Electronics > RF, Microwave, Ham Radio

RF connectors

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Every new thing I buy needs another two hundred bucks worth of cables and connectors.

This time it's my radio.

The research I've done shows SO239 is OK for HF.

I haven't seen any outdoor SO239 connectors anywhere. Have I been looking in the wrong place?

I've also read where guys have standardised on N connectors and just fitted their gear with adapters. I don't mind the sound of this, but I wonder about the insertion loss of each adapter.

What arrangements have you guys come up with?


--- Quote from: GEuser on August 14, 2016, 03:21:07 am ---"outdoor" needs some clarification .

--- End quote ---
OK: Weather resistant.

Permanent, semi-permanent, and overnight installation outside, in the rain, wind and the sun. Either connected, or unconnected at the base of an antenna, or the end of a piece of coax.

How is this done?

I don't think you will find very many options that supports lying around permanently un-mated outdoors, that's why commercial/military outdoor-rated equipment have those nifty little metal, o-ring sealed dustcaps religiously screwed on to any unused connector.

Regarding SO-/PL-239 connectors for outdoor use, i usually wrap the whole joint (including both coax connectors) in self-amalgamating rubber tape for moisture protection and then some UV-resistant electric tape around that - works fine for what I'm using it for but if the antennas where harder to access I'd probably look for some better solution.

I don't change over the SO239 sockets on the radio but everywhere else use N connectors. I find the SO/PL connectors are very unreliable if the 'teeth' are not engaged fully and then the SWR can be poor. N type connectors rarely have this problem.
It only took me a few hours of problem solving to track down a dodgy connector to make me change, one guy in my Amateur radio club won't have a PL259 on his property - he did work for the defence electronic industry! Also in general the N type seem to be better made than the PL259 but overall you get what you pay for.
For my attempt at Earth Moon Earth at 1296MHz with heliax cables it is definitely 'Andrews' Ns all the way.
I use the self amalgamating tape then electrical tape combo for outside joints but the climate here is not too bad.

For temporary use outdoors use a plastic bag, preferably a heavy polythene that is UV resistant, as a cover, and a cable tie and tape to keep moisture out. For sockets put a plug in there, and wrap with some pipe thread tape ( so it will not stick to the threads) and then self amalgamating tape, or the nice new silicone wrap that only sticks to itself, then wrap overall with 3M insulation tape.

For more permanent use the same PTFE tape and silicone tape, but use some self amalgamating tape over the outer, followed with the 3M tape. After a few years when you cut the tape the inner is still shiny bright.


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