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Re: [TowerTalk] Fwd: Re: Most Connectors sold to Hams are JUNK

To: Jim Brown <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Fwd: Re: Most Connectors sold to Hams are JUNK
From: "Roger (K8RI)" <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 04:09:09 -0400
List-post: <">>
> 1) The word "most" (see the subject line above) is not all inclusive. 
> You appear to have confused "most" with "all." :) 
My apologies as I apparently misread that part. I do agree with much of 
what you have said.
> 2) The only reasons I can think of are ignorance or greed. That is, the 
> vendor doesn't know it's junk, or knows and doesn't care. Which of those 
> do you consider "very good and valid?" 
Both and neither.  I stand by the premise that were there not a market 
for the cheap stuff few of this type of vendor would exist.  It's 
unfortunate, but a large number exist who want to pay as little as 
possible for "something good enough to work"
> I'm not talking about "tweaky" esoteric high quality vs run of the mill, 
> I'm talking JUNK. Several examples have been cited. In the last five 
> years, I've bought connectors where the metal used for contacts are 
> dissimilar to those with which they are intended to mate, or with a 
> dielectric that melts at an unsuitable low temperature (I've seen PL259 
> copies, DB9 copies, and the DINS), PL259 copies where the shell is a 
> quarter-inch too short, so you can't screw it to an SO239! This in 
> addition to the cheaply made stuff that literally falls apart. Or the 
> UHF right angles where the center conductor is a thin spring.
I saw one of those locally.

>  I've had 
> this stuff fall apart in the shack, where I'm trying to patch gear 
> together for testing, not outside where there's stress on it. 
I think any of us who have been around long enough have seen at least a 
little of this at the swaps.  OTOH I've never come across one at home.
> Someone mentioned Amphenol connectors that are hard to solder to. That's 
> the plating on the shells. You won't melt the dielectric with your iron, 
> and you CAN solder to them if you scrape the plating with a blade or 
> sandpaper. The better ones have silver plated shells, and solder VERY 
> nicely without a lot of heat. That's what the smart guys use. They cost 
> a bit more. What's your time worth? And the smart guys buy them in 
> quantity to get the significant price break. 
Which is what I do and is the same way I purchase fasteners (bolts etc) 
I go to the local industrial supply company and purchase screws and 
bolts by the box.  I can usually get them cheaper by the full box of a 
100 than going to one of the "big box stores" and purchasing 6 or 8 in 
blister packs. Admittedly I get mine in plain old cardboard boxes 
instead of fancy plastic packages. <:-))
> Are you aware of the market in counterfeit parts? 

> I'm a member of the 
> Standards Committee of the Audio Engineering Society. Engineers from 
> many well known manufacturers of equipment, wire, cable, and connectors 
> serve with me on that committee and its Working Groups (among them are 
> Belden, Switchcraft, Neutrik, Shure, Neumann, AKG, Schoeps, and JBL). In 
> off the record discussions, many of them have cited significant problems 
> with counterfeit versions of their products -- products that are 
> intentional copies, look absolutely identical right down to the mfr's 
> trademark, but are of inferior quality. 
You should see the lists the FAA send out at times.

However even with the big companies no one has Zero defects" which was a 
mythical goal a couple decades back and generally it's easy to spot the 
difference between a defect and an overall defective component.  Also 
most companies carry at least a couple levels of quality, although the 
reputable ones have good and even better while the copies are "not too 
good" and "less than that".  However I still think there is enough of an 
element out there who will still purchase based on price rater than quality.

I've been flying a high performance, complex, retract aircraft for many 
years.  Some years back I hit a deer during a night landing. It tore the 
right side (starboard) outer gear door right off. The impact also 
ruptured the main fuel tank on that side.   It took 4 stamped and 
corrosion proofed light weight Aluminum hinges for that door that were 
small enough two of them could fit in your hand.  I could have built or 
constructed those hinges in probably a half hour to hour, but they had 
to be certified.  Three of the four hinges directly from the 
manufacturer (at over $500 each) were bent so bad they were unusable.  
That is the way they came from stock and it appeared that is the way 
they came from manufacturing.  QC really slipped up on those.  These 
were FAA certified parts from a very well known company.  So QC isn't a 
problem just with connectors.

As to the landing I'll only say, riding down the runway balanced on the 
left main (Port side) at near 70 MPH while watching the runway lights go 
by *above* the fuel tank on the wing tip  can take the  boredom out of 
landings particularly when you don't know if the starboard gear is still 
there<:-)) (and it ruptured the right side brake line too)


Roger (K8RI)

> 73,
> Jim Brown K9YC
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