Should I use Steel or Copper Antenna Wire for my Ham Radio wire Aerials?

Should I use Steel or Copper Antenna Wire for my Ham Radio wire Aerials?


what antenna wire do we use so I got a
bit of a treat for you tonight and that I’ve been sent some really cool wire by
a manufacturer I’ve just got a quote in for some other
wire because I’m using the opportunity this year of of changing the wire that gets shipped with DX Commander .. but a lot of us are interesting
building wire aerials anyway are we okay so we’re always into what is a good
economic piece of wire that does the job alright because I think sometimes we’re
all sold a bit of bullshit frankly .. now this is copper wire probably er.. a
hundred percent copper I think it’s been hard drawn it’s got a
lacquer, a varnish on the outside so it’s suitable for windings and things like
that and to solder it obviously you’d get your own well, lost my knife! Either
scrape or sandpaper all the varnish off so you can then do some work and and put it on a connector and that stuff because remember once out in the field I forgot
to do that and of course it wouldn’t work! So that’s copper wire .. now we made our mega loop with that so that was nearly 160 meters of wire at 60 feet
above the ground under fairly high tension never stretched
I bought a reel of that must have weighed 15 kilos 30 pounds or whatever
it is I got it for pennies because the guy was selling it under you know the
wrong category on eBay under socks or something large real of
copper wire I just I didn’t I just thought I’d buy it he said it was very
heavy and it was and James and I have made that many aerials out of this stuff
it’s unbelievable however it has a bit of a memory well complete memory so no spring to it so you bend it up and it stays there and if you accidentally in
the field getting a bit of a tangle it can get really messy really quickly and
you’re spending for ever trying to.. get this you know
straighten it back out again sorry about that was that the microphone
very nice and it joins marvellously .. you can do an AT&T Wireman’s join on that which
I’ll show you the end.. OK, er.. this is standard well actually this is marine not automotive but presumably is the same coppeerm.. r stranded wire so if we get our wire stripper out standard copper wire I don’t know how many strands are in there 17.. 22 I something .. there’s standard to it very very expensive and I
use this in fact that it’s big brother for the SO239 assemblies now any
copper wire would do for a wire aerial if you’ve got a wire aerial it you know
a hundred feet and it’s the sort of thing that is gonna be very difficult to
maintain maybe not use that maybe use a heavy piece of copper or something but
any old house wiring you can strip down and make dipoles from okay
so that’s fine however the fly in the ointment is this so this is steel wire
coated in a clear PVC it’s very nice it’s quite weird to cut listen to this and in fact has it gone through because
it’s steel .. Oh! SO if you were cutting and doing stuff with that all day you would soon
blunt your tools however if moisture got in the end that
would start to rust remember so you would have to coat it with one of those
little and it’s like a heat shrink ferrule that goes on the end
lovely wire but it’s steel now and it would be very strong I don’t know what
steel is in terms of its RF performance good bad I did some eHam searches
steel or copper wire for my long wire aerial or
whatever the some ole boys have been using steel wire for years now maybe
there’s some loss maybe there’s not loss I honestly don’t know I’m going off this
one though because it’s expensive well saying that how much was this I bought
like 20 miles I got it down to ten or eleven pence a meter however buying 30
miles that’s 50 kilometers I can get this down to nearly 12 pence per metre. now some of you out there is gonna go oh not you and your bloody D10 again so
these D10 wire it normally comes twisted together but I can buy it on a 2000
meter roll which is just over a mile isn’t it 2000 meter roll single cord
like this and it has seven wires inside it it’s got a bit of a memory but not
terribly if you know what I mean and it is very very durable so I’ve had my dipole
of the farms been up nearly five years no taking it down never done anything, won’t break because you’ve got four steel and three copper wires in here and the steel
is coated it’s like tinned you’ve got to remember the RF flows on the outside of our wire that steel isn’t even galvanized it’s just steel so if I open this up so
if I just bend this a few times we should see okay so I’ve got my copper
wires which I’ve bent down not I want three ones right for copper and three
steel it turns out you can probably hardly see that and the resistance over
one mile is 88 ohms DC I don’t know a difference between that and AC RF
performance but I’ve spoken to people in the “know” and they said Callum that’s fine it does twist okay and it’s solders beautifully so that’s D10 and
for bought in single strand the factory said they’ll call it DX10 which I thought was very cool.. Erm.. just because if you’ve used it when you’re on Salisbury Plain chaps in
the military doesn’t mean to say it’s not good it’s lovely great aerial wisre
extremely strong last you your life you know I was gonna show you something oh yes a Wireman’s join an AT&T Wireman’s Join .. and my dad taught me this join
and in fact he didn’t even know it had a name
I mentioned it to him before he passed away and as far as he was concerned was
the most practical way of joining any two wires so I’m just gonna show you
hopefully in this camera here and you can see it so let’s just cut the bottom
of this so I’ve got my two wires okay two wires what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna join
them so you’re gonna fold one that way and I’m gonna fold the other backwards
so I’ve got the beginning of my join now and then you wrap it really tightly over
and over and over and you can see you’ve got this lovely .. looks like you’re
making a spring and will chop off the ends I’ll show this to the camera and there
it is an AT&T Wiremans’s Join apparently um I don’t know if it was invented by them
but I’ve found some articles and instruction manuals on the internet how
to do a Wireman’s Join the thing is it is actually very strong and if you’re doing
it with stranded wire, tin the wire first with your soldering iron, do you’re
Wireman’s Join put your shrink wrap over the top
I love glue lined heat shrink because water doesn’t get in and then you’re
almost back to the same strength this was a minute ago .. do you steel or copper?
I don’t know I’m actually asking you what do you think I’m worried about
steel rusting to be honest with you and and some copper wire is very expensive
but the bottom line is if you are after a little bit of .. a little bit of
knowledge I’ve used anything and frankly they’ve all worked .. so if you’ve
enjoyed my content by all means feel free to hit the subscribe button
assuming I’ve earned that and a like / thumbs up would go down very well with
the YouTube algorithm I’ll see you on the next show
my name is Callum from DXCommander have a very good day and enjoy your radio all
the best!

100 Comments

  1. Another good one to add to the think box… For me, copper is the best idea. I just think that the steel will get rusty and then messy to work with. Thanks Callum, -73- W1KPS

  2. Found you today through a comment you made a year ago on a bee keeping video of all things ;D Glad I did! Have always been interested in HAM radio.

  3. One can also use the aluminium fence wire. The 1.8 mm diameter one has got a resistance of 0.015 Ohm and a breaking strength of 75 KG. Very good against corrosion.

  4. Stainless Steel MIG Wire I hear is good for antennas. I have not tried it. They say is harder and will not rust or stretch much. I may give it a try and see what happens. MIG wire is bare wire.

  5. Solid 12 AWG copper is best for the actual driving and radial elements of an antenna above 450 MHz, I have made several UHF, for the GMRS band in the US – 462 / 467 MHz -, 1/4 wave ground plane antennas with it and I think I still have a video up that is of a prototype design.. I have since improved on it and the SWR remains pretty flat @ 50 watts

  6. Here's my take: you are experimenting with wire antennas. Why buy ultra expensive flexiweave or automotive ultra fast stuff! Shit is good, you're probably going to throw it away anyway. Cheaper the better. Something that doesn't get tangled to much. D10 = bloody marvelous. 73 de M0CUK & enjoy your radio!

  7. My say is stick with D-10. I bought some here in the U.S. It seems to be just the thing to use. I find it on Military surplus sites. I think it will work fine.I would leave it as a twin lead if I had to string up several hundred feet for a long wire antenna. For your fan vertical, it works for you, it will work for me when the shipment comes.

  8. I use to use old telephone wire, some years ago a lot of telephone wires were replaced with underground cable's. I knew some people that worked there and I got my hands on quite a lot of it.

  9. bushcomm makes antennas out of Marine grade 304 stainless steel braided wire. dont know how well it does RF wise but man should It last forever and be strong. http://bushcomm-online.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/single-wire-systems/swc100s-23-132-detail.html?Itemid=0

  10. I learned that splice — called "serving" the wire — in a 60's vintage ARRL Handbook back when I was a kid. It's really strong, but the wire has to be ductile enough to wrap around itself well. I use it myself if I have to bend two wires together.

    I basically use any wire I have available. I've been using stranded copper with a silicone jacket lately, and it seems to work okay. What defeats it is what defeats any wire antenna — a bad ice storm. That's what killed most of my wire antennas, which is why I'm putting up an aluminum vertical this time. I still might get a DX Commander someday, but for now, I'm going to replace the broken-down wire antennas I have, set up this vertical against the house, and go with that for a while.

    I'm replacing my OCF dipole with a W3EDP EFHW. I hope it isn't the feedline, but if it is, I'll replace that, too. I'm going with an end-fed because there really isn't a good place to anchor the short end in the front yard anymore. The tree I'd use for it fell over — you guessed it — in an ice storm last year. So I'm going to try to restrict myself to antennas I can reasonably set up over the back yard, which is four or five times as deep as the front yard. I could set up an end-fed 160m wire out the back, but I don't use 160 enough to need it.

  11. What to use for antenna wire? I could say that is like opening a can of worms, but it is more like a bucket full! I generally use whatever I can cadge. I have tried 1.6 mm aluminium mig welding wire, very brittle and not too strong. Steel mig wire which is copper coated is good for permanent installations but tangles easily. I use electric fence cord for kites, this is a mixture of nylon cord with stainless steel and copper strands, incredibly strong stuff. Cheap speaker wire makes nice doublets for portable use. My latest fad is the Kevlar reinforced wire often used by the army, quite expensive, but bloody strong. For vhf and uhf I have even used brazing rods of various diameter, this is good for mobile antennas.
    Just my 2p worth. Keep up the good work. Trevor

  12. The problem with steel is predicting it's RF characteristics. Because it's a ferrous material you introduce a lot of magnetic field interactions when you start running any kind of AC current through it. It might be great, it might be terrible. Depends on the exact composition of the steel, and the frequencies/power levels at play. Now if you can find some non-magnetic stainless steel you have a winner – just ask anyone with a mobile whip antenna 🙂 Copper clad steel is the good stuff. Strong as steel, but behaves the same as 100% copper because of skin effect.

  13. Well, using D10 or its Russian alternative, whichever is faster and easier to get. Mostly for portable antennae experiments and field days or activations. Strong wire and , what is most important, it lasts forever:)

  14. I've used steel antennas and have not loss but did experience more static and interference under certain conditions…. But there are some I've seen videos about prefer copper over steel.

  15. Steel will usually begin to corrode (rust) fairly rapidly when exposed to air and moisture. Copper will also corrode, but forms an oxide on it's outer skin that stops further corrosion. Steel is strong and doesn't have much stretch, whereas copper will stretch to some degree.

    I know of people who have used steel multi-strand wire for antennas for years. But they made sure to coat any exposed wire to prevent corrosion. Myself, I have used copper/steel multi-strand wire for antennas, 4 strands with 3 strands steel in the center. Works great with no stretch.
    Moe k2JDM

  16. I prefer copper for its conductivity. I would bet the VF of steel wire may change the required length need for frequency resonances?
    More of a copper pipe fan myself. I've built dipoles and Moxons out of it. Very wide banded and hold up on their own, with a good boom attachment. Albeit not in the realm of economical for some.

  17. Always enjoy your content. Copper would be my choice. DX10 for you 500 poles and you new special one. Take care of your owie on you thumb.

  18. Copper is better but depends on the length of wire as steel is longer but the velocity factor is different between steel and copper so the equations needed have to be adjusted. Thank you for your uploads theyre brill. Gareth de 2E0BKW

  19. I've just bought 100 metres of 32×0.020 automotive wire to build a DX Commander from Callum's spares kit as I already had the pole. Looking forward to building it and see how it performs. The velocity ratio is 97% so I'll have to cut it a bit longer than for D10.

  20. I'd stick with copper. D10 is perfect for the DX Commander antenna(s)… in my opinion.
    I use 26 gauge "Silky" wire for my portable antenna…. thin, tough and lightweight plus it never tangles or kinks.
    I've used electric "horse fence" for dipole antennas… it's a tape about 2 inches wide with several strands of stainless steel wire woven into the plastic mesh. They work very very well…. and they are a great conversation starter at Field Day.

  21. I wondered about your D10 with it's steel and copper strands, and different resistance and velocity factor of each metal. But now you explain the steel is tinned, that changes things doesn't it? In the US we have a National Electrical Code (NEC 810-52) for our antennas requiring us to use #14 gauge hard drawn copper or copper clad steel. I assume that's for permanent installations, and not for field day or weekender temporary jobs. Of course stealth antennas are going to be quite different, and who knows what they're made of. I'll let you know when I am fully compliant with all those NEC 810 codes.

  22. I use multi-strand 2.5mm conduit cable (copper). Had a fan dipole made from the stuff, been up in the air since 2014, still there.

  23. i believe zinc or galvanised stuff has the same RF properties as aluminum …good but not as good as copper …so if your wire was galvanised steel it will be fine

  24. Use the best one… U can afford… Don't compromise on quality…. It's pocket change in diffrent. BUT try new ways to get the same result whit cheaper stuff.
    In the end its only whiskey and bananas… Have a amazing weekend.

  25. I've even used electric fencing wire and there's two different types I've used. One was galvanised steel and the other nylon with thin stainless steel filaments running through it. It obviously conducts well cos the farmers run miles of the stuff. Both antenna's worked superbly well.

  26. For my lite weight and portable antennas including one like your DX Commander lite, I have actually been using copper clad aluminum speaker wire 18 awg and it works great even a 40-6m EFHW. It helps with the lite weight 10m poles and not putting as much stress on the tip. I think of the ones you mentioned what ever you get best price on.

  27. All mobile VHF/UHF antennas are made of steel (stainless steel actually). The whip of my 7 bands HF/6m mobile antenna is made of (stainless) steel.
    In fact, steel is already widely used for commercial antennas…

  28. When I was in high school in Canada in the 1970's, the joint you showed today was know as a Western Union Joint. Named from the telegraph era so probably Western Union Vs AT&T names from one country to another perhaps..

  29. Hi Callum,

    Consider this: as you are talking about cost, consider ALL of the costs! [Edit: or rather cost differences!]

    Yes, CU may cost more per foot; however, will that cost be offset by the added shipping costs from the added weight of the steel wire? I don't know, take the wire you use now in the DX Comm. Kits, weigh the wire… Then make up the same length of the other types & weigh them, then see if the added weight of the steel adds to the shipping costs, ESPECIALLY for the out-country/overseas shipping!

    You also have to consider the costs of the added wear & tear on the tools used to cut the steel stuff! Etc.

    I am curious of how they prevent dis-similar metal corrosion on that D10 wire. Especially at anything soldered?

    73 John

  30. D10 or Copper all the way, the great thing about enamelled Cooper is that it is almost invisible as a long wire/Dipole. As for the D10 perfect for the verticals and grown pains

  31. For broadcast MF and HF antennas we use 3mm 7×12 phosphor-bronze wire. That’s 7 bundles of 12 strands, twisted. Tot dia 3mm (although it’s actually about 5). Very conductive, doesn’t stretch.
    But for ham use your D10 is perfect for anything under tension. For the DX Commander, where the wire isn’t under much tension, standard 1.5-sq single pvc ‘panel’ wire is fine. That the stuff you get from the electrical wholesalers.
    It’s soft-drawn, so will stretch, but not if it’s loose like on the DXC.

  32. We always called that a telegraph splice.Good for electric fences as well. If done right, the wire will break before the joint unwinds. Very Strong. The steel wire would have a concern of corrosion for sure and the velocity factor is much different than copper.

  33. I use #12 thhn stranded. mainly because I have a boat load of it. I don't use solid copper wire because at any bend or soldered joint it will crystalize and break because of the flexing. copper wire will stretch over a period of time, has not been a problem for me. on a long run, 200ft. or more I would use copper clad steel. ( it's pretty small diameter) I prefer to use larger diameter wire because of the greater band width. Note, using blue colored insulation on the wire will not make your antenna invisible. your wife will still see it!!! (boy do I know that one!) It's an experiment honey, it's only temporary….. three years later………..
    Your doing a great job Callum! 73 om

  34. 1) The MOD source their antenna wire from Ormiston Wire Ltd UK.
    This antenna wire is tinned copper braid and has a Kevlar inner and UV outer.
    Comes in OD Green and Forest Green.

    https://www.ormiston-wire.co.uk/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=65

    This Ormiston MOD wire will not degrade, will not stretch and will not change its tune.

    2) The wire you showed as Marine wire was not tinned. Marine wiring is tinned and has finer more dens strands. It's obviously tinned for longevity in the salty environment.

    3) There is nothing wrong with galvanised or stainless wire for outdoor antenna use.  Regular steel wire rusts as you say so it's out. With Galvanised wire you simply spray or paint the connections with galvanising spray / paint.

    For permanent fixtures and installations most commercial, industrial and military wire antennae systems are stainless braid. Lasts forever.

    4) Buy the best. Buy British – Ormiston Wire UK Ltd.

    5) Also, I'd like to know what is happening with sending RF down a combined steel copper line. It obviously works alright but I wonder what the interactions are ? Spooky stuff.

    Another interesting video. Lots of questions. I like that 🙂

  35. For dipoles from 40m and up vericals and radials I generally use 13 strand copper speaker wire. It's nice and flexible and easy to untangle and reasonably light. For anything much longer with some tension on it like 80 or 160m dipoles which aren't supported at the feed point I don't think you can beat D10. I think if you can get D10 from the factory as a single wire and not new old stock twisted pair you'd make a fair bit just selling the wire by the meter because it's getting harder to get hold of in small quantities and the twisted pair stuff can be a real mare to unravel. Steel is great for tensile strength. Copper tends to work harden and become brittle at any point where it might flex in a breeze like at loading coils and traps. For long portable doublets I want to try making them out of speaker wire because it's so nice to work with especially for portable applications but use a long Paracord span for the tensile strength and maybe make up some clips to clip the wire to the rope at regular intervals so the rope takes the strain and both rope and copper will wind up on to a small plastic reel for transportation. For more permanent stuff where D10 isn't an option steel wire can be used in place of the rope and be part of the antenna and just add a bit of speaker wire to drive the resistance down.for a dx commander I don't think the tensile strength required is that high so I'd go with speaker wire if I made one myself

  36. Copper clad steel here (Wireman.com), I’ve had a 160 meter delta loop snagged by a backhoe- stopped the tractor, didn’t break the wire.

  37. Cal, Honestly i would stick with what has worked all along – D 10. Solid copper will over time become brittle, sure great stuff electrically.
    The key here is – for you – to get bang for dollar and performance – reputation rides on this choice correct ? If it's crap it reflects poorly upon you. Improvements over time – evolution – no pun. of the product is always a good thing, but it is price driven. Keep the price down and quality high. Wow Cal i think i find myself in the very same quandary as you…..Damn, not easy… sorry Cal.
    No magic here tonight sorry. I will think and search a bit…let you know. G'nite

  38. The Western Union or Lineman splice was developed during the introduction of the telegraph to mechanically and electrically connect wires that were subject to loading stress.

  39. You can model steel in MMana. It shortens the antenna in theory which is a loss of a little capture area. I have used "safety" wire, steel-based wire and it has worked just fine. Now, I live where 7 inches of rain a year is average. There are iron wires on fence posts that have been there since the 1850's or so. So you might as well ignore my opinion. 73 KD5KZL

  40. I've used poly coated copper clad steel for everything I've built for a long while. It is readily accessible and cheap. I have not seen steel and copper strands mixed like that. Stainless steel is weak by comparison, but it does not rust… Probably too expensive.

  41. In AM (MW) broadcast, we use steel towers, which of course are the radiators. But, they are large diameter legs and overall faces are minimally 2 feet and some are as wide as 12 feet. They radiate, but my guess is the resistance will differ with same lengths of silver or copper by comparison. Here is a good comparison of their conductivity.

    https://www.tibtech.com/conductivite.php?lang=en_US

  42. only thing I know about steel wire is that it's resistivity is a hell of a lot higher than copper. Not sure how it performs in comparison.

  43. Should I use Copper or Steel? YES! Copperweld is the PERFECT Wire! Skin Effect, good electrical AND physical contact with connectors, Strength, even Solderability! Doesn't sag! Maintaining proper resonant length!
    Lasts a LONG LONG time! Cuts easier than "plain" Steel. Very slow to rust, from the copper coating itself! And not NEARLY as expensive as "flexweave" and other Young Pretenders to the Radio Throne. EVERY property that you want in an Antenna Wire:
    Copperweld has got! So there you have it! Born in Pennsylvania in 1915, and "Incubated" in Warren, Ohio. Now a Chinese brand, but also made in the UK! Copperweld(tm)! Beware of cheap-assed imitations, and Bob's your Auntie! (Copperweld history via wikipedia… 😉

    73 DE W8LV BILL

  44. Enamelled copper wire gives me less losses than any other type… and is much easier than trying to cut through steel…. so my preference is ballanced feedline and copper radiator wire, generally

  45. I seem to be the only one that doesn't like the D10 wire that came with my DXC. That tells me I likely did something terribly wrong. I had a helluva time untwisting the strands and by the time I got it all separated, I had some kinks that have never come out of the wire elements. It may not have memory when wound around a spool, but if you put a kink in it, it's not coming out. This Spring I'm going to replace all the wire elements and radials with Polystealth 18AWG or Silky 18AWG. They are copper coated steel and I like the balance of strength and flexibility. If I were putting a loop or dipole in the air, the D10 would be great. But for an antenna I put up and take down a bunch of times I think the D10 is overkill. The wires on the DXC aren't under much stress and even the 80m inverted L element I use doesn't need much strength. I think offering the DX10 variant would be a nice upgrade, even if it costs a few more banahhhnas. K8MEJ

  46. I've used steel ( plastic covered ) washing line for a half wave inverted V antenna for 25 – 30 Mhz. I worked France, Belgium, Germany and ( nearly ) managed to get into Canada…then the station signed off :-/ Not so bad for an Albrecht 2990 handheld running 4 watts.

  47. Love your channel Great work. I use 2.5mm Stainless Steel wire 316 marine grade for my homemade 40/80 m dipole and it works well for me. VSWR stays consistent in wet or dry weather, been up over 12 months no issues, cheers.

  48. First antenna as an SWL in the 70's, was a 120ft inverted L, using 16 SWG hard drawn copper wire. Looked great when new, with a nice shiny copper sheen, but over time developed a sooty coating and went black. Because of it's thickness and weight, it needed a lot of tension to keep it up in the air and fairly straight looking, it also kinked fairly easily due to it's rather spring like nature. From then on I progressed to using insulated stranded copper wire, which was somewhat of an improvement. Some years later, I happened to come across a large reel of fairly thick grey insulated multi stranded silver wire, the middle strands being interwoven, looks somewhat similar to D10 but with many more strands. This proved over time to the best cable I have ever used, it's fairly lightweight, doesn't kink and is easy to solder. So from my own experience, the best antenna wire to use should be fairly thick, lightweight and easy to keep up in the air.

  49. All copper wire is made out of electrolytic copper, and is therefor extremely pure.
    Copper has a few drawbacks.
    It is soft and stretches easily (which will have an effect on the tuning of an antenna)
    It also work-hardens. That is why you can only bend a copper wire in the same place a few times before it breaks.
    It is also pretty heavy.

    None of these things happen to steel…. but steel is quite a lousy conductor compared to copper.
    So we use the best of both worlds. A stranded wire, that has some strands of steel for consistency of length and for strength. Or a heavily copper- clad steel wire, for the same purposes.

    Hugs

    Paddy

  50. Is there a signal strength difference with different wires? If there was, I’d personally go for performance. I know, I know, I know…….maybe that fraction of a dB doesn’t make a difference, but if you have lots of little bits of dB’s, they can add up. There is always the option, Callum, of offering the two as options when ordering.

  51. I don't think you will improve on the D10, steel for support strength and copper for lower dc resistance for cost effectiveness/performance/weight/stretch. As you said any wire will work. DX10! Luvvit!! 🖖

  52. I use u.s. army field telephone wire. Usually left double-twisted pair. You can use one wire by untwisting. the covering is very durable the wire is multi strand number 20 with 3 music wires in each bundle. ALL the strands are silver plated. Great stuff. does not stretch or break. black covering last forever and it solders well.

  53. steel is a poor rf wire. that D10 wire you have is likely military field telephone wire(great stuff for RF antenna wire) At HF frequencies there is very little skin effect so multi strand is just fine.

  54. here in the usa farmer electric fence wire is hard drawn aluminum and very cheap. no coating. the only thing is the joints so be sure and do proper aluminum wire connection techniques and it will work ok for antenna wire( if antenna is not to long and sufficient support may stretch or break), especially for beverage antenna on electric fence post supports.

  55. Don't shoot me if I've got this wrong, but… 😉 Copper has a greater skin depth than steel, therefore, I imagine it's more effective as an antenna since more power will be at or near the surface of the wire and radiate RF more effectively. At 7Mhz, copper's skin depth is 25 microns, where as stainless steel is 16 microns. Interestingly, aluminium has a skin of 32 microns. Also, steel is considerably less conductive than copper (or aluminium), so I'll take a punt and say, steel won't make the best antenna. Aluminium wire might be worth a try…. In fact, since it's cheaper than everything else, and I need a 40m dipole in my life, I shall give it a go and report back.

  56. used steel wire on a 40m delta loop for 2 years gave me 40m, 20m and got good results, when the steel eventually broke due to rust i got the winding wire you showed in your vid from a motor winding factory, in the same configuration it did not work at all so i moved the loop to a space in the garden where it was as clear as poss of metal objects at only 10 feet off the ground and it was like i turned the preamp on, at least double the clarity and signal chuffed to bits with it. with the use of an external atu iv got 160m and 80m and then over to the internal atu on the ts2000 iv got 40m to 6m no prob with the exemption of 30m . copper rules! ps did find that the copper doesnt like being tight and striaght and works best with a small bit of slack in it where the steel worked best when striaght as a dye, go figger? keep the vids coming….

  57. Copper Multi stranded all day long…. size wise…. for the dx commander classic…. 32×0.20. (32 strands at .20) and for the dx lite 24×0.20, would work a treat…. yes its 2 sizes…. but do you want heavy wire on a "lite" version…. no… so would go smaller just to keep the weight down…. as the Lite is "supposedly" for out and about…just remember one thing "the more strands you have the less chance of failure" now that's a fact no one can deny….lol…. Cal if you wanted the ultimate….32×0.20 Silicone insulated….. now that is superb… nice and supple, no memory at all…. really strong… but 3 times the price….. to be honest mate…. its that old adage… You pays ya money …. and you know the rest of the adage I'm sure…. good luck anyway… Lyndon….

  58. Callum: What I'd like to see is for you to take the DX Commander model in MMANA and change the "MATERIAL" to "USER WIRE" and model all of the different wire alternatives that you're contemplating. You would need the resistance and permeability of each; however, that shouldn't be too difficult to get (from Mfg?) or use the generic numbers for those materials that are available. It would be interesting to see if the wire choice would alter the performance and/or characteristics of the design – plus, it's gets you back on MMANA showing us all how to better use that tool!
    -73-

  59. Well, Steel or Copper.
    Copper for low resistance, steel for strength (galvanised or tinned otherwise rust will destroy it very fast)
    Just be sure you do not use copper cladded aluminium, it rots out within a year.
    Moddeling in MMANA will show some reasonable results.
    Just construct a dipole of 2 x 6 mtrs feed it with 15 mtrs of ladderline (just draw 2 wires at 10 CM apart) then just run this setup at 80 mtrs as copper wires and after this as steel wires.
    See the loss explode,but if your steel wires are coppercladded , tinned or galvanised the losses will be a lot lower already.
    Ill send you a MMANA-Gal file for what i mean by E-mail Callum.
    There is a Scandinavian guy whom describes HF losses in steel , his article is good but very hard to read (lots of difficult math in it) I had it about 10 yrs ago, but got lost in changing computers etc.

  60. Once in my youth i was a MW pirate. The antenna was a coil antenna. Copper Wire winded round a pvc pipe. But the pipe was not long enough so i joined another pvc pipe to it so i could get the correct number of copper windings. It wiggled a bit so i thought i hammer a few steel nails in the section. And yes that did the trick. And the antenna worked very well with 100W RMS. Then one day i got another TX which did 500W RMS. Everything worked fine for 5 minutes or so But then.. What happened was the antenna burned completely of the roof and had fellen down. 

    Now the moral of the story. The burning had started exactly at the point where i did put the steel nails. a friend of mine said as explanation: that the steel could not oscillate quick enough for the frequency and it got hot. Well that says enough i think. 

    So can't u use steel wire antennes? Hell yes you can. I had several of them. Worked fine. Very strong stuff. I think steel has more loss then copper but will the station on the other end hear the difference? Thats the question.

  61. Cal joe from America I'm an extra here I just absolutely love your channel all the radio aside your so chill not a care in the world man I love it thanks

  62. Remember stringing up a 160 meter flat top made from pvc coated steel rope. Crimping only. Worked fine and is not that difficult to get a hold of. Also good for clothing lines when you need to tension a long run. Our calculations were a bit off for resonance. Very strong and with no memory. We never took it down for tuning as is was draped on top of very dense woodland and took hours to pull from tree crown to tree crown.

  63. I use 100 metre reel 79 strand speaker wire 5 KG £25 . 7.1 Mhz split 10 metre each side , then continue the twin wire to the rig ( no spacing , no balun , no tuner , just a pl259 ) this works as inverted v) . This copper wire will never break ( famous last words ) works a treat . MM0UDI .

  64. You have to read some of the articles written in this 1923 collection of QST magazines! Much is covered on antennas and the wires used to make/feed them.

    There are also some great comments from readers that will make you laugh!

    https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=Vs4_AQAAIAAJ&rdid=book-Vs4_AQAAIAAJ&rdot=1

  65. Hi Callum. Talking of the qualities of which metal is best for antennas. Some years ago I had the chance to get hold of a large amount of strong braided wire. It looked like tin coated strong copper empty coax outer braid. I made a T2FD antenna using varnished hard wood chair back parts as the spacers. So they added to the weight but were strong. When handling the wire my hands were black, after a short time. I had to use hand cleaner to get the stuff off. Another use of this wire was as earthing due to the amount I had of it. I do not think that I would have just laid it down so willy-nilly had I known what it was. The black substance covering my hands should have caused the brain cells to react. I later found out it was a batch of silvered copper braid and the contracted order had been cancelled. The lot had literally been dumped out of the way to stop any questions being asked. There is no wonder that T2FD antenna worked so well. Still take a lot to beat the old D10 though. Shame I didn't save a few rolls from years back, Hi Hi. You carry on the great work Callum. 73 de J – G0WXU.

  66. Most sailing vessels that I've seen which require a HF marine radio use the mast rigging as an aerial, usually the backstay with special insulated terminals. Commonly consisting of 316 grade (A4) stainless steel wire, 7×7 or 7×19, and could easily be over 12mm dia for larger vessels for instance. And of course it's always under tremendous constant tension. No idea how well they perform though as being a yacht, how do you decide if the aerial is a vertical or horizontal…? 🙂 If anyone wants to experiment, used s.s. rigging wire can be found at your nearest rigger/sailmaker as rigging usually has a 10 year 'insurance' life (in the UK). 99% of it will be as good as new…

  67. Hi Commander, I have bought 30 metres of 2-0 mm Zinc plated steel wire rope for a di-pole antenna project for 20 metres and 40 metres. Do you think this will work OK ? There is no copper in it as far as I know. I have subscribed to your channel now.

  68. when the RF radiates from the surface of the wire, it is called Skin Effect. It is also why mains AC is 50 Hz, because as the frequency increase the signal propagates towards the outer surface,

  69. Callum, I used 3/16 galvanized steal tower guy wire for an inverted V, butterfly antenna. It works good. With a tuner, I can tune down to 6 meters. I have talked SSB to Brazil, Japan and up into Maine from Central Texas. 73

  70. Steel is very strange for RF, you get affected by the skin effect and it's very strange. I cut a 20m dipole and it was resonant on 2m only😂how… I have no clue. I believe the skin effect is enhanced with steel when compared to copper. Copper coated steel would probably be good though

  71. Copper work hardens if it’s continually flexed. It’s needs annealing to restore its flexibility but obviously that’s not possible with plastic coated antenna wire!

  72. I'm really not sure why you would do a video about a type of wire you know little or nothing about. The steel especially. I would think a video showing the theoretical info from an engineering point would be helpful, but, you provide none. Antennas which are especially long need especially strong wire. One reason is that , to keep the antenna up high as possible, you would put a ton of tension on the wire. Using copper is bad because it will stretch and or break for a 80 meter 265 to 280 foot span with multiple supports. And a 160 meter full wave antenna is even more susceptible to breakage. So, rather than actually doing what you should have done before putting out this video, and talking to engineers or people with solid knowledge on the subject, and considering the physical aspects of the antenna , I decided to try out an 80 meter full wave loop as high as I could get it. I used galvanized stranded inexpensive steel. I have had excellent results on all bands. I spoke with the D4C team on the Island just off the coast of Senegal North West Africa with a QRP usb rig know as the uBITX (kit from india) using 5 watts on 15 meters about 3 months ago. I have an incredible signal on 80 meters. That said, I haven't worked with an engineer either. I just did it completely based on the physical problems encountered with high tension high elevation super long spans. I'm really happy with the results.

  73. MMANA has a conductor selection block. It is limited, but does show the differences in the wires or pipes used. I wish they hould have included a selection for diameter. I state this not for you DX Commander, but for some of your viewers. BTW how does one do a TOP HAT for a shorted antenna in MMANA?

  74. as a ex herne bay kent boy now NSW Australia I have many antennas , some copper most steel , the strongest is a 1.9mm 6 strand stainless steel balastrade wire long wire , no strech but i was lucky i got a roll at the dump that was tangled ,,,$3 For 400 meters ,,,, I still have 1/2 the roll left ,

  75. I have just been looking into buying black PVC coated stainless wire rope to make a multiband tunable "washing line antenna". I just came across this interesting article. The problem with stainless is in low impedance installations, something to do with it's non magnetic properties and it's impedance/resistance.

    To quote "However, it would be OK for an antenna with a higher RF impedance than a single dipole (e.g. 300 ohm or greater antenna, (e.g. folded dipole etc.)) as the higher RF impedance would act to swamp out the affects of the RF impedance of the stainless."

      Lower down in the article there are many comments and one guy reports good results with it.
    The problem with non stainless steel wire would be the corrosive aspect.
    I guess i might be ok with stainless for the washing line antenna as it will be fed with 300 ohm ribbon after the balun 6:1 which will be in the shack and fed with 50 ohm coax.
      Anyhow. Here is the article if anyone is interested. 
     
    https://www.mwrs.org.au/2011/06/23/antenna-wire-stainless-steel-vs-copper/

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