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Sunday, 3 March 2019

The humble PL259 plug

Now I want to talk about the PL259, a very common connector in the world of CB and Amateur radio, sometimes called a "UHF" plug but doesn't work brilliantly if at all at actual UHF frequencies were an N type or SMA would fair better, I have some RG213 terminated with the solder on type and in the last couple of years I've noticed that on occasion the SWR would shoot up using these cables, indicating a dead short, however I plan to replace these with crimp on type connectors as well as the one on my groundplane antenna for 2-meters and my 11-meter T2LT antenna.

The crimp-on type connectors are favoured because they are less prone to failure than the solder on types and don't in any way suffer from the inner dielectric of the cable melting when you try to solder the braid as this is not soldered at all, my magmounts appear to have crimp-on plugs and not one of those plugs has failed, and I have a fair bit of RG213 to terminate anyway in time for radio antenna testing and radio playtime in the next few months.

To this end I've ordered sufficient plugs to terminate all the RG213 and a new crimping tool die as the one on my current crimping tool is in fact too small for RG213 (which I found out at the cost of 1 plug), I also ordered a few plugs to fit RG58, as this is what is feeding my groundplane antenna (though I believe the length used, even though I have cut it prior to my QTH move nearly 2 years ago, may well be lossy at 2-meters, so a small modification will be an end-cap into the point in which the cable exits, a small tail of cable and a new PL259, then a test of the antenna at a nice high point to see how well it performs on 2-meters and most importantly how much power I can get away with through the antenna (up to 50 watts of course), the dipole has a BNC so I don't need to change this out, and I can probably test the dipole from the house anyway.

The connectors and crimping tool die I ordered came from ebay seller "ChinaRF", as I have ordered from them before and the connectors arrived in a timely manner, one to repair the cut lead from the groundplane antenna, and two for a piece of RG213, one of which I ruined because my crimp tool as it turned out had an incorrect die, I still have one good plug for RG213.

When these connectors arrive I will do a YouTube video on them, though I won't do one on fitting them as the instructions to do this are already out there.

73 de 2E0EIJ

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