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50 Ohm Cable choice

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Trprc

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Hi Guys,

I have used RG 59, RG 8 and the big RG 11 for my satellite business and there were varying qualities of cable on the market. Been a while since I stopped building dishes and installing them so cant remember brands.

My Icom 2200h requires a Pl-259 from the Radio to the antenna, is the Rg 89u the only cable which can be used? Cant remember if there was a multi core type, I know there is a solid core one.

What would you guys recommend. I think for the weather the marine type was best but wanted to find out which had the best quality brand wise.

Thanks.
 
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mmckenna

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RG-58 is what you are probably referring to. It is the small (quarter inch or so) diameter stuff. It's fine for a mobile install or a short indoor run.

For a base station, RG-8 is pretty common and often available at Radio Shack. It's .405 inches in diameter. There are solid and stranded center conductor versions.

Both RG-58 and RG-8 (and their many variants) are fairly easy to put a PL-259 connector on for someone who is good with a soldering iron.

Marine grade is often regular coax with a white jacket. Unless you REALLY need to have white coax, I'd skip it. It'll likely cost you a bit more, and is the same stuff inside as the regular black stuff.

As for "best kind", well, that's like asking a large group of people what the best car brand is. You'll get a LOT of differing answers.
It really comes down to:
cost, how much are you willing to spend.
Length of your run.
how much signal loss you are willing to accept
etc.

RG-213, which is the same size as RG-8 is pretty good for runs up to around 50 feet or so. Maybe 100 feet if you don't mind the loss.
Radio Shack RG-8 is usually pretty low grade stuff, but if you can find it on sale, and that's all you can afford, then nothing at all wrong with that. If you really don't feel comfortable soldering on your own connectors, this may be a quick and dirty option.

LMR400, made by Times - Microwave is a bit better than RG213. It will accept the standard P259 solder on connectors. It's a bit more expensive, but a bit higher quality than the rest.

You can easily and quickly move up from there, 1/2" Heliax, LMR600, etc, etc. Just comes down to how much money you have.

Longer cable runs are better served by higher grade cable, but I bet as a satellite dish installer you knew that.

You can find a lot of companies on line that will sell you the length and type you want as well as install the connectors for you.

Just get the best you can afford and get on the air. You can always upgrade your cable later on.
 

Trprc

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RG-213, which is the same size as RG-8 is pretty good for runs up to around 50 feet or so. Maybe 100 feet if you don't mind the loss.

LMR400, made by Times - Microwave is a bit better than RG213. It will accept the standard P259 solder on connectors. It's a bit more expensive, but a bit higher quality than the rest.

You can easily and quickly move up from there, 1/2" Heliax, LMR600, etc, etc. Just comes down to how much money you have.
Hi mmckenna,

I should have stated that I will be using this radio as a base station for now. The selected content of your reply above was what I was looking for when I asked for something better. I was referring to less loss and overall durability and quality of cable meaning brand specific.

I am an electronic tech (soldering is a happy past time for me) but have not been purchasing nor running cables lately. Since this is my first HAM Radio, I wanted to know which cable you guys were using in terms of good quality and lower loss.

I used to purchase cable in the 1000' rolls and that would last a few days, but I cant remember which manufacturer I used, they made a good quality cable.

I will use a good quality RG-8 for now, I might still have some left back somewhere, have to make sure it did not oxidize.

Thanks so much for your time and detailed explanation, I will take your advice and look for the latter ones you mentioned later.

73
 

mmckenna

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Glad I could help.

LMR-400 is a good cable, but it's isn't going to be vastly different on 2 meter VHF on a 50 foot or so run. If you have good RG8 already, I'd save your money and just use that. You won't see any noticeable difference between a quality RG-8 and LMR-400 on VHF.

Good coaxial cable is important, but spending a bunch of extra money to save 0.3db of loss or so isn't going to be worth it. You probably have better things to spend your money on.

Then again, if you don't have cable and need to buy it, LMR-400 shouldn't be that much more expensive than RG-8. Also, nice thing about LMR-400 is you can install the RG-8 PL-259 connectors on it.

Enjoy what you've got, and don't get hung up over a few tenths of a decibel.
 

n5ims

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Just remember that although the names are nearly the same, RG-8X is nearly the loss of RG-58 and much greater loss than any of the versions of RG-8. While 8x is good for low power use on HF, it isn't really great on VHF and gets worse as you get higher in frequency.

Good brands are Belden, Times Microwave Systems, and Andrew. They produce consistant high quality cable. Other brands may put their name on stuff they can purchase in bulk for the best price at the time. It may be great with one batch and pretty poor in the next one.

My recommendation would be (lowest cost to highest cost - translates roughly to highest loss to lowest loss, but all should work well in most cases):

* RG-8 (Belden 8237)
* RG-213 (Belden 8267)
* RG-8 (Belden 9913) There may be water issues due to the air dielectric design.
* LMR-400
* Andrew LDF4-50A (You may find "end of reel" lots for a good price on e-bay or at a local ham swap meet).
 

Trprc

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Thanks again for your input mmckenna.

I did some research on the various signal losses in the cables and surprisingly as you said, RG-8 has a very good low loss rating for the most part.

I used hundreds of thousands of RG-8 cable for the 18-24" and the 16-32 feet satellite dish installs and indeed they carry a good signal. These were not packing 65watts though lol.

I was looking at an indoor set up, I have a fairly high two story house with a high ceiling attic in which I can hang a ladder line for now or a tall tree outside.

Its winter here now which will last until mid April or so, so hanging a ladder line antenna on a leaf free branch will be OK but I think I might be better off in the metal free attic, it will be free of snow and ice.

Cant get on the roof now anyway as well, its a skating rink at a steep angle :D

I posted this in the antenna section with no replies so far, what do you think of this antenna

http://forums.radioreference.com/am...4-2-m-ladder-line-j-pole-thoughts-please.html

What are your thoughts.

Thanks.
 

Trprc

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Hi n5ims,

I remembered that that are different though the names are close. I saw most of the brands and names here in the cable loss calculator, neat little software if accurate. Coax Loss Calculator

I will go to the exclusive electronic and radio stores tomorrow to see what they have.

I will be doing a short run anyway since I am thinking of going with a ladder style J pole antenna indoors found in the link in the above post, until the weather clears up.

Thanks for all the input from everyone.

73
 

mmckenna

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I've never built one of the ladder line J-poles, but I have other J-s and they work just fine. Basically a 1/2 wave antenna. Easy to build, work well, etc. Sounds like a good solution until the weather improves.

I've seen guys take these and hang them inside a piece of PVC pipe and mount them on a mast. Cheap and effective antenna. Probably not going to last many years outside, but it'll work until you get around to building more antennas.

I'll always encourage people to build their own stuff. Too many amateurs are "retail amateurs" and feel that you have to purchase equipment for it to be any good. The purpose of the amateur radio service is to learn. Kind of hard to learn much about an antenna when all you have to do is open a box, attach pre-connectorized cable and stick it up in the air. You'll learn much more doing what you are planning. Learn to terminate your own cable (you've already got this nailed), build and tune your own antenna, and then get on the air with it. Much more satisfaction than buying it at the store, at least in my opinion.
 

Trprc

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I'll always encourage people to build their own stuff. Too many amateurs are "retail amateurs" and feel that you have to purchase equipment for it to be any good. The purpose of the amateur radio service is to learn. Kind of hard to learn much about an antenna when all you have to do is open a box, attach pre-connectorized cable and stick it up in the air. You'll learn much more doing what you are planning. Learn to terminate your own cable (you've already got this nailed), build and tune your own antenna, and then get on the air with it. Much more satisfaction than buying it at the store, at least in my opinion.
I agree with you a 10000000 percent, half of the fun is building and learning. Believe it or not auto techs these days cant solder an 18 awg piece of wire or know how to test for 12 volts with a DVM.

If I had my way I would love to build my Radio, antenna and even make the damn solder iron and cable, :D
 

Trprc

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I'll always encourage people to build their own stuff. Too many amateurs are "retail amateurs" and feel that you have to purchase equipment for it to be any good. The purpose of the amateur radio service is to learn. Kind of hard to learn much about an antenna when all you have to do is open a box, attach pre-connectorized cable and stick it up in the air. You'll learn much more doing what you are planning. Learn to terminate your own cable (you've already got this nailed), build and tune your own antenna, and then get on the air with it. Much more satisfaction than buying it at the store, at least in my opinion.
I agree with you a 10000000 percent, half of the fun is building and learning. Believe it or not auto techs these days cant solder an 18 awg piece of wire or know how to test for 12 volts with a DVM.

If I had my way I would love to build my Radio, antenna and even make the damn soldering iron and cable, :D
 

Trprc

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Update guys. I built a J Pole antenna, tuned it, bought 40 feet of military grade RG 213 and I am up and running.

Thanks for all the input guys.

73
 

mmckenna

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Awesome. Always like to hear of people building their own stuff.

RG213 is a good flexible cable, nice stuff for snaking around inside a house.
 
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