*PRODUCT REVIEW* Zip Ties in Ham Radio

In our fantastic hobby, there are several low-cost items which possess the magical power to perform multiple functions; items we typically take for granted for their simplicity and unassuming nature.

For me, one of the best and most versatile multi-purpose items used by hams, freebanders and cb radio enthusiasts the world over, and a little guy which tends to fly well under the radar, is the cable tie.

That’s right — that narrow length of plastic — with a conveyer belt of shark teeth that can lock into place and secure the most insecurable of items; that same manipulable dual-hatted plastic strip that can resolve just about any dilemma there is in ham radio comms.

Apart from working the DX that is…


Also known as a zip tie, a cable tie is a type of fastener for holding items together, primarily electrical cables such as feedline and power chords, as well as wires, but as we well know, other items too.

The cable tie is connected to a guy named Maurus C. Logan who was working for Thomas & Betts, an electrical company in the USA.

In 1958, Logan launched this great invention, intending for it to help out aircraft workers.

The very first cable ties consisted of two parts — a plastic mold and a metal component.

Due to inefficiency and high costs, however, the product was soon perfected to a cheaper, more production-friendly alternative.

These days, the most common cable tie sold around the world is made of nylon — a silk-like thermoplastic made from petroleum.

These are the varieties most often used in radio comms too.

Modern cable ties have a flexible tape section with teeth that engage with a pawl in the head to form a ratchet so that, as the free end of the tape section is pulled, the cable tie tightens and doesn’t come undone.

This capability also allows several cables to be bound together into a “cable bundle” and/or to form what’s commonly called a “cable tree”.

Sold in packets, cylinders or buckets, from hardware stores, retail department stores, and from a long list of online sellers, cable ties also come in different colours — black, red, blue, green, clear, and more.


“There’s an old saying in ham radio that “if you can’t fix it with a zip tie and/or electrical tape then it’s not work fixing” and this appraisal tallies well with my own experiences in the hobby…”

Generally, cable ties are designed as single-use devices, however they can be reopened with little or no damage by inserting a small flat object between the ratchet and the pawl, and pulling the pawl out.

Alternatively, some ties include a tab that can be depressed to release the ratchet so that the tie can be loosened or removed, and possibly reused.

Coupled with their cross-functioning capabilities, the low cost, light weight, ease of use, and binding strength of cable ties, makes them suitable for a wide range of apps in radio communications.

Possible uses include:

  • Creating coax chokes
  • Organizing power chords beneath the radio desk
  • Preventing wires and cables from becoming tangled or damaged, thus protecting them from becoming tangled or knotted up
  • Supporting coax and/or rotator wire down a mast so it’s not flapping in the wind
  • Identification, marking and labelling of cables
  • Bolstering fiberglass antenna spreaders
  • Tidying coax runs from the back of transceivers
  • Attaching the end of dipoles to fences, trees, etc.
  • Looping and storing dipole antennas
  • As guy wire ties
  • And much more


In radio comms, there’s a long list of items that can fulfil numerous roles, whether it be to support, strengthen, sustain or maintain more notable shack DX-ccessories.

For me, cable or zip ties solve the tedious task of using rope to tie objects and, therefore, sit at the forefront of this list.

As shown above, nylon cable ties have the advantages of easy operation, good insulation, self-locking, anti-corrosion and durability.

Not only is having an assortment of cable ties at your fingertips handy in the home shack, but in my opinion, a pack of ties is an essential luggage appendage on any dxpedition too.

Cheap, small and light-weight these magnificent multi-use strips of nylon serve so many purposes, you’d be crazy to not have a supply of different sizes and colours at your disposal.

I hope you enjoyed the read.

73 de Darren, 43DA001