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Author Topic: PL-259 quality problem?  (Read 270 times)
W5NIG
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« on: July 27, 2004, 05:22:53 AM »

I recently purchased a bunch of silver plated, gold tipped pl-259's.  I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had problems with these or tips with working with them.

The first thing that I noticed was that the gold tip slides too easily into standard recievers and needs to be tinned first.  

The second (and bigger) issue is that I'm having trouble getting rg-213 properly into these things.  2 out of 6 I would say were acceptable.  The problem seems to be what looks like a ridge or lip inside the connector right after the threads that is not letting the shield past it to the solder holes!  Very strange!

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KE4SKY
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2004, 08:44:38 AM »

I've gotten to the point that on installs that are inconvenient to get to for repairs, that I use nothing but Amphenol, Times Microwave or Andrews connectors, depending upon the coax type.  I've had excellent results with the Times Microwave crimp-type N and UHF connectors for the LMR400 series and Belden 9913 cable, using Cablewave's  coax prep tool and crimpers and die from RF Connections.

If your club or repeater group, RACES unit, etc. does alot of these, it's worth it to get professional quality tools and connectors. Yes, these connectors are expensive.  We pool our orders with those of a commercial installer who is a ham and member of our RACES unit, which brings the price down to under $5 each.  But I've never had one fail in service, when installed with the correct  tools, in accordance with good engineering practice.  As with all things in life you get what you pay for.  Is it worth climbing that tower again to replace a $2 connector which failed?

Most so-called antenna failures I've had to go back in and fix up on a site later have been poorly soldered PL259s.  

 
   
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K0IPG
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2004, 09:00:43 AM »

I've seen some silver-plated/gold-tip/teflon-insulated PL-259's that were of pretty poor quality (I think I got them from WBØW) - but then again, I paid less than $1 ea. Remember that just because the connectors are silver/teflon doesn't necessarily mean they're good quality.
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KZ1X
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2004, 10:07:50 AM »

Yup.

A goal for me was to be able to use any cable in the entire station, on any frequency, indoors or out, without worry.

So, I converted to N connectors everywhere (~90% is really as far as you can go).

End of problems.
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NA4IT
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2004, 10:16:11 AM »

A ham friend of mine got some at a local hamfest and they will not accept adapters.
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KE4SKY
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2004, 10:35:47 AM »

KZ1X is right.  Use N connectors where ever you can, at any frequency.  PL259s are NOT constant impedance.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2004, 11:44:13 AM »

W5NIG, if you're describing your situation accurately, it sounds like you got a bad batch of connectors.

I normally have *zero* problems with these, and install hundreds of them annually -- used to be hundreds quarterly, but I've slowed that down due to back problems!

If the connector cannot thread onto the cable jacket and pull the trimmed end to seat the cable dielectric right up against the connector dielectric inside the connector body (and this takes about two seconds, normally), something's wrong.  Of course, I suppose you could have oversized cable or something, but that's pretty rare.  I have frequently seen improperly manufactured PL-259s, including the "silver-teflon-gold tip" ones, and it just sounds like you have some there.

WB2WIK/6

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K1CJS
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2004, 01:40:31 PM »

All too many times I have bought those 'cheap' connectors and have wound up paying for it later, by getting callbacks and having to replace the connectors.  It is well worth the money to get brand name connectors such as Amphenol.  In the long run, they'll last longer and with better results than those cheap ones.  

Heck, I've even had the threaded shell pop over the retainer ridge of some of them when tightening them up!
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W8JI
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2004, 06:42:51 PM »

The fact a PL259/SO239 junction is not constant impedance is absolutely meaningless below 100MHz, and not even critical above 100 and below 450MHz.

Virtually 100% of any loss or impedance bump is in the female, and the loss is hundredths of a dB below 50MHz. The entire area of impedance bump is almost entirely confined to the female, and is about 1/2 inch long. It is 30-40 ohms. 30-40 ohms is NOT that large a bump, and 1/2 inch is not significant distance to cause a measurable change in line characteristics below UHF. A minor bump has to be about one electrical degree long to cause a measurable difference in performance even is critical applications. That's about 1.5 feet long on 160 meters, and about 1.5 inches at 15 meters.  

I actually remove N connectors from cables I buy, and machine them into UHF connectors! The reason is UHF connectors are more reliable at high SWR and high power, and even more immune to lightning damage.

The business part of an N connector is actually dimensionally almost identical to a BNC connector! As a matter of fact, a 50 ohm N male will slide right onto a BNC female. I use N male's as quick disconnect BNC males!

There are some really bad connectors out there, and they generally are the "gold pin" connectors. The Teflon imports I buy are very good and are trouble free. They are actually better than Amphenol's, and much less expensive.

73 Tom
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