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copper vs. aluminum

Discussion in 'CB Antennas' started by BOOTY MONSTER, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. was at lowes yesterday looking at copper pipe for antenna use . a guy that does electrical work said not to use copper for an antenna because it attracts lighting much more than aluminum because its much more electrically conductive . he said thats why copper is used for ground rods and lightning rods and ground wires .

    now i know most wire antenas are copper and folks dont complain about lightning hitting them . BUT . when i think about how folks always say the antron 99 and imax2k attract a lot of lightning what he said does make sense because they are copper antennas (copper wire inside the fiberglass rods) . ive also read of folks suggesting that the fiberglass collects a static charge and thats what causes static and lightning strikes .

    so was this guy onto something ?


     
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  2. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    Lightning doesn't work that way. It will go after aluminum as fast as it will go after copper. Taller objects are more of an attraction than shorter ones. This is not where one should be looking to find fault...

    But what really makes a difference - is the voltage potential in the ground/surface of the Earth. Some areas will be 'hotter' and attract lightning other than another spot will. You can have a car dealrship full of cars, but the bolt will strike behind the dealership in an open filed. Why? One must remember that there are both negative and positive charged ions in a storm cloud; often they will discharge within themselves and throw the accumulation down to a strong built-up electrical field near the surface of the ground. Which is random and hot spots can vary for numbers of different reasons.

    If you are near/in a thunderstorm, and the hairs on your arms or head should raise up, a ground field is rising rapidly and you are now in great danger. This can also occur indoors as well; keep away from any appliance or plumbing. That is the only warning you may get.

    As far as your system goes - make sure that you have a solid grounding rod(s) and your masting is well grounded if you live in a lightning-prone area. Even if it means digging up the soil and putting scrap lengths of long wires attached to your main ground rod. Grounding your radio gear to the same place is also recommended. It won't save your equipment; but it will help prevent a fire if most of the energy can be directed into your ground system. Hams are told to disconnect all of their equipment from the power source and disconnect all antenna/coax well before the storm arrives.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 9, 2009
  3. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur Staff Member

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    Believe it or not but at the same height a single verticle antenna is more likely to be struck by lightning than a huge multi element yagi. WHY?? Because the verticle has only one point to bleed of a static buildup whereas a multi element beam has many.each element tip will bleed of static before it builds to the point to flash over.Copper versus aluminum has NOTHING to do with it.
     
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  4. thanks guys . this must be my thing to learn today . ;)
     
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  5. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    Yes, there is a difference between the conductivity of copper and other metals. Just like there is a difference in atmospheric density. That atmospheric density doesn't make a huge difference in how hard it is to breath until it gets to a real extreme. The conductivity of whatever an antenna is made of has about the same range, amounts to about the same thing, doesn't really make much difference until you get to an extreme. The 'extreme' in either of those two thingys isn't exactly all that common. I just don't think I (or you) am/are very likely to have a huge problem in either case, unless you deal in rarities. (I just don't have enough gold/silver/platinum wire to make an antenna. Wish I did! I'd sell it!! :) )
    Conductivity just isn't a characteristic that's very important for antenna making if you consider it in relation to a metal's other characteristics, such as weight, strength, malleability, and cost(?), etc. In general, it ranks right up/down there with the color of socks you are wearing while doing that antenna making. Hmm. Then again, considering 'current' styles, paint colored dots on your bare feet with magic markers?
    - 'Doc

    (ALL puns intended)
     
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  6. Beetle

    Beetle Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't worry about making an antenna out of platinum wire. The top five elements in electrical conductivity are silver, copper, gold, aluminum and beryllium. Platinum is #23.
     
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  7. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    :)
    I've got about as much chance of making an antenna out of beryllium as I do platinum, all things considered. Then again, all donations greatfully accepted!
    - 'Doc

    especially the gold and silver. The silver may be in the form of coins, I don't care.
     
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  8. Cat Driver

    Cat Driver Active Member

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    Lightning will strike cars also, an they are setting on 4 rubber tires....


    Ron
     
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  9. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    Funny story about that.
    I know of a storm chaser whose vehicle was struck by lightning while rolling down the road. It fried all of his Ham radio gear, melted the antenna, and flattened all four tires. It seems that the lightning went thru the wheels and exited thru the tire. Four neat holes and wasted radio gear. It's on YouTube somewhere, as he caught the whole event on video.
     
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  10. Cat Driver

    Cat Driver Active Member

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    People think they are safe in a car. After lightning makes it's way through a 1/2 mile of air, an inch or so of rubber isn't about to stop it...:D


    Ron
    ol'fart
     
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  11. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur Staff Member

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    But the occupents inside the car ARE safe if they get hit. The metal shell of the car acts as a faraday cage. Faraday cage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  12. Cat Driver

    Cat Driver Active Member

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    As long as they haven't got hold of a metal door knob or something like that. :cry:


    Ron
     
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  13. how about one of those chrome mics with the metal cord !!!
     
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  14. ron103067

    ron103067 Active Member

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    Then you get the funny looking hair that you don't want If one of or dump trucks at work hits an electric line all 18 wheels need to be changed cause the elctricity goes out thru the rims and it heats up the rims and makes them junk. just figure 18 alunimum wheels and tires, anyways we had a guy raise his bed into a power line and was ok till he got out and went back and touched the bed killed instantly so it doesn't matter what metal electricity will travel down it. When it is your time it is your time.
     
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  15. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur Staff Member

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    Notice it all starts at the stabilizers which are in contact with the ground.

    YouTube - Crane hits power line
     
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