Light, stiff wire for capacitance hat?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by N0FN, Nov 22, 2019.

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  1. N0FN

    N0FN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am putting together a pedestrian mobile rig using a backpack frame and about nine feet of a Sotabeams fiberglass mast. I'd like to add a capacitance hat to the top of the antenna for improved efficiency, but the thin, bendy mast makes me want a very light, yet somewhat rigid wire to make it out of.

    What would you suggest to use for this? Coat hanger is the most obvious choice, but it seems much more heavy duty than necessary. Are there tiny aluminum rods? Hard copper or steel wire? What is out there that I haven't even thought of?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.

    -Neil N0FN
  2. W9KEY

    W9KEY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not sure exactly where to buy it, but I immediately thought of piano wire.
    It's available in many diameters and the thicker ones should be stiff enough to be somewhat self supporting.

    But after being cut, the ends would be incredibly sharp.
    Pretty dangerous for a pedestrian mobile application unless some attention was given to protecting people's eyes from those wire ends!
  3. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd use solid copper wire stiffened by twisting with a drill and a vise; the same could be done with aluminum wire (but would be difficult to solder).

    Also, Ace Hardware sells thin-gauge alu tubing that is very light weight. Put some ping-pong balls or bits of foam/plastic/wood/whatever on the ends so you don't poke anyone in the eye(s).



    (check out my "Crazy about cap hats!" thread posted recently for some heavy-duty versions, too; might give you more food for thought)
  4. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Aluminum electric fence wire comes to mind.

    KK5JY likes this.
  5. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think
    I think you'd like something like this
  6. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welding rods/wire?
    AG5CK, KK5JY and AB2YC like this.
  7. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    PS: Walmart sells rolls of alu wire in their picture hanger section @$3 roll for plenty of 16 ga.
    KE0EYJ and KK5JY like this.
  8. N0FN

    N0FN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sure is cheap and ubiquitous, but is it stiff enough to support itself as a ring 8-12" in radius? (I honestly can't remember what it's like before it's a fence.)
  9. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's kind of a tiny cap hat. What band(s) do you you plan on using?
  10. KH6AQ

    KH6AQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Piano" wire available at hobby shops. It's thin, stiff and doesn't deform easily. It comes in 36" lengths and can be cut by filing a notch and bending it so it breaks. Plastic beads can be epoxied on the ends for safety. I've made top hats with it.
    W9KEY likes this.

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