what led me to use the popsicle sticks and so far, to my amazement, they've held up in the weather.
  2. AG3Y

    AG3Y Guest

    Did you soak the popsickle sticks in wax? Or perhaps shellack them ? They should last for years if you did either of those things.
  3. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depends on how the cat felt about what you were trying to do...  [​IMG]
  4. N1ESE

    N1ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    As I am starting to build my open wire feeders, I am wondering how close together feeders need to be and whether distance between wires in the section between spreaders can vary at all? With wire like this, I don't really think it's possible for it to be a constant 4", or whatever, distance throughout the entire run. Will small variances negatively impact performance of the feedline?

    I'm using 14 ga. stranded THN as it is what I have under the bench. Two continuous runs make up the feedline and antenna elements. Using 1/2" CPVC for the center and feeder spacers.
  5. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    You Could Do Much Worse Than Refer To This

    Google is, as I've said many times, your friend.

    I've made homebrew parallel line using 3/8" diameter plastic rod cut into ~4" lengths. I used a "hot knife" to cut grooves the proper width for the wire I was using, and when the wire was in position I'd take a soldering iron and melt the plastic over it, making a pretty secure condition. At least none of the wires ever popped out.
  6. N1ESE

    N1ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's the start of my open wire antenna, I am probably doing something wrong but if it works I'll be happy.

  7. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Ham Member QRZ Page

    have used Thompsons Water Seal
    soak the wood for a week or so

    with weight on top
    to keep the wood
    under the water seal
    most likley other brands
    would work just as well

    works better than
    wax, shellac, or varnish

    man shellac !
    nobody uses shellac any more
    dam stuff is a pain to work with
    and it's more expensive
    than good spar varnish

  8. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    You want to be sure the Ty-Raps®, Zip-Ties® or whatever you want to call them are UV resistant. Generally the UVR ones are black. Exposed to sunlight, the non-UVR versions will break in just a few months.
  9. N1ESE

    N1ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, these are probably not UV resistant but they are all I have at the moment. I need to make do with what I have according to the YL. *grin*

    This will hopefully only be a temporary antenna. I will pull it down in a few months and see how they are holding up and replace if necessary.
  10. K3STX

    K3STX Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, I'll play the fool and say "I don't get it." If you want to do it for fun, I can see it, but are you somehow doing this because you think it will be superior to the dirt cheap window line that is commercially available?

    To put on wrap-ties that will disintegrate in a year and then replace the whole thing with 200 more wrap-ties that are UV resistant sounds like a masochist to me.

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