Quality SMA connectors and tools?

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eorange

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Looking for a quality crimping tool and SMA male connectors. Mine fell apart last night on my Arrow during an ISS pass. This will be specifically for the RG58 coming off the duplexer. I briefly looked on Amazon but I'm afraid I was looking at junk. Any recommendations appreciated.
 

jcop225

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Best tool out there for RG-58 sized cable is the CT-240/200/100, made by Ripley Tools exclusively for Time Microwave Systems. Short of that a ratcheting crimp handle and .213" die from any reputable tool manufacturer should work fine.

For connectors, Amphenol, Times, Pasternack, Huber + Suhner, Radiall are good names to look for. I also like RF Industries for the money, not Mil-Spec or anything like that but I have never had any issues with their quality.
 

mmckenna

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RFI connectors, as jcop said, are sufficient for hobby/general use. Not super high spec, but reasonably priced and work just fine for amateur, hobby, scanners and basic installs. You can absolutely spend more money, but unless you are doing highly precise work, you will not notice a difference.

As for crimpers, yeah, it's sort of hard to screw up a set of crimpers. Sure, some cheap Chinese crimpers can do it, as usual. I have a high spec set of crimpers at work for everything from LMR-600 on down. They are nice, but not what I chose to spend my money on for my own use. I did find a basic set, likely from China, that works well. Looks pretty much exactly like this one:
If you shop around, you can find essentially the same kit for $80 or so. Might be a different color, but same parts. I've been using it for probably close to 10 years now, haven't had any issues with it that were not "stupid user tricks".
 

jcop225

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Pricey, but Amphenol can't be beat for quality.
Amphenol has the RFX line of connectors, which is their value tier. Like RF Industries, it's perfectly good for what we do but just because something says Amphenol doesn't mean it's all made to the same spec.
 

eorange

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. @mmckenna I think I remember you mentioning that kit in one of your prior posts. It looks good to me.

I've assembled a number of "perfectly soldered" PL-259 connectors on RG-8 and RG-8X mini for all my ham gear, but am ashamed to say I've only used a crimp tool for F connectors on RG-6. I assume if I strip the coax and center to the proper length, then it should be a piece of cake to crimp a SMA with a good tool.
 

eorange

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In looking at this connector, there is a center pin shown. I assume my pin would just be my solid center conductor, and I would not use the supplied pin:

 

jcop225

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I assume if I strip the coax and center to the proper length
Reputable manufactures will provide exact stripping dimensions for each of their connectors. It you click the link for the data sheet on the Pasternack connector you linked, you will find the stripping dimensions on the last page.

In looking at this connector, there is a center pin shown. I assume my pin would just be my solid center conductor, and I would not use the supplied pin:
No, you have to use the supplied center pin! The connector will not mate or perform properly without it. This connector has a solder center pin so you will place the pin over the center conductor then solder it. Below are some general instructions on assembling 3-piece crimp connectors.

86011
 

eorange

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Thank you for the tips. I had since watched a YT video and saw how they crimped the pin around the center conductor. Just FYI, the duplexer off my satcom antenna does just use the center conductor bare, no pin. Although I was noticing the conductor looks oxidized after many years of use, so not sure why I didn't put 2+2 together for using the center pin, haha. And now that I think about it, I seem to be able to hit the ISS using APRS with less success over time - I never really gave that simple + cheap SMA hookup much thought. It's just a friction-fit connector that fell off a few days ago.

I ordered the crimping toolset above and will order my SMA connectors very soon.
 
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