RG-6 coax and associated tools

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John_S

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After noticing a few discussions about this stuff, I thought maybe gathering some input would be helpful to several readers. I can remember reading recommendations for using RG-6 all the way back to the days of "Strong Signals". I never had long runs of coax at the time and never really gave it a second thought, but lately, after relighting the flame of interest in scanning and thinking about home brewing a couple of antennas that would want 75 ohm coax, I started looking at resources for this. I've watched cable and satellite installers putting the connectors on and make it look like so easy...and of course, tools make the job. So what I would like to see here is information on sourcing what folks need on here...the ability to make good cable assemblies...or buy pre-made assemblies. It would be good if sources were easily available... Lowes, HD, and especially Amazon. If sourcing from Amazon, could you post a link, as it's sometimes difficult to find really specific items or sellers there. I gather that there are some differences regarding whether quad shield type coax is used, so mention of this would be good also. Thanks in advance.
 

prcguy

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The largest satellite TV company in the US settled on the Cable Prep CPT-6590 stripper and Ripley Cablematic CAT Universal compression tool for RG-6 coax. These make quick work of installing connectors and will last a lifetime.

I've tested and used most of the compression connectors on the market and in my opinion the T&B Snap-N Seal SNS1P6U connector (red) is the best and its compatible with single through quad shield cables with the same connector.

There is no difference in loss or performance between single or quad shield but if the cables are going to run near or across RF generating components, quad shield is an option to minimize cable ingress. Its also more cumbersome to terminate with connectors.
prcguy (ex SBCA Certified Installer Trainer)
 

mmckenna

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+1 for the T&B "Snap and Seal" connectors. I used those on a large cabling job about 20 years ago. Properly installed they are waterproof.
Many manufacturers sell similar connectors and installation tools. A good hardware store will have what you need. The key is to get the proper stripping tool to prep the cable. It makes the job a whole lot easier.
 

VernM

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For people who want to do a mobile installation (land, air or watercraft) and do it only once, I recommend RG-6 M/M. That's Marine/Mobile, hardened to avoid chaffing and similar. My source is thewireman.com . Has been for lotsa years and lotsa antennas.
 
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John_S

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Nice to see some variety in tools. I'll never argue with quality tools, but when someone is just doing one or two cables and wants it done correctly, it's not as easy to justify the $75 to $125 expenditure for both a cutter and compression tool. The trick is finding good tools that will do the job and not break the bank...just like any other tools. Of course, if you're doing this professionally, the expense is easily justified. So far I like the Ideal tool and Thomas & Betts connectors combo for bang-for-the-buck. And for anyone following this thread, there are good videos on YouTube that show this stuff in action.
 

John_S

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Hopefully some of this info will encourage and be helpful to others that are curious but hesitant about using RG-6. The coax and connector system just makes more sense than the ancient PL-259/SO-239 and associated cable. The only connector worth using on those cables is an "N" type and they aren't easy to implement.
 

prcguy

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I've got spools of RG-6 and RG-11 with Snap-N-Seal connectors and tools for both but will always use a good 50 ohm cable for my amateur, commercial and scanner antennas and radios that are 50 ohm. There can be additional loss when using 75 ohm components in a 50 ohm system, some is predictable and not much but sometimes its much worse than expected.

Almost every topic has a way to compromise or save with seemingly little or no consequences but when it comes to antennas and feedline I just don't do it. When you use the right components for the job you will never have to think about what you might be loosing due to unknown VSWR problems.

I'm especially fond of LMR400 and LMR500 for most everything except full duplex repeater systems and it can be found for very good prices along with the connectors. And PL-259/SO-239 connectors are fine through 500MHz, only a few people on this group with proper test equipment could even measure the loss at 500MHz and its not very much.
prcguy


Hopefully some of this info will encourage and be helpful to others that are curious but hesitant about using RG-6. The coax and connector system just makes more sense than the ancient PL-259/SO-239 and associated cable. The only connector worth using on those cables is an "N" type and they aren't easy to implement.
 

John_S

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The fact is that this particular connector set is rather old. This Wikipedia entry pretty much sums it up... UHF connector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ....500 mHz is squeezing everything out of it and that's only with the premium teflon/silver plugs. Anyone ever see silver/teflon SO-239's just out of curiosity? How much good is one without the other? The problem here is that certain scanning antennas and associated equipment are terminated with F connectors? It doesn't make much sense to me to spend good money for excellent coax, only to have to use adapters on each end to get everything to fit. Just as an example, I just pulled my old Grove preamp out of the back room. It has F connectors for the input and both outputs. I'm not real crazy about the idea of using it with a 50 ohm cable because of all the extra adapters. The other issue here is that a lot of people are monitoring frequencies a ways up the band from 500 mHz. At least with RG-6, the cable and connector system is highly capable of going there. With that said, I have no problem transmitting with 50 ohm coax and connectors on HF and VHF...and I'll let 70 cm slide in, only as a matter of convenience.
 

rescue161

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They sell connectors made specifically for each type of coax, whether it is RG6Q or LMR400. There is no need to ever use adapters for anything other than bench testing.

Best case if you want to use 75 Ohm RG6, just get Snap-N-Seal F and BNC connectors for RG6 and call it a day.
 

N1UB

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They sell connectors made specifically for each type of coax, whether it is RG6Q or LMR400. There is no need to ever use adapters for anything other than bench testing.

Best case if you want to use 75 Ohm RG6, just get Snap-N-Seal F and BNC connectors for RG6 and call it a day.
+1
remember the rule of thumb is use lose 1db for every connector
 

John_S

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They sell connectors made specifically for each type of coax, whether it is RG6Q or LMR400. There is no need to ever use adapters for anything other than bench testing.

Best case if you want to use 75 Ohm RG6, just get Snap-N-Seal F and BNC connectors for RG6 and call it a day.
I'm referring to those that try using RG-8 type coax, thinking it's their best solution, and then need an adapter to get down to an F female...like the ST-2 antenna. You may be able to put a BNC on RG-8 but not an F connector...it's not made for that job. RG-6 is the best way, because it can handle both BNC and F connectors. I'm just trying to find good ways to do termination without spending a bunch for short term usage.
 

rescue161

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I'm referring to those that try using RG-8 type coax, thinking it's their best solution, and then need an adapter to get down to an F female...like the ST-2 antenna. You may be able to put a BNC on RG-8 but not an F connector...it's not made for that job. RG-6 is the best way, because it can handle both BNC and F connectors. I'm just trying to find good ways to do termination without spending a bunch for short term usage.
RG8 is basically the same size as RG11, which is the 75 Ohm equivalent. They do make F connectors for RG11 that will fit just fine on RG8.

https://www.tessco.com/products/displayProductInfo.do?sku=320582&eventGroup=4&eventPage=1
 

John_S

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Yeah...forgot about that stuff. That would work, and just a little better than RG-6 to boot. And I'm just waiting for someone to drop hardline into the mix here.
 

rescue161

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All I'm trying to do is help you by not throwing adapters into the mix. Again, there is absolutely no need to ever use adapters in a permanent install.

If you want to use 75 Ohm cable and F connectors, then use the appropraite connector(s). If you want to stay with 50 Ohm cable, then again, use the right connectors. It really isn't more expensive to use the right connectors. Having to buy adapters though, does add up in money and loss.
 

rescue161

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Some other food for thought.

When using adapters in an outside environment, especially on an antenna that is on a pole, there is going to be a larger opportunity for water to infiltrate. Not only that, there is also a mechinical weakness that comes with using adapters. By the time that you waterproof your connections with B-Sealant and tape, it is going to be hard to troubleshoot a loose or broken connector under all of that B-Sealant.

Don't skimp. Use the right connector and be done with the install. It will serve you for years and you'll be much happier.
 

burner50

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Some other food for thought.

When using adapters in an outside environment, especially on an antenna that is on a pole, there is going to be a larger opportunity for water to infiltrate. Not only that, there is also a mechinical weakness that comes with using adapters. By the time that you waterproof your connections with B-Sealant and tape, it is going to be hard to troubleshoot a loose or broken connector under all of that B-Sealant.

Don't skimp. Use the right connector and be done with the install. It will serve you for years and you'll be much happier.
There is no need to use B-Sealant and tape on a properly installed T&B SNS F-Connector.

a small amount of silicone grease on the threads with a properly installed connector is all that is required. One thing that I found regarding extra sealant is that while they are good at keeping water out, they are also great at keeping moisture IN as well...
 
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