Home-Made Ladder Line

Without a doubt, home-made pies are better than store-bought pies. I should know–I make great pies.

I’m not so sure the same holds true for antenna feedlines, but this e-mail came across the Elecraft mailing list over the weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you:

Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 11:13:37 -0500
From: Ray Albers
To: Elecraft@mailman.qth.net

Our fearless NCS, Kevin, wrote:

I wandered into Home Depot this evening and purchased a bit of 14 guage wire. I will try to get a loop up for 160 which should tune quite nicely for the higher bands. Now to get some ladder line from HRO this coming week and get it hooked up.

This prompts me to offer a hint for home-brewing ladder line from stuff readily available at Homely Depot – nice project for a rainy day.

First, buy a spool of 18 ga stranded copper wire. When I bought mine about year and a half ago it was $14 for a 500 ft spool (given inflation, your results may vary), enough for mucho ladder lines, attic loop antennae, etc (it’s a bit flimsy for outdoor dipoles under tension, but great for ladder line or attic antennas.

Next, buy some packs of electrical cable staples – these come in a variety of sizes (you want the ones designed to hold 3/4 inch cable. They consist of a plastic saddle that goes over the cable, plus two nails in holes that are about 7/8 inch apart. The nails are easily pulled out with pliers (and as a side bonus you will end up with a good supply of little nails for hanging pictures or whatever) and the resulting hole is just right for easily threading the 18 ga wire thru.

If you don’t already have a hot-melt glue gun, buy one of these, too, and in any case buy some glue sticks to fuel it with.

Thread the 18 ga wire thru the holes in the staple saddles, give a little squirt with the hot-melt glue to hold it, and voila, you have your ladder line. It’s what I’m using on my windom and has held up very well.

Credit goes to Mike K3MT for introducing this method to me.

73, Ray K2HYD


  1. Larry Tooley now WA9G says:

    Great idea! This turns something inexpensive into MUCHO value added. Keep it quiet or they will tax it.

    Thanks for a way to low loss feed-line.

  2. Nothing said, “As to what the impedance (OHMS) of the ladder line is.”

    What will be the mucho value???

  3. Dan KB6NU says:

    If all he’s doing is feeding a doublet or a loop antenna, then the impedance won’t really matter all that much. The antenna tuner will just match it all up.

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