First of all, I assumed my topic to be constrained to RG-8/213 for HF and
9913/LMR-400/heliax for VHF/UHF - big power to big antennas. I use
Amphenol as a baseline for coax and Andrew for heliax. Some of the
Towertalk experts have been a big help.
Amphenol does make a crimped PL-259 although what Mouser sells doesn't match
up with Amphenol numbers. Mouser says it is an 182102 whereas the closest
Amphenol number I can find is a 083-8SP-RFX (This group has said to stay
away from the RFX Nickel plating since it can't be soldered but it should be
fine for crimping, the center connector is still silver). The crimped
PL-259 doesn't show in the printed Mouser catalog but does appear in their
electronic catalog which is why I missed it. They are about $3 each.
Type N connectors are more prevalent, Amphenol 82-340-1052 for 9913/LMR 400
and Amphenol 82-340 for RG8/213. Pricey $10 to $13 but probably worth it.
I have more crimp tools than necessary, one for PowerPoles and another for
hopefully everything (RF/coax and network connectors like RJ-45). Seems
like everybody wants to sell you a complete tool (e.g., DX Engineering,
Mountain West, etc.) but finding compatible dies is difficult. The Paladin
Die 2056 will handle the crimp job for RG8/213 (0.429" for the braid, 0.100"
for the center conductor). I had to back order this item from anybody that
said they sold it (ended up with Digi-Key). For 9913/9913F7/LMR-400, the
Amphenol Die 47-20027 (0.429" for the braid, 0.116" for the center
conductor) was easily available. Both dies run about $25. Note that the
outer braid connection crimp parameter is the same for both so I wonder if
soldering the center conductor would mean that one could get away with only
one die for the outer conductor (??).
A good paper on crimp versus solder is available at RF Industries
(http://www.rfcoaxconnectors.com/Technical_CrimpvsSolder.htm) My conclusion
- crimped with the constraint that it be done correctly with the correct
tools (but that applies to soldered connections too).
For the amount of time it takes to properly do a soldered connector, it
seems to me that a crimped version is well worth the price plus the
technical types say it is better. Any manufactured cable connector is
crimped. Why haven't I seen a good article on crimped connections but still
see plenty of how-to-solder articles? I also agree that the amateur
community should move toward the commercial side which incorporates labor
costs, higher frequencies, heliax, etc. all leading to some degree of
standardization. Costs for equipment and antennas these days begs the
question as to why we still use $0.75/foot coax and $2 connectors and
probably all of it without adequate lightning protection. Ken K5RG
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