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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: Soldering Help  (Read 7310 times)
W8JX
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Posts: 5687




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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2012, 06:47:19 AM »

I read a lot of problems with 80 watt and above evaporating the rosin so I ordered a 65 watt.  

Even a 25 watt one will "de-tin" with time if left unattended and plugged in. You need to keep a wet sponge or rag to clean tip from time to time and re-tin it. I would have went with 80.

I quit using wet sponges a while back and now use a wire bundle mass ('pillow' for a lack of a better term) that resembles a coarse, open weave, unsoaped Brillo pad. The pillow is gold in color and stuffs into a metal holder that sits on the desk next the iron. Just shove the tip in the pillow and move back and forth a couple of times, pull it out and the black oxidized crude it gone and the tip is shiny read to solder. I believe I first got these at either Digikey or Mouser when I ordered some parts a while back but have since seen them in a couple of electronics supply stores recently. The pillow seems to last forever at the rate I use it. If you solder all day long, everyday, it probably will wear out faster. They are not expensive, less than a $2-3 per if I remember correctly.

Gene W5DQ

I have seen and used the wire brush like approach but I still prefer the wet sponge as primary as it does cool tip some too. Having both handy would be nice too.
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W9KDX
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Posts: 770




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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2012, 08:26:31 AM »

I know this is a totally impossible question.  However, this is probably an area where opinion is as good as anything.

Do you guys thinks it is best to go back over the connectors I have made with the 25 watt and redo them or should I just leave them alone? 

I'll be replacing the outside wire in a few months anyway (winter is in the way) as I am raising my dipole another 15 feet, but I don't really know if these older connections are good.  Are connections either good or bad, or is there some measurable way to tell if they are only partly good.

Thanks
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Sam
W9KDX
AC5UP
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Posts: 3845




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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2012, 09:25:15 AM »

I know this is a totally impossible question.  However, this is probably an area where opinion is as good as anything.

Do you guys thinks it is best to go back over the connectors I have made with the 25 watt and redo them or should I just leave them alone?

Not to be a pill, but if you're asking the question there's a very good chance the answer is YES --- you should inspect and re-do as needed.

Why?

1) A 25 watt soldering iron doesn't make the cut on PL-259's. You were working with the wrong tool and the odds were against you.
2) Because you're still learning and 'back when' probably wouldn't notice a bad connector unless it was profoundly bad. At this stage of the game a second look might catch some ugliness that wasn't apparent the first time, especially if you now have visible oxidation from being weathered.
3) Any antenna will be more reliable if you can minimize the number of connectors involved... Especially the outdoor portion. Consider what the setup would look like if you knew what you were doing then see how close you can get. No antenna is perfect, but whatever you can do to make yours less imperfect is a good thing....  Tongue

BTW: Been my experience that it's rare for a connector to be 100% bad........ Usually they're some flavor of not good. An antenna analyzer is handy for testing coax but if you take your time to give it the Hairy Eyeball and Palmer Method a DMM will spot most common faults.

The Palmer Inspection Method involves pulling the coax through your hand(s) to feel (and look) for cuts, chafes and holes. An Ohmmeter can test for opens or shorts and be sure to wiggle / pull / bend the connectors while testing.
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2788




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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2012, 09:25:38 AM »

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/weller/solder/solderselect.htm?gclid=CLCP4c3Fqq4CFQN8hwodjAGrQg

Check these out, particularly the 80-watt irons (SP-80).  And note that even some of the little 6-watt irons get as "hot" as the 80-watt units.  It's a very small quantity of 900°F. heat, though.

I wouldn't bother "going over" the connections until you have the proper tool to do it with.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K1CJS
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Posts: 6013




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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2012, 10:05:18 AM »

One thing you've got to remember if you do use a soldering gun--do NOT get the tips that are nothing more than a wire that has been flattened in the middle and formed into a tip.  Get the tips that have been cast--that have a larger amount of copper on the tip itself than the legs of the tip.  That is the best tip to get to attach the 259s to coax cables.

The flattened and bent over tips are OK for just simple joint soldering, but they just don't hold any useable amount of heat to do the 259s.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5687




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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2012, 10:14:39 AM »


Do you guys thinks it is best to go back over the connectors I have made with the 25 watt and redo them or should I just leave them alone? 


Resolder them because there is a good chance they are cold solder joints.
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KI4SDY
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Posts: 1452




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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2012, 10:18:53 AM »

If your antennas are operating properly with the coax you installed, why take them down?  Smiley

Next time, if you are not skilled at soldering connectors, buy the coax with the connectors already installed. The slight increase in price it is worth it for the peace of mind and problems that you will avoid. Most of the posts on eHam.net about coax feedline problems are a result of bad connector installations by hams who assumed they were good at it.  Wink

If you are going to keep trying to install the connectors, get quality thermostat controlled soldering equipment with the proper wattage for the job and don't forget to apply flux to the contacts!  Grin
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 01:13:54 PM by KI4SDY » Logged
W9KDX
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Posts: 770




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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2012, 01:41:05 PM »

If your antennas are operating properly with the coax you installed, why take them down?  Smiley

Next time, if you are not skilled at soldering connectors, buy the coax with the connectors already installed. The slight increase in price it is worth it for the peace of mind and problems that you will avoid. Most of the posts on eHam.net about coax feedline problems are a result of bad connector installations by hams who assumed they were good at it.  Wink

If you are going to keep trying to install the connectors, get quality thermostat controlled soldering equipment with the proper wattage for the job and don't forget to apply flux to the contacts!  Grin

I was perfectly content to pay the additional for pre-wired, but none of my sources had wire that would handle 800 watts with 10 meters.  The additional flux suggestion is a good idea, one I missed. 

Thanks to all for the suggestions.  There is so little left I can build, I figured I would take the time and learn this one.

I have an antenna analyzer (MFJ 259B), but I haven't read anything that would help here.  Is there a particular term for the test that would help out?  Normal testing doesn't seem to indicate marginal soldering.

BTW, I will most likely redo things when I get the better iron.
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Sam
W9KDX
W8JX
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Posts: 5687




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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2012, 02:34:30 PM »

I was perfectly content to pay the additional for pre-wired, but none of my sources had wire that would handle 800 watts with 10 meters.  The additional flux suggestion is a good idea, one I missed. 


BTW 800 watts is not a problem for even RG8x on 10 meters.
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W9KDX
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Posts: 770




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« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2012, 06:27:16 PM »

I was perfectly content to pay the additional for pre-wired, but none of my sources had wire that would handle 800 watts with 10 meters.  The additional flux suggestion is a good idea, one I missed.  


BTW 800 watts is not a problem for even RG8x on 10 meters.

I am not an expert, however every cable source I checked says 800 watts is double the capacity for RG-8X.

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cable/coaxperf.html

http://www.timesmicrowave.com/cgi-bin/calculate.pl

I'd be glad to find out where I am wrong.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 06:34:43 PM by KD0PLD » Logged

Sam
W9KDX
K8AXW
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Posts: 3777




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« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2012, 06:34:46 PM »

I've been using the cheapass Amphenol PL-259 connectors with the bakelite insulator for over 50 years without one (1) failure at power levels up to 1400W.  They are nickel plated and a PIA to use as far as needing the nickel removed in the hole groove so they will take solder.

I have used silver plated connectors a few times and they are indeed very nice.  But I realized that I was spending big bucks for something that wasn't necessary.  Maybe for UHF, OK.  Maybe the silver connectors do a better job at UHF.  I don't know and can't comment.  But for HF I continue to use the Amphenol brand.  They've been around forever.

I think silver connectors falls into the same mind set catagory as antennas with 1.0:1 SWR and 1400W instead of 1200W.
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W9KDX
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Posts: 770




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« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2012, 07:15:00 PM »

I've been using the cheapass Amphenol PL-259 connectors with the bakelite insulator for over 50 years without one (1) failure at power levels up to 1400W.  They are nickel plated and a PIA to use as far as needing the nickel removed in the hole groove so they will take solder.

I have used silver plated connectors a few times and they are indeed very nice.  But I realized that I was spending big bucks for something that wasn't necessary.  Maybe for UHF, OK.  Maybe the silver connectors do a better job at UHF.  I don't know and can't comment.  But for HF I continue to use the Amphenol brand.  They've been around forever.

I think silver connectors falls into the same mind set catagory as antennas with 1.0:1 SWR and 1400W instead of 1200W.

Maybe you have something else, but all the Amphenol PL-259s I have seen advertised are "silver plated".
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Sam
W9KDX
G3RZP
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Posts: 4497




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« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2012, 03:31:46 AM »

Teflon insulated silver plated PL259s (claimed to be USA made) are available cheaply at Dayton - like 10 for $12 last year. The original Amphenol phenolic insulated connectors were silver plated: in the early 1970s, Amphenol went to something called 'Astroplate' for cheapness: it doesn't solder so well. Most of the CB ones appear to be nickel plated, and that certainly doesn't solder well. The advantage of the silver plate is not frequency related, it's the increase in the ease of soldering the connector well.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3777




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« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2012, 07:51:53 AM »

"Astroplate", nickel plate..... I have no idea.  I only know they're difficult to solder without removing the plating in the braid groove.

Never used silver plated Amphenols before the 70s either.  I'll admit up front that my memory is failing.... it seems to me that silver plating didn't become readily available until the late 80s or early 90s.  I have never seen silver plated PL-259s available at 10 for $12.00.  That's what I expect to pay for the "Astroplated/nickel plated" Amphenols.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4497




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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2012, 12:26:53 AM »

All the original PL259/SO239 series were silver plated, right back to 1943 or earlier. Also the T pieces. Astroplate was pretty rotten to solder to, and as AXW says, a nickel plated one needs a lot of work with a file before it will be solderable. The absolute disaster I saw was a cheap far eastern one which was something like nickel plate on an aluminium body!

The silver plate/teflon ones at Dayton had gone up last year. In 2010, they were 12 for $10. Where they go to, I do not know. I bring home 10 or a dozen, put them in the connectors drawer, and each year, come Dayton time, there's only one or two in there and yet I swear I haven't used any during the year. I guess we've all heard of the sock fairy who ensures that an even number of socks goes into the wash and an odd number come out: I seem to have a PL259 fairy!
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