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Old 05-03-2010
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Confused: PL-259 for VHF?

Hi All,

I'm confused, help is appreciated. At the end of last season I split a coax cable that runs from the VHF radio up to the antenna on the mast. Consequently, I need to run some new cable and attach some connectors.

Currently, the cable is RG8/X with PL-259 connectors. My plan was to buy some more RG8/X and crimp-on PL259s, an RF Industries crimp tool, and off I go. However, and this must be a stupid question, because I can't seem to google for the right answer: where are the female connectors for PL-259? Is it called something different? Can someone send me a link to clarify?

Alternately -- it seems that PL-259 is highly regarded as a connector, but is there a better choice these days? Since I am replacing, I am open to ideas.

Thanks,
-- m.
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Old 05-03-2010
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The female equivalent of the PL259 is an SO239 usually available at the same locations and both are ubiquitous. BNC connectors (typically that type on a handheld) is often the preferred connector for VHF but either will suffice unless you really want to get picky.
The one suggestion I have is that you reconsider the type coax. RG8X has a characteristic loss much higher than some better quality types. Also, not all RG8X is equivalent - many have an inferior braid percentage exacerbating the loss.
The attached link will allow you to investigate which type coax you may want to use:

http://www.timesmicrowave.com/cgi-bin/calculate.pl

I'm not a fan of crimp on coax connectors. If you know how to solder properly, you will end up with a much more permanent and efficient connection if you solder them.
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Old 05-03-2010
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I think most people would put a PL259 on each piece of cable and use a barrel connector to screw them together. Lots of choices here:

Cap For PL-259 Deck Feed Through from ANCOR MARINE
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Old 05-03-2010
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The Times Microwave cables are some of the best. With some friends who are Hams I get all the inside scoop about what they like or don't like. The consensus among the crowd at the local electronics/Ham store is crimp and solder these days. I began using them a few years ago and could not be happier. The center conductor gets soldered but the braid crimped.

Here's a "How To". Please ignore the Ancor RG-213 cable as I would normally never use it however it was given to me so free beats out buying the Times stuff....

Easy PL-259 Connections (LINK)
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 05-03-2010 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 05-04-2010
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Thanks so much, each of these responses helped.

One more question, I ended up going to a Paladin tools crimper. They offer 3 different dies that all say that they are for RG8, but are 3 different sizes: .429, .415, .402. I already ordered the .415 before I realized it might not be right. Do I need to try and switch to a different one, or am I ok, assuming PL-259 connectors?
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Old 05-04-2010
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If you look at the specs for different makes of coax, you will see there are a few different diameters so you/we need to know what coax type and mfg you are using before that q can be answered.
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There is no rule that says the antenna has to go ont he mast head either... It does work better higher up, but not all people want it up there. If you don't put it there you'll have a much shorter coax run. I'm not saying you should do that, just pointing out another option.
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P1,

be careful with some of the cheaper coax, as they wick moisture very badly, some do not even have UV/weather/oil resistant jackets and the like.

Go with the solder even if you crimp, and tape any exposed junctions.

All the best
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You might want to take a look at mini-UHF connectors. They come in male and female, are low profile and easy to install with the right crimper. The female is the third one down in this photo I took of different connectors I installed in my shop.



There is nothing wrong with crimp connectors, they work just as well (except for the center-pin type which don't work well), as soldered if done properly. I'm a pro and use both types all the time. Mouser sells a pretty good crimp kit for a very good price $79. A little high for the casual user maybe but still a great price for what you get. I have all the expensive amphenol crimpers/dies $$$$ as well as this kit from Mouser. It's a good quality crimp/die kit.

Eric
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