Originally Posted by johnnyandjebus
I will be installing a VHF antenna on my boat this spring and have a couple of questions.
First off the boat is a contessa 26, deck stepped mast.
1) Where can I buy(online) a crimping tool to make the required coaxial cable connections?
2) Given that the mast is deck stepped, where can I buy a piece of hardware that will allow me to pass the coaxial cable thru the deck? West Marine has something that will work but I am looking for alternatives.
I would suggest you use RG8X cable for the length of run you will need. It is a 6mm cable and a good compromise between the 10mm RG213 or RG8 and the 5mm RG58 which should not be used for long runs, although often is. RG58 is just too lossy to give you the performance required by, for instance, the offshore racing authorities. RG8X is OK for up to 20m or so - more than that and you need RG8 or RG213.
Your cable should be tinned and the center core should be stranded so that it is flexible. The braid coverage should exceed 90%. Berkshire and Ancor are both good.
Use PL259 connectors, solder type. Maxgain in the US produce an excellent silver plated brass connector that is excellent. With the PL259 connector you use an RG8X adapter. You can see how to fit the PL259 here:
To go through the deck you can use a bulkhead barrel connector, as SD says, but you will have to protect it well. You can also use a deck gland that will allow the cable with connector attached to pass through. That way you don't have to cut the cable if you remove your mast. You can make a connection inside the boat, so you don't have to strip the cable out from the headlining when you drop the mast, by using two PL259's and a PL258 double female.
Hope this helps.