On 11/16/2012 5:54 PM, Dale Sanders wrote:
I use the PL259 everyday......just purchase from a reliable, local
electronics supply house and don't scrimp on the price of the connector. An
antenna is only as good as it weakest connection and this is NOT a place to
worry about pricing. The connectors I'm using are made by Emerson but I
still prefer the old Amphenol standards. ....and make sure you use a large
soldering iron. I use a Weller 200 - 300 watt iron and it heats quickly and
connects the thing without the long, slow, heating the deforms the position
of the center connector pin.
I go through a lot of UHF connectors. These are not a precision
connector, they are not constant impedance connectors, nor are even the
best ones expensive that fit RG-8 size and smaller cables. They are
very expensive to fit the larger cables because there is so little demand.
I purchase them in lots of 25 or more where even the silver plated body
and pin with Teflon insulators are less than $4.00 each for Amphenol
PL-259s. I see those with phenolic listed as "old style".
Now I'm going to commit heresy! As these are not precision or constant
impedance I'm only interested in quality. So far in the hundreds of
connectors I've gone through, I've had almost as many Amphenol
connectors fail as brand X, if I have a quality built brand X.
I purchase from several companies who have people on this reflector. I
normally tell them I don't care who builds the connectors as long as
they are of quality construction. I usually get silver with gold center
connectors and Teflon insulation. It's my understanding that Phenolic
will absorb some water but it's quite strong mechaqnically.
The system at times contains well over 100 connectors at one time. Each
run may have from 20 mail and female connectors to about 14 with roughly
14 runs of various lengths for various antennas...when they are all up
and functioning. Cables going up the tower have the shields grounded at
the top and bottom of the tower. At least up through 6-meters these
grounds are a double female connector through a bracket. Higher is the
attempt the leave the coax unbroken with connectors at the ground
points. IOW, I use a LOT of connectors because the loss exhibited in
them is miniscule which is not the case for UHF and up.
One thing I have learned about connectors: no matter who builds them
they all have weak spots, electrically and mechanically.
My patch panel is a 4 X 10 X 10 NEMA box. I'm going to add another box
on top of that one that will make it 10 X 10 X 10 to reduce the bending
moment of the coax on the connectors at the front of the panel. This
will greatly increase the radius of the bends and reduce the stress at
the connector. If I can't find a box with front AND rear covers I'll
just cut the back out of a 6 X 10 X 10. With guides for the plasma torch
I can cut the back out in about 10 seconds (after taking 10 to 20
minutes to prepare). The plasma torch will cut so fast I can pretty much
cut out the back without scorching the paint. At least I could if my
hands were a little more steady. I could also do it on the milling
machine, but that takes even longer to set up.
The point is I've not found any manufacturer to provide 100% reliable
connectors without defects right out of the box/package.
Dale - WD4IFR
From: TowerTalk [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of John
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 2:46 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] PL-259 question
A little more clarification here relative to my inquiry:
I am only interested in the differences between the different Amphenol
PL-259 plugs. I won't consider using a generic plug from an unknown
The plugs I have with either dark yellow or light yellow insulators are
marked 83-1SP. Amphenol's published data says these have silver plating on
both the body and the center pin.
I was incorrect in stating that I had some with blue insulators; they
actually are green and they are marked 83-1SP-1007. I haven't found any
description of this variety on Amphenol's website. These were very common at
Motorola before I retired. I wonder if they were a special Motorola-only
The plugs I have with Teflon insulators are marked 83-886. Amphenol's
published data says these have nickel plating on the body and silver plating
on the center pin.
There is a variation 83-886-2050 which is Teflon with silver plating on both
the body and the center pin, but I have never seen one of these.
R&L Electronics is selling them for $9.95 each. For comparison, they sell
the 83-1SP for $3.95.
Amphenol's UHF Connector brochure says the insulators used are PTFE
(Teflon), co-polymer of styrene, or mica-filled phenolic. It does NOT say
which insulator is used on each specific part number.
A couple of people have recommended the 83-1SP because the silver plated
shell is easier to solder than nickel plated varieties. I have also observed
this to be the case.
I have found no explanation from Amphenol as to why they use phenolic
insulators in some and PTFE in others. This is what I would like to
understand. Is there some application of a PL-259 where PTFE is
demonstratively superior to phenolic? Or is this just a marketing ploy to
justify a significantly higher price? I would guess that the difference in
material cost between phenolic and Teflon is very low in the quantities
73, John, K9MM
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