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post #246 of Old 12-08-2010
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When you are talking about soldering on a VHF antenna connection, that's electronic signal cables.

Different from electrical cables which carry only power, not signals.

In signal cables, especially larger size crimped fittings that are exposed to weather, the signal is easily distorted, corrupted, interrupted by any break in the electrical characteristic of the cable. Soldering is the way to go--if you can make a clean solder joint. When you've got an RF signal in an antenna cable, everything, including the number of connectors and their physical size (mainly diameter) in relation to the cable they are in, changes signal quality.

The problem with soldering VHF coax connectors (PL-259, SO-239, whatever you want to refer to them by) is that unless you are spot on with the soldering, you melt the inner insulator and short out the cable. Or, you don't heat the outer connector and don't bond to the shield. There are very few people who have soldered these cables without screwing up the first couple of attempts, unless they've done soldering before. (And even then, there are "better" are worse ways to get the job done.)

I will use crimp-on coax connectors, and have seen a number of clever patented variations (like a gold "claw" design, I think from Shakespeare), when I have to. That means at a masthead, or as a spare while in motion and bouncing around without a good means of soldering. But a properly made solder connection on a coax fitting is not subject to any physical stress, the coax fitting itself strain-relieves the cable.

I'd say the crimp-on ones are more likely to be done workably up front, less likely to be perfect and stay that way for the long run.

Very different from crimping on battery cables or power leads.

You haven't hit any contradiction about when to solder and when to crimp, you've just hit a boundary between "electrical power" and "electronics signal".
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