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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.