Antenna Design
Important antenna wire considerations

Antenna Wire Considerations

Characteristics and suitability of various types of antenna wire

Many types of wire can be used to construct wire antennas. Some of the choices include copper, copper-clad steel, copper-plated steel, aluminum, aluminum-clad steel, aluminum-plated steel, steel, hard-drawn, soft drawn, solid, stranded, bare, and insulated. None of those options are universally best in all circumstances. Different mechanical, chemical, electrical, convenience, visibility, aging, cost, local-availability, and other considerations are associated with each choice. Users of these various types of wire often post information about their experiences and opinions in various Internet forums. That information can be very useful, but some statements are overbroad, based on technical misunderstandings, or made with insufficient knowledge of alternatives. Complicating this situation, some antenna wire suppliers make outrageous claims that viewed most-favorably expose embarrassingly-shallow technical knowledge or viewed-least favorably expose attempts to willfully deceive and defraud naive antenna wire buyers.

This new Antenna Wire section will be expanded to address many different aspects of the large variety of antenna wire choices. This first article was inspired by a question about aluminum antenna wire that was posted in the Ham Radio Technical Topics Forum.

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