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Commercial Radio Antennas - Please keep discussion related to professional, commercially used antennas and antenna systems for the two-way radio industry. Topics for the use of these antennas on amateur bands are accepted here.

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Old 01-26-2017, 8:46 PM
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Default Commercial antenna termination

I feel somewhat stupid asking this question (but will anyways). Why do many/most/all commercial exposed dipole seem to have a default configuration with a male connector main termination? All my cables have male ends. I would think that the antenna would be female. I believe you can order them with female ends, but I don't understand why they don't default to that. It makes me think I am missing something, some standard (maybe a female/female jumper?) that perhaps I should follow instead of ordering a female termination. But why add extra connectors to the equation. Why not just connect the standard male terminated cable to the antenna directly (which would require a female termination on the antenna)?
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Old 01-26-2017, 9:26 PM
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Coax connectors use the center conductor to designate gender. So a SO-239 connector is female, and a PL-259 connector is male. Perhaps you're under the mistaken impression that the outer conductor defines gender?
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Old 01-26-2017, 9:45 PM
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Many commercial exposed dipole antennas are typically connected to higher-diameter coax or heliax that require special connectors. The special connectors are usually field-installed and are available in either male or female gender. The installers simply use whichever gender is necessary... no adapters required.

John
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Old 01-26-2017, 9:45 PM
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@jonwienke

Sorry, I did not state that this is UHF, so everything is n-type. Still, I am aware that the gender is determined by the center conductor. All the jumpers I have as well as the my hardline ends with n-type male (with center pin). The fiberglass verticals I have end in n-type female (center hole) as makes sense to me. The commercial exposed dipole I have been looking at typically indicate they terminate with n-type male connectors. That is what does not make sense to me. I would need a barrel connector to attach a male cable to a male antenna, so why would the antennas come with male connectors?
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Old 01-26-2017, 9:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief21 View Post
Many commercial exposed dipole antennas are typically connected to higher-diameter coax or heliax that require special connectors. The special connectors are usually field-installed and are available in either male or female gender. The installers simply use whichever gender is necessary... no adapters required.

John
Thanks. I was looking at from the standpoint of having heliax with connectors already installed, in which case they are usually male connectors. I suppose that if you are also installing the connectors, it is a simple matter of picking the one to match. I suppose that as long as you can order the antenna either way it does not really mater, just order what matches your cable if connectors are already installed. It just seemed odd (to me) that the default antenna connector was male.
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Old 01-26-2017, 9:57 PM
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N type connectors are available in male or female for use on coax. You do not need barrel connectors if you install the correct gender on your cable.
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:23 PM
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This kinda tweeks me too. If an antenna has a connector at the base it will be female. If the antenna, be it a folded dipole or whatever, terminates in a short coax pigtail it will always be male. Is this some kind of unwritten rule among manufacturers?

Makes you think twice when you are trying to spec a job.
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:34 PM
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Its that way because it makes the most sense at installation time. As others have mentioned most of these antennas will be installed with a large low loss cable that is not very flexible and you want to use a short flexible jumper between the large feedline and the antenna.

If the connector is hard fixed to the antenna then a female makes more sense because a typical jumper will be male on both ends. In the case of a dipole array with a flying lead, its usually plenty flexible and no jumper is needed to connect to a large feedline, so a male makes the most sense there.

Nearly all Heliax runs I encounter towers have an N female connector near the antenna and a male to male jumper made of RG-213, RG-214 or a very small dia Super Flex Heliax. You would never connect a large dia Heliax cable directly to a hard fixed connector on an antenna.
prcguy

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Originally Posted by ramal121 View Post
This kinda tweeks me too. If an antenna has a connector at the base it will be female. If the antenna, be it a folded dipole or whatever, terminates in a short coax pigtail it will always be male. Is this some kind of unwritten rule among manufacturers?

Makes you think twice when you are trying to spec a job.
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Old 01-27-2017, 12:37 AM
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Its that way because it makes the most sense at installation time. As others have mentioned most of these antennas will be installed with a large low loss cable that is not very flexible and you want to use a short flexible jumper between the large feedline and the antenna.

If the connector is hard fixed to the antenna then a female makes more sense because a typical jumper will be male on both ends. In the case of a dipole array with a flying lead, its usually plenty flexible and no jumper is needed to connect to a large feedline, so a male makes the most sense there.

Nearly all Heliax runs I encounter towers have an N female connector near the antenna and a male to male jumper made of RG-213, RG-214 or a very small dia Super Flex Heliax. You would never connect a large dia Heliax cable directly to a hard fixed connector on an antenna.
prcguy
Thanks. That was not a convention I was aware of. My current antenna has a hard fixed connector which is female. Since my run between antenna and repeater is short (~40'), I ran 1/2" heliax and put a male connector near the antenna, which is actually directly connected to the antenna. If I switch out the antenna to a dipole array with a flying lead, a male connector there is a issue I will have to deal with if I can't order it with a female at the end of the flying lead. Or I may consider changing the connector at the end of my feedline to female.

It is good to know what the convention is and why.

Thanks again.

Last edited by LakeMan2; 01-27-2017 at 12:42 AM..
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Old 01-29-2017, 5:59 PM
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Commercial antennas are most always fed with heliax

So they always put female connectors up on the tower so a coax jumper can be easily connected to feed the antenna if it doesn't come with attached coax

You never want to feed an antenna directly with hardine or heliax that's why they come with flexible coax attached from the factory

Expansion and contraction will eventually cause connection failure if you connect heliax directly to an antenna connector
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Old 01-30-2017, 1:32 PM
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It could be gender decisions were made for safety.

Imagine how dangerous ordinary house wiring would be if all of your electrical outlets were male instead of female.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talkpair View Post
It could be gender decisions were made for safety.

Imagine how dangerous ordinary house wiring would be if all of your electrical outlets were male instead of female.
The tingle means its working!!
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Old 03-24-2017, 1:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeMan2 View Post
Thanks. I was looking at from the standpoint of having heliax with connectors already installed, in which case they are usually male connectors. I suppose that if you are also installing the connectors, it is a simple matter of picking the one to match. I suppose that as long as you can order the antenna either way it does not really mater, just order what matches your cable if connectors are already installed. It just seemed odd (to me) that the default antenna connector was male.
for repeater installs nothing is pre made for the feedline. You do not, for example, buy 325' of 1-5/8" hardline with the connectors pre-installed, then have it installed on your 300' tower.

It makes sense for the antenna to be terminated with a male connector. When antennas are installed on towers, the hardline(usually) is 'cut to fit' and appropriate connectors are installed at the time the antenna is attached to the feed line(or before the hardline is installed on the tower).

N are common for V/UHF installs. above UHF I would guess most connectors used would be 7/16 DIN
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Old 03-24-2017, 1:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeMan2 View Post
If I switch out the antenna to a dipole array with a flying lead, a male connector there is a issue I will have to deal with if I can't order it with a female at the end of the flying lead. Or I may consider changing the connector at the end of my feedline to female.

It is good to know what the convention is and why.

Thanks again.
You may be able to order the dipole array with what ever connector you want on the end, I believe Sinclair allows a large variety of connectors, N-male/female for sure, and 7/16DIN as well.
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