I plan to build a receive-only longwire/Beverage antenna. The wire will be at least 40m/120' long and strewn at about 7m/21' above ground. Tried "regular" thin insulated wire but it was an eyesore... and the neighbours will probably complain that I'm infecting them with COVID "with your 5G antenna" ha!

Ahem anyway. Considering using monofilar winding wire for stealth purposes :)
What gauge/thickness will still be strong enough mechanically but become virtually invisible against the sky?..

  • $\begingroup$ Is there any evidence that neighbors with that level of scientific "knowledge" ever even look up? $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jul 8 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon a wire hanging across the land is very, very conspicuous... It's above the bushes/fences/small trees and is highly visible against the sky. Can't pretend it's a clothesline, it's way too high ;) $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jul 8 at 12:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Also tempting to suggest that if the wire is wholly on your own land, and not used for transmitting, it's not the neighbors' business. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jul 8 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ Stringing antenna wires anywhere near power lines is very dangerous and not recommended! $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Jul 8 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ You could go the opposite direction. Put up a thick cable, or one wrapped with a heavy rope. The hang some decorative seasonal flags, maybe some decoy mood yard lighting (oops, the string lights up there must have burned out). etc. Hide in plain sight. $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    Jul 8 at 22:23

First check your local regulations. Some specify the minimum gauge for wire antennas. For example NEC Article 810 specifies a minimum of 14 AWG for wire receive antennas. For temporary antennas such a POTA activation using a smaller gauge would be acceptable. I've also know hams to ignore the local regulations. If transmitting check that is can handle the wattage.

Smaller gauge wire will have a somewhat narrow bandwidth, but for a receive antenna this will not be much of an issue and the effect is fairly small anyway.

Try to get a flat gray color jacket on the wire. Gray tends to blend into the sky on cloudy days and does not stand out much on sunny days. When running through trees you can also try dark green.

  • $\begingroup$ For those outside the US, "NEC" is the National Electric Code, which is a standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment in the United States. Huh, I had no idea that NEC covers wire antennas. I don't think I'll apply for a building permit the next time I put up a wire antenna though ;) $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Jul 8 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ Did you mean SOTA (Summits on the Air)? $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Jul 8 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ SOTA would be another example, but I was referring to Parks On The Air. While the official POTA contest ended a couple of years ago many people still use the term. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Jul 8 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ That's a new one to me, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Jul 8 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ The 14 AWG spec applies to common soft copper, I assume? $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Jul 9 at 22:48

If you are using copper wire, 14 gauge is about as small as you want to get. Be aware, however, that if you hang a long copper wire that thin, it will stretch. This is not a big deal as long as you don't care about its length for antenna purposes.

If you use something like copper clad steel, you can go as low as 16 or 18 gauge and it will still support its own weight, and it won't stretch.


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