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This page provides general information on wire and wire equipment. I also offer for sale various items of wire related equipment and tools.
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Note: The "WD-1/TT" Nomenclature for wire is used here generically for both categories of "WD-1/TT and WD-1A/TT," for my purpose of ease in writing this.
WD-36/TT Wire: These lighter, thinner wire in cylindrical canvas and tape containers, commonly referred to as "Wire Donut Rolls," are manufactured for one-time use only. These can not be put back; however, it can be recovered using a RL-39 reel (shown below in illustration). These canvas "donuts" were used in the military for hasty or rapid deployment by one person, because of their light-weight, compacted wire characteristics. These are ideal for dispensing from a backpacked or side-belt attachment position. There are three types: MX-306( )/G -- 1/2 Mile, MX-6864/TT -- 1/2 Mile, and MX-6895/TT -- 1/4 Mile
Question: Is there a particular wire that you would recommend using for my application? I figured most retired military spools would have issues due to the long shelf life. It would be a shame to put so much energy into the phones, just to have a grounding issue on the wire. I do plan to network to multiple locations, probably totaling about .5 miles. The act of burying the wire is probably going to be the largest part of the job. I hope to find a wire that will stand the tests of time the best. I imagine the wire will cost quite a bit, but in the long run, long lasting functionality is the goal.
Wire Condition WD-1/TT wire is an excellent inexpensive alternative to bury for that purpose; I only caution that it has to be very good wire with no cracks because any moisture in the ground will short it out and cause havoc/static with your phones. Most used wire has cracks, splices, and other issues -- still good for external use but not in the ground. Wire that has been spliced has been wrapped with black electrical tape for protection against moisture; this tape wil deteriorate, loosen, fall off with time leaving bare wire exposed to the elements.
Wire Viscosity: The viscosity (oil content) constituted in all plastics or hard plastic coating or just plastics, deteriorates with time; just as a plastic milk bottle becomes brittle when left empty outside for a long time and shatters with any pressure. The hard plastic coating on the Wire does the same, although made to last longer for military applications, since military wire is manufactured to be used and exposed in harsh, outside inclement weather conditions.
Test Wire: Before dispensing (paying out) wire conduct a continuity test end-to-end with two field telephones: One phone at one end and the other phone on the other end. Ring out from each phone and conduct a communications check with both to insure there are no breaks in the wire. Breaks in the wire spun on the reel are difficult to determine. If feasible the best method of determining the integrity/condition of wire is to reel the wire out and do a physical inspection, relectricalepairing bare, exposed steel strands by wrapping electrical Insulation tape around the exposed area. Another method is to use an OHM Meter to conduct a "continuity test" end-to-end. The best method is to do an operational test with field phones.
Shelf Life: You're right. Some or most of the military wire has seemingly exceeded its shelf life; but, what is the shelf life? I haven't found any information to this effect -- this term is relative. I have some brand new reels of rolls manufactured during the Korean War (Tagged "Korea 1951"); it is in excellent condition. However, questionable wire is excellent for above-ground, but risky if buried for a lengthly period. One can pretty well tell by how supple, flexible or durable the plastic coating is by bending/flexing the wire -- dry rot is common.
Lots of new wire has been stored in military storage facilities with an ideal storage environment condusive to preserving its shelf life.
Chances are pretty high that new wire will suit your burying requirements.
When buying new military wire intended for underground use, observe the date of manufacture, if available; usually there are "date of manufacture" tags,stickers, stenciled with information somewhere on the reel or Canvas Donut Rolls. Of course, always closely inspect it.
Canvas Donut Rolls: Wire Donut Canvas Rolls such as the MX-306A/G (1/2 Mile-2,640 feet, .8km), MX-6864/G (1/2 Mile-2,640feet, .8km), and the smaller MX-6895/G (1/4 Mile-1,320 feet, .4km) will contain new wire, however, if the tape covering the hole is off or loose, there most likely may have been some wire taken out. Exact manufactured weights usually will determine complete wire lengths. I have weighed new ones (all three) which I will post on this page soon.
When buying Donut Rolls, keep in mind that once dispensed, you are not putting it back in the canvas; to recover this wire for repositioning/relocating it, you need some type of reeling machine. The RL-39 reel kit is the most practical method of recovering 1/4 Mile or 1,240 feet of wire. The 1/2 mile length (2,640 feet, .8km) wire from the MX-6894/TT, which is a different gage category -- WD-36/TT, can also be recovered with the RL-39 Reel Kit -- the wire gage is thinner than the typical WD-1/TT contained in the MX-306A/G or the typical DR-8's (1/4 Mile) .
EMP: Buried wire is less susceptible to EMP (electronic magnetic pulse).
You can recover the 1/2 mile of WD-36/TT lighter, thinner wire length from a MX-6864/TT on a DR-8 reel using the RL-39 reeling machine. To recover WD-1/TT lengths of a 1/2 mile (MX-306/G, .8km) or more, you need a RL-31E or RL-27 wire reeling equipment with a RL-59/U empty reel. The RL-31-E is on a steel A-frame tubing with a split axel for the RL-59/U reel with a 1 mile capacity to either recover or dispense 1 Mile (5,280feet,1.6km) of WD-/TT wire.
The RL-27-B is less expensive and is comprised of a Rod single axel with a cranking handle for the same purpose of recovering or dispensing 1 Mile RL-59/U Reels of wire. It requires two persons for dispensing operation or one person for recovery by improvising a mount to prop one end of the rod in the crook "v" of a tree or something similar.
Wire Equipment and Wire for Sale and I also have a few RL-31-E Reeling Machines, RL-27-B's and RL-39 reeling kits. I haven't had time to post photos them on this website:
RL-39 reeling kit: $35.00 plus $8.00 shipping
RL-31-E $175.00, plus $30.00 shipping: in excellent condition
-- Has a split axel capable of handling two RL-159/U reels.
-- Lightweight portable A-frame of steel tubing.
Axel RL-27-B $65.00 plus 15.00 shipping: excellent condition
-- This is a 2 1/2 foot long machine-steel bar with a removable crank handle.
DR-8, 1/4 Mile WD-1/TT (1,320ft,.4km)used & tested $35.00 Shipping $20.00
DR-8 1/4 Mile WD-1/TT (1,320ft,.4km) Mint Condition with original "1951 Korea" Tag $150.00 Shipping $20.00
-- Collectors item in Mint in original box
-- This is the "actual WD-1/TT original dual-twisted pair wire; ideal for "reenactment clubs."
CE-11 Reel Equipment: $195.00 plus shipping $16.95
--Collector's itemNew, Mint Condition in original box, Contains:
-- TA-1/PT Sound Powered Field Telephone with case and carrying strap:
-- Reel Unit RL-39
-- Empty Spool DR-8 for 1/4 mile WD-( )/TT Wire
-- Technical Manual: TM 11-3895-203-15
Reel RL-159/U, 1 Mile WD-1/TT(5,280ft,1.6km): $99.95 plus $65.00 shipping, used, tested
Empty Reel RL-159/U, for 1 Mile WD-1/TT(5,280ft,1.6km): $24.95 plus $20.00 shipping, used,
MX-306A/G WD-1/TT (1/2 Mile-2,640ft, .8km) $124.95plus $20.00 shipping Unused,complete
MX-6894/TT 149.00 plus $12.10 shipping Unused, new, complete
MX-6895/TT $99.95 plus $8.90 shipping Unused, new, complete
MX-6895/TT $124.95 plus $8.90 shipping Collectors item in Mint in original box
MK-356/G Wiring Splicing Kit. $65.00 plus $ Shipping 13.90 The Kit Contains:
-- Wire Splicing Tool: TL-582/U
-- Carrying Canvas Bag
-- 4 empty Magazines
-- 10 original Copper Splicing Connectors (Sleeves)
-- Note:Copper Sleeves are Rare, no longer in production. I verified that: My Active Army Soldier neighbor placed an order for his Communications Section, within the Army Supply System, for them by the exact "stock ordering number." When he received them and showed them to me, they turned out to an updated Blue Plastic Butt Conduit for modern crimpers found at Home Depot, and do not fit or work with the Vietnam Era MK-356/G Splicing Kit -- too large. If you are not collecting for memorabila purposes, one can use the typical butt splices that can be modified to fit the magazines: Home Depot has the red Butt Splice sku 15-121 size 22-16 by just snipping the ends to the exact size of the copper conductors -- the diameter is the same as the copper conductors.
MK-356/G Wiring Splicing Kit. $99.95.00 plus $ Shipping 13.90.This is a
Collectors item in Mint in original box
TE-33 Tool Equipment Kit $75.00 plus $6.10 shipping.
--for cutting and making field wire splices:This TE-33 Kit Contains:
-- Leather Pouch CS-34, used
-- Pliers TL-13, used
-- Knife TL-29, used
Knife TL-29, WWII Vintage, with wooden handle Collectors item in Mint Condition, in original wax paper wrap $75.00 plus $6.10 shipping.