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Recommendation on crimper and connectors

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PrivatelyJeff

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Can anyone recommend a good basic crimper and connectors for home use (preferably from antenna farm as I’m going to put a large order in there soon). I need to do a couple PL259, N and BNC using RG58 cable (all the runs are for scanners with good reception and short runs of about 10-15 feet total). I would also like solder less connectors due to some work having to be done in places without power.

I’ve tried looking but was in over my head on this aspect. Thanks.
 

ht396jm

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Can anyone recommend a good basic crimper and connectors for home use (preferably from antenna farm as I’m going to put a large order in there soon). I need to do a couple PL259, N and BNC using RG58 cable (all the runs are for scanners with good reception and short runs of about 10-15 feet total). I would also like solder less connectors due to some work having to be done in places without power.

I’ve tried looking but was in over my head on this aspect. Thanks.

Good Morning. Tessco has a number of solderless connectors that I have used (BNC, UHF, etc.). You can order directly through their website but the shipping times can be a little lengthy. As for your crimper, any Klein made product I would recommend. They have a number of them but you can also find several floating on eBay that they don’t make anymore which are just as good.
I don’t have the part numbers for the connectors on hand but I can provide you with those if that’s the route you’re looking to go.
 

mmckenna

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I wanted a basic crimper to use at home for some of my own installs. I have a kit very similar to this one (I paid less, so shop around):

I have a more expensive kit at work that I purchased through Tessco.

The Tessco kit seems a bit higher quality, but for hobby user, I don't really see a benefit.

More important is getting high quality connectors and learning/practicing so your installs skills are good. That'll make a bigger difference.

RFI connectors have been good to me and are reasonably priced. Buy extras so you can practice/make mistakes.

I also highly recommend buying adhesive lined (Marine grade) heat shrink tubing and a proper heat gun. Using that over the crimps really helps with strain relief.
 

SteveC0625

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Once you have a basic crimping kit with a racheting handle and basic assortment of crimping dies, you can add dies as needed. I have added dies such as RJ45 8P8C and RJ50 10P10C to my kit as well as several automotive dies
 

mmckenna

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I'd add….
Don't rely on the strippers that come with these kits.
They'll work well enough, however each connector type, and even different brands of the same connector, will have different specs for what needs to be stripped. I usually use the stripper in the kit to get started, but use a small exacto knife to get it trimmed just right.

Also, be aware, some connectors still use solder on center pins. Nothing wrong with that if you have a small soldering iron.

And don't let anyone (`cough`,old fart ham operators, `cough`) try to shame you into using only solder on connectors. Industry standard is crimp on connectors. Done properly with the correct tools, they will not have any issues. People that claim crimp on connectors fail often don't have the right tools or experience.
 

03msc

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Great advice here already and I'm certainly no expert on this topic so I'm learning as I'm reading.

Randy K7AGE has been documenting his tower project lately and recently had a video on installing the connectors - it might be good to check out. It's not that long. He uses crimp style, as suggested by others here. As Matt said, it's the industry standard.

 

PrivatelyJeff

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I'd add….
Don't rely on the strippers that come with these kits.
They'll work well enough, however each connector type, and even different brands of the same connector, will have different specs for what needs to be stripped. I usually use the stripper in the kit to get started, but use a small exacto knife to get it trimmed just right.

Also, be aware, some connectors still use solder on center pins. Nothing wrong with that if you have a small soldering iron.

And don't let anyone (`cough`,old fart ham operators, `cough`) try to shame you into using only solder on connectors. Industry standard is crimp on connectors. Done properly with the correct tools, they will not have any issues. People that claim crimp on connectors fail often don't have the right tools or experience.

I’m not going to be doing any soldering. I don’t have the hand/eye coordination and also I’m going to be working in places without 110v electricity.
 

PrivatelyJeff

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OK, then you need to make sure you get connectors with crimp on center pins.

Yep, I’ve been very carefully looking when I’m looking for the connectors. I don’t have time to make mistakes once I start this project so I’m being VERY thorough in my planning. I originally was just going to order the cables premade but I figured if I was wrong on any measurements or came across a problem, it would just make things more difficult.
 

kb4mdz

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I'd add….
....
Also, be aware, some connectors still use solder on center pins. Nothing wrong with that if you have a small soldering iron.

And don't let anyone (`cough`,old fart ham operators, `cough`) try to shame you into using only solder on connectors. Industry standard is crimp on connectors. Done properly with the correct tools, they will not have any issues. People that claim crimp on connectors fail often don't have the right tools or experience.

Crimp-on connectors have several things going for them; They are specifically engineered for speed of prep, completion, repeatability of process and results. Good commercial or mil-spec installations require it. Would you want to be flying an F16 where some yokel put a connector on the IFF antenna with a dull razor knife?

I didn't think so.
 

a417

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If you're doing contract work for someone, spec the necessary tools in the bid. I did that and got a set of Greenlee ratcheting crimpers and die sets that I also negotiated the release to me after completion. Totally legit, totally mine.
 

PrivatelyJeff

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If you're doing contract work for someone, spec the necessary tools in the bid. I did that and got a set of Greenlee ratcheting crimpers and die sets that I also negotiated the release to me after completion. Totally legit, totally mine.

Good idea but nope, just wiring up my scanner antenna on the roof (with all the proper code following), some in my car and some at work.
 

PrivatelyJeff

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chief21

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I was planning for RG58 since it’s cheap and I’m not doing anything fancy, just going from the roof to the inside (with all the proper protection measures) and it’s just for public safety scanning.
Depending on the frequencies you plan to monitor, you could have a LOT of signal loss using RG58. Suggest you consider better/lower loss coax (in increasing size/price)... RG8x / RG6 (rx only!) / RG8 / LMR400. It's a good idea to use quality cables and antennas since you might wish to hear more than you originally planned and changing these items can be difficult.
 

a417

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Yeah, you're not going to ever really say "boy I ran too good a product when I set this up", but you will say "man I wish i didn't run this ****e when I had the time to do it correctly."
 
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