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Thread: Looking for wire

  1. #1

    Default Looking for wire

    I've been doing a bunch of looking around for insulated wire to use for my end fed run. I've seen the bespoke antenna wire but it seems a little expensive for my budget. I supposed can just get normal primary wire but that boring. I found a place in the UK that sells 300m of military surplus antenna wire for less than $10 but I'm in the us.

    I have available plenty of both 24Awg solid phone wire and cat5e wire. Im planning a straight run of somewhere around 100ft. I was thinking about soldering all the conductors of a run of cat5 together and using that.

    Any input on these options or on a great place to get better wire super cheap is greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by Kennylxix; Sun 9th Apr 2017 at 18:19.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Meneou, Cyprus


    Aluminium wire is pretty good for long wire antennas, being light, it doesn't sag as much as enameled copper wire (which is what most use).

    You can buy enameled copper wire almost anywhere, sometimes it's called magnet wire, but aluminium wire is a bit harder to find. Some transformers use aluminium wire if you don't mind chopping up a big transformer, more often though, its enameled copper, which is fine.

    Military antenna wire is usually woven with carbon fibre or kevlar to make the antenna stronger and more reliable. I've never used it myself so I can't say how long it would last, but good old ECW lasts ages, provided you use good insulators (glass or ceramic eggs) at both ends. I've had one up for decades.

    As far as using CAT5 goes, you'll have to experiment a bit, but I have a feeling it's going to be too heavy, although you might get some extra bandwidth out of it by having a Litz-type conductor - experiment and tell us what you find out!

    If you do find an old microwave oven transformer or similar, grind one end off the laminated housing so you can pull the coil of wire out in a single block, then put that on a mandrel and unwind the wire so you don't twist it. Twists & kinks will be weak spots and may affect your tuning...

  3. #3


    I do think I'm going to try cat5. I weighed 100' and it's less than 2 pounds. I'll use one of those Chinese finger torture style strain reliefs and solder all the ends together. I have a lot of experience with cat5 and it's pretty tough stuff. I'm still waiting for a few bits so we shall see.

  4. #4


    Go to your local Lowes or Home Depot store and buy a 500' roll of #14 insulated, stranded, THHN wire for around $30 and you will have enough good wire for several antennas !

  5. #5
    Sudden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Rothwell, Northamptonshire, England


    Do you have either the Freegle / Freecycle websites in your area. It is a method of giving away unwanted but still good equipment of allsorts. I have had computers, wood, condiut, metal poles (I ideal for aerials) plus other oddball things which contain wire. You can also offer things your self. Mind you there are some people who want everything for nothing.
    I'm leaving now to go find myself....if I arrive before I get back, please ask me to wait!

  6. #6


    go onto sportsmans guide and check out their surplus telephone wire. Thats some tough stuff and its insulated.

    Its what I am planning on using for my long loop skywire. It was a good price when I got it and I am pretty sure they are still selling it.

    30 bucks for over 1600 feet of twin lead wire... thats 3200 feet if you split it up

    you can't say no to that!

  7. #7

    Default wire

    I used robot lawnmower boundary wire, its nickle plated with great insulation, thick and very strong.

    just happened to have a reel lying around.

    likely cheaper than antenna wire

  8. #8


    Cat 5 with all the conductors linked will be not too bad - trouble is the stuff fractures when wiggled - so probably limited life before failure, but at the price, you just replace it. I'm using 2.5mm mains wiring cable, because I had a load of it, and it's managed 7 years now!

  9. #9


    I've used telephone drop wire!



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