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WW2 Aircraft Radio Aerial Wire Diameter


Ray_W
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This is less of a question of what size you model in or what material you use, more so, what diameters of wire were actually used. I am interested in the popular fighter types (e.g Spitfire, Hurricane, Bf-109, Fw-190, US Navy types) but feel free to offer any information you may have. Primary source material would be useful.

 

Looking at close ups, it appears in the range of 2 to 4 mm. Some examples with the usual caveat on the dangers in using museum examples.

 

This one from the AWM's Bf-109 G-6

https://www.largescaleplanes.com/walkaround/wk.php?wid=133

 

These images:

https://imgur.com/LzBPCC0

 

And this one from the oft used Spitfire maintenance video.

 

Sptifire Aerial Wire 1

 

What was actually used?

 

Hope you can help. 

 

Ray

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Hello Ray,

 

US WWII antenna wire (W-106-A) was typically solid steel wire, copper covered, nominal diameter of 0.040" (~1mm).

In 1/32, that's 0.00125" (0.032 mm) in diameter. In 1/48 that's 0.00083" (0.021 mm) in diameter. That's very fine wire, in 1/32 within the range of the diameter of human hair.

 

Don

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So we 1/72ers can forget about wires... Unless we train a (very small) spider to do the job.

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5 hours ago, don f said:

US WWII antenna wire (W-106-A)

 

Thanks Don, good to get a specification. It steered me to discussion on this site with reference to a p-51 drawing.

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235070198-p-51-antenna-wires/

 

Also seems reasonable for Navy types so wonderfully covered for F4U's here:

https://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2014/01/f4u-corsair-wire-antenna-alternatives.html

Images appear to show that W-106-A 0.040" is acceptable.

 

The early Spitfires  and Bf-109 seem to have a quite heavy wire. It made me wonder whether there was a change from braided or coated cable early war to single strand copper coated steel wire. Did German aircraft have another preference/requirement? For example see the following link. If the aerial wire is original, and it looks very much so, it is quite heavy. Definitely greater than 1.00 mm diameter. 

http://toniosky7.blogspot.com/2011/09/messerschmitt-bf-109-e3-walkaround.html

 

5 hours ago, BS_w said:

British aerial was în staînless steel. 1.02 mm dia

 

Thanks @BS_w. You usually have good drawings/references. Anything on this to give a time frame? Specific airframe/s? Trying to see if there were exceptions to the rule.

 

This image of a Hurricane certainly shows a small diameter aerial wire although confusingly or incorrectly labels testing a VHF installation. I expect @Troy Smith could clarify the VHF aerial wire installation on the Hurricane. By the way, great image for the armour builders - have fun with the mud. 

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Radio_mechanics_testing_the_VHF_transmitter-receiver_in_a_Hawker_Hurricane_Mk_I_of_No._601_Squadron_RAF_at_Exeter,_Devon,_November_1940._CH1636.jpg

 

Ray

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Just now, Peter Roberts said:

Have just discovered the Infini range of rigging materials - some VERY fine stuff there if you haven't already seen it.

 

Hi Peter,

 

I use their products and happy with them. Brilliant if you need to transport your models. Their finest, the "Ultra Fine", is quoted as 0.048 mm. I have no idea what this means for a finished dimension for a stretched 20 Denier elastic thread. Seems good to replicate the 1.02 mm (0.040"), as recommended in the earlier posts, in 1/32 and acceptable in the smaller scales if you're not too pedantic. Still looks the part. I note that Uschi quotes smaller diameters. I have not used their products.

 

I commented on my recent build about the apparent greater thickness of  German aerial wire. It raised the broader question of what was the diameter of WW2 era antenna wires. I recall for example B-29 aerial wire of 18 SWG (1.22 mm, 0.048"), which seems to fit with the previous posts, I assume a slightly large diameter for longer runs. 

 

Ray

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9 hours ago, Fukuryu said:

So we 1/72ers can forget about wires... Unless we train a (very small) spider to do the job.

Technically yes - but it doesn't look right! This is one of many areas where creating the right 'impression' can deviate from scale accuracy. I generally use very fine elastic line or stretched sprue.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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3 hours ago, Putty Animal said:

Are we sure that it was a single strand?

 

It is why I like a primary source. Like the following calling up the W-106-A aerial wire. I also expect @Tailspin Turtle can shed some light as the Navy types particularly the F4U images seem to show a thin wire and hence no reason to doubt the single wire 1.02mm 0.040" specification.

 

0000268

 

I still wonder about Luftwaffe types - the aerial wire seems braided and consequently thicker.

 

Ray

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Best I can do for Luftwaffe is this picture I took of FHC's FW190A-5 back in the day. I too don't trust modern restorations fully but the team there strove for authenticity in all their work.

 

img_0589-reduced-jpg.351802

 

And their Bf109E-3:

 

img_7490-reduced-jpg.352277

img_7492-reduced-jpg.352279

Edited by Crimea River
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I dont retrieve the techical drawing or manual where the diameter was indicated but I remeber that is

18 swg = 1,02mm.

 

I'll try find again when I come back my home.

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