ANTENNA WIRE

 

WIRE SIZE IS VERY IMPORTANT.

 

If you read most books on antenna theory,

you get the impression that the thicker the wire is,

the better it will be for performance.  

 

 

A thick wire is always better than a thin wire.  

 

 

FACT IS:  THIS IS NOT A TRUE STATEMENT!

 

 

  

If you continue reading in the antenna book, you will also read that "height" is important for good performance with horizontal wires, such as dipoles,   AND  "length" (again height) is also important for good performance from vertical antennas on the low bands.

 

Using a fiberglass pole helps us get exteded heights for our wire antennas, without having to spend a fortune on the pole or mast.  However if the wire we are using is too heavy (too thick), we risk breaking the pole.

 

SO THE REAL QUESTION IS, WHICH IS BETTER?  MORE HEIGHT OR THICKER WIRE?

 

The ANSWER is:  More Height . . . as long as the wire is not too thin.  

 

This is a rare case where a compromise turns out to be the very best solution!

 

 

Spiderbeam, one of the industry's leaders in providing wire antenna solutions for use with fiberglass poles, recommends two wire sizes for use with its poles:  AWG-18 and AWG-26.

 

In general AWG-18 is preferred, but when used as Top-Hat wires where the wire attaches horizontally or diagonally to the top (thin part) of the pole, Spiderbeam recommends AWG-26.

 


The table on the right shows the typical weights of various sizes of hard-drawn copper and copper clad (Copperweld) wire.  

 

The weights shown are for bare wire, not for insulted wire.  If you add insulation, it increases the weight slightly, but the relation of weight to wire size remains the same.

 

Spiderbeam recommends AWG-18 for normal use and AWG-26 for Top-Hat wires on wire verticals.

 

You often see AWG-12 recommended in text books. As you see, it weighs 4x as much as AWG-18.

 

When a horizontal wire is attached near the top of a lightweight telescoping fiberglass pole, the problem of weight is compounded by the force from the leverage that the long wire asserts on the pole.

 

CHOOSING THE WRONG WIRE

CAN LEAD TO BREAKAGE OF THE POLE.