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Author Topic: PL259's and a big soldering iron! What a difference!  (Read 29311 times)

Posts: 1529

« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2014, 05:38:00 AM »

300 watts sounds like way, way too much heat, even for connectors.  But, whatever works.

"300 watts" doesn't define tip temperature.  A higher wattage iron will recover its idling temperature faster than a lower wattage iron.

I didn't write anything about temperature....where did you get that?  Heat is a quantity of energy, and that's all I wrote. You'll have better results with more HEAT, but you can overdo it, as so much will transfer into your work quickly if you're not careful.

Learn to read, and know what you're writing about before lecturing others, genius.  Oh and BTW, "wattage" is a colloquial term.  Your CB background is coming through loud and clear.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 05:51:17 AM by K9MHZ » Logged

Posts: 532

« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2014, 12:52:20 PM »

When dealing with something like a PL-259 that is a big 'heat sink', you need a lot of wattage.

It's not the temp, it really is the wattage.

When you try to solder something that sinks the heat away from the joint, like big connectors, a small iron may get hot enough, until you touch it.  Then the connector acts as a sink.  The problem is that the connector can pull away and dissipate the heat before it can rise up to the correct temp at the junction where you need it.  The end result is that the whole connector gets hot.  And way too hot for some of the associated materials that are near but not at the junction.

With a powerful iron, you can apply more energy right at the junction.  The junction heats to the proper temp and because it came up to temp faster than with a low wattage iron the area around the junction is much cooler. 

With the right iron you are in and out much quicker, and the total BTUs applied to the connector can be much lower, meaning you're not melting insulators or corrupting the integrity of the cable dielectric.

For things like PL-259, I consider a Weller 'gun' of 100+ watts the absolute MINIMUM.  The 200/300 trigger gun is the best.

Posts: 729

« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2014, 09:36:04 AM »

Gave up on soldering irons for coax connectors in favor of a butane micro torch:

Requires a bit more care in applying the heat -- but works outdoors (even in winter) where even the biggest irons fall short.

Of course the latest trend is towards crimp-on connectors which, when properly installed with the right tool, are said to provide continuity and physical strength as good or better than soldering.
  Whal makes a good one, used carefully it does a great job, AND, no cord.

Posts: 380

« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2014, 02:00:17 PM »

I tried the butane micro torch and it takes careful technique to avoid overheating the connector and the coax jacket.  I know how to solder and gas weld, so I thought using a micro-torch would be a snap.  I was wrong.  You might want to disassemble a few old cables with one before tying it on a cable and connector that you care about.

Once you get the hang of it a micro torch does work, but my favorite tool for connectors is still a Weller D550 or D650 soldering gun.  It provides enough heat in a controlled way.

WB2EOD gave good advice on how to assemble a connector.  I'd like to reinforce what G3RZP recommended.  If you have to use the crappy bulk connectors (non silver plated), file or sand around the "windows" in the PL259 and the barrel of the coax adapter (e.g., UG-175), tin both, and only then assemble the connector.  Otherwise, the solder just beads up until you get the connector hot enough to do some damage.  It's almost surprising how much tinning first helps.

Oh, and don't try to solder in the wind.  If you have to do it, use a windbreak.  It's amazing how much heat is drawn away by even a slight breeze.

Posts: 97

« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2014, 02:07:15 AM »

I put a silver/Teflon '259 on a cable last week - outside. Fortunately, very little wind, but I did wonder about crimping. Then I realised that this was the first time in 2 years that I had put a '259 on a piece of cable, and I figure that at such a rate, a crimping tool would never pay for itself....

I had to do it to connect to the new 2m beam. Having now had three F9FT 17 element beams fail by boom breakage (in spite of added boom trusses), I went over to Cushcraft and the one I got took a '259 rather than an N type.
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