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Author Topic: Sealing PL259/SO239  (Read 7546 times)
ND9B
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« on: March 12, 2013, 06:10:08 PM »

I've always used "Coax-Seal" outdoors on my PL259/SO239 connectors, and never had any moisture incursion. But, that stuff is a bear to get off when you need to disconnect. And, if it's cold outside, forget it!

Has anyone tried using this new Silicone Tape (also known as Rescue Tape)? I'm sure it would be easier to remove, but does it keep the moisture out?

Bobby Dipole ND9B
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 06:26:21 PM »

The foolproof way:

-Layer of 3M '33' electrical tape
-Layer of amalgamating tape (or coax seal if you must)
-Layer of 3M '33' electrical tape.

Overlap all turns by 30-50%,
Start at the bottom and work your way up, to provide water shedding edges

For removal, slice with sharp knife. The whole thing will peel off clean.
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M6GOM
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 07:50:16 PM »

In the UK we use self amalgamating tape which you then go over with PVC tape. You can just cut that off with a knife.
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WB2EOD
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 08:41:19 PM »

CoaxSeal is not bad, but the silicone tape is far better.
I've used the silicone based 'rescue tape' with great success.  When correctly applied it keeps the connection totally dry.  Some 2 years after wrapping such a connection, I had to change something.  I slit the tape with a knife and peeled it off.  The PL-259 was as clean and bright as the day I wrapped it. 
You can get this from RF Parts or HRO.  I always like to have a roll or 2 on hand.

Hope this helps
73
WB2EOD

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K2OWK
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 11:28:52 PM »

Mighty Sealer liquid rubber (as seen on TV) available in black or white. Plasticoat available in most hardware stores, and in many colors in spray or liquid. Both these products will waterproof the connectors, and when dry can easily be peeled or cut off. I use both and have never had a problem with water leakage or removal.

73s

K2OWK
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K1CJS
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2013, 03:58:26 AM »

'EOD is correct.  Silicone (rescue) tape will keep connections clean and dry--if it applied correctly.  Make sure there is no oil or grease on the cables on either side of the connectors and on the connectors themselves.  Don't be stingy, make sure there is sufficient overlap, and stretch it when wrapping it to make sure it seals correctly.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2013, 04:06:24 AM »

Bobby, I've been using the silicone tape for 6 months or so.  The stuff is GREAT.  It works incredibly well, and it is a lot easier to use than the old gooey "coax-seal" stuff. 

My local hardware store sells it as "rescue tape" for $9-10 a roll (and it would be WORTH that price, no joke), but I order mine from High Sierra Online under the name "raincoat tape."  I wait for the sales and it is always under $6 a roll, sometimes less.  (It's also a good place to get coax connectors, powerpoles, and other stuff, so I wait for a sale and put together an order every now and then.)

The "raincoat tape" has a BUNCH of other uses around the house, too.  :-)   Really great stuff!
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NK7Z
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 05:23:08 AM »

Has anyone tried using this new Silicone Tape (also known as Rescue Tape)? I'm sure it would be easier to remove, but does it keep the moisture out?

I have been testing some of the "Rescue Tape", in what I consider to be the worst environment...  The back of a car, on a trailer hitch mounted HF vertical...  The connector is in the direct road flow of water and dirt, we live in Oregon, where it rains all the time...  Also a fair amount of coast driving in a semi-salt environment...  Desert driving, several weeks in AZ...  In short the connector is pretty beat up, but...  It is still waterproof.  I have not unwrapped it yet, but the SWR is exactly where it was when I installed it.

No other protection of any sort...  Been in place for a year now...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
W3DBB
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 05:59:48 AM »

Instead of buying Coax-Seal I purchase the same substance in a big plug down at Lowe's. Duct Seal. Seems to keep its freshness and pliability better than Coax-Seal. It costs a lot less.

I fill the inside of the PL-259 with STUF dielectric filler, reminds me of silicone grease for semiconductor heat dissipation but with air bubbles in it. It wipes off a lot easier than silicone grease. Prevents moisture incursion. I've had good luck with it on the inside and the Duct Seal on the oustide.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2013, 06:10:21 AM »

Instead of buying Coax-Seal I purchase the same substance in a big plug down at Lowe's. Duct Seal. Seems to keep its freshness and pliability better than Coax-Seal. It costs a lot less.

I fill the inside of the PL-259 with STUF dielectric filler, reminds me of silicone grease for semiconductor heat dissipation but with air bubbles in it. It wipes off a lot easier than silicone grease. Prevents moisture incursion. I've had good luck with it on the inside and the Duct Seal on the oustide.
Could you expand on this a bit...  I will be putting up a tower later this year, and am wondering how best to keep water out of the coax...  I worry because no matter how you seal things, using tapes, one end is still open to the air...  The end screwed into your antenna...  Any suggestions?
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
W8JX
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2013, 06:35:14 AM »

Long long ago we used to call it F4 tape because it was developed for use on F4 phantom. It is good stuff and will do job fine. Stretch it on good and tight. You actually want to store unused tape in refrigerator in a sealed container if you want maximum shelf life.
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KB8VIV
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 07:37:20 AM »

I did something similar to this:

http://static.dxengineering.com/pdf/WeatherProofingCoax-TechTip.pdf

The only difference was I actually put electrical tape underneath the self sealing tape, and the electrical tape was wrapped sticky side out, to ease removal. Then I applied the self sealing tape, than I covered the entire mess with another layer of electrical tape.  I also filled the coax connectors with some type of dialectric paste to resist moisture.

Works good, lasts long time.

73's de kb8viv
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 07:55:34 AM by KB8VIV » Logged
W3DBB
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Posts: 77




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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2013, 08:54:37 AM »

Instead of buying Coax-Seal I purchase the same substance in a big plug down at Lowe's. Duct Seal. Seems to keep its freshness and pliability better than Coax-Seal. It costs a lot less.

I fill the inside of the PL-259 with STUF dielectric filler, reminds me of silicone grease for semiconductor heat dissipation but with air bubbles in it. It wipes off a lot easier than silicone grease. Prevents moisture incursion. I've had good luck with it on the inside and the Duct Seal on the oustide.
Could you expand on this a bit...  I will be putting up a tower later this year, and am wondering how best to keep water out of the coax...  I worry because no matter how you seal things, using tapes, one end is still open to the air...  The end screwed into your antenna...  Any suggestions?
That's the end that worries me the most. Here in Pennsylvania, the humid climate coupled with big temperature swings gives rise to problems caused by condensation. For starters, I do myself a favor and stay away from foam-dielectric coaxial cables like RG-8X for anything installed permanently. RG-8X is good for temporary antennas like those used at Field Day but in this climate it can become troublesome, particularly if the connectors are not properly installed.

Lately I've been partial to Davis RF RG-213, made in USA. Sold by The RF Connection in Gaithersburg Maryland. I'm sure other dealers carry it. You'll want a small tubing cutter to cut the heavy plastic dielectric off the ends. I don't see how moisture could infiltrate a cable like this, but anything is possible, particularly with improperly-installed connectors.

Next I use the best PL-259 connectors I can find. Amphenol isn't what it used to be but theirs are probably still the best ones out there. I'm not comfortable using the no-name Chinese-made connectors, especially with high power. I completely fill the center pin and four holes in the shield connection with free-flowing solder so as to produce the desired concave fillet. You want the connector as hot as you can get it without messing up the dielectric in the connector or melting the end of the coax. This gives a good electrical connection and heads off the potential for hydraulic action which I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it for myself. In this case, the combination of RG-8X and improperly-installed PL-259 connectors turned the cable into a water conduit making a wet mess below the operator's antenna switch. His coax was probably ruined. How do you get the water out?
 
I install the STUF according to the instructions on the tube. DX Engineering sells it. Fill the inside of the PL-259 before you screw it onto the SO-239. Supposedly this will prevent moisture ingress. As I wrote, I've had good luck using STUF. Then, wipe the excess STUF off the outside of the tightened termination (yes, I crank them down).

I break off a chunk of the Duct Seal and starting pulling and rolling it into about the size of a baby snake. I wrap the termination completely plus some, then squeeze it to knead it together. It's more work than buying Coax-Seal off the shelf but I've had Coax-Seal dry and become difficult to work. Coax-Seal can be rejuvenated by rolling it into a ball but then you might as well be using Duct Seal. Duct Seal is a bargain compared to Coax-Seal. Also good for general waterproofing and sealing in other areas around the home and car.

Hope this helps.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 09:15:12 AM »


Quote
Could you expand on this a bit...  I will be putting up a tower later this year, and am wondering how best to keep water out of the coax...  I worry because no matter how you seal things, using tapes, one end is still open to the air...  The end screwed into your antenna...  Any suggestions?

What I've done for decades everywhere I've lived is prohibit water from entering the coax by running the coax uphill away from the connectors.

Easy to do, always, with any kind of antenna.

Make a 360 degree loop out of the coax where it attaches to the antenna, run the coax "uphill" from the feedpoint to that loop directly above the feedpoint, and let the free end of the loop run back down to wherever it has to go.

I've never seen water run uphill without something pumping or siphoning it, and I've never seen coax "wick" water uphill either.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2013, 09:41:21 AM »


Quote
Could you expand on this a bit...  I will be putting up a tower later this year, and am wondering how best to keep water out of the coax...  I worry because no matter how you seal things, using tapes, one end is still open to the air...  The end screwed into your antenna...  Any suggestions?

Make a 360 degree loop out of the coax where it attaches to the antenna, run the coax "uphill" from the feedpoint to that loop directly above the feedpoint, and let the free end of the loop run back down to wherever it has to go.

I've never seen water run uphill without something pumping or siphoning it, and I've never seen coax "wick" water uphill either.
Thank you!  That answered my question!  I assume go through the normal waterproofing with rescue tape etc...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
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