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Soldering up PL-239's to Coax: The Best Way?

Discussion in 'General CB Services Discussion' started by Robb, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Robb Yup

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    What is the B E S T method to solder/connect fresh PL-239's to brand-new coax? Surely, there must be a definitive method. Any good links or pages to be put here or posted would surely boost the content of this site.



    You'vr got PL-239's with silver plating, stainless steel, ferrules to accomidate the different diameters 'od' coax, you've got crappy crimp-type connctors.

    I haven't seen ANY site that shows the CORRECT way to do it right.
    Let's see what the members of this forum can come up with.
    :love:
     
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  2. C2 Well-Known Member

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    I've been known to use all kinds of connectors. My favorite were those with the harder insulators that you don't really seem much of anymore. I don't like the teflon much, and mickel plating is ok...

    I've been know to use a smoke wrench to put them on too, hence the dislike of teflon!

    All you need is a good razor and an American Beauty soldering iron, some common sense helps a little too...

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Beetle Well-Known Member

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    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!
     
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  5. freecell BANNED

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  6. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    Freecell's link is -one- of the better ways to attach PL-259s, it certainly isn't the only one though. Until you find a better way for YOU to do it, it should certainly work.
    - 'Doc
     
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  7. Beetle Well-Known Member

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    And Freecell's link only shows the smaller coax sizes. For the typical 0.405" stuff, there are many methods, but it all comes down to the wattage of the iron and the thermal mass of its tip.

    And practice.

    I've never had any particular problems installing connectors on RG58 with the adapters. I have noticed in the past half century that the amount, density and quality of the shield has really gone downhill, though.
     
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  8. freecell BANNED

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    the procedure is tailored to provide the highest level of mechanical and electrical integrity for the connection required and not for what YOU can or cannot do due to the absence of the proper tools or lack of some specific skillset like proper soldering techniques. it's up to the individual to adapt to and learn the procedure, not visa versa. following the instructions to the letter and practice makes perfect.

    the original poster didn't specify any particular Radio Guide Type. i figure he has a puter and a keyboard there and can clear that up at any time. when working with larger cable the procedure is the same with the exception of the reducer.
     
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  9. hey beetle . the 259's at als are......
    "Diallyl Phtalate insulated. Silver plated with Nickel Plated shells.
    Silver plated center pin and shell ."

    if these are not the ones you mentioned are they still plenty good enough for 11 meters and 550-600 watts when installed properly ?

    thanks
     
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  10. Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    I need a good iron...I have a 150 watt gun, but it's just not good enough. Don't try it with a solder-station type pen...even if it has high wattage settings. It just doesn't have enough mass on the tip and you melt the coax insulation before you get the connetor heated up enough. Trust me, I've tried it...

    I only use the silver plated ones also. It makes it so much easier.
     
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  11. Robb Yup

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    As far as which cable being specified, this thread was started sp that it could be definitive for the job at hand. It can be meant for ALL coax types, so that any one reading this thread could get ALL of their questions and needed answers. Info is all great so far, so I would like to see info on the large coax as well.
    Great so far!
    Keep it up, please.
    More, more...
     
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  12. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    At the risk of causing shock, I use a torch for putting PL-259s on coax. Pre-tinning any reducers is a good idea. Tends to work nicely whether in the house, outside, or up a tower. It does require practice! It's easy to make mistakes. Not all of those mistakes are total disasters.
    It's very nice to be able to do things the 'right' way with the proper tools. It's also very nice to be able to use the tools you do have. Sometimes, that requires a lot more skill than doing it the 'right' way. It is definitely NOT for everyone!
    - 'Doc
     
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  13. C2 Well-Known Member

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    A torch is a smoke wrench...and pre-tinning nickel does help. I've not really had problems either way, but I usually use flux.
     
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  14. Beetle Well-Known Member

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    The shells being nickel plated shouldn't be a problem unless you try to solder to the shell for some reason. If the connector body is the same bright shiny metal as the shell, be very careful.
     
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  15. jazzsinger Bullshit Buster

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    there can be no definitive way to do all plugs/coax types Robb,each require a different approach,for small diameter coax/reducers freecells way has much merit.

    for heavier rg213/u/rg214/u coax with polyethylene dielectric i've found the best approach is too remove the jacket, tin the whole of the exposed shield, then to cut off the excess shield/dielectric in one go with plumbers pipe cutting tool,then tin the centre conductor,

    for nickel plated plugs i then remove the plating at the tip/solder holes and tin them all (preparation is half the battle), once inserted in the plug its a very straightforward matter to solder both inner and braid to the plug. the resulting joints are both electrically and mechanically sound.

    you can miss out the previous stage with any part that is silver plated as solder will take to silver easily.


    the good thing about doing it with pipe cutting tool is it allows very accurate length patch leads/antenna runs to be made up constantly within a mm or two of the desired length.

    while i find this an excellent way of doing hard polyethylene type dielectric coax, it isn't so good with foam dielectric cable where the dielectric will melt easily. which is the main reason there isn't a one way fits all solution.


    the main thing to consider is your iron is up too the job,i'd consider an 50w temp compensated iron or 100w standard iron to be minimum requirements for rg213/u with the 100w the best choice for rg214/u. you may get away with a 25 to 50w iron on lower diameter coax if your proficient.

    solder guns just ain't up to the job at all,the tip area is too large and the temperature gets pulled down too easily with heavy conductors.



    i would agree with beetle about ten tec's tech's videos, they are poorly done,not only with the wrong type of iron, he also doesn't tin the braid/shield before insertion into the pl plug, not to mention his technique using a sharp knife is at best lethal, although i got by with knifes for years myself i certainly wouldn't teach a newb to do it that way, it is deffo only for those who are very proficient as one slip can be brutal. the plumbers pipe cutter is not only safer but far more accurate too and easily the best way to teach newbs so that they still have enough fingers left for the day that they become proficient.
     
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