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Searched and haven’t found reference to a minimum wire gauge for a TMCC/ERRCo antenna.  The dead MTH early PS2 UP 844 I’m converting to TMCC has an all metal, oil bunker tender.  It is conveniently missing a cord for its nice whistle, which has a fine crank arm on it with hole for cord and all, way forward on the boiler.  I have a kit of insulated magnet wire as fine as 32 gauge, up to 22 gauge by 2’s.  Is there a minimum to the wire gauge for an effective antenna?  The second question requires that I can find plenty of space inside the boiler to put the ERRCo boards there.  With MTH boards removed, I suspect “yes.”

Would that minimum gauge wire, soldered to the end of the antenna wire provided, and dry brushed black or sooty and draped from engineer’s side of front cab wall to the whistle crank, possibly work well as the antenna?  Does it need a couple of plastic TMCC stanchions added along it to maintain some separation from the boiler? I don’t have UP FEF class prototype photos to help me with whistle cord appearance and any intermediate brackets or stanchions on the prototypes, but someone out there does I bet.

Thanks

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On a receiving antenna, such as you are contemplating, the only concern is how physically fragile the wire will be and how well the insulation will hold up where it passes through the various stanchions and orifices.

The amount of current running through the wire is almost un-measurable without laboratory instruments.

Whatever is sturdy enough will be fine.

Last edited by RoyBoy

Thank you.  Found and ordered some 30 ga silicon insulated super soft stranded copper, O.D. 0.8 mm, that should serve well.  Should be able to pass through cab wall fine, and will improvise attachment to whistle crank so as to maintain insulation from boiler and still look OK.  Also ordered 2 Lionel plastic handrail stanchions and will incorporate those somehow, using prototype photo if I can find one.  “Photos at 11:00”

I just built two MTH FEF’s converting them to TMCC for my best buddy & my son Brian, …..we put plastic stanchions on the oil tender’s rear most set of handrails, isolated them well, and ran the wire through the shell, …..I used brass round stock for those two handrails, and colored them black with brass blackener …..worked out well, ….and the handrail is just a straight run, no funny bends,….so if you’re whistle cord idea don’t work, there’s your second solution……I couldn’t see putting the CC in the locomotive shell, ….that was a no-go for me, ….so into the cavernous tender it all went…..the stock 10 pin had enough pins to carry everything we needed forward to the engine…..

Pat

All helpful, gentlemen. Will report after more gets done.

GRJ, an old post of yours has already helped. Learned from you that I could use an original ProtoSound coupler with TMCC board but not the PS2 coupler that was on the tender. Sure nuff PS2 had <3 ohms resistance. Stole PS1 coupler from a soon to be sacrificed PS1 doodlebug  chassis with 7 ohms and fits perfectly.

If you end up unable to put the CC in the loco and it ends up in the Tender I have buried magnetic wire in the coal pile on several locos. I solder a stranded wire lead to it that runs to the antenna pin on the board.  I dig out about half the coal and drill a hole through the metal at the bottom of the coal pile.  Snake the magnetic wire back and forth and tack it down with tiny spots of hot glue then re-glue the coal on top.  Works well and is easy to do.  Once I glued a piece of the spiral from a note book under the coal pile as an antenna. Worked well.        j

@JohnActon posted:

If you end up unable to put the CC in the loco and it ends up in the Tender I have buried magnetic wire in the coal pile on several locos. I solder a stranded wire lead to it that runs to the antenna pin on the board.  I dig out about half the coal and drill a hole through the metal at the bottom of the coal pile.  Snake the magnetic wire back and forth and tack it down with tiny spots of hot glue then re-glue the coal on top.  Works well and is easy to do.  Once I glued a piece of the spiral from a note book under the coal pile as an antenna. Worked well.        j

These are oil fired tenders John, …..adds a small level of difficulty, ….but yeah, on coal fire tenders, I’ve been burying brass strips in the coal for years now with no issues,…..buried in epoxy and coal, they work well,…

Pat

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