PL259 Cross-section photographs


Everything in radio is a learning process. The design and building of antennas is no exception. When the outside work is done and it's time to test the newest creation, one final step always remains -- the PL259 coax connector. Having done my share of these and wondered about the mechanical integrity of my work lead me to produce the following series of photographs. The application of heat in the process of completing the connector can have some devastating effects on even the best of connectors.  The connector is this series is a mil-spec: silver barrel, gold tip and Teflon core.
 

The connector was sliced with a DREMEL tool. In cutting the connector, some of the centre conductor wires were lost from the tip area -- otherwise the innards are as they were when the connector was complete.

 

This is a close-up of the area where solder would be applied to secure the shield to the connector. The white arrows point to there areas where the shield appears to have migrated somewhat with the application of heat.

 

In addition to the apparent migration of the shield material, there also appears to be significant deforming of the shield, The white arrows indicate the effected areas. The red lines indicate the boundaries of the centre conductor.

 

The intent is have the solder flow (through the holes) with just enough heat to sweat its way onto the braid. This image suggests not much solder would have made it to the braid. 

 
So what's the answer to producing the best PL259 coax connector? Patience, good preparation, a butane soldering iron (to get lots of heat quickly) and quenching the heated area immediately. If your looking for an alterative to the traditional method of making connectors, you might explore the mil-spec crimp-on connector line carried by many well know manufactures. The tools are not that expensive, the connectors are similar in cost and the end product is perfect each and every time. Some of the most (internationally) well known contest operators have transitioned to crimp-on connectors for one-hundred per cent of their needs.

All photographs in this series were taken with a Nikon COOLPIX 5700 digital camera (on a tripod).

Last modified February 08, 2004 by Paul B. Peters, Show contact information
Copyright 2000 -2003 Paul B. Peters, VE7AVV. All rights reserved.