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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-02-2008
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VHF Cable

I have replaced my VHF antenna and would like to replace the old 1981 cable down the mast. What is the best type of cable to use and what are the connectors I need. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2008
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Good thinking...1981 cable is a bit long-in-the tooth by now :-)

Best practical cable to use is RG-213. It's milspec, same physical size as RG-8, and is easy to find at reasonable cost. It has relatively low loss at VHF frequencies, compared to RG-58 and even RG-8X.

If you have a small boat where the run isn't too long to the antenna OR for some reason you can't run the larger diameter cable like RG-213/U, then the smaller diameter RG-8X is acceptable (NOT RG-58).

Coax connectors are not created equal, unfortunately. There are some rotten examples out there these days. I even found that some of the gold connectors sold by WM are way substandard. In general, you can be assured of decent quality with Amphenol connectors, and I found some imported ones of excellent quality at the RF Connection: The RF Connection Home Page

They also carry coax at favorable prices

It's worth a call to them to ask about the current lot of connectors. You'll want PL-259 connectors. If you are going to use the smaller RG-8X coax, you'll need reducers for that cable diameter as well.

Bill
WA6CCA
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Old 03-03-2008
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Thanks Bill, you have been very helpful.

Dustin
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Old 03-03-2008
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The RF page shows the RG-8x available in tinned marine but not the RG-213. Is that available somewhere else tinned? Or is it not a big deal for vhf?
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Old 03-03-2008
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Not a big deal. I've never seen RG-213 in a tinned version, but there are so many types of coax out there it's a possibility.

Still, the venerable RG-213/U will last a very long time, assuming it's installed correctly with good moisture seal connections at the two ends. Actually, the standard PL-259 connector screws on very tightly and makes a pretty good connection, but it's always helpful IMO to supplement this with tape or goop or heat shield with adhesive (my favorite).

Don't skimp on these things (connectors, heat shield, etc.). Buy the best quality you can find. The extra $1 or two spent now will save you untold grief over the long haul. And, conceivably, it could save your boat or even your life!

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 03-03-2008 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 03-03-2008
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I think Btrayfors is talking about adhesive lined heat shrink tubing, when he says heat shield.
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Old 03-04-2008
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dog,

Yes, thanks. A senior moment :-)

B.
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Old 03-04-2008
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RG-213 from Ancor is available ONLY as tinned, and is a delight to work with...comparatively
keiper
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Old 03-04-2008
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Here's a handy little link for comparing the db loss for different brands. Pardon the syntax. I haven't posted much here.
www dot ocarc dot ca slash coax dot htm
I'm in the process of replacing everything from antenna to radio (also 1981 vintage stuff). I'm leaning towards LMR400 but it's not too flexible. Probably end up with 213. I'm also gonna go with premade cables. The proper crimper isn't cheap, and I don't see myself doing this again for a long time, if ever.
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Old 03-04-2008
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That would be Coax Calculator then.
Good link by the looks of it.
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