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K0FF (K0FF) on January 14, 2010 discussions on this
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like to make their own apparatus when possible. Cards:
Ham Links Here is one method that I have long used to
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make evenly spaced, nice looking coils of all
Product Reviews sizes.
QSL Managers Coil winding -
custom
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wound coils to your
eHam Help (FAQ) Make your own loading coils for antenna projects specs from Dia-
Support the site
The eHam Team using Caterpillar Grommet Netics
dia-netics.com
Advertising Info strips. Also called flexible grommets, flexible
Vision Statement
About eHam.net bushings etc.
These are used by installers to form protective
bushings around the edges of holes cut into
sheet metal,
and come in strips that are cut to desired length
then snapped into the hole to cover the raw edge.
We used to use them when installing 2-way
radios to line the holes we made in the firewall to
QSL Managers pass the heavy 12V wires.

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 2 of 13

The evenly spaced notches make an ideal form


and support for AIR DUX knockoffs. Use Duco or
Ham Links
Testors model
cement to secure the wires in the strips before
removing from the temporary
forms. Nylon Grommet strips can be purchased
at McMasters, as well as many other supply
houses.

Fig 1 is the caterpillar grommet material as


purchased from the supplier:

Fig 2 - Next Wrap the form (whatever size you


need) in wax paper and temporarily
tape the plastic strips on there:

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 3 of 13

Fig 3 -Wind the coil using the notches as a guide.


Seat the wire all the way down
into the notch and wrap the coil tightly. Spread
plastic cement down the
strips when the coil is wound:

Fig. 4 - When the glue is dry, slip the assembly


off the form and trim the strips to
correct length:

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 4 of 13

Fig 5 - Any size diameter or length can be wound,


just use bigger forms and more
strips:

Happy Building, Geo>KØFF


Member Comments:

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Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K6SI on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
George: You are a genius. Excellent idea... now why didn't I think of
that? Ken, K6SI.

Make Your Own Loading Coils

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 5 of 13

by AI4WM on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!


That is a great idea! I agree with the previous post "why didn't I think of
that". Your idea is one of those creative ideas that really works. I have
seen some other way too complicated methods for making coils. Thank
you for sharing it with all of us.
73,
Bill

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K5END on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I gotta say, using caterpillar grommet strips for coil spacers is certainly
thinking outside the box, and in a very intelligent way.

Your idea is flame proof.

I think you have started a new method that may be used for a long time.

Well done, and thanks for posting the idea to share it with the
community.

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K5END on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Looks like the idea is a popular one. :) (SRI)

http://www.ad5x.com/images/Articles/CoilRevB.pdf

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by N5TGL on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Very cool and simple. Even big ol' 6" coils would be easy with this
method.

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by AD5X on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! I've been doing something very similar for awhile (see the
"Articles" section at www.ad5x.com). I drill holes in the PVC pipe to pass
the wire ends through to make it easier to tightly wind the wire. I use tie-
wraps instead of electrical tape to hold the nylon trim in place. And I use
hot glue to hold the wire in the nylon edge trim, though 2-part epoxy is
really great (but messy) for a rugged mobile coil. My website article also
shows how to build coil supports from plumbing parts and fiberglass
bicycle flag rod.

The McMaster part number of the nylon edge trim I use is 85085K8, and
a package of 25 strips, each 12.75" long are $11.33 - plenty to make a
lot of coils. #14 solid copper wire is a nice fit for this nylon trim.
McMaster 8873K51 is $20 for 80 feet - though it is probably cheaper
through Lowes or Home Depot (didn't think of that until after ordering
the wire from McMaster - and 80' has lasted me a long time).

Phil - AD5X

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K9CTB on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
George, you are an engineer's engineer!!! What a great idea. Like
others, I wish I'd have thought of it, but I have no talents whatsoever
except an enormous talent for appreciating people who actually do!

73 de Neil
K9CTB

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KI4WGI on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
As a manufacturing engineer, I can appreciate the "coolness" of this
idea. If I ever need to wind a coil of this type, I'll be using your "process".

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 6 of 13

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by N0SAP on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WOW, I agree with the other hams, what a great idea. I like building
antennas and winding coils has always been a challenge. I built a 3
element 30 meter beam that I put up this fall which works GREAT. This
idea gets me excited to design some more homebrew beams over the
Winter. So now I will be ready for Spring, Hi, Hi. "SAP"

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KG6WLS on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
George, thanks for the tips you provide. You make home brewing fun. I
built several 2M & 6M loops from your article years ago (with success)
and always look forward to see more from you.

73 de KG6WLS
Mike

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K0FF on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Yes the technique has been around a long time. I originally published
this on Towertalk and my first webpage in 2000.

Geo>K0FF

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KJ4NBM on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Very good idea!! Can air coils also be wound with regular insulated wire
using this method? Will the inductance be changed that much?

I don't have any enamel coated wire but have plenty of 12 GA insulated
wire, so if I can use it I won't need to purchase enamel magnet wire.

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K1XT on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I've been using this method for about 20 years. I now use hotglue as it
seems to hold up just as well and will flex when need be. Also, if I want
to make some adjustments in the coil, I can melt the glue again and lift
out a turn or two. For a 'hard' coil I glue the strips in place on the PVC
and put caps on each end. I have two that I use in a mobile application
on 2 inch PVC, 14ga. They work very well.

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by AB7E on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Very nice idea from K0FF ... simplest way I've seen so far to space and
secure air wound coils.

To KJ4NBM: Personally, I'd strip the insulation to reduce the


interwinding capacitance. Why would you need to use enameled wire
anyway, though? Bare wire works just fine.

73,
Dave AB7E

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K1XT on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Bare wire is fine as mentioned. It also allows you to tap the coil
anywhere you wish. That's the way I use it in my mobile applications. I
jumper across the turns and I can go for a perfect match.

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by N2EY on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
BRILLIANT!

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 7 of 13

How does nylon take RF?

73 de Jim, N2EY

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K0FF on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
the Q was:
"How does nylon take RF? "

A: Nylon, Teflon and Derlin look very much alike when in a block or rod.
To test any material's RF capability, expose it to about 700W @ 2450
MHz ( i.e. put in in the microwave oven!)

Nylon gets hot and melts quickly.

Not good for RF environments. Also it absorbs moisture.

Use Derlin when possible.

PVC, Nylon, Teflon and Derlin all measure infinite Ohms on an


Ohmmerter.

While PVC is fine for low power applications ( both as insulators and as
coating on wires like power wiring), it melts easily when exposed to
heat. AT high power, coils get hot.

Once I was building a power amp for HF and in a rush wound an


experimental tank coil out of house wiring with the PVC still on. It caught
on fire.

All antennas, verticals included have high current/low voltage and high
Voltage/ Low current points along their length.

A simple 1/4 wave Marconi antenna has the high current point at the
feedpoint. At the end of the wire, there is a LOT of Voltage (try a
florescent tube out there!)

Therefore chose your insulators according to their location and expected


power levels. *End Insulators* should always be glass or porcelain.

Geo>K0FF

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by AH6RR on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great work and a very good demostration of using your noodle,
someting I need to do alot more of. Now I need to figure out what I want
to build using this method.
Roland AH6RR

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by DROLLTROLL on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don't forget you can make your own glue too in order to hold the coil
winding in place. Just dissolve styrofoam in acetone till it gets thick and
gooey, apply onto your coil and spacer with a small brush. That's how
we did it in the 'olden days'.

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by N3OX on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"Personally, I'd strip the insulation to reduce the interwinding
capacitance. Why would you need to use enameled wire anyway,
though? Bare wire works just fine"

For very high reactance loading coils in critical applications, it's probably
useful to use enameled wire to reduce leakage resistance effects after

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 8 of 13

the whole coil gets dirty.

An X=1000 loading coil with Q = 300 has a parallel equivalent


resistance of something like 300 kiloohms.

Interwinding capacitance is a big problem with such a coil too, so I


wouldn't use thick insulation, but I wouldn't necessarily shy away from
using thick enameled wire if I had it.

I spray my coils that are on forms with electrical varnish these days. It
probably doesn't actually matter, certainly not in a practical way, but it'll
make me feel better after the coil gets all covered with damp cobwebs
and my PVC forms get wet and dirty.

http://n3ox.net/projects/stepperswitch/160_match_lg.jpg

http://n3ox.net/projects/stepperswitch/40m_match_lg.jpg

In my particular case, it's really just decoration, because other losses


associated with my vertical and coils almost certainly swamp leakage
considerations... and of course the extra self-capacitance due to the
form matters.

With less surface area like with these strips, leakage resistance would
be much lessened. But I'd probably varnish my coils anyway. I wouldn't
leave PVC THHN insulation on though... it's easy enough to strip off. I
can do enough wire for a big coil in a few minutes using a pocketknife
and practice.

73
Dan

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KJ6BSO on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Give that man a CEE-gar!

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K7AAT on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The key to the coil project is the nylon spacer material from McMaster-
Carr . I just wanted to point out that N1LO website at
http://www.qsl.net/n1lo/mobilhf.pdf
has been showing this manner of coil construction for well over 10
years. Kudos to anyone who helps disseminate this procedure, though.

Ed K7AAT

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by WA2JJH on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
EXCELLENT!

I make my own verticals out of scrap. Perhaps I will be able to build one
of those $200-$300 verticals for a few bux and PVC masting/support
tubing.

Keep up the gud tech artls.

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K0FF on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K7AAT said:

" The key to the coil project is the nylon spacer material from McMaster-
Carr . I just wanted to point out that N1LO website at

http://www.qsl.net/n1lo/mobilhf.pdf "

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Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 9 of 13

K0FF Says: RR and amen to that. I was first introduced to the method in
the 1960's by my friend and neighbor W0DYI (SK). Gateway Electronics
of St. Louis had this material and many other things that you wouldn't
normally find lying around, making for a very creative ham community
there. Oh how I miss those WW2 Arc-5 sets, all you wanted for $5 each,
TX, RX, Modulator, PS....all different bands etc.

Today we have far fewer surplus electronics places, but we do have the
internet. Distribution of ideas among hams is key. I encourage anyone
who has a gimmick or method to take pictures and post it on eHam, for
all of us to benefit.

73 Geo>K0FF

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by G3LBS on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent logical step-by-step program and pictures. Could you come
and teach my classes?
Many thanks
Gil

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KE7FD on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea George! Go ahead and take the rest of the day off.

KE7FD

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K1XT on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hey George,

That's where I obtained my nylon strips, Gateway. I still have a bag of


them here. Always a good place to go and think out a project. I miss
Saturday mornings at Gateway with Stu and the others.

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by ZENKI on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article

I was just reading the article in this Months QST by W6YE. W6YE made
those exact strips on a table saw. Maybe W6YE will read this article and
save himself a lot of trouble. Making those strips must be a lot of work.

Anyway W6YE's article is a "keeper" for future reference along with this
Eham article on making coils. AD5X also has a great deal of information
on making coils. I like his Bugcatcher style of coil construction

Anybody going to open a Bug Catcher coil factory soon ?


Caterpillar Bugcatchers!

Looking at the price of B&W Air Dux coil made of No10 wire, you would
swear its made out of gold its just so expensive.

MFJ will start selling these strips of plastic soon LOL

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by ZENKI on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article

I was just reading the article in this Months QST by W6YE. W6YE made
those exact strips on a table saw. Maybe W6YE will read this article and
save himself a lot of trouble. Making those strips must be a lot of work.

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 10 of 13

Anyway W6YE's article is a "keeper" for future reference along with this
Eham article on making coils. AD5X also has a great deal of information
on making coils. I like his Bugcatcher style of coil construction

Anybody going to open a Bug Catcher coil factory soon ?


Caterpillar Bugcatchers!

Looking at the price of B&W Air Dux coil made of No10 wire, you would
swear its made out of gold its just so expensive.

MFJ will start selling these strips of plastic soon LOL

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K1KO on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
George,

Great idea, great post. Congrats on submitting the first post to e-ham
forums that DIDN'T get flamed!! I'd have that put on my tombstone.

73,K1KO

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KB2DHG on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
FANTASTIC! simply FANTASTIC...
You get the E-HAM's tip of the year award for this one my friend!

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K0FF on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K1XT said: "Hey George,

That's where I obtained my nylon strips, Gateway. I still have a bag of


them here. Always a good place to go and think out a project. I miss
Saturday mornings at Gateway with Stu and the others. "

My goodness yes Bill. St. Louis was a wonderful place to grow up in the
radio hobby and business. We had Walter Ashe Radio,
Gateway Electronics ( surplus), Olive Electronics and Van sickle
Electronics for new parts.
Later we had Ham Radio Center ( Bill Du Bourd orig. from Walter Ashe-
Bill invented the "800" number and discount pricing), Midcom, Walcom
ham radio stores.

I myself even ran a ham radio store out of my 2-way radio shop for a
few years.

Stu and Lou at Gateway were friends and mentors to all radio people in
the area. They made us comfortable and fed us coffee on Saturday
mornings, and a couch to sit and talk about radio and exchange ideas.

I hope that eHam becomes our greater "couch" in years to come.

Geo>K0FF

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by W0FM on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hey George,

Before I was married in 1996, my bride-to-be finally insisted that I take


her to "that Gateway place you go to every weekend". I eventually took
her along. Introducted her to Stu, Lou and the crew. She was
dumbfounded as we walked up and down the aisles of cherished pieces
of nothing. Needless to say, there were many eyes following her along
the way. Not many women in Gateway in those days. Everyone seemd
to end up in the same isle we were in. ;o)

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 11 of 13

Those WERE the days! Great article.

Terry, WØFM

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by EA2BSN on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice work!

You will find here a video with a similar process using corrugated tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyTAq1XbE1k

73

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K0FF on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
W0FM said:
"Hey George,

Before I was married in 1996, my bride-to-be finally insisted that I take


her to "that Gateway place you go to every weekend". I eventually took
her along. "

Let's be careful about giving away our ham secrets. It wouldn't do to


have the wives find out that "those overnight Field Day Weekends"
actually DON't happen once *every* month!

Geo>K0FF

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by W9OY on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Not sure how testing some nylon in a microwave oven tells you anything
about how it behaves at 1.8 mhz, but I love this idea.

73 W9OY

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by W8AAZ on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
If you ever price old stock or even new stock of airdux coils on ebay,
you gotta shake this guy's hand and thank him. They sell for way way
too much nowadays. Except if you get lucky in a hamfest junk box.

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by N1LO on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hi George,

Thanks again for this tip.

I've been building coils this way for 10 years now since you first
mentioned this trick on the Towertalk reflector way back around '99 or
so.

I've been using hot melt glue. Painting the strips first with a light coat of
flat black paint greatly improves the bond!

see my aging (2001) plan at http://www.qsl.net/n1lo/mobilhf.pdf

I gave up the wire cap hats long ago in favor of inverted L construction.
See my listing on
http://www.qrz.com for a more recent version.

Regards,

http://www.eham.net/articles/23124 5/6/2011
Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 12 of 13

--...MARK_N1LO...--

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by VE3FMC on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Geo

Brilliant, simply brilliant. Well written, well documented and great photos.

A superb do it yourself project.

Rick VE3FMC

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by VE3FMC on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hi George

Brilliant, simply brilliant. Well written, well documented and great photos.

A superb do it yourself project.

Rick VE3FMC

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KC0NIB on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
This is indeed a neat idea when making these things. There is only one
slight problem. I have discovered that in my part of the country, due to
the abundance of thieves who steal copper, finding the copper "magnet"
wire is next to impossible.

If you can, I'd suggest sharing a location that can sell the stuff. It ain't
available around the parts here in Minneapolis. I went looking some time
back and discovered I'd have to order from out-state.

Cheers and 73

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K0FF on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Mark said:
"Hi George,

see my aging (2001) plan at http://www.qsl.net/n1lo/mobilhf.pdf

I gave up the wire cap hats long ago in favor of inverted L construction.
See my listing on
http://www.qrz.com for a more recent version.

Regards,

--...MARK_N1LO...--"

Hi Mark, well first of all thanks for the drawing of the mobile antenna,
very cool!

Second, thanks for the link to the QRZ site. So far I can't find your
article, but I will. Can you believe I didn't know about that site at all? I'm
a self confessed computer dummy. Need to "get out" more my wife
says, but I'm pretty satisfied tinkering down in my basement.

I really like mobile operations and have tried many antennas. Once I
had a simple setup with a coax cable running from the van into the
shack, so I could A-B compare the mobile antenna to my R7 vertical

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Make Your Own Loading Coils Page 13 of 13

mounted on a fence. When the mobile antenna got the same signals
strength as the big vertical, I knew it was good enough.

This is on 20M and up I should add.

80/40 are a different story on a car, mostly due to the height


requirements levied by bridges and overpasses.....

Don't lets all forget that the vehicle itself is the "other half of the
antenna". Once I backed up two identical vans to within a foot of each
other and loaded them up as a "fat dipole". Worked rather well.

73 Geo>K0FF

Make Your Own Loading Coils


by W4HKL on January 17, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Sweet! Even a total clutz like myself can (probably) master this method.

Thanks for sharing this in a well-written article,

Steve, W4HKL
Caryville, TN

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by KB2CPW on January 17, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
This wins the 2010 ultra cool ham award!! Bravo!!

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by K6LO on January 17, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you for sharing this really simple way of making such nice
homebrew inductors. Great practical article!

RE: Make Your Own Loading Coils


by N1LO on January 17, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
George,

If you send me an email


(N 1 L O at h o t m a i l dot com)
I'll send you some pics of unique coils I've made with this process.

The email address you have on your qrz.com listing bounced.

Mark

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