Get the Best Coax for the Same Price as the Cheap Stuff

Status
Not open for further replies.

mpddigital

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
103
Location
SW GA - 30 years South of Atlanta
Often we see questions and comments about short jumpers and pigtails and what coax to get for different applications. The answer is IMHO use the best lowest loss coax you can considering flexibility and cable group and you should find that the cost is about the same for all!

You can get the best cable out there for about the same price as Crap. For good coax jumpers that are made for shorter runs the cost is Not in the coax. It's the connectors. While the coax may run from 25 cents to 2 bucks a foot the price per connector is a constant. Assuming you are dealing with decent quality Plated Brass connectors and not the bendable aluminum ones your price will pretty much be the same for any cable class.

Cable Classes? Connectors are made to fit multiple types of cable. Pin sizes may differ a little but Pins are cheap :)

ALL these cables use the same connectors - RG-58, RG-141; Belden 8219, 8240, 8259, 8262, 9201, 9203, 9310, 9311; CommScope WBC195; Times LMR195; Andrew CNT195, RG55, RG-142, RG-223, RG-400; Belden 8219, 9907, 83242, 84142, LMR-200

The quality, cost per foot, and Attenuation of these cables can vary greatly. For short jumpers, lots of folks think RG-58. But for less than 50-85 cents difference Per Cable in price you can get Belden 9907 (originally spec'd for LAN cables and excellent for RF) or LMR-195. Save loss where you can!

For "1/4 inch" coax - RG8X; Belden 9258; CommScope WBC240; Times LMR240; Andrew CNT240; Remee 1600, RG-401 run the same.

For "4/10 inch" coax Like connectors are shared by RG8; Belden 9913; CommScope WBC400; Laird TL93605; Times AA-5886, AA-6146, LMR400, T-COM400; Andrew CNT400, RG-214, RG- 213; Belden 8267, 9251, 9880, 89880; Times AA-4478; RG-8U, RG-393 and RG-165, All use the same size connectors. Add in non-impedance matched PL-259's to the mix and you can use another 5-10 cable types.

A short jumper from LMR-195 and the same length of RG-58 (which uses the same connectors) may be less than $1 difference in price! While the LMR has significantly less loss than the RG-58 the price per foot differential in short assemblies is not that much.

If you are looking at short pigtails the price is pretty much the same for Anything depending on whats in production. Some of the Custom producers can be called up and asked to pick out several 6-12 inch cables from the cutting room bins and where you don't need a specific measured length will happily make up RG-58, LMR-400, CNT-240, RG-213 or anything else with your choice of connectors for the same price per cable.

FLEXIBILITY??? It depends. Don't rule out jumpers of less flexible cable like 9913 or LMR400! Most folks use jumpers in fixed installations. Once you connect up your equipment you rarely move it :) So when you can take a 2 foot piece of LMR-400 and bend it 90 degrees in an inch with no attenuation making any shape you want why not use it? RG-213 and others make great U shaped pigtail connections. Just a thought that flexibility is a lot of the time overrated in our set-ups.

OK, I guess the bottom line is that for shorter runs consider saving those Db's by using the best coax you can. YES the loss in short runs is Minimal, that's true, but if you are working with frequencies over 300 MHz, using several jumpers or connecting to different equipment and the cost of RG-58, CNT-240 and LMR-400 is only a little different per cable why not?
 

biomedbob

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
92
Location
Monterey, Tennessee 38574-7355
I've got about a 5,000 foot spool of Coax which was left over from a re-installation of a TV system at a local hospital. There are no markings on the outer jacket and the information on the spool itself is unreadable.

With the jacket removed, the cable will thread into a standard BN 59/62 connector. The shield is a kind of diamond weave pattern.

I have about a 70ft run of it from the dining room table to the top of my alumcraft extendable tower.

My home patrol does real well on VHF, but here in the sticks there is little or none 700-800 MHZ activity.

The discussion of loss of signal at higher frequencies may be the reason for the deafness.

Is there anyway to identify this cable? I could submit a hunk of it or is there a site where I might be able to see if the shield is identifiable because of its pattern.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

kf4br
 

mpddigital

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
103
Location
SW GA - 30 years South of Atlanta
This happens more frequently than you might think with cable :) Folks end up with some without markings and don't know the characteristics Unfortunately the size coax you are using could be 50, 75, or even 92 ohms. Being left over from a cable co it is in all likelihood RG-59. If you are looking for signals in the 800 MHz range 59 is definitely not the way to go.

70ft of RG-59 is a long run with a lot of loss in the higher freqs. For about $50 you should be able to get 70ft of Andrew 240 which would be easy to work with. If you want to stay with 75 ohm look at Times RG-11 and get some for $36 for a 70ft run. Either will significantly reduce attenuation.
 

biomedbob

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
92
Location
Monterey, Tennessee 38574-7355
For a scanner, is the impedence an issue?

I just hooked the home patrol up to a homebrew 800 mhz with the so239 base & copper ground plane and am receiving 400 mhz and some vhf as well as the outside antenna up in the air. This little antenna has an 18 inch hunk of RG59 and is clamped to the back of a dining room table chair inside.

I say that my outside cable could be an issue.

Thanks
 

mpddigital

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
103
Location
SW GA - 30 years South of Atlanta
If your run is as short as I think you said it shouldn't matter, That being said, I'm just not a big fan of RG-59. We could buy that stuff for 4 cents a foot and just don't. The impedance isn't really the issue for signal retention for RX you can use good quality 75 ohm almost as effectively as the mist expensive 50 ohm coax. It really depends on what your antenna will work with. You can get 75 ohm connectors in just about anything for RG6 and RG11, and its easier and cheaper for manufacturers to make 75 ohm than 50 (the lower the impedance the tougher to produce) and with 75 ohm the options for construction materials is much broader.

So, if you want to stay 75 ohms it's no issue just get you some good RG11 or 6 coax and go to town.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top