Military telephone cable as the antenna wire. How big are the losses?

The DL-1000, which is the defense’s telephone wire, consists of 7 strands. 4 from copper and 3 galvanized steel wires and an insulating coating. It is popular as antenna wire. The question is how it stands against copper wire regarding losses on short wave.

The MMANA simulation program allows you to select materials in the antenna conductors. The difference in material losses between copper and steel wire amounts to more than 3 dB for a 20m dipole.

To make a practical measurement, a dipole for 14 MHz was mounted with the center 7 meters above ground and the ends one meter lower. A MINI VNA was connected to the 37 meter long RG 213 coaxial cable and the length was retracted. However, the cable is simulated as loss-free.

In addition to 1.5 square mm copper, 1 mm plastic coated soft steel wire was used, which is used in the garden.

The feed impedance was measured at the resonance point when it was pure resistive.


Impedance ohm

Copper         53

DL 1000        64.7

Steel wire     74.2


Thus, an additional loss resistance of 11.7 ohm for DL ​​1000 and 21.2 ohm for steel wire. This corresponds to 18% or 0.85 dB extra power loss for DL ​​1000 and 28.6% or 2.3 dB for the steel wire.