Soldering Radio Antenna Cable Connections. - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 08-16-2011
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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
+1 on the butane torch. The key is to get a lot of heat into the metal quickly, get the solder to flow, and get the heat off before the insulation melts.
I also some times clamp my Ancor single ratchet crimper, the one for heat shrink terminals, over the pin on the connector to use as a heat sink if it is windy. This keeps the heat at the pin and not into the insulator. When done I pop the quick release on the ratchet mechanism and snip the center conductor back some.

Even good solderers can have BAD connections when doing this at the top of a spar. With a good heat sink and a mini-torch it works flawlessly and is repeatable. Wish I could say the same for the shield/braid but I have not found a good way of doing this in the "weather'...
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  #12  
Old 08-16-2011
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Even good solderers can have BAD connections when doing this at the top of a spar. With a good heat sink and a mini-torch it works flawlessly and is repeatable. Wish I could say the same for the shield/braid but I have not found a good way of doing this in the "weather'...
Agree. I have a piece of canvas I use to cover up small things I can wrap around myself and the masthead but it is awkward, hard to see, and a little fussy. The crimp/solder is a better way to go.
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Old 12-01-2011
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Hopefully I can resurrect this old thread. I noticed the article posted said that bigger coax is better. I have some a big roll of RG-6 that I would like to use to run a vhf antenna up a mast. The RG-6 is sold core instead of stranded. I think this should work fine but I wanted to post here and check.
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Old 12-01-2011
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RG-6 is 75 ohm cable for TVs. You need a 50 ohm cable for your VHF.
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Thanks for the quick reply. Guess we will have to pony up some cash for some cable.
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Old 12-02-2011
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Great Post! So glad for Sailnet. I took my mast down for the first time since getting the boat and plan on re doing all the internal wiring....so THANKS!
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Old 12-02-2011
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The tin lead solder with the lowest melting point is 63% tin. Radio Shack has it. When you apply heat to the tip of the connector, watch carefully and as soon as the solder melts, remove the iron. I have done all right with a 50 watt iron because the long tip on the connector does not carry the heat away very fast. One nice thing about the 63% solder is that it solidifies instantly, no mushy half liquid half solid that can have electrical resistance if moved slightly while solidifying. Myself, I prefer an iron that is not very hot because it is so easy to overheat insulation if the iron is left on the item for a few seconds too long. Also, lots of heat drives the tin out of the solder and makes a mushy jount while cooling. Check on how hot the iron is by seeing how fast the solder melts when applied to the tip. If too cool, you will not be able to melt the solder onto the connector. Just heat it up some more. I have not melted insulation with an iron that is not really hot. Get the crimping type of connector for the braided shield and solder for the center connector. It’s slightly more expensive, but does the job. Do tighten the nut down pretty well. The braid can take the pressure.

The RG8 has a diameter of .4 inches while the RG58 is .2 inches. For 5 watts transmission power into an RG8 on a 40 foot long cable, 4 watts makes it to the antenna, on the RG58 3 watts. Do not worry about the 1 watt loss as the height of the antenna is what is important. I have transmitted loud and clear over 50 miles in an aircraft with 5 watts, but then I had the elevation for line of sight which is what you need for VHF radio.

Last edited by LakeSuperiorGeezer; 12-02-2011 at 12:11 PM.
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