Using train tracks as an antenna

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KC0BUS, Aug 3, 2015.

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  1. KC0BUS

    KC0BUS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Could train tracks be used as an antenna if I hooked up my transmitter to it and tuned it properly? Having an antenna that is hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles long might work well on 160 meter band....
  2. G4LNA

    G4LNA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know about the railroads in the US but in the UK the track is insulated every so often for signalling purposes as the train moves from section to section, which will indicate on the controllers board or operating the automatic signalling system. I don't think I would like to pump RF along the track, there's no telling what it might do to the signalling equipment!
  3. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    US grade american rail has a characteristic impedance of around 700 ohms when fed as a transmission line. I was able to confirm this with a General Radio R.X. bridge on an abandoned section of rail. :)
  4. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    There are a lot of abandoned rails around here. Still, I'd not want to do it unless I had written permission from whomever owns them. Same goes with abandoned electric transmission and phone wires. There are a lot of opportunities for disaster.
  5. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    How much track do you have on your property ?

    You may need to see the HAM doctor if you think you can use a live track.

    No wonder the crossing lights are not working.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  7. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Two questions...

    1) Some RRs use the tracks as a closed-circuit communications system. They might be very unhappy if your signals blew-out the front end of their systems, and you'd be unhappy if their signals did the same thing to your equipment.

    2) there would be high voltage points on the tracks as a result of your signals--how would you protect against someone, perhaps a child being zapped while playing around on and around the tracks?
  8. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Guess you could call it a Ground Train antenna.
    W4IOA likes this.
  9. WA4ILH

    WA4ILH Subscriber QRZ Page

    This almost reminds me of the story many years ago about a guy who used an abandoned telegraph line as an antenna for 80 meters. If I recall correctly, when asked how long it was, he replied that he didn't really know but he knew it was at least 8 miles long minimum.
    Tom WA4ILH
  10. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have read stories about Hams who have loaded up bridges as an antenna. Seems like train tracks would be a little low to the ground. but if U put enough RF into something, U can get out ! HOW well is another story. but it will work! LOOK! I am pumping a KILLERWATT into a KT34 with a 5 to 1 SWR, no resonance anywhere near the Ham bands, and I still work LOTSA DX! (knocked off the a clean sweep on the 13 Colonies Event from the FAR WEST COAST!!) So, ANYTHING will work if U pump enough RF into it. I reccomend a KILLERWATT and a GREAT TUNER!

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