A low attenuation surface wave transmission line system for launching surface waves on a bare and unconditioned conductor, such as are found in abundance in the power transmission lines of the existing power grids. The conductors within the power grid typically lack dielectric and special conditioning. Accordingly, the present invention includes a first launcher, preferably including a mode converter and an adapter, for receiving an incident wave of electromagnetic energy and propagating a surface wave longitudinally on the power lines. The system includes at least one other launcher, and more likely a number of other launchers, spaced apart from one another along the constellation of transmission lines. The system and associated electric fields along any given conductor are radially and longitudinally symmetrical.