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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool

from Joseph Lawrence, K9RFZ on March 14, 2013
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"Editor's Note: Due to the popularity of some of eHam's older articles, many of which you may not have read, the eHam.net team has decided to rerun some of the best articles that we have received since eHam's inception. These articles will be reprinted to add to the quality of eHam's content and in a show of appreciation to the authors of these articles." This article was originally published on: 11/30/2009





Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool
By Joseph Lawrence, K9RFZ

I use a lot of PL-259 connectors to build feedline cables for friends and recent Technician hams that need some help getting on the air. I have streamlined the process by using a coax prep tool similar to the DX Engineering DXE-UT-8213 and the K4AVU crimp tool mounted in a bench vise. The slowest step in the process is attaching the connector to the prepared coax. Aside from aligning the connector and making certain the center conductor wires all fit into the center pin, I still use a pair of vise grips to grab the connector and thread it onto the coax outer covering. I take special precautions to assure the vise grip is snug enough so the jaws donít grind the connector and yet not too snug that it deforms the connector. With a little creativity and time, Iíve replaced the vise grips with a simple and inexpensive tool that protects the connector and requires minimal effort to get the connector all the way onto the coax.

I reused a PL-259 barrel and glued it inside a PVC T-connector with the threads pointed outward. I found the ĺĒ with threaded ĹĒ PVC connector gives a modest fit to the PL-259 barrel. I used Gorilla Glue and coated the PVC threads before inserting the barrel. This glue expands as it dries and some glue wicked up the connector along the knurled edge.

Prep the coax as usual, but then thread the PL-259 connector into the new tool.

Line up the connector on the coax and twist away.

The T-connector side openings allow you to see when the center conductor has reached the tip of the connector. Just unthread the tool from the installed connector and Iím ready to crimp the connector and solder the tip for another flawless installation. For the price of a PVC connector, a leftover PL-259 barrel, and some glue, I have a tool that does the job quickly every time.

Member Comments:
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Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by W0FK on March 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Works like a champ!
 
RE: Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by W5LZ on March 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
That looks like it ought'a work just dandy! Now, if you can figure some way to hold onto the @#$ coax while you're screwing on the connector, that'd be even dandier!
- Paul
 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by KE5ICG on March 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Cannot wait to try this. Going to Home Depot right away. Good work!
 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by W3DMS on March 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Crimp? Crimp what? I've never crimped that style of connector. Don't you solder the shield through the holes on the sides and solder the end. What are you crimping? Have I been doing it wrong?
 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by KU7PDX on March 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The images are in the wrong order: the last image should be first and the other two shifted down one position.
 
RE: Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by AB0RE on March 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ya - what W3DMS said... if you get a crimp-on connector designed for RG8/LMR400 it doesn't thread on the jacket like a solder-on PL259 does, negating the need for such tool.

Perhaps the author was talking about the crimp-tool that came out a while back that crimps "standard" PL259s to coax, but if I remember correctly that tool got pretty poor marks from the ARRL(?) review. If you want to crimp a PL259 on coax you'd probably be better off getting the connector and crimp tool designed for the job with the engineering data to back them up.

Great article otherwise, though!



 
RE: Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by K1CJS on March 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Now, if you can figure some way to hold onto the @#$ coax while you're screwing on the connector, that'd be even dandier!"

If you can find one, I use a kitchen tool--a rubber disk that was sold to hold onto jar lids when you're trying to unscrew them the first time. You can grab and hold almost anything tightly with one of those! 73!
 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by AG6WT on March 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"That looks like it ought'a work just dandy! Now, if you can figure some way to hold onto the @#$ coax while you're screwing on the connector, that'd be even dandier!
- Paul"

I found a portable workbench/vise like this (http://www.blackanddecker.com/power-tools/wm425.aspx) works nicely. Because the vice is 2-3 feet long and can put a lot of pressure without deforming the coax.
 
RE: Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by W6UV on March 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Now, if you can figure some way to hold onto the @#$ coax while you're screwing on the connector, that'd be even dandier!"

A golf glove works well for this.
 
RE: Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by K9MHZ on March 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by W3DMS on March 14, 2013 Crimp? Crimp what? I've never crimped that style of connector. Don't you solder the shield through the holes on the sides and solder the end. What are you crimping? Have I been doing it wrong?<<<<


DMS, he's obviously indicating that he's using the crimp tool as a stabilizing device. Otherwise, why would you put a crimping tool in a vise? No, nothing has changed with traditional soldered connectors, as shown in his pictures above.

 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by K1PJR on March 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have a Bessey portably vise that has plastic jaws. There are groves to hold pipe and it's perfect to hold cable while soldering or using the above tool. Picked it up at Home Depot.
 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by K1PJR on March 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
http://www.besseytools.com/en/product_details.php?ASIMOID=000000030002f7f800040023&ASIMOID_SC=000000030000d28800030023&ASIMOID_MC=000000000001f3f000030023
 
RE: Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by W3DMS on March 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Wrong answer K9MHZ, Google the crimping tool he mentioned. It is made to crimp on, solder type connecters. Why? Don't answer that, I don't really want to know.
 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by AB2YC on March 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Good Idea, I'll need to make one up.

 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by KO4XJ on March 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I've seen this before and thought it would be neat to have and I seen some ham selling them at a hamfest for $7-8 and thought I can make one alot cheaper. I finally looked in my junk box and had about a dozen of the barrels so I ran over to my local hardware and bought 10 of the PVC T's ($.55 ea) and some Gorilla glue (my old bottle had dried up) and made up 10 and handed them out at our weekly lunch bunch (ROMEO's - Retired Old Men Eating Out). You'll get the biggest smile from a ham when you give him something free :).. BTW I have almost $12 bucks invested and still have glue for about 100 more...Make some for your new hams when you're teaching them how to make up a jumper!
 
RE: Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by N1DVJ on March 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"That looks like it ought'a work just dandy! Now, if you can figure some way to hold onto the @#$ coax while you're screwing on the connector, that'd be even dandier! "

Try wiping down the coax with denatured alcohol. Don't use iso, it has too much water in it. When it's clean and dry, you can use a piece of the foam 'shelving' that you can buy for $4 or so for a roll at WalMart to hold the cable. This is the same stuff you see for $9 for a 5x8 inch rectangle at cell phone shops to keep your phone or GPS from sliding around on the dash. It's about 1/8" thick and looks like a bunch of soft foam beads melted into a sheet. You find it in the isle behind the pots and pans. A lot of people use it to line shelves so they can stand decorator dishes up on edge for display. It also works great for other use in the car to keep things from sliding around.
 
Simple, Inexpensive Coax Connector Tool  
by AA0PO on April 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
VERY CREATIVE. EXCELLENT. THANKS.
 
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