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Crimp, Compression or Solder?

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#21
Ever try soldering a connector on to a cable on top of a tower on a windy day?
As for soldering skills, I have them, along with several different types/sizes of irons depending on what I'm doing. Even a 200 watt iron is going to have a hard time soldering a large connector on a windy day.
Yes, and the wind blew out my soldering iron......

Soldering skills: 1960's remember one test at a Motorola Service Station, they handed you a PL259 connector, a piece of coax, some rosin core solder, and a soldering iron. Then asked you to install the connector on the cable. The CORRECT answer was the soldering iron is too small, not enough heat capability.

Same thing applies today, Correct Tools................
 

SpugEddy

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#23
But a properly soldered connection will always have a lower electrical resistance, and be mechanically stronger and more corrosion resistant than an equivalent crimped connection.
Wouldn't this be application specific?
When I worked on the Aegis Radar System for the Navy
all coax connections were crimped because of the possibilities
of corrosion from the salt air. Even the M81511 connectors
were crimped and never soldered.

Aside from that and getting back to the OP,
any recommendations for a good compression PL-259
connector and tool?
 
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#24
I have always bought preassembled jumper coax cables but they are always too long or too short and I want to clean up behind the desk by assembling my own and make them all the correct length they need to be. So the question is - should I use crimp, compression or solder connectors? I will be using LMR240 with mostly BNC connectors (right angle) with a couple PL259 and F connectors.
I'd recommend crimped connectors for the time saving and relaxed learning curve.

The *best* connectors for this cables will arguably be the Times brand ones. Honestly though, it's 2017, there is nothing novel about "LMR" style coax nor making connectors for it. I've had good results with RF Industries connectors. Cost savings over the Times connectors and very well documented. RFU-508-X would work for your case.

Select your connectors first so you can buy the appropriate crimp die/s. Connectors for LMR-240 use a 0.255in. hex die for the sleeve but the size of the center pin may vary so check the documentation to make sure you have the right tool.

Since this is just for scanning/shortwave you can really go pretty 'cheap' before you notice the quality drop but if your're fabricating the cables, for your own sanity, I wouldn't suggest buying any connector you can't find a data sheet/drawing for.

As for tools I'm a proponent of searching through Ebay for "hex crimp" or "ratcheting crimp". There is usually a good stock of crimpers branded by various connector companies that are all the same tool with interchangable dies. Yes, they will be used, but for a casual user they still have plenty of life in them. If you're an amazon person or just want something new stick to the known brands like Klein or Greenlee. Again make sure you can get the dies that you need for your connectors that fit your tool.
 
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#25
Thanks to everyone for your input. Tons of good info here and enjoy reading the discussions. I will definitely be going the crimp route. Like it has been said here they are quicker and easier and my soldering skills are lacking. I like those Times Microwave right angle EZ connectors but boy are they pricey and they seem to be out of stock/backordered everywhere. Although the right angle BNC connectors seem to pricier no matter the brand. Are those EZ connectors that much more easier to use for the price? I couldn't find a right angle BNC crimp connector for LMR-240 by RF Industries. I will keep looking and researching though.
 

NC1

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#26
Soldering is a lost art, and I doubt it is taught very much at all. A properly soldered connection will beat any crimp style both in performance and over time.

The reason crimp style came about, is because many people either could not, or would not, learn the correct way to solder - so the process had to be as idiot proof as possible.

Don't get me wrong, I do sin.... er, use crimps, once in a while, with good results. It is not necessarily a terrible thing, but when you have to fool-proof something then the result is only as good as the fool who followed the directions.
 
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#27
I don't know where you come up with that. There are many reasons for crimp connectors from high reliability to rapid assembly and also a cheap way out for high volume manufacturing.

I would be considered a highly trained soldering person with many Hughes Aircraft certification classes, years of experience of installing thousands of connectors to 40GHz and its been proven to me that crimping is the most reliable way to install most RF connectors.

I've also bought a lot of high performance microwave RF instrumentation cables with N, SMA, 2.92mm, etc, cables that are $1,500 to $2,500 each for a 10 to 15ft long cable. Guess how the connectors are installed? Do you think they crimped them because the people a Gore didn't know how to solder, or they were lazy or stupid? No, they crimp because that's the only way they can make these cables with the performance, repeatability and reliability. The last thing they want is to replace one of their expensive cables under warranty because of connector problems.

For hams that are installing PL-259s on RG213, its hard to screw that up but for most anything else I say crimp it.

Soldering is a lost art, and I doubt it is taught very much at all. A properly soldered connection will beat any crimp style both in performance and over time.

The reason crimp style came about, is because many people either could not, or would not, learn the correct way to solder - so the process had to be as idiot proof as possible.

Don't get me wrong, I do sin.... er, use crimps, once in a while, with good results. It is not necessarily a terrible thing, but when you have to fool-proof something then the result is only as good as the fool who followed the directions.
 

W9BU

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#28
Although the right angle BNC connectors seem to pricier no matter the brand.
Have you thought about installing straight BNCs on your cables and then using right angle BNC male to BNC female adapters to get the 90 degree turn you are looking for? Yes, there will be a little bit of loss with the extra connector. If you go this route, look for high quality silver-plated right angle BNC adapters rather than the less-expensive nickel-plated type.

The reason crimp style came about, is because many people either could not, or would not, learn the correct way to solder...
I think crimp connectors came about because they can be installed more quickly than solder-type connectors. At a tower site or customer's facility or even in the shop, time is money. The quicker a tech can get in and out and still make quality connections, the better.
 
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#29
The reason crimp style came about, is because many people either could not, or would not, learn the correct way to solder - so the process had to be as idiot proof as possible.
As I said above:
Ever try to solder a connector while on top of a tower on a windy day?

I understand what you are saying, but your reasoning doesn't work.

Amateur radio operators love to talk about how connectors have to be soldered, and that's fine in the amateur world, but in the professional world, it's not common at all. Professionals are not idiots.
 
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#30
Amateur radio operators love to talk about how connectors have to be soldered, and that's fine in the amateur world, but in the professional world, it's not common at all. Professionals are not idiots.
Usually they are the same ones that complain about no-code licensee's, 'it's not ham radio unless it is CW or AM somewhere below 30m' or 'a real radio has tubes' with a room full of radios that have been out of production since before they bought their low serial number IC-2at, brand new, that they can't use anymore because the local repeater requires DCS, but are too cheap to replace with a modern 2m portable from the big three.

There is nothing to be gained from using a soldered connector, other than being able to say they can do it.

24 years ago, as a new ham I only soldered connectors, and I learned. I learned to pay the extra for a silver rather than nickle plated. I learned to use the right soldering Iron. I learned the correct was to apply heat and solder so it looked pretty and bonded properly. I learned how to prep coax with only an Olfa blade.

Then I learned how easy and fast coax prep tools are and I learned how consistent crimp connectors are.

Now that I know better, I will not solder another connector if I can crimp it.
 
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#31
Have you thought about installing straight BNCs on your cables and then using right angle BNC male to BNC female adapters to get the 90 degree turn you are looking for? Yes, there will be a little bit of loss with the extra connector. If you go this route, look for high quality silver-plated right angle BNC adapters rather than the less-expensive nickel-plated type.
I am working in tight quarters with not much room between the back of the radios and wall and the sides of the multicouplers and wall so that is why I am wanting to do the right angle connectors, more compact and manageable. I don't have much room to add on an adapter and I figure if I am putting on the connectors myself I might as well put on the connector I need and avoid the use of extra adapters. However yes I could rearrange things to give me more room and just go with the straight connectors all around but would rather not. I shall see once I start shopping around and doing the math.
 
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#32
I'll say there was a time when I thought crimp connectors were a joke and only done on the cheapest cables. That was probably in the early late 1960s when I first encountered some premade RG-58 and RG-8 cables from Radio Shack that were garbage.

Although cables like that can still be found, fortunately its not the normal today. If you only live in the CB or HF/2m ham world and have not done work in LMR, broadcast, aerospace, etc, where the industry has gone crimped for many reasons, I can see why you might think solder is best.

But its not....
prcguy
 
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