Whats the thinnest Triplex cable

I want to run a simple 120V line on my farm from the garage to a shed. All its for is a few lights and one outlet in case I want to run a power tool. So, it's nothing much. Just a simple 2 wire 20A run. I need to go about 80 feet. There was an old pole building that I tore down in between the garage and shed, but I left one of the tall poles, since I was planning to run this wire. That pole is about dead center, so there will be about 40 ft. one each side of the post. All I really need is a piece of 12gauge romex, but I know that wont hold up outdoors. I can NOT go underground, because there is an old concrete slab there. So, I must go overhead. What is the smallest gauge triplex they sell? (I dont think they make a 2 wire cable, so I may as well use the 3rd wire for a ground), since there will be no breaker in the shed, just a 20A breaker in the garage. I must also mention that I want to keep costs down, and have considered running 2 separate wires like they did in the old days, but I am not sure what type of wire is made for outdoor use. What other options are there? I am NOT worried about code, because around here no one really bothers with code. However, I do want it safe, and for the last few years I have had a few extension cords strung across, and am not too happy with that, especially when it gets unplugged up on the pole from winds, and I know that is not safe.
My other option is to buy some heavier USED triplex from a local guy that demolishes buildings, and re-sells a lot of stuff. He always has that sort of thing around. The last time I was there he had some that was thinner than most of the stuff I am familiar with, but still much thicker than a #12 wire. There was no markings on it, so I am going to guess it to be a 4 gauge (wires are about 1/4" thick WITH insulation. Is there any way to measure the wire to determine the gauge? The reason I need to know, is because he sells this stuff at half the price of new, and I want to be sure he is using the right gauge for the price, because this guy is not the most honest.
The other thing, I know that underground cable (UF) is not made for overhead, but I believe it is sunlight resistant, That makes me wonder if that is all I really need to string across?
Thanks in advance for all help.
Jerry
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They do make sunlight resistant UF and it is OK for overhead if you run it on a messenger wire.
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The smallest over head triplex I have ever installed was #2. Try King Wire, Anixter, or Standard Wire locally to you. Ask for end of rolls. Call your local utility and ask them if they have a piece that they will sell you.
1/2 of new is good if you can get it. If you want this to last stay away from UF. Even with sunlight resistant it will not hold up like the other stuff.
For an single circuit you need to carry the ground and the ASCR messenger is good for that. Warning cut this stuff with bolt cutters, not cable cutters. The center is steel. I have seen more than one person ruin an good rabbit gun by cutting the messenger.
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snipped-for-privacy@IHATESPAM.com wrote:

I don't think that what you're leaning toward is a particularly good idea:
there's no such thing as too much capacity, and the difference between a half-assed, barely adequate, not more than moderately unsafe kludge job that you have to re-do in two years and a GOOD job is something like $200 with salvaged parts.. but since you asked:
UF cable shouldn't be used for exposed overhead transmission, there's a special cable for that, (I think it's labled SE). If you use UF, then you ought to put it in conduit. (grey plastic is cheap) If you put it in conduit, then it's not in open air, and so the rated amps for 12-Ga is 23 amps. Except that your total run, including the 80' between buildings and whatever distance is inside them, is probably pretty near 100' so you have to go to the next bigger size. You're probably not going to be able dig a 100' length of unbroken #10 UF cable out of a dumpster, and you most especially don't want any splices in the middle of your conduit.
Whatever you end up using, string steel cable (like for a dog run) first, and hang your conduit/cable whatever from that. And you KNOW that you're going to eventually come up with a reason for tapping in at the pole, eventually, so put a junction box there, and splice it, else you won't have enough slack, later.
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