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SWR fluctuates from day to day

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SnowWalker

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I am using my Galaxy DX959 SSB mobile CB as a base radio for the time being. My problem is, my SWR reading on my built in SWR meter seems to fluctuate from day to day and somewhat from an early mornining reading to a middle evening reading.

On the good days I am getting a 1.3 - 1.5 reading (which I know is ideal). The next day, I can get readings of 2.0 - 2.5 (of which I understand is still acceptable) but,........ I have a 20ft Wilson (Ringo Ring style), 5/8 wave verticle mounted on a low slope roof, with tar/fiberglass type shingles. The antenna does not move other than wind bend.

I am getting great reception from long distances because we live near the top of a mountain range in British Columbia.........

What gives with the SWR fluctuations?
 

KC4RAF

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If reading is high in the morning,

it could be moisture some where mildly shorting out. Do you have the UHF connectors water proofed with tape or some other moisture retardant?
also make sure that the connectors are ideally made. Are they factory made or home put together?
 

mmckenna

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All of the above.
Theoretically heating from the sun could cause some expansion that would impact things, either at the joints or connections.

If you get any moisture condensation near the base, it can throw things off. There was a VHF amateur repeater local to me that had an awful time with that.
 

SnowWalker

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I have a rubber hood covering the connector at the antenna At the base of the rubber hood I have it wrapped with electrical tape. The only other connector on the cable is at the back of the radio.

It rained faily heavily this afternoon but SWR stayed at 1.4. It could be that moist air is trapped inside the rubber hood and vaporizes when the evening temperatures reach a certain point.
 

mmckenna

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It rained faily heavily this afternoon but SWR stayed at 1.4. It could be that moist air is trapped inside the rubber hood and vaporizes when the evening temperatures reach a certain point.
Absolutely. Those boots don't really do much.
Sealing coaxial connectors is a bit of an art form. It often gets ignored in the hobby crowd. Look at a professional radio site or cellular site and the outdoor coaxial connections are nearly unidentifiable.
It usually starts with a connector designed for high end systems. They are designed to be mostly waterproof on their own. The installers will follow up with a couple of layers (usually "half lapped and back") electrical tape. A moldable mastic sheet goes over that and is worked into the connection like clay. Another layer of electrical tape goes over all that. Often installers will follow up with a heavy layer of a product made by 3M called "SkotchKote" which is a sealer. Even then, they leak, fail and have to be replaced occasionally.

The PL-259 "UHF" connectors used in CB and a lot of amateur radio work are poorly designed for outdoor use. They are not designed to have any water resistance at all. It's extremely rare to see a UHF connector used on outdoor connections for professional work. It's even rare to see them used on any inside connections.

If you are having water intrusion issues this soon after installation, you are going to continue to have issues as the winter weather hits. Might want to climb up there and take a good look at it. If there is any signs of moisture in the connector, then it's very likely it's migrated down the inside of the coax. If that is happened, strongly consider either cutting off 5 or 10 feet of cable and reterminating or replacing it all together.

It's kind of impossible to do too much waterproofing on your outdoor connections.
 

jaspence

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SWR

Many years ago I had a Ringo Ranger with the same problem. The insulator at the base of the antenna was more of a sponge than insulation, causing the same problem.
 

JayMojave

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Many years ago I had a Ringo Ranger with the same problem. The insulator at the base of the antenna was more of a sponge than insulation, causing the same problem.
Yeah what jaspence and the others said. Good replies.

Suggest you try to see if drying out the insulator at the bottom with a hair dryer, while measuring the SWR to see if there is any difference. Wetness may absorb the RF Energy indicating a lower SWR. Then as it dries out showing a higher SWR. If it is the insulator, maybe a new one can be found or make a new one out of fiberglass, sprayed with Black Spray Paint to protect it from the suns rays.

Also suggest as said before to make sure all the antenna connections are tight and such. What happens when the antenna or mast is moved around while the SWR is being monitored? Same with the coax.

Good Luck.

Jay in the Great Mojave Desert..... Carrying extra gas or even keeping a close eye on your gas level is truly a must and necessity for life, limb, safety, and avoidance of cruel pier group pressure / ridicule / being the entertainment ect. Desert life can be cruel at times and even worseer if these basic considerations are not followed, repeating them is just asking for flack from your piers whos sense of humor my be influenced by mass quantities, who find humor in your short comings. So when the nice men at the motor cycle store wants $650.oo for that extra capacity fuel custom fuel tank, you say sure, when can I get it?
 

cmdrwill

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The PL-259 "UHF" connectors used in CB and a lot of amateur radio work are poorly designed for outdoor use. They are not designed to have any water resistance at all. It's extremely rare to see a UHF connector used on outdoor connections for professional work. It's even rare to see them used on any inside connections.
The PL259 is a very old design coax connector rated only to 30 mHz dating back to World War two. There are newer PL type connectors that are MUCH better, most being RF Industries crimp connectors.

If the center insulation in the connector is not white, then the connectors can be troublesome.Some even 'suck' moisture causing problems, and do not seal well even with lots of tape. I got some brand new from a reputable vendor in the USA that were the 1940 PL259, when I ordered the RF Industries crimp type.

In the real world, we never use PL259 connectors.
 

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kf4eyr

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some one might have missed this but he is using his swr function on his radio,,, some radios swr feature will change as the radio warms up and cools down,,,, swr function built in the radio is not exactly the most accurate,,, i would get a external meter and do the testing again,,,,,
 

SnowWalker

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some one might have missed this but he is using his swr function on his radio,,, some radios swr feature will change as the radio warms up and cools down,,,, swr function built in the radio is not exactly the most accurate,,, i would get a external meter and do the testing again,,,,,
I have had a ham op. over to check my radio's SWR reading against his high end meter that had several functions and he stated that my galaxy's SWR , Mod & Power readings are so close to his that I would not hear any noticable difference if the radio was tuned to his meter. He did say that my modulation needs to be tuned a bit better because I am broadcasting at a max of 80%.

I am though going to upgrade my coaxial cable and connectors. All in all, I had a good chat with a fellow in Death Valley this afternoon so something must be working with my makeshift base radio.

Thanks fellows. You all are a gold mine of help & info us newbies.

Les
 

kf4eyr

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snow walker did ya check it while the radio was cold ,, warmed up ?? if the radio is cold ,,just turned on ,,it may show a different reading than say after it has been on for a few hours,,, that is the nature of built in swr functions,,,,i have seen many ops trying to set their swr on antenna on a vehicle in the hot sun interior that is warmed up then the next morning before it gets hot the swr will be off but it is the radio not nothing to do with antenna,,,,
 

JayMojave

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Hello SnowWaker: Good to hear your getting help from your friend there. And your making contacts, good for you.

Hello Cmdrwill: Got a part number for that "good one" crimped shield, soldered PL259 connector and crimping tools needed. From RF Industries, and a distributor, and a price?

PL259 connectors are used all over the place, even on new ham radios and such. Whats the real world?

Jay in the Great Mojave Desert
 

SnowWalker

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snow walker did ya check it while the radio was cold ,, warmed up ?? if the radio is cold ,,just turned on ,,it may show a different reading than say after it has been on for a few hours,,, that is the nature of built in swr functions,,,,i have seen many ops trying to set their swr on antenna on a vehicle in the hot sun interior that is warmed up then the next morning before it gets hot the swr will be off but it is the radio not nothing to do with antenna,,,,
Yup, I did the entire spectrum of hot, cold radio to heating the antenna connection with a hair blower. I can see now that moisture in the connector is the culprit. It has been raining here this morning and the SWR reading was sitting at 2.1. We put the hair dryer to the antenna conector and the SWR dropped to 1.3 within two minutes. We wrapped a dehumidifier cloth around the connection then taped it again and I am still sitting at 1.3 two hours later. For this radio and antenna, and from what I have been reading on these forums, I am considering that reading as above average

The only consistant problem is the USB & LSB are always very noisey.
 

Rred

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Snowwalker,
If you are going to recable, or refit the business end of the cable, consider "Type F" fittings to replace the older UHF type. They're similar in appearance, but designed for proper impedance through a much higher frequency range, and best of all, designed to be o0ring sealed and waterproof, without any additional layers of wrapping. (Which still seem like a good idea.)
They're used instead of UHF fittings in a lot of commercial and military installations. Finding an adapter and properly sealing it onto the base of your antenna would be the only problem to deal with.
 

SnowWalker

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Snowwalker,
If you are going to recable, or refit the business end of the cable, consider "Type F" fittings to replace the older UHF type. They're similar in appearance, but designed for proper impedance through a much higher frequency range, and best of all, designed to be o0ring sealed and waterproof, without any additional layers of wrapping. (Which still seem like a good idea.)
They're used instead of UHF fittings in a lot of commercial and military installations. Finding an adapter and properly sealing it onto the base of your antenna would be the only problem to deal with.
Will most certainly be looking at those options when I start buying the new equipment.
 

SnowWalker

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Do the RF connectors match the PL259 connectors or would I have to replace the connectors on the antenna and radio as well?

Another stupid question to go with this. I am running my radio off a 12 volt battery in my house; however, I charge it with a trickle charge charger on a constant 2 amps charge. If I can do it through the 12 volt battery, why can I not just hook the trickle charger directly to the radio's power supply? I have a 5 amp inline fuse between the battery and the radio.
 

rivardj

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Snowwalker,
If you are going to recable, or refit the business end of the cable, consider "Type F" fittings to replace the older UHF type. They're similar in appearance, but designed for proper impedance through a much higher frequency range, and best of all, designed to be o0ring sealed and waterproof, without any additional layers of wrapping. (Which still seem like a good idea.)
They're used instead of UHF fittings in a lot of commercial and military installations. Finding an adapter and properly sealing it onto the base of your antenna would be the only problem to deal with.
I think you mean "N" type connector. If the connector is changed to an "N" type on the feedline then the connector on the antenna should be changed to the "N" type also instead of using an adapter to go from "N" on the cable to UHF on the antenna. Using an adapter just adds to the number of variables that can cause issues.
 
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