Splicing Antenna Wire

Three months ago, my 40m dipole came down in an ice storm when a big branch fell on top of one of the elements. The weight of the branch plus all the ice actually broke the FlexWeave wire.

Today, I finally decided to fix it. Being the cheapp guy that I am, I thought that I could just splice the wire, using a short piece of FlexWeave to connect the two. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I knew the wire was dirty, but I thought I could clean it sufficiently by sanding it down. That didn’t work at all. After twisting the wires together as specified by an app note written by Joe Carr that I found online, and heating it up with a soldering gun, the new wire gleefully absorbed the solder, but it just blobbed up on the old wire.

Rummaging around in my supplies, I came up with a can of Brasso. I tried cleaning the wire with Brasso, but while I got a lot of dirt off the wire with the Brasso, it didn’t solder any better.

Oh well. At this point, I probably should just give up and cut a new 33-ft. element. I’ve got more than an hour invested in this now, though, and I’m determined to see this through just on principle. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted.

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  1. Ned Davis/WB4BKO says:

    Next time try a little Bon Ami, or Copper Glo. Will shine it up like new.

  2. Andy Bullington W1AWB says:

    Dan I’ve encountered the same problem and I’m wondering about maybe using plummer’s flux and a small butane torch. There’s gotta be a way. I climbed up on my roof a few years ago to do some pruning and repair of my loop and the soldering gun did NOT cut it. I’ve been told since that a heavy duty 100 watt soldering iron is the way to go…that soldering GUNS are notoriously poor performers in those type of circumstances. Anyway…that will be my next tool purchase…a nice heavy duty soldering iron.
    Andy W1AWB

  3. Your post reminded me of a small QST article:

    Apr 2004 QST page74…Cleaning Antenna Wire (Hints and Kinks)…. Advice from an old timer – “create a mixture of vinegar and salt and insert the section of wire to be soldered. After a few minutes it will be shiny and in like-new condition (even the individual strands will be clean) and will take solder like a new wire”

    I’ve not had the occasion to have to try this method but would be interested to know of it’s effectivness, so please let us know if it works.

    kind rgds
    Paul CT1EFL, G0MUW

  4. I wonder if a can of flux might do it (rather than just relying on rosin-core solder). Also, perhaps some other kind of solder (silver/tin) might work better. Just some ideas. My first thought was perhaps you don’t have enough heat, but it worked OK on the new wire.

  5. Blowtorch it with lots and lots of flux

  6. Hot Sauce. I use Tabasco. Try it on a penny before you try it on the Flexweave. Its easy to come by, and works fine. Easier than mixing up vinegar and salt, and handy for lunch.

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