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Re: [TowerTalk] cable strippers, cheaper

To: "Tower and HF antenna construction topics." <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] cable strippers, cheaper
From: "Roger (K8RI)" <>
Reply-to: "Tower and HF antenna construction topics." <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2010 23:58:38 -0500
List-post: <">>
I wish these companies would learn to list strippers by cable (they do) 
and connectors (they don't)instead of just measurements, even if they'd 
keep it to UHF and N types.  Most of us would find that a lot more 

There are a lot of strippers out there and I've found that price doesn't 
always determine the best and I've tried quite a few.  I picked up 
several from Steve (Davis RF - I have no business connection with them, 
just a satisfied customer) from simple to the big one for LMR-600.  They 
have one that looks similar to the one in this link except the plastic 
insert is a "half pipe" in which the coax fits snugly.  Unlike the 
"V-notch" found in most, this keeps the coax held in place.

I have strippers for both N and UHF types, as well as clamp and crimp 
connectors for each size cable. 
All I have do have adjustable cutters BUT each one is basically used as 
a "one size only".

A couple of suggestions for those who end up with the ones using 
adjustable cutters.  If they are working fine, DON'T MESS WITH THEM!".  
<:-)) Normally and I emphasize the *normally* when they aren't cutting 
as well as you'd like, it's probably time to change cutters. If the 
cutters get nicked, or just dull, no amount of adjustment will make them 
do better and then you have to adjust them  with new cutters starting 
from scratch.  Believe me when I say it's a lot easier to tweak them in 
with new cutters if the settings have not been changed.  If you have to 
back out the adjustment screws to get the cutters out, "count the number 
of turns for each screw and write them down. My memory for the number of 
turns on the first screw lasts about two turns into the second screw. <:-))
There are a couple of points in regards to stripping the newer cables 
with the "foil plus braid".  Do not nick the braid when stripping. The 
stripper should cut the jacket, but not into the braid. Generally if it 
is cut just slightly less than all the way through, a slight bending 
motion will snap the jacket off. This is idea.  Smaller cables such as 
CNT and LMR 240 are fairly stiff with very fragile braids. Even when you 
get a good connection, if the blade made it all the way through the 
jacket it is likely to fail, or become intermittent with a bit of 
flexing out in the wind.  I came to this great conclusion from two 
perspectives.  Noting the loose strands of braid falling off even after 
being careful and noting how easily some of the others broke off at the 
score mark with just slight bending. The other was using CNT-240 to feed 
sloping dipoles. I was getting failures at the connectors in 4 to 5 
months...or less.
I know as hams it is part of our way to make things do double and triple 
duty, but life is just a whole lot easier if you have a stripper set up 
for each size coax and fitting rather than trying to make them do double 
duty. OTOH most LMR-400 size cables will happily use the same stripper.

There is one type of cable I've found the good old "box cutter stripper" 
works far better on than cable strippers and that is the LMR UF 
versions. The jacket is rubbery AND it is loose against the braid.  
Being stretchy with nothing holding it, the jacket will just bunch up 
under the stripper and become a royal nuisance. I've never tried it, but 
a bit of silicon grease on the surface of the jacket at the point where 
the stripper rides *might* make life easier.  I've tried a lot of 
strippers and not found one yet that works well...or at all on the Ultra 
flex versions of the cable.

Oh! one other suggestion. When getting strippers, get some extra blades 
because you will need them at the most inopportune time.  Now all I have 
to do is remember when I put the extra blades.


Roger (K8RI)

jimlux wrote:
> L-com has
> which is a single sized stripper for $20 for LMR-400 sized coax.  You'd 
> have to check what the trim lengths are.  They also have some 
> inexpensive adjustable units.
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