[AMRadio] HV Wire

D. Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Mon Dec 25 15:35:50 EST 2006

One of my transmitters uses HV wire salvaged from a military surplus BC-339 
(think I  recall the name of the rig correctly) that I parted out.  It ran a 
pair of 833A's CW/RTTY only, with 3-phase power supply, with a tuning range 
of something on the order of 4 to 20 mHz.  It could easily have been 
modified to run 75/80m, and a modulator added.  In fact, there is at least 
one on the air, converted by Mike W4AEE in Nashville, and later sold to 
another hom on the east coast.

That HV wire is solid #14 tinned copper, with rubber insulation, covered 
with a cloth jacket, and the whole thing is encased in a lead sheath, with 
outside diameter of about 9/16".  I removed the lead sheath and used the HV 
wire inside.  I like it because it is flexible enough to easily bend, but 
rigid enough to retain its form when bent.  I would have kept the lead 
sheath if I had just started building the rig up from scratch, but since I 
used the wire to replace the rubber test lead wire I first used, the lead 
sheathing made it too rigid to pull through the wiring of the transmitter.

I have seen other military rigs that use lead-clad insulated wire.  It is 
rugged and provides shielding.  The lead sheath also helps prevent the 
insulation from drying out and becoming brittle.

I originally used red rubber covered test lead wire in my rigs, but the 
problem is that the internal heat generated by the transmitter quickly dries 
out the rubber insulation and it begins to crack and actually fall off the 
wire.  That's why I had to replace the HV wire in that transmitter after 
only about 15 years.  I would not recommend the stuff for the purpose.

Don k4kyv


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