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[TowerTalk] Coax cables

To: <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] Coax cables
From: (
Date: Thu Feb 6 11:56:04 2003
Hi Steve,

I guess there's four categories of PL259 bodiesI've run into:

1) Silver plate (no prep required)

2) Plated brass (usually requires no filing/scuffing to achieve a good joint)

3) Plated brass (Astro Plate?) that does not seem to ever easily wet well.
     I use small half round needle file to scuff to brass and area (1/32" to 
1/16" around
solder hole)
     tin the bare base metal, then solder to braid with Mondo Iron.

4) Plated unknown (pot?) metal. Difficult to wet, and base material is greyish 
silver ( not
    Base material not more solderable than plating. Best application for these 
is lining

For outside applications, I always use silver plate connectors.   I have a room 
containing a
large number of medium power vintage stations (17 or 18?) that are 
in-line/switchable and are
connected via
a myriad of patch cables.  For these applications I'll use connector types 2 or 
if they're on hand.  If I find a buy on the silver plates at 'fests, they're my 
first choice.
Even with the huge
number of interconnects, I rarely encounter problems tracable to the connector 
assembly (but
I've gotten
pretty good at assembling them too!)

I've found both my large irons for $1 each. The 200+ watter at a yard sale, and 
the American
(about 125 w or so?) at a recent fest.  I own a weller gun too, and have yet to 
find an
that it's good for.  For other than Chassis/sheet metal/connector soldering, my 
Metcal with a
good set of tips can cover anything from point to point tube rig repair, to 
style QRP ass'y.

John K5MO

                      Steve Katz                                                
                      <>         To:      "''" 
                      02/06/2003 10:54         Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Coax 

Hey John (K5MO),

I sure don't recommend filing PL-259 bodies to expose base metal brass.
This should never, ever be necessary if you use good quality PL-259's such
as Amphenol 83-1SP (silver-plated connector body, silver takes solder faster
and more efficiently than brass ever could) or the "silver plated Teflon"
connectors made by J&I (usually just stamped "Made in U.S.A." with no other
identification) and sold by H.R.O., Cable XPerts and many other outlets.
Silver is the most conductive metal on the planet (both electrically and
thermally) and the plating allows solder to flow very quickly without

It sounds to me like you're using the Amphenol "Astro Plate" (or equivalent)
connectors with the very bright, shiny finish.  Those weather very well but
are very difficult to solder to using conventional soldering equipment.  I'd
toss those and get silver-plated connectors, which solder very quickly and
easily without any rework.


"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of
enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill

> -----Original Message-----
> From:   []
> Sent:            Thursday, February 06, 2003 6:02 AM
> To:
> Subject:         [TowerTalk] Coax cables
> Heat is the key. I bought a mondo iron (the tip is about as big around
> as a little finger) for $1 at a garage sale. It works perfectly and takes
> forever
> to warm up. It also takes forever to cool down, which is what your're
> looking for!
> Some other tips:
> 1) lightly tin the braid.
> 2) File with a halfround file, the area around
>       the opening for the solder, to expose
>       the base metal (hopefully, brass!)
> 3) Pre tin this area as well.
> If I can find one more cheapie iron, I'm going to file the tip into a
> concave form
> to match the contour of the PL259 shell. Heat transfer should be enhanced
> even more, in what will then be a dedicated cable ass'y iron.
> 73
> John K5MO
> _______________________________________________
> TowerTalk mailing list

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