04-08-2009, 06:06 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Western Washington
At least a 100 watt IRON (not a gun, no matter how many watts) with a heavy, i.e. massive, tip.
Connectors. Use ONLY Amphenol 83-1SP connectors, which are SILVER plated. Stay far away from anybody who offers the "83-1SP 1050" version. That "1050" indicates the connector is nickel plated and will not take solder worth beans. If you use adapters for RG58 or RG8X, be sure they are silver plated as well. Hint: if the connector surface is shiny and bright, it's nickel. You want a dull finish.
Solder. 60/40 tin/lead alloy. 63/37 is marginally better, and any alloy containing 3-5% silver is even better. Forget "RoHS" lead-free stuff if you want your connections to last.
I use an AIM coax stripping tool for production work, but I've used razor blades and box knives as well. Trick is, especially at my age, to assemble a jumper or two from time to time, just to keep the synapses intact. I still have jumpers I made 40-50 years ago, and they still work just fine.
If you're looking online for videos of PL-259 assembly, don't put too much stock in those made by Ten-Tec. For a company that makes such good equipment, their connector assembly really makes me wonder. The videos I've seen tell you to take your soldering iron and put it on the connector "for about 20 seconds" ... ! There's a recipe for failure due to overheating the coax. The "tech" seems to be using maybe a 25-40 watt iron with a very small tip. FAIL!
If you're like everybody else,
you're about average.
73 de K7KBN
CWO4 USNR RET.