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Dipole wire: insulated -vs- noninsulated


Robb

Yup
Dec 18, 2008
11,433
3,579
323
Silicon Valley CA, Storm Lake IA
The strength of any line strung up weakens as it is longer. Solid copper would be OK for distances less than 20-30 ft. BTW-You only need less than 20 ft for a 1/2 wave/CB band dipole. Stranded copper w/plating is good for a longer distance. Stainless steel braided would be best for really long runs for dipole construction.

It is the suspended weight vs length that will be responsible for sag. All of those materials are excellent for conducting.

The outside insulating material isn't an important consideration. Except for copper wire - the insulation will keep off the corrosion off for awhile. Copper is both soft and will corrode - but is the best conductor. Stainless steel won't have a corrosion problem - probably the better choice for that reason. You can also keep stainless steel tighter and straighter and with less sag. Sag isn't really an issue, but it is best to keep it as straight and flat as you can for a slightly better radiation pattern.

Two cents worth...
 

Wire Weasel

Senior Moment
Dec 13, 2008
2,933
566
223
You can use practically any wire for antennas. Anything that will conduct electricity is fair game. Guys have connected feedline to their metal raingutters and, with the help of an antenna tuner to match the impedance & capacitance, have created a transmitting antenna that way.

The hams use (me included) 14 gauge copperweld, stranded, uninsulated wire. It is stronger than regular electrical wire and can take more punishment. This is what they will have for sale at the ham stores and places like The Wireman.

Uninsulated wire is also stealthy. It will quickly tarnish and turn a dull brown which will become practically invisible at any distance. You can have this tarnished wire strung up in your yard and someone driving or walking by will never notice it.

So if you use insulated wire, you have the visual aspects of the insulation to deal with. Black may be the most concealable and you can find roll-wire in brown insulation which might be better.

Otherwise, the main drawback to insulation is the added weight. You should keep in mind winter icing ect....the more weight you have strung up, the more likely it might come down in a storm and the heavier duty your connection points need to be to support the weight.

Good luck

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Quiksilver

Active Member
Oct 23, 2006
386
20
28
Washington State, USA
Thanks gang!
I'll be installing a 6M & 11M dipole in my attic. Iv'e had pretty good results with the Alpha-Delta DX-EE mult-band parallel in the attic, so I'll try do the same with these two. I wonder if I'll get better results with an inverted V for the 11M. I don't think I can acheive a 45* angle, but it might be close. I have my handy ARRL wire antenna book for ideas.
Thanks again!
 

C2

Sr. Member
Aug 3, 2005
2,408
77
158
You should really try to get them above the roof. Inverted Vs are somewhat concealed above the roof.
 

W5LZ

Crotchety Old Bastard
Apr 8, 2005
6,832
833
173
Oklahoma
Very simply, it doesn't make a lot of difference. There are 'pros/cons' for either, probably the two most common 'pros' are availability and cost. After that, it's more a matter of whatever you have enough of to do what you want.
- 'Doc
 

WX2MIG

Still Alive & Well
Dec 10, 2008
730
4
28
39° 19' 23" N X 74° 36' 30" W
I've got wire dipoles strung up all over my property, and they are made from whatever wire I could get my hands on free of charge.
My 40 meter dipole uses solid copper that I stripped from @12-2 electric cable.
My 20 meter dipole, and 80 meter random wire antennas are made from 10 gauge extension cord stripped down to single conductor lengths. All my wire antennas have the insulation on them, I save the bare copper for grounding wire.
My next antenna project will probably be a 10 meter dipole, and I still have wire left over from that 10 gauge extension cord that I will use.....
 

Lazybones1222

W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Apr 6, 2005
948
23
28
Tampa Bay Florida
You can get a 500 ft roll of insulated stranded 12 or 14 gauge wire for around $45 at home depot or lowes and have at it. Best bang for your buck, and it will last you a long while.

The differences are fine for arguing about, but in the real world, it all works. My wife has a little sag, but she still works. hehe
 

mackmobile43

Jock Supporter
Feb 11, 2008
6,697
400
0
You can get a 500 ft roll of insulated stranded 12 or 14 gauge wire for around $45 at home depot or lowes and have at it. Best bang for your buck, and it will last you a long while.

The differences are fine for arguing about, but in the real world, it all works. My wife has a little sag, but she still works. hehe
That's a dangerous thing to post, what if it got back to her? keekles
 

Newbie solar guy

New Member
Jul 12, 2022
41
15
8
59
Thanks gang!
I'll be installing a 6M & 11M dipole in my attic. Iv'e had pretty good results with the Alpha-Delta DX-EE mult-band parallel in the attic, so I'll try do the same with these two. I wonder if I'll get better results with an inverted V for the 11M. I don't think I can acheive a 45* angle, but it might be close. I have my handy ARRL wire antenna book for ideas.
Thanks again!
Did it work? I'm asking in my own post about inverted V dipole. Is 130°better.i read it is. Anything larger than 90°is what I read. Any truth to that? Thanks for sharing
 

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