[CQ-Contest] Life of Coax

Guy Olinger K2AV olinger at bellsouth.net
Sun Jul 29 08:37:24 PDT 2012

Oh, this is one of my very favorite rants...    Gargle, gargle,  ahummm,
arghhh,  cough...  Trumpet entry, please.

\Rant mode on\

Every time you place or replace coax outside, either do it with hardline or
a PE jacketed, flooded RG8 type like Davis Buryflex.  I spent the money for
1.25 inch hard line to my main high band antenna and buried it and a couple
runs of 7/8 hard line to the house.  Absent a direct monster lightning
strike or being dug up with a trencher, they will likely outlast me, still
in perfect condition.

We spend all that money on equipment in the shack and then throw it away
with cheepy coax that starts to decay the moment we put it out there, and
breathes wet air in and out along the shield every time the outside
temperature changes, starting an inexorable process of shield conductor

Especially going up the tower and out to the antennas, do NOT use any
non-flooded, non PE jacket coax.  I've seen too many "final runs" that had
to have the antenna loosened and brought in to the tower replace a piece of
standard coax that had water migration for years and were GREEN when you
sliced open the jacket.

Of course the attenuation of that coax increased microscopically every day,
increasing the loss what became an in-line attenuator.  And since
attenuation makes SWR better, we, with hamdom's insane emotional conviction
that low SWR is the only measure of goodness, smiled at our SWR meter as we
increasingly lost in pileups, blaming our worsening luck on early onset
dementia, or the movement in the north magnetic pole, or a sinister
movement that was converting 5 and 10 kW CB amplifiers to the high ham
bands.  This last of course because you don't need high power to do text or
twitter, and CB ops were dumping their amps for Iphones.

So we never looked at our coax, or considered that we were part of the
monotonic packet muddle who were setting our TX frequency to the spot
frequency to the nearest Hz...but that is another story.

\Rant mode off\

Spend your investment grade funds on good, permanent coax.  You can always
diddle around in the shack and modify up cheep, used amps, out of the

73, Guy.

On Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 4:24 PM, James <jms_k1sd at verizon.net> wrote:

> Let's talk coax.  I'm putting the station back together after some time.
> What we have here are several items of coax; all is RG 213/U Type Extra UV
> Resistant and is at least ten years old:
> * Several lengths have lived a sheltered life; always indoors connecting
> things in the shack.
> * Several lengths have always lived outdoors.
> * And some significant length is still on the roll in the barn.
> What would you do?  Replace the outdoor stuff?  Use shack stuff? Use the
> un-used roll?  Throw it all away and start fresh?
>      73  James / K1SD / Rhode Island
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