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[Towertalk] Soldering PL-259s (agn)

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Subject: [Towertalk] Soldering PL-259s (agn)
From: (
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 19:27:15 EDT
In a message dated 7/11/02 16:34:36 Central Daylight Time, 

>   I cannot put the connector barrel on to the RG-213 if there's too much 
> tinning....... 
And there's the rub. Just Lightly tin the braid. As you've observed; Too much 
is not a good thing, as usual.

BTW.... I've read some folks favoriable opinions (here and in other places) 
about using a BIG iron on PL-259s.
I use a 40W iron with a heavy, pyramid shaped tip. Works every time!
I also tin the braid and center conductor and then go do something else for a 
while. Once the coax has cooled I heat the PL-259 with a heat shrink gun (a 
paint stripper gun works too) screw it onto the coax, and solder it on. I've 
been using the RS silver solder lately and really like the way it flows and 
looks (nice and shiny).
"Fairly small"  diameter solder (.032 is about the smallest I'd use) is much 
easier to work with in the small holes on the connector. Neither really fine 
stuff, nor the larger dia solder work well for me.

A few more unsolicitated tips:
Keep the iron clean and tinned.
Make sure the braid is nice and shiny when you start. If not, cut a few 
inches off and try again. Try to cut the coax where you can use the 
manufacturer's writting on it to as a reference when you measure where to 
make your cuts.
If you use the back of a thin knife heated with a torch you can remove the 
jacket and center insulation very cleanly without damaging any strands.... 
Plenty of ventilation required (I go outside). I make the initial cut with a 
heavy, very sharp, utility knife trying to just cut through the outer jacket 
and the braid, without disturbing the center conductor. If the knife isn't 
sharp enough it will tend to snag strands of the braid, pull them out and 
fold them into the center conductor. If you see this; Cut off an inch or two, 
sharpen your knife, and start again.
DO NOT touch the braid or center conductor with your fingers. The oils picked 
up will not help you.
Make sure everything is CLEAN.
Use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the iron when it first gets hot. After 
that use a dry rag between soldering joints. I love it when my xyl gets new 
washcloths. I get the old ones. I wash them with TSP and a bit of bleach and 
then dry them on a clothesline or in the dryer with NO fabric softner. Each 
one lasts quite a while. When I was a kid I frequently used my jeans to wipe 
the iron.... First time you're at the bench in shorts will break you of this 
When you're finished; Turn the iron off, wipe it with a damp rag or sponge 
then a dry cloth, and tin it well.
I have a table lamp on my work bench. If a soldering iron is on the lamp is 
on too. Makes it harder to wander off with the iron on. I've intended to put 
the irons and the lamp on a switched set of receptacles, but never have. I've 
had some irons ruined by leaving them on all night, and others not bothered 
at all... The tip has to be replaced though. Haven't had an "incident" since 
adding the lamp many years ago.

Have fun,
Don - K4BEV

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