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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

N-type connectors, Good or Bad?

Tom McTigue (N0YD) on May 15, 2003
View comments about this article!

I just read the article "The PL-259, A Tale of Woe" and every reply to that article. What a great subject and article. The response was really good with lots of great suggestions on how to improve one's skill at installing the PL-259.

A number of people suggested avoiding the problem with the PL-259 by using the N-type connector instead.

I know that there are a lot of knowledge hams out there that read these eHam articles and can give the ham community more insight and suggestions to how to use N-type connectors.

So please let's hear from the people who have been successfully using N-type connectors and let's discuss the pros and cons of N-type connectors.

Thanks,

Tom, NYD

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WB0WAO on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N connectors are what you want to use IF you are involved with VHF/UHF weak signal work. They have no "impedance bump" and less "loss" like the PL/SO 239's have. For general HF use, they are not worth the extra time and money. I have found that most of the problems I have had with 239's are directly due to using cheap import type connectors. Go with a good grade of 239's and you will not have any trouble.

73

Dennis - WB0WAO
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by RAD1OMAN on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
They are the best connector to use for V/UHF, mobile and fixed installations.

They are water tight too. You won't find a water tight PL-259/SO-239 "UHF" connector!

They are more difficult to install, but the shield/braid is compression fit. So I find them easier to install. Just a solder pencil and a wrench, don't need a torch. (I use a micro torch to install UHF connectors)
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W9PMZ on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N Connectors are more expensive than PL259 connectors and I use them in HF applications. That being said, as someone else has mentioned they are weather proof and in my opinion easier to install.

In installing a N Connector you do not need a large soldering iron to solder the braid to the shell of the connector; there is a compression fitting that captures the coax's shield to the shell.

The weather proofing is two fold, there is a rubber gasket seals the outside of the coax to the connector shell when the nut that fits inside the connector body is tightened. For the inside mating portion of the N connector, there is a rubber gasket in the male portion of the connector that when the male connector is tightened the female connector will snug up against this gasket.

For more mechanical stablilty I will use heat shrinkable tubing to cover the back end of the N connector to the coax, and about 3 inches over the coax.

For installation of an N connector, you will need a soldering iron (30 watts will do), solder, a sharp knife, ruler for preparing the coax to length, and two wrenches to tighten the compression nut. Follow the manufactures instuctions for the N connector and you will soon find yourself wondering why you ever used PL259 connectors........
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by AC5E on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, N's have their ups and downs. Down, of course, they are more expensive and less available than PL259's. And the "big hole" pins for 9913 and similar low loss coax are often unavailble.

On the up side, for the "classic" N there's only on solder joint to make, a low wattage iron does the job handily, and they are somewhat water resistant.

The only "problems" an inexperienced person will run into is typical of learning almost any skills. The new guys forget to properly assemble the parts on the coax BEFORE they cut the jacket; they peel too much of the coax jacket back; and they don't have an ice pick, dental pick, or similar sharp object to "comb" the shield so it lies flat against the compression ring. Oh yes, they don't have proper tools to tighten the nut!

Those are all problems experience will take care of. And if more of us used N connectors they would be both cheaper and more available.

73 Pete Allen AC5E
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W5CPT on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Only one comment, Texas Towers sells both big and little pin (RG8 type and 9913 or LMR type) N connectors very reasonably. And for those who must melt the dialectric in the cable, they have the type that installs like a PL259. I wish modern manufacturers would offer N connectors on VHF and HF radios. I would pay for the option.

Clint
W5CPT
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by KC2KUK on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
If availability is an obstacle, I recently received a catalog from a company that sells them.

Here's the URL of their on-line catalog:
http://www.pasternack.com/pdf/catalog/connectors.pdf
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by KZ1X on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I use 100% N connectors in my station. That way, any cable can be used, for any radio, at any frequency. Many cables I have are hard-line due to the distances involved anyway.

Also, all jumpers are standardized: I can go to any point in the station and swap or bypass any cable for use from 160 through UHF without giving it a second thought. This goes for outdoor connections as well, the N is waterproof, although I dow wrap outdoor connections with tape.

I did this all very much on purpose.

And I'm VERY glad I did.

 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by N0XU on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There are inexpensive N-type connectors that have the same soldering arrangement as an S0-239. It should be emphasized that all the virtues of the N-type connector are thrown out the window when using this version. This kind of connector comes in two pieces.

The N-connector that the gentlemen above refer to is the "clamp" type connector, which consists of a body, clamp, nut, washer, gasket and center pin. With a small amount of practice, it is no harder to assemble than the S0-239, and, with care, the connector can be disassembled and reused.

Since it can be reused, it is easy to practice cutting cable to length and assembling the connector. Not so with the two-piece type or the SO-239.

73 Drew N0XU
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA4DOU on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Type N connectors have their place but amateurs often tend to think more highly of them than they deserve. Because they depend on a compression fit on the shield, within the body of the connector, the shield is under some stress at that point. It is highly undesirable that the cable undergo much flexing with respect to the connector. I've seen many of them that have been applied with too much compression force and the additional flexing has torn the shield.
The type N connector is considered to be weatherproof. However, I've seen many thousands of feet of expensive commercial feedline ruined due to inadaquate weatherproofing and do not trust this feature. Water is perverse and will ultimately invade most anything. I would recommend that the weatherproof feature not be trusted, ever.
The UHF connector is often maligned but it is totally acceptable to at least 470 mhz. when high quality silver plated teflon connectors are used except in perhaps the most critical applications. Even then its a debateable point by experts. At 800-900 mhz. the type N clearly is superior. The UHF connector is not difficult to install and it is reliable and rugged. It does require learning to sense how much heat and for how long is appropriate but is easily mastered with time and experience.
One occasionally sees figures of up to a db of loss per connector tossed around liberably but in fact good quality properly installed connectors, even UHF connectors rarely have over .1 db of loss associated with them.
There are even high quality crimp on UHF and type N connectors available in the market that are very good. Generally the center pins are soldered on and the connection to the shield is crimped. The crimp tools are quite expensive but the bond to the shield of the cable has good integrity. In many amateur applications however, there would be resistance to paying $5 for a connector.
Even chrome plated UHF connectors are useable if one files the plating off down to the brass and tins the connector. Personally I'm willing to buy silver plated teflon dielectric connectors for my needs. They're cheap enough, last a long time and perform well.
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WB6MMV on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Like others responding to this issue, I use type N connectors in my two hamshacks exclusively. The advantages mentioned are the constant impedance issue which is important at VHF and higher frequencies, the supposedly waterproof aspect, which is not as foolproof as we would like, and lastly the convenience in soldering and clamping. The newer two piece type N connectors I have purchased are ok and I have found they work better than the PL 259's. As always, quality counts here. They are also easy to assemble compared to the older, conventional type N connectors.
If, one is deficient in soldering skills, the newer 2 piece type N connectors are much easier to assemble

In general, the quality of the type N connector is greater than most of the PL 259's that I run across. Unfortunately, some people feel that cost is about the only issue. The old adage holds: you get what you pay for.



 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W7DJM on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There is one caveat to N connectors. If you buy some "surplus" or "find" some used stuff be aware and careful that they are NOT 75 ohm connectors!!!!

The center pin diameter is different. I BELIEVE (not sure anymore) that a 75 ohm center pin is SMALLER, but whichever way it goes, here is what happens.

If you mix a 75/50 ohm connector pair, one way the center pin is too small and makes poor contact. If you put the BIG center pin into a female with a SMALL center pin, you wil break the female connector center pin.
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by G4HZV on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Good, no question. Constant impedance, good braid connection that doesn't rely on how tight the connector is screwed up and easier to fit than PL259s. As with any connector, it's worth paying that little bit extra to get a professional one.

I'd take waterproof with a pinch of salt. They are more shower proof. Don't imagine that you can get away without wrapping them in self amalgamating rubber tape when they're used outside.
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W6NB on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Someone else already beat me to the comment about 75-ohm N connectors -- watch out for these! I haven't seen too many of them outside of the cable/satellite TV business, but they certainly can show up at flea markets and surplus outlets. Just knowing they exist is your primary defense....

The other comment I would add is in the area of so-called "waterproofness." It's true there are gaskets, but they don't always work effectively enough. This is particularly true at microwave frequencies. In my present professional life I deal with products operating in the UNII bands at around 5.7 GHz, and we have had many instances of customers losing links due to moisture ingress into N connectors that didn't have additional weatherproofing protection, but that were otherwise properly installed onto the cable. This doesn't seem to be nearly as much of an issue at UHF (i.e., 450 MHz) and below, but in any case I would always recommend that outdoor-mounted N connectors get additional weatherproofing protection from an appropriately-designed product (and NOT ordinary "electrical" tape!)
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by K0BG on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There are (or were to be truthful) waterproof PL259s. They're weird looking as the barrel is much longer and has two "O" rings to seal the moisture out of the screw-on barrel. The coax seal is similar to that used on N connectors. I personally have seen only one example. Burstein-Appleby of Kansas City, fame once sold these as military surplus.


Alan, KBG
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W4CNG on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Good. I use them in the shack on HF with double shielded RG-55 (teflon insulation silver plated center conductor), because my Bird 43 has N connectors on it and the RG-55 will handle my AL-811H amplifier. I also have N connectors on my 3 runs of 1/2 inch Superflex cable that connects everything together from the "Terrace Level" shack to the Attic. The N connector properly used and installed is second to none, other than the BNC which is between it and all others including the PL-259.
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by KZ9G on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hi,

I wholeheartedly agree with all of WA4DOU's opinions on N-Type and UHF connectors. I would like to emphasize a few points:

- Type N connectors shouldn't be considered waterproof. They could be considered water resistant, but not waterproof. The general consensus from the TowerTalk group, including my own, believes this to be true. They should be sealed from the elements when mounted outdoors with methods described in a recent article here (go to http://www.eham.net/articles/5067).

- If the center pin isn't installed flush with the inner shield ring bad things will happen! If the pin sticks out beyond the inner shield ring, the recessed lip on the pin will butt up against the female tines and bust or ruin their tension mating effect when the connector is screwed on fully. If the pin is recessed too far below the connector's inner shield ring, improper contact, or no contact, with the female tines will result. Obviously, this causes poor or bad RF contacts. I ALWAYS check the position of the male and female center pins or tines prior to mating the connectors.

Type N connectors are used extensively on government and military RF electronic equipment covering most of the spectrum. I seen them used up to the 1 kilowatt level in military applications.

By the way, the 7/16 DIN connector is gaining popularity in critical applications requiring superior intermodulation and power handling characteristics are required.

Please visit the Amphenol website for more information on this connector and others:

http://www.amphenolrf.com/products/typen.asp


Type N Standard Specifications:

Electrical:
Impedance 50
Frequency Range 0 - 11 GHz
Voltage Rating 1,500 volts peak
VSWR MIL-C-39012 straight connectors: 1.3 max 0-11 GHz
MIL-C-39012 right angle connectors: 1.35 max 0-11 GHz
Dielectric Withstanding Voltage 2,500 volts rms
Insulation Resistance 5,000 M minimum
Center Contact Resistance 1.0 m
Outer Contact Resistance 0.2 m
RF Leakage -90 dB minimum at 3 GHz
Insertion Loss .15 dB maximum at 10 GHz
Mechanical Mating 5/8-24 threaded coupling
Braid or Jacket Cable Affixment All crimps: hex braid crimp
Clamps: screw-thread nut and braid clamp
Center Conductor Cable Affixment Crimp: crimp or solder
All others: solder only
Captivated Contact All crimps unless specified otherwise
Cable Retention Crimps: 60-120 lbs
Clamps: 30-70 lbs

Material:
Male Contacts Brass, silver or gold plated
Female Contacts Phosphorous bronze or beryllium copper, silver or gold plated
Other Metal Parts Brass with ASTROplate finish; M39012 has silver finish
Insulators TFE, copolymer of styrene or glass-TFE (hermetic seal)
Weatherproof Gaskets Silicone rubber of synthetic rubber
Crimp Ferrule Copper

Environmental:
Temperature Range TFE: -65C to +165C
Weatherproof All series N with gaskets are weatherproof
Hermetic Seals Pass helium leak test of 2x10-8 cc/sec
Pressurized Shock Compression seal MIL-STD-202, method 213
Vibration MIL-STD-202, method 204, test condition B
Moisture Resistance MIL-STD-202, method 106
Corrosion MIL-STD-202, method 101, test condition B
Temperature Cycling MIL-STD-202, method 102, test condition C
Altitude MIL-STD-202, method 105, test condition C

Military:
MIL-C-39012
MIL-A-55339
Where applicable

Note: These characteristics are typical but may not apply to all connectors.

73!
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by K1MKF on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Too expensive? OK, let me get this straight. You spend between $1,000 and $2,000 on an HF rig. Maybe $600 for a used one. Then you put up some verticals or beams, towers and rotors and several hundred dollars each. Then, you opt out of the "expensive" N-connector so you can save less than $10 on each connector.

I think the real reason is the rig and most antennas have a S0-239. If they had a N the N would be king!

MarkF
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W1JQ on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I've only used N connectors a few times. But my experience is that they're easier to install than UHF connectors. I'm not convinced they're waterproof, but they're at least no worse than UHF connectors. Why don't I switch? Habit, and all my equipment has SO-239s on the back connectors.

On the other hand, I was once operating the ARRL DX test at a club station where an antenna was acting flaky. I don't know why, but I grabbed the coax on the bulkhead where the feedlines left the shack--and it just pulled right out of the connector. N connector, too. Glad I hadn't built that connector....

Seriously, though, I think N connectors are easier, and better, and they should be used more widely.
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by VE3IVM on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To me N is much easier to install. Also there is greater variety of them. I use only Ns both on HF and UHF. Some water resistance is still better then no water resistance.

I went to a military/industrial surplus store recently. All the military cables I saw there had Ns.



 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA1WLA on May 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Some time ago I found a box with about 50 chassis female N connectors in a surplus place.
I took them home and I replaced every connector I had in the shack with N.
The 259 is too poor a design, they didn't even figure out where to serrate the ring you grab and turn.
But they knew it had to be serrated so they stuck the serrated part in the bottom where you can't place your fingers in most cases.
If the mechanical part of the design is so poor what is going on with the electrical part?
I am glad I am a card caring, out of the closet, N type connector user.
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by KR6EL on May 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Of course a 259 is fine for HF. A 259 is not a 50 ohm connecter! It has no caricteristit impedance. Especially on UHF use a N
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by K9KJM on May 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Type "N" Connectors are the best and only way to
go for UHF or higher frequency use.
I also learned the hard way that some 75 ohm N connectors are different! (Good post by W7DJM)
N0XU says "All of the virtues of the N type connector
are lost with the two piece type" HUH? Show me
some documentation of that. I have been using both
the "old" multi piece, and the newer two piece
N connector with great results. Just that the
newer two piece type are much easier to install.
About the same as a PL 259.........
(Although I do admit there may be some el cheapo
two piece N connectors out there that I am unaware of)
The ones I have used, Heavy silver plate shell, and
gold plate center pin, Teflon insulator, work great.
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WB2WIK on May 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There are many kinds of Type N connectors, by design, and differentiated by their part numbers -- and that assumes you're using American-made, mil-spec connectors. If we open the field to non-military and foreign-made types, there are hundreds of varieties ranging from absolutely stinko to excellent.

Type N's are only weatherproof if the correct connector is used with precisely the correct cable, a rare situation in the amateur radio realm. If the rear nut of the N connector slides easily (no friction) over the coaxial cable you're using, it is *guaranteed* to be the *incorrect* connector for that cable. The correct rear nut creates a tight friction fit with the cable outer jacket and will not "slide down" the cable without considerable effort, and some twisting.

The majority of N connectors used by amateurs are non-mil UG21D/U types, readily available via all the ham retailers and the companies advertising in the ham magazines and websites for $3~$5 each. These are definitely *not* military connectors, although they're patterned after them. The ones I find readily available like the Amphenol UG21-RFX types are actually designed to be used with RG214/U double-shielded cable, and *not& RG213/U, or 9913, or LMR400, or any of the standard amateur grade .405" O.D. cables. As such, when used with amateur grade cables, the nut slides easily over the cable, absolutely assuring that the assembly is *not* weatherproof.

As for constant-impedance, etc, the length of the PL259 or N is so short in terms of wavelengths on most of the popular amateur bands that it cannot contribute to any "bump" which could create attenuation. The first indication of actual loss in a well-made PL259 properly installed on RG213/U occurs at about 500 MHz. Some Type N designs, of course, are good to 12 GHz, again, provided the correct connector is chosen and it's assembled properly. Most of the "12 GHz" type N's are made of stainless steel and not brass, to assure tighter machining tolerances. Since you cannot solder to stainless steel, those are usually gold plated over a nickel flash, or they are "crimp" type connectors requiring no soldering at all.

WB2WIK/6
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by K1ZYW on May 17, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The PL 259 is the HF 'gold standard'. Good quality PL 259's can often be purchased for about a buck. The problem is that the ARRL Handbook does not show the best and most proper way to solder larger coax like RG213 to it.
The best way is also much easier than the Handbook method.
1 Remove about 1 1/2" of outer black insulation via the nick and strip method*
2 Fold back the outer copper shield so it is as flat as possible against the outer black insulation
3 Strip off 1 1/4" of white inner insulation (for good quality RG213 and RG8 I use a Dremmel Rototool and a bur rather than trying to strip w/ knife alone)
4 Unscrew the connector and SLIP the connecting coupler onto the coax.
5. Screw the connector body onto the onto the coax. Continue screwing onto the reflected copper shield. This will turn hard, so use plyers. When you start to see the white insulation thru the holdes, stop. It is not necessary to screw the connecter any further*
6. You should now see the copper inner conductor stick out the front of the connecter. Solder and trim the inner conducter.
7. Bring the connecting coupler onto the connector body. (I use a small amount of tape to keep the shield from getting in the way.
8 NOW JUST solder the bottom of the connector body to the reflected, mechanically attached copper shield. Just solder it all arround the bottom of the concector. (this gives a great mechanical and electrical connection)
9 Tape up (and shrink wrap if desired) the shield and bottom of the connecter.
10 this is MUCH easier to do than to explain - and is fast and sure


*email me if you dont understand

73'S DE KEN K1UM
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WN2A on May 17, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The N-connector is an excellent choice
for the Amateur whether or not he or she works
UHF/Microwave. Most RF/Microwave test equipment
comes N-connectorized for the RF ports,unless
BNC is used (usually for <1GHz). Bird wattmeters,
Spectrum analysers,Sweep generators, you name
it. Actually I find its biggest drawback to be
the size; a little too big for small PCB homebrew
stuff. That's where I use SMA for UHF/Microwave
and (good)RCA phonos for up to 100MHz.
They must sell a lot of between-series adaptors!
Mike,WN2A
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by VE6XX on May 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Greetings All: An excellent forum for sure! It is refreshing to see knowledgeable comments made from a variety of amateurs. WB2WIK's comments on many different types of "N" connector is correct. As well as the 75 ohm "N" connector, there were two "N" style 50ohm connectors available here in Canada. There was the standard "N" connector, & then one called "improved N" The improved "N" had a long tapered centre pin , & the standard "N" had a short, abrupt point on the centre pin. I first became aware of this when I made up a set of interconnect cables for a "reslok" duplexer & in a couple of days the repeater developed "desense". Investigation proved that the female "N" receptacle on the duplexer had broken "fingers". Sinclair replaced the female connector & within a week the problem reappeared.
I happened to be looking through a Canadian Air Force tech manual that I used in the Air Force, & discovered
that the "N" connectors I used from our shop stock were standard "N' connectors & the duplexer used "improved N" connectors. A new cable set using "improved N" solved the problem! Live & learn.
Thanks for all the valuable input guys, & I agree with the caveats regarding "weatherproof" aspects of "N" connectors. They aren't!

CHEERS! Brian, VE6XX
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W7ITC on May 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I prefer N connectors. I like the ability to reuse the
body with only the pin and rubber gasket needing replacement. This goes a long way toward mitigating the initial cost.
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by KR6EL on May 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To VE6XX...yes I agree. GOOD ham conversation. We got a discussion with out the "CW" thing....ooops I said it
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WW1Z on May 19, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Watch the quality on both sides. Harder to find quality uhf stuff but I've found some poor N. Certainly I don't consider them water proof. I used to when a lot younger but after draining out water or melting out ice don't you believe it! I've found PL259 much easier to thread on in a tight spot. N has much tighter tolerance and will cross thresd real easy. If hams used more N there would just be more junk on the market. Compared to the commercial and military we really are not that big a market. Replaced too many commercial and military surplus (why they were surplus?) to use crimp coonectors myself. Definately watch out for 75 ohm. 75 ohm male pin will often not make reliable, if at all, connection to a 50 ohm female. On power rating the N. Take a male N and fit it into a BNC female. Perfect fit! Lots of hams running a kilowatt at 432 with N's are pushing their luck! K2RIW suggested using a quality UHF on the output of such an amp. Big center pin will easily handle the power and any "mismatch" can be tuned out. Again find lots of "professionally" installed N with the center pin too far out or deep, back to why it is surplus? With practice a quality connector and for PL259's a 300 watt soldering iron I have no preference for installing either. Get the right tools, expect to make a mistake once and a while and use fits your needs.
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by K2WH on May 19, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
If you want to see the PL-259 vs N-Connector, under network analysis, go to this page.

http://www.qsl.net/vk3jeg/pl259tst.html

It will tell you everything you want to know about the
subject

K2WH
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by KI0HA on May 20, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I started using N type connectors for VHF/UHF because of their low loss characteristics. As someone previously stated there is no "impedance bump" To me they are easier to install because the only soldering you need to do is on the center pin. I also decided to use an N type connector for my 10/15/20 meter beam. I took my tuner apart and replaced one of the SO-239 connectors and installed a female N. On the negative side, I seem to have a bit more difficulty screwing them on and off. It's a tradeoff with the low loss and weatherproof characteristics I'm willing to put up with though.

73's
-Mike-
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by K8MR on May 20, 2003 Mail this to a friend!

1. I'd be hesitant to use an N connector at high power (>1kw). The pin is equivalent to about a #16 wire, which gives a rather small contact area.

To look at it another way, would you use a BNC connector for high power? Well, the inner workings of a BNC and N are the same. An N male will mate very nicely with a BNC female. (A good trick to know for temporary/emergency situations.)

2. I have heard reports of N connectors installed on long outdoor runs giving problems with the center pin pulling out when the temperature drops and the line contracts.

3. The VK3 network analysis of PL-259s admits in the conclusion that he used a poor quality UHF barrel connector. It's hard to say how this affected the results.

4. Beware of cheap UHF elbow connectors. Some of these use a small coil wire spring for the center connection. An very nice inductor right in the line! Not so good for RF.
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA2JJH on May 20, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Look at a PL-259. See the plastic dielectric. For long runs of HF no problem. Yes some times a PL-259 is refered as a UHF connector.

UHF is considered any freq. from 300MHZ-3GHZ. This is an old standard.

The plastic will at UHF frequency's act as a capacitive reactance to ground.

The N connector does not have any plastic.

So for long runs for 70cm and above N connectors are the way to go.
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WB2WIK on May 21, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH, the only PL-259 connectors containing any "plastic" are offshore cheapie knockoffs. Amphenol, J&I, Kings, Trompeter and other American manufacturers of mil-spec PL-259's never use any plastic, now or in the past.

The ubiquitous and very high-quality Amphenol 83-1SP silver-plated, mil-spec PL-259 has a Rexolite dielectric, a stable dielectric to about 6 GHz. The even better and less hydroscopic dielectric is found in the very popular "MADE IN U.S.A." silver-plated PL-259's made by J&I (although they do not stamp their brand name into the connectors), and this is pure PTFE Teflon, same exact material as used in Type N's. Dielectric constant 2.1~2.3, guaranteed, and good to at least 12 GHz.

The only "plastic" dielectric PL-259's I've ever seen were sold in CB shops and in Radio Shack. The American connectors never use plastic.

WB2WIK/6

 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA2JJH on May 21, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
OK, Steve, I stand corrected. Unfortunitly, I have to plead guilty to buying PL-259's at radio shack and a local Ham radio store! It is the only Ham store left in NYC. I wont mention the name. And yes, I sometimes use the solderless ones.They are good for 3-12 foot patches for the shack.Takes about 30 seconds screw on one

When I have used commercial patches of RG-8 for 2 GIG
TV-ENG work, they were always N connectors.If you ever need a 6db attenuator for 2 GIG and do not want to spend $300 for a high power attenuator 18 feet of RG-8 works great! Yes amphenols N's are at both ends

True good old american PL-259's use tephlon dielectric.
Tephlon mini coax is great, if mini hardline is not needed.

To avoid confusion, I always use N connectors for long runs of UHF. I hope nobody is making inferior N connectors yet!



However when was the last time you saw a PL-259 or S0-239 on anything above 450MHZ in a commercial installation. You will never see pl-259's on 440 cavity
on a duplexer either.

I have also found N connectors to be more weather proof. Better shielding.

Yes, Steve does bring up an important point. If you want to use pl-259 for short runs at UHF, better buy American! We used to have quality electronic stores. that did carry the silver plated amphenols. NO MAS.


Unfortunitly in certain deadline jobs, us engineers
would go to Radio Shack to meet a NEWS dead line.

Many do not know what to look for. I checked out all my PL-259's in my shack. The japenese equipment has the cheap plastic.

You can check with a safty pin. The plastic will scratch very easy. Tephlon will not.

 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by K5ET on May 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I've used crimp-on N connectors and have had very
good results with them. The most important thing is
to use the proper connector type with the type of cable
you are using. Amphenol markets several different types
such as the #82-332 for double-shielded cable types such as RG-214 and similar types. #82-340 is for single-shielded types such as RG-213. The same crimper
tool dyes will work for both types. Admittedly the
crimper tool frame and accompanying dyes are rather
expensive but when used with the proper connector/cable
combination will yield a connector installation that
is mechanically quite rugged and has good electrical
characteristics.
By its design, the N connector has a degree of <i>
intrinsic</i> weatherproofing, but I still apply the
usual degree of weatherproofing such as splicing
compound and <i>Scotchkote</i> when I use them in
outdoor installations. Over the past 25 years, I have
had little problem with them.

.....Fred K5ET
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA2JJH on May 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Glad K5ET bought up the pricey crimp device from KINGS and others. I have used them for N, Cable TV F connectors, and BNC for CAC-6 and RG-58,59,and other cable and connectors

If you need to make many cables, this is the best thing since sliced bread.

My professional crimping kit cost about $500, 10 years ago. I did get all the DIE's for just about any
cable/connector.

Along with the Automatic cable stripper, that will cut shield lengths and center conductor, exactly for the connector and cable....life is a breeze!

No soldering at all. However you can always add some solder to the shield.

This kit is called The KINGS KTH-1000. I paid about
$500 for the crimper, auto stripper, and dies for N,BNC,and F connectors. I lost my Die for RG-213.
They want $50 for the die. RIP OFF!

If you got to pump out a lot of N, PL-259, BNC,F and just about any other cable/connector cable run,
one might want to consider the investment.

I have never made a BAD N cable with the expensive crimping kit. Pumped out many Video cables as well.

With the Auto length sheild/center cutter, perfect
center conductor and shield lengths.

The Pro Auto cable length cutter is available alone
for $75. Worth every penny! It is perfect if you to solder or crimp.

Check Jensen tools for these devices. Maybe the prices have come down.



I
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WW1Z on May 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Back when the PL259 series was designed 200Mhz was UHF. As for impedance bump, they are mighty short in terms of wavelength, so nothing to worry about. I've used good UHF carefully installed at 432 and not worried about it. Although I certainly wouldn't on EME. Long time ago I had moved the 222 amp and developed problms. Traced to a N elbow, broke it in half and just like K8MR found a little spring! So there is some junky N stuff out there. Buy carefully!Somewhere I read someone experiment with some UHF adapters and a barrel. Somewhere above 2gigs or so the mismatch cancelled out and became essentially transparent. Don't recommend it but if you are desperate! Also heard of a repeater owner who traced a noise problem to his N connectors at the diplexer. Ended up soldering the braid to the clamp rings which cured it for good.
 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WB2WIK on May 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Type N connectors are most common for equipment at 440 MHz and above for a variety of reasons, but UHF connectors (good ones, properly installed) are lossless there.

One reason type N's are on duplexers is that they're much better shielded. Every type N in the world is double-shielded by design, and good for >120 dB isolation even at SHF. PL-259s are single shielded and not tightly fitted by design, and can provide <60 dB isolation at 150 MHz. This has nothing to do with "loss," but everything to do with duplexer performance.

Still, a PL-259 (high quality, properly assembled) can handle more power than a type N, any day of the week, due to its center pin diameter and material. There's good and bad to everything, but high-quality UHF (PL-259) connectors aren't going anywhere and will remain popular for many years to come. Having travelled the world quite a lot, it is curious that the only "good" PL-259s I can ever find are American made. Even my JA ham friends ask me to mail them over there, because they cannot get the good ones locally.

WB2WIK/6
 
N vs. SMA?  
by N1YRK on May 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
OK, I see there's a pretty good consensus that N is better but not a panacea for VHF. I am more concerned with microwave bands, and concerned about SMA vs. N. Anyone have any tales to tell?
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA2JJH on May 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
SMA's small size makes it for PC board mounting. I have worked on many Microwave systems where SMA is used with mini-copper hardline. The copper hardline goes from module to module and/or PC board inside
a system.

No, I cannot give you a Network analysis. SMA is not used for high power applications. I have worked with devices using SMA up to 5 GIG.

SMA are also used as antenna connectors. Big problem is when somebody uses an SMA to N adapter. Much mechanical stress is put on the SMA connector by the N adapter and coax attached.

You will find SMA's on Microwave VCO's. RF preamps,
mixers, and RF medium power amps.

Some people do no like them because they are fragile.
I prefer to see N connectors my self.

However SMA's go well with mini-copper hardline.

I have never seen a long run using SMA.

 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA4DOU on May 23, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
SMA's are low level connectors. This thread reminds me of the hotrodders who subscribe to the theory that "if some is good then more is better."
If you use a connector that has characteristics that can't be fully appreciated in a particular use, then you've over engineered the application. In general, type N connectors are suitable for use in the more demanding applications at 450 mhz. and all higher freqs. and the UHF (PL-259/SO-239)in less demanding applications from that freq. and down. High quality connectors are assumed. Leave the low quality connectors for the less discerning.
If you are in love with a particular connector and its possible to use it, go for it.
Personally I subscribe to the theory that an application must demand better and it be proveable before it gets it.
 
N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by WA2JJH on May 23, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
PL-259 UPDATE. Went to my local Radio shack today.
Looked at the connector rack. They have a New product for 2003. Guess what...Silver plated, teflon dielectric. Product#178-188A

They had plenty of their regular PL-259's so-239's barrels, and adapters. All plastic dielectric.

I had my SABER-3 hidden, and I asked the salesman in a stupid way what is the difference.

The Deluxe silver ones are $5.00 each. The other ones are 2 for $4.99.

He was helpfull, he said the new deluxe ones are easier to solder. They hold up better outside.
OK answers.

The kicker was that he said. If your using one of those super power linears for your CB, you better buy the Deluxe connector!

The N to PL-259 adapters are plastic dielectric.

Well at least in some radio shacks, decent PL-259's can bought on an emergent basis. Pasternak, and ohers
have minimum orders.

I am not bashing radio shack. The kids have to learn
all the new consumer stuff. I was Lambasted by a Ham/radio shack owner. YES I got the point, I know it is simple economics not to be bothered with us hams.

 
RE: N-type connectors, Good or Bad?  
by W8JI on May 25, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N connectors are OK. They have their place in the world.

The only reason to use N connectors below 100-200 MHz is if you just happen to like the N connector. There is no compelling technical reason to use N over UHF, unless you are making precision impedance measurements above 30MHz or operating above 150MHz with impedance-critical gear.

I actually machine and modify all my 7/8th inch hardline female N connectors into UHF-style females. You won't catch me using a N connector for HF through six meters, and only occasionally do I use N's at 2 meters. The exception is in test fixtures for critical impedance measurements above 30MHz, where I use N's as well as other precision connectors.

A reasonably good UHF connector handles much more power with high SWR than any N connector I've ever tested, despite what some data sheets might lead us to believe. If you run high power into high SWR loads, use a UHF Teflon connector. It will be far more reliable than N connectors.

As a matter of fact, N connectors and regular BNC connectors have almost identical pin sizes and internal air gaps. Both N and BNC do not use large conductors and certainly do not have wide internal air gaps.

Both the N and the UHF require waterproofing, if outside in the weather.

73 Tom
 
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