Icom AH-4 Control Cable Length

How long can the control cable for the Icom AH4 be? I’m not sure but at least 170 feet (52 Meters).

Icom includes a 16ish (5 meter) unshielded cable (OPC-136) with the tuner. That doesn’t get you very far except for mobile and portable operation. Lucky for you they also sell a 32.8 foot (10 meter) shielded cable (OPC-420). Still 30 feet isn’t going to cut the mustard for my latest install sooooooo…

I bought a 500′ spool of Belden 5202FE to try and extend that a bit. I did some rough math to figure the voltage drop at roughly 200 feet and decided that 16 gauge or larger was probably best to avoid too much loss. I did some searching around and there are no cheap shielded options so I went for broke and looked through the Belden catalog and found 5202FE under security and sound. It has 4 conductors, is shielded, has a PE jacket, and is 16 awg. It even uses the same color scheme that Icom does.

Since Icom doesn’t give much of a spec you are just kind of guessing on how long you can actually run until it doesn’t work. On pure hope I hand buried 128 feet by hand and ran another 42ish feet through my house.

After getting the new 43 Foot DX Engineering antenna built and hooked up I was anxious to see if the tuner would work that far away. I got everything terminated and plugged it in to see. Sure enough antenna 1 showed (EXT), then a quick key up showed it tune on every band from 80-6! After that I gave 40M a try, which had always been a problem at the previous QTH, and worked Costa Rica and Italy right away. Tuner works!

No idea how far you can go, but it will probably work at least a couple hundred feet with 16awg shielded cable.

4 replies on “Icom AH-4 Control Cable Length”

Does the buried segment of the cable seem to be holding up? I’m looking to do something similar, but notice the cable is not specified for direct burial.
Thanks NT1W

Still holding up just fine. Just checked everything out before winter and nothing has changed since install. The exposed sections are still holding up and not breaking down in the sun. I haven’t pulled up any buried sections but I haven’t noticed anything that would cause me worry.

-Sean KK9U

I own two AH-4’s and both of Icom supplied control cables that came with them are clearly labeled on the exterior sheathing jacket as 4x 16awg. Wasn’t your cable labled? Without knowing the AH-4 power requirements or the awg of the supplied control cable, Im curious what you based your math on? I’m glad your control cable is doing its job, but my knowing that Icom supplied 16awg led me to using a direct burial rated 8x16awg audio speaker cable I had in a recent 145′ end fed wire setup located 125′ from Icom rigs to the AH-4 box. just double up each lead to (2x16awg). Though bigger in diameter, the cable fit perfectly into the lower AH-4 control cable hole.

Honestly I never even took the included cable out and looked at it. The power requirements are listed in the service manual. 13.8v +/- 15% with a max current draw of 1A. I took that and plugged it into a few online wire size calculators and came up with 16.

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