Introduction: Home Brewed Ham Antenna Ladder Line

When in the course of human events a fellow needs ladder line for an antenna project, and there simply is no place to buy any, then the time is ripe for home brewing. Such is the wisdom and experience of many amateur radio operators. I’d like to show you how I solved this problem, quickly and cheaply, and to great effect.

Step 1:

First, you’ll need just a bit over twice the length of wire you want the ladder line to end up being. I needed eleven feet and bought a $5.25 cent spool of 18 Ga plastic coated wire. I chose black for it’s stealth qualities. Doubled, that gave me 12 1/2 foot lengths of wire.

Then, figure on a spreader about every foot of ladder line length. I bought two packages of cheap “Bic” type pens at the local Dollar Tree, they came out to ten cents each. And I used twelve of them.

And, you’ll need wire ties. A package of 100 was under $4.00 at Harbor Freight.

Spray paint is optional. But, if stealth is your goal, then paint may be necessary.

Cut off and discard the ends of the pens, and pull out the ink tubes, etc.

Step 2:

Then, anchor your wires someplace so you can pull them reasonably taut. Use a ruler to space your spreaders. Mine are just about 12-inches apart.

Feed the wire ties through the pen tubes, around one wire, and back to the other end of the tube and around the other wire. Then, when you like the spacing, snug up the wire tie and clip off the end.

Step 3:

Repeat this until you have the length of ladder line your antenna design calls for. Spray paint the pen tubes if you wish. Make the connections in a safe and workmanlike manner and remember to run a good analysis of the antenna before transmitting. 73! Keith AG5GW