How to fix broken VHF radio cable - SailNet Community

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Old 01-18-2011
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How to fix broken VHF radio cable

I was going to crimp the wires together but noticed that they are not wires, it has a plastic piece running up the middle with braided wire around it. How do I repair the cable? Can I just crimp it?

Thanks!
John

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Old 01-18-2011
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I believe what you're describing is a standard coaxial ("coax") cable. From the outside in, you will find a layer of insulation, a braided wire "shield", an insulator, and an inner core conductor. The inner conductor (often solid, but sometimes stranded) is what carries the actual signal. The shield is connected to ground (probably inside the radio) to prevent interference.

How is your wire broken? If it has been cut clean through, you can probably crimp the inner core together, wrap some electrical tape around it, connect the shield across the gap, and wrap some more tape and it will work. Your signal quality will be degraded because the shield isn't continuous anymore, and the crimp may also cause a small loss of signal. To get better performance, you can try to find some coax connectors for your size cable (maybe something like a BNC connector) and use them to connect the two halves with less signal loss. If you want it to be like-new, you need to replace the entire length of cable.
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Old 01-18-2011
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You're really better off replacing it.
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My vhf cable and mast light cable were both ran through the deck in poor locations. They are to far off the mast. The head sheet hits them constantly... I will try the connector for now. I am not a fan of going up the mast (more like I have never tried).
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Old 01-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
You're really better off replacing it.
Please listen to this advice!

This is coax:



Rik
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Old 01-19-2011
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Hmm. Is it possible for the copper wire to get busted out from force or constant wear? I see the mesh and the insulation but nothing inside the insulation. For temporary repair until I can run new wire would it be best to run to my old loran stern mounted antenna or crimp the broken cable back together for my mast mounted antenna?
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For a quick fix,

Try 2 PL259's connected in the center by a PL258. These can be soldered or crimped (deciding on the type you purchase) providing that you have enough excess cable on both ends. In all actuality, you should replace the cable.
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Old 01-19-2011
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seems to me that you could buy a coax union piece and two female coax ends and solder the female ends onto each end of the broken cable and put it back together. That being said, I'm not a radio guy, but I know enough that you're going to lose some performance splicing it back together.

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Shakespeare model 258 G stands for Gold Plated. This is the connector piece for the male PL259's. They are also available without the gold plating.
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Old 01-20-2011
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Thanks guys. Will my stern mount loran antenna work until I can get up the mast to replace the cable?
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