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Author Topic: WHOSE COAX TO BUY?  (Read 13677 times)

Posts: 21818

« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2012, 02:43:12 PM »

FWIW, Belden and Times (and a few others) are actual manufacturers; many other "brands" are just private labels on cable made by factories not owned by the brands.

However, "Certified Quality" from the Wireman, "Buryflex" from Davis RF and many other private label products are very good, as they seem to maintain quality.

RG-213/U that is real "mil-spec" RG-213/U made by anybody should be nearly identical to all other real RG-213/U.  I've seen small variations in flexibility due to different jacket compounds used, but they are all nearly the same.

There are many "RG8" type cables that are all over the map with regard to materials, construction and quality.  Many I've seen and measured aren't any kind of RG8, they're just labeled that way.  Some have undersized center conductors (saving a bit on copper costs) and aren't even 50 Ohms, they're closer to 60.  Usually won't make much difference, except they'll have more attenuation due to the smaller center conductor size.  Many are foamed dielectrics of various sorts.  Some like 9913 use a spiral and sleeve of solid PE with air in between, leading to a much larger center conductor that works with PL-259s but may not work with some other connectors.  (LMR400 and its clones also have an oversized 9.5 AWG center conductor; RG8 "foam" should be 11 AWG, regular RG-213/U is 13 AWG.)

The "low loss" cables in the 9913/LMR400 families are all double shielded and the real RF outer conductor is the aluminum-mylar foil, not the outer braid, so braid coverage isn't quite as important with those.  But more braid provides better connector contact area and more strength for clamp connectors.

I usually buy NOS (surplus, unused) mil-spec coax from govt surplus houses.  It's about half the price of "new" and very high quality.  Most isn't very old, and has been stored indoors in a dry environment, so it's the same as new.


Posts: 2280

« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2012, 03:43:26 PM »

Yeah 25 years ago I aquired 100ft of some RG-214 with Amphenol 83-1sp uhf PL-259 connectors that was installed indoors never outside linking an indoor panel bulkhead to the indoor equipment. and still have and can use if the need arises.

The coaxial cable is as afficient now as it was when it was made.

I will use it.


Posts: 87

« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2012, 05:35:58 PM »

ME AGAIN: thanks to all of you for your thoughts and referrals to suppliers.  TO G0VKT: I am not offended.  Well, maybe a little.  Your wording is a bit harsh but I have often said the same thing to myself when I have bumped into appliance ops here and elsewhere.  If anyone is interested, I have been a ham going on 52 years.  For many years I refused to send out any signal that did not originate in a transmitter I built.  My first 3 stations I built everything.  Yes, the complicated stuff was HeathKit but I still built it.  I am now in the fall of my life and enjoying my made in America Ten-Tec stuff.  I have soldered my share of PL-259s onto big and small coax.  I try too hard to do a "good job" and usually over-heat the connector when working on the shield.  I get real nervous when I see the dialectric getting mushy.  I have visions of the center conductor migrating through the gooshy hot dialectric towards the braid.  YIKES!!!  I now have a nice amplifier (T-T pair of 3-500s) and am very "touchy" about getting decent coax and connectors so my amp does not arc to ground.  I feel no guilt about ordering a factory made xmsn line for my new antenna.  Thanks again and best 73.

Posts: 9748


« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2012, 05:44:19 PM »

I you have a wet sponge handy, and use a big hot iron, and file or scrape the connector shell, it is damn easy to solder.

Posts: 1458

« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2012, 06:05:06 PM »

The only coax I have ever bought in my lifetime that I felt was substandard is a jumper length of 8x from Cable X-Perts I used to wind a balun with. I noticed the outer casing was a little soft. Later inspection revealed that the cable was distorting and almost melting in the hot Florida summer sun.  Cool

A few weeks ago, I found the reason my antenna was dead. The PL259 connector installed by Cable X-Perts had released from the cable and was no longer connected.  Shocked

I have reattached another PL259 connector with a superior method to the one used originally by the maker of the cable and it is working fine, but I will not buy any more cable from Cable X-Perts.  Angry

You are forwarned!  Sad

Posts: 87

« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2012, 05:42:59 PM »

TO W8JI: thanks for the suggestion.  I inherited an old style electric soldering IRON.  This thing has the old style cloth wrapped electric cord and a lot of steel/iron wrapped around a wedge tip.  Has a wooden handle.  If you are an old timer you probably know exactly what I have. This baby is a big heavy heat sink that stores a lot of it and dumps it into the solder joint.  It might be just the trick to get into and out of a PL-259 shell without doing a lot of collateral damage.  I recognize the practice of roughing up the surface of the connector.  I used to do that when they were nickle plated - otherwise the solder simply ran off like water.  The silver plated connectors I have used recently do not seem to need it.  But I will give it a try.

Posts: 3302

« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2012, 08:16:52 PM »

Quote from: K7NSW
Need 100 feet coax with connectors installed
Pres Jones, N8UG will do that for any coaxial cable you purchase from The Wireman.  He has been offering that service for elderly, handicapped, and amateurs in a hurry for over 30 years that I have known him.

Quote from: K7NSW
 I inherited an old style electric soldering IRON.  This thing has the old style cloth wrapped electric cord and a lot of steel/iron wrapped around a wedge tip.  Has a wooden handle.  If you are an old timer you probably know exactly what I have. This baby is a big heavy heat sink that stores a lot of it and dumps it into the solder joint.
Still made in USA for Coppersmiths, artisans, and Stained Glass industry.

BTW, they still provide replacement tips, parts and perform service.
They can put a new handle and cord on older irons -- as needed.

American Beauty Soldering Tools
c/o Assembly Technologies International, Inc.
1177 West Maple Road
Clawson, MI 48017-1059
United States   
Toll Free - (800) 550-2510
Main Line - (248) 280-2810
Fax Line -(248) 280-2878
Email -

« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 08:30:17 PM by W9GB » Logged

Posts: 110

« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2012, 05:59:06 AM »

I have been quite pleased with Times Micro LMR-400 UltraFlex coax. It's excellent quality. There are some places one EBay that will provide it with your choice of connector types nicely installed.


Posts: 445


« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2012, 11:57:16 AM »

I recently purchased 600 feet of Davis Bury Flex, after looking at everything that is available.  The cable looks just as good as any of the Belden and Times stuff I've purchased in the past.  The reason I did not go with Belden again, they still use less durable PVC or PVC blend outer shells.  Times and Davis both use tougher PE outer shells.

Davis is the "House Brand" coax for Davis RF. I understand, the Bury Flex was specifically designed with the amateur market in mind, with an expected life span of 20 years.  Davis RF consulted with Pres Jones "The Wireman Inc." and Advanced Digital Cable during the design of Bury Flex.  IMO, it's about the best thing out there right now.  If you are buying from the The Wireman, some of his offerings is coax from Davis RF.  I've dealt with The Wireman as well when buying coax and wire, and it is another great source of materials for the amateur market.

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