I almost got it today????

This wiring in a couple of places was down about belly high and at the feet where it went into the conduit and I almost walked into it with out seeing it. Placed my little ticker on the wire and it lite up not totally trusting these little dudes went and got my real meter and tested from this bare wire to the furnace vent and read 124 volts.

This is just a single wire resembling the old K&T and runs the full length of the attic into the conduit that it is touching in the PIC indicating to me that the conduit is also hot. I am turning this over to the sparky’s but would like to understand why and how something like this is in use especially since this home has been re-wired by what appears to have been professionally done.
Any thoughts are welcome

That looks like an old radio antenna back in the AM days when a “long wire” was all you needed to pick up stations from thousands of miles away.
What kind of meter were you using? You could have just seen “antenna effect” phantom voltage.

Have a good meter from back in my HVAC days don’t recall the name off of the top off my head but I did not buy it from Lowe’s. Yes that wire was no larger than a speaker wire. When all of the bells and whistles start sounding I back away.

If it is a digital meter it still has several megohms of input inpedance and a long piece of unterminated wire will make it a random number generator. My $400 Fluke does the same thing.

I have found the Greenlee you are using is very very sensitive to phantom voltage. I can touch a wire I know is dead and the tone will go off. I had an old-timer electrician show me that if you place your finger on the opposite side of the yellow tip from the wire you are testing, it stops the tester from chirping unless there is actual voltage present. Take extra care as always.

My greenlee wasn’t just chirping it was solid not like when it goes off from static just rubbing your shirt or your arm. That is when I went and got my fluke and tested to ground and showed a solid 124 volts just blew my mind. I did not try to trace it out to see where it attached on either end.

I have seen older homes with K&T run along the roof rafters uninsulated as you have pictured (#5).

I never have,this was the first scared the crap out of me and I am scared of nothing. I was taught as a Pup to always treat every wire as if hot and I do to this day perhaps that is why I am still here:) I have been shocked twice in my life bad and that was enough for me.

So you still haven’t told us, what type is your meter, analog or digital? That information could explain a lot.

Digital Fluke

Regardless…if you metered it and got 124 volts…it is not phantom voltage which is usually in the 40-80 volt range from my experiences…those “tickers” will go off for hardly any voltage and yes the greenlee is VERY sensative…makes it GOOD for HI’s because you need to be cautious ANYTIME you are under a crawl and so on…

A good meter is an investment to ANY hi’s kit…and they really NEED to learn to use it…i could careless about SOP…in fact I am tried of everyone saying…but something exceeds SOP…we are dealing in real life…we exceed SOP all the time ( sorry that was a personal tyrant…and nothing about the post…)…sorry…

Anyway…Digital meters can MESS with your mind also…but if you got truly 124 volts…we as electricians now know the voltage levels to look for in regards to Phantom Voltage ( I posted an article on it on the forum…search for it using " Phantom Voltage " in the search.

You just never know what a DIYer or Home Owner will do…always be cautious…as you were…

Personally I have never gotten anything over 100 volts in terms of Phantom Voltage in a normal residential environment…but be aware that digital meters will give you some funny voltages ( caused by induction and magnetics within the OTHER energized conductors )…

I would prefer you be SAFE than SORRY…

That’s why I prefer a “Wiggy”.
Digital meters are great but you need to understand their limitations.

Those little Neon testers like the one below are also very missleading at times.


Paul. On a pure antenna like this 124v is not unexpected. There is no coupling to ground like you get with a wire in a raceway so it may settle on the highest voltage available. This wire is far too small to be K&T but it does look exactly like what we DXers used for AM “long wire” antennas. The fact that there is only a single conductor seems to confirm that.
Where and how does it terminate? I bet one end just stopps in tyhe attic and the other goes to “the radio shack”

You old HAM radio guys…lol…I don’t deal in RadioWaves…thehehe

This isn’t really “ham” radio. When I was a kid we just used a regular “all american 5” table radio with a better antenna to listen to stations all across the country. I remember sitting in my room in Southern Md listening to Dick Bionde on WLS in Chicago. You could get pretty much any “clear channel” AM station (50kw) in the country on a clear night but the real trick was getting
the others. Since they shared the same frequency you could end up with them fading back and forth between 2 or more stations. That was back when radio was more than one long commercial.

Ahhh yes…Wolfman Jack broadcasting R&R from AM1570 in beautiful downtown Villa Acuna/Del Rio,Texas to listeners all across the US. For those of you too young to remember just rent American Graffiti.

I had an old Plymouth Fury car radio hooked up in my bedroom an ran it off my train transformer. Drilled a bunch of holes in my nightstand and mounted an 8" Utah from Burnstein Applebee. The radio sounded good except for the hum it picked up from the train transformer.
Had a 50’ wire stretched over the roof and I could pick up WLS in Chicago, KOMA in Oklahoma City, and another one I don’t remember the call letters but it was in Monterey, Calif. 50K watts.
Sometimes you could barely hear the stations over all the interference! Can you imagine kids today doing that?

Looks like the knob and tube in my old house when I found my daughter playing around it under the eaves of the house. Totally uninsulated. I still have nightmares about it. :frowning:

I remember camping out at 10,800 feet in the northern Sierras back in 1968 with a transistor radio picking up the Wolfman late at night from the transformer that was in Mexico, about 600 miles away.

This is the Wolfman coming to you from XERB radio. What memories.