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Common tool for making radial slots ?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K4TQF, Oct 29, 2017.

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  1. K4TQF

    K4TQF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any suggestions for a readily available tool for making slots in the ground for radials?

    TNX, Durff, K4TQF
  2. W5WN

    W5WN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use an inexpensine manually powered sidewalk edger. Slip the wire in the groove made and tamp it down with your foot. I've installed thousands of feet of radial wires using this method.
    KD8ZMN and ND6M like this.
  3. KD8OSD

    KD8OSD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Pizza cutter?
    K1ZJH likes this.
  4. N5PAC

    N5PAC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Gas lawn edger........
    Buy a garden hoe, use heat (torch) straighten out arm......apply your boot size,
    continue until satisfactory results are achieved.
  5. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mow close, pin the wire to the ground with landsape staples, no need to bury, in a month the wires will disaappear under the grass.
    KJ4AQL, WD4ED, W3MMM and 3 others like this.
  6. W5WN

    W5WN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    But the wires are a tripping hazard until grass grows over it. Also, that doesn't work well in shady areas where grass may noy be thick or even grow at all.
    K9ASE likes this.
  7. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Manual lawn edger (link) to cut slit, a piece of 1x4 to push the wire down. Once you get into a rhythm it doesn't take long.

    Depends on how well it's stapled down and how flat the lawn is.

    For my radial field for HF2V vertical I slit and buried the first batch of radials (16) but found a lot of tree roots in the way and had to pin wires down on either side of those, and in some cases had to go above ground for larger surface roots.

    I added some more radials later (24, for a total of 40) and just pinned them down. Probably took about 100 pins. Putting the pins where the lawn dips, and avoiding slack in the wire, it worked out OK. No trip hazard and no problem mowing (if you're mowing your lawn so close that pinned-down radials would get caught up in the mower, then you're mowing way too low and you probably don't have much of a lawn anyway)

    I had to take that whole radial field up last fall, for lawn renovation, so the wire wouldn't gum up their machines. By then all of the wires, whether initially buried or just pinned down, had become overgrown with roots and it was not easy getting them out. And it was a hassle pulling up all those pins. Once they start to rust, they stick in there pretty good.

    For anyone who might be interested in details: Radials were 14 gage house wiring. Solid (stays in place better than stranded - stranded can be kind of springy). Insulated. Mostly black insulation (the green actually stands out more than the black). Lengths ranged from 20 feet to over 60 feet depending on distance to property lines. Some were "bent" around the corners of the house. This radial field was in place for over 9 years. The only maintenance was to inspect the connections at the base of the antenna once or twice a year.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    KC3BZJ likes this.
  8. KQ9J

    KQ9J Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Did the gas edger thing once. Never again. Stapling them down is the only way to go.
    KK5JY likes this.
  9. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I tried a pizza cutter, and I think the ground has to be moist for it to work well. Fair amount of work. I wound up buying wire and cutting to 3" or so lengths, quick bend and voila! radial staple.

    Where I put down radials the ground is more mossy than grass (shaded) and as such it took a few years for the radials+staples to disappear out of sight. Still have a few flapping around that I need to refix.
  10. W5WN

    W5WN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    A gas edger is overkill. It leaves a mess and too wide of a slit. A manual edger can leave a narrower slit because you have control of the amount of power used to make it. The blade on my manual edger is also narrower than on my gas edger.

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