Making Wire Antenna Insulators

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KC8VWM, Oct 31, 2017.

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  1. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tip for making your own abundant supply of wire antenna insulators on the cheap.


    A package of 5 count 18" long, 1/2" wide zip ties cost $1.44.

    Each individual zip tie makes 10 antenna insulators.


    Simply cut and drill. These are UV resistant, lightweight and super strong.

    Now you know. :)
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
    AK5B, N0TZU and W4CDO like this.
  2. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page


    Have you tested those at 5 kW to see if they arc over ? :D
    AK5B and KC8VWM like this.
  3. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a novel idea. Great for portable light duty wire antennas.
    Most of my portable antennas are built with either #18 or #20 wire. They are small enough to carry in my pocket. These insulators are small enough to keep the overall package size down.
    KC8VWM likes this.
  4. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another clever tip brought to you by the Field Research Division of VWM Industries. Just plain cool! (even though it has been done before in various iterations by many of us frugal old-timers).

    I wonder if this is a teaser for the pending commercial release of that ultra-nifty stackable VWMI insulator that the SO-239 is mounted on? If so, it behooves us to get our pre-orders in ASAP; we can expect an Elecraft-like stampede to follow...
    KC8VWM likes this.
  5. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thriftiness and ingenuity are hallmarks of hams. However these flat insulators provide limited protection from shorting and current leakage due to dirty, contaminated or wet surfaces. The resulting problems can include overheating and failure of insulators, corona discharge, , current leakage, Impedance/VSWR change, signal distortion and fires.

    Remember that voltages at the ends of antennas can reach a thousand volts or more with basic 100W transmitters. QRO operators can regale us with the problems that high power creates.
    Ridges on insulators create convoluted paths many times longer than on flat surfaces, increasing resistance.
    Insulator Short.jpg Insulator Long.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
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  6. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    Egg insulators are stronger due to compression forces and protect against antenna dropping to the ground if the insulator itself cracks.
    Insulator Egg.jpg

    Finally, here are some field expedient insulators when you 'Must make that contact!".
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
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  7. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The thin antenna wire melted away like a blown fuse and yet these miraculous zip tie antenna insulators were found still tied to the charred remains of the antenna wire laying on the ground as a testament how well they had survived. :p
    KG5IGJ, KA9JLM and AK5B like this.
  8. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    In high school, I used pieces of plastic coated clothes line rope for insulators. The rope was designed to be used outside for years. There was some sort of fiber inside the plastic outer covering that was very strong.

    I would just take a piece about a foot long, tie a knot in each end, and then wrap the wire around the rope a few times and then back on itself. The wire, wrapped around the rope, would be held in place by the knot. These insulators were crude, but they worked very well!

    Glen, K9STH
    KC8VWM likes this.
  9. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I haven't bothered with insulators on the end of my dipoles for about 30 years . . .

    As I use various plastic string on the ends, there seems to be no difference with any insulators (even when wet) . . . so I don't bother, as they just add more weight and are visibly obtrusive!

    Roger G3YRO
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  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actual high quality porcelain (ceramic) insulators are cheap.

    I use those.

    Tie-wraps here, including the "UV resistant!" ones, last about a year or two before they fall apart in the L.A. sunshine.

    In some places, they may last a lot longer.
    N8XTH and WA7PRC like this.

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