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#1 Danny

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 07:19 PM

I'm looking for a good coax cable for base antenna. There are so many options out there so I'm looking for suggestions on what to buy.



#2 Radioguy7268

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 08:41 PM

How long is the run? How flexible do you need the cable to be? (do you have tight spaces/tight turns?) What's your budget?

 

Generally - what's termed "hard line" - Coax with a solid jacket (often called Heliax) - is going to have the best performance specs, the highest cost, and be more rigid.  Braided coax (like LMR400/600) is more flexible, a little less expensive, and brings it's own issues.


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#3 kidphc

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 09:17 AM

Will come down to as mentioned above. How long, how flexible and budget. Nothing like spending $$$ on a high gain antenna to lose all the gain in the feedlines.

For short jumpers, where you may want flexibility i go with RG400. Not to be confused with LMR400. I would like to run at least LMR400, but it does not like to be twisted into "s" or other odd shapes.

Note the losses on this chart for 450mhz per 100. This isn't even with connectors which can add up.
https://www.google.c...9Vh6HLaokTPN5i8

NOTE: these numbers are with quality know coax. Not some crap you find off of Amazon.

I personally recommend Rfconnection.com up the street from here. Price is competitive, owner is a ham who has operating the shop for 40+ yrs. Stands behind what he sells.

I paid $171 for 100' of LMR400 the same crimp kit on dxengineering and 4 pl259 connector with tax. 100' was 69.00, about $.20 cheaper then I could find anywhere else and is LMR400 equivalant spec'ed.

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#4 gman1971

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 01:50 PM

If you are starting out don't fall for the UHF chrome connector trap like I did. Once you start It will be very hard to change to N ..

 

For patch cables, my advice is to go with Harbor Freight RG400, and if you have never crimped anything, have it crimped for you, a bad crimp will hurt more than you think.

 

I would stay away from anything LMR400, or LMR400 equivalent... its a problem waiting to happen, especially if you want to have reliable reception after a couple of years being sitting outside... For a 100 foot feedline I would use Heliax FSJ4-50B, its the same diameter as the LMR400 but none of its drawbacks. And these cables can be purchased N.O.S from places like eBay with factory installed trimetal connectors (low PIM, good impedance match) for a fraction of their original cost. 

 

Buy a base antenna that comes with N connectors. As the UHF connectors will deteriorate over time due not being weatherproof like N. Been there done that.

 

If the radio uses UHF connector, try not to use an adapter, buy an RG400 patch cable with UHF to N.

 

I would do the following:

Radio -> patch cable -> surge arrestor/grounding -> heliax FSJ4-50B -> antenna.

 

Hope this helps.

 

G.



#5 Danny

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 01:57 PM

Will come down to as mentioned above. How long, how flexible and budget. Nothing like spending $$$ on a high gain antenna to lose all the gain in the feedlines.

For short jumpers, where you may want flexibility i go with RG400. Not to be confused with LMR400. I would like to run at least LMR400, but it does not like to be twisted into "s" or other odd shapes.

Note the losses on this chart for 450mhz per 100. This isn't even with connectors which can add up.
https://www.google.c...9Vh6HLaokTPN5i8

NOTE: these numbers are with quality know coax. Not some crap you find off of Amazon.

I personally recommend Rfconnection.com up the street from here. Price is competitive, owner is a ham who has operating the shop for 40+ yrs. Stands behind what he sells.

I paid $171 for 100' of LMR400 the same crimp kit on dxengineering and 4 pl259 connector with tax. 100' was 69.00, about $.20 cheaper then I could find anywhere else and is LMR400 equivalant spec'ed.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

 

My run will be around 75ft. The run is a little flexible. My budget is around $150/$175. The thing is I am willing to spend more for a better coax with best performance. 

 

Does someone have a link to a good coax that I can buy?



#6 DaveM

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 02:12 PM

If you are starting out don't fall for the UHF chrome connector trap like I did. Once you start It will be very hard to change to N ..

 

For patch cables, my advice is to go with Harbor Freight RG400, and if you have never crimped anything, have it crimped for you, a bad crimp will hurt more than you think.

 

I would stay away from anything LMR400, or LMR400 equivalent... its a problem waiting to happen, especially if you want to have reliable reception after a couple of years being sitting outside... For a 100 foot feedline I would use Heliax FSJ4-50B, its the same diameter as the LMR400 but none of its drawbacks. And these cables can be purchased N.O.S from places like eBay with factory installed trimetal connectors (low PIM, good impedance match) for a fraction of their original cost. 

 

Buy a base antenna that comes with N connectors. As the UHF connectors will deteriorate over time due not being weatherproof like N. Been there done that.

 

If the radio uses UHF connector, try not to use an adapter, buy an RG400 patch cable with UHF to N.

 

I would do the following:

Radio -> patch cable -> surge arrestor/grounding -> heliax FSJ4-50B -> antenna.

 

Hope this helps.

 

G.

Heliax is the only way to go, especially if in the future, you need to run duplex communication.  When I set mine up, I opted for 7/8" Andrew Heliax, with N- Connectors of course.  I also dived in and acquired a DB420 antenna set up in an omnidirectional pattern.  RG 400 makes perfect patch cabling...double shielded, yet flexible.  My wife had a small coronary when she first saw it up, but she got over it in less than 24 hours.  Antenna, feedline, and grounding are where all the money and effort should be directed.  Do it once and do it right.


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#7 kidphc

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 02:27 PM

If you are starting out don't fall for the UHF chrome connector trap like I did. Once you start It will be very hard to change to N ..

For patch cables, my advice is to go with Harbor Freight RG400, and if you have never crimped anything, have it crimped for you, a bad crimp will hurt more than you think.

I would stay away from anything LMR400, or LMR400 equivalent... its a problem waiting to happen, especially if you want to have reliable reception after a couple of years being sitting outside... For a 100 foot feedline I would use Heliax FSJ4-50B, its the same diameter as the LMR400 but none of its drawbacks. And these cables can be purchased N.O.S from places like eBay with factory installed trimetal connectors (low PIM, good impedance match) for a fraction of their original cost.

Buy a base antenna that comes with N connectors. As the UHF connectors will deteriorate over time due not being weatherproof like N. Been there done that.

If the radio uses UHF connector, try not to use an adapter, buy an RG400 patch cable with UHF to N.

I would do the following:
Radio -> patch cable -> surge arrestor/grounding -> heliax FSJ4-50B -> antenna.

Hope this helps.

G.

Yeah rg400 can be tough. I found a easy way. Take scrap 2×4 drill a whole so the center conductor can slip easily through the center. Before you cut the sheath, slip the shrink wrap, ferrule, and the ring. (Using pl259 here). Proceed to cut the coax, slip the ferrule part way on to the shield wiring. Slip on the pl259, place the rest of the shielding around the connector. Take the crimper and gently grab the ferrule. Place the whole thing onto the 2x4, make sure not to damage the center lead. Using the crimper as a vise push down till seated. Finish the crimp and check for shorts as usual.

Kinda works for n connectors as well.

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#8 JohnE

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 05:10 PM

@ 75' 1/2" hard line or Superflex would be more that sufficient as its a base. if it was a repeater I would go 7/8.


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#9 gman1971

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 06:25 PM

And this, ladies and gentlemen is the best example of "doing it right, doing it once" Dang it... I guess I am in need to step up the ante here... 7/8" holy anaconda Batman.... and I am only running FSJ4-50B as my 25 feet feedline... all silver and trimetal connectors, tho. :)

 

G.

 

Heliax is the only way to go, especially if in the future, you need to run duplex communication.  When I set mine up, I opted for 7/8" Andrew Heliax, with N- Connectors of course.  I also dived in and acquired a DB420 antenna set up in an omnidirectional pattern.  RG 400 makes perfect patch cabling...double shielded, yet flexible.  My wife had a small coronary when she first saw it up, but she got over it in less than 24 hours.  Antenna, feedline, and grounding are where all the money and effort should be directed.  Do it once and do it right.


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#10 gman1971

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 06:30 PM

Thanks for the tips, I might try it... but I've given up on crimping any cable, b/c when you finally discover what rendered the setup range-less was my poor crimping job... its kinda sad.... 

 

G.

 

Yeah rg400 can be tough. I found a easy way. Take scrap 2×4 drill a whole so the center conductor can slip easily through the center. Before you cut the sheath, slip the shrink wrap, ferrule, and the ring. (Using pl259 here). Proceed to cut the coax, slip the ferrule part way on to the shield wiring. Slip on the pl259, place the rest of the shielding around the connector. Take the crimper and gently grab the ferrule. Place the whole thing onto the 2x4, make sure not to damage the center lead. Using the crimper as a vise push down till seated. Finish the crimp and check for shorts as usual.

Kinda works for n connectors as well.

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#11 gman1971

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 06:32 PM

Did I say this already? THIS... this is how its done. 

 

Heliax is the only way to go, especially if in the future, you need to run duplex communication.  When I set mine up, I opted for 7/8" Andrew Heliax, with N- Connectors of course.  I also dived in and acquired a DB420 antenna set up in an omnidirectional pattern.  RG 400 makes perfect patch cabling...double shielded, yet flexible.  My wife had a small coronary when she first saw it up, but she got over it in less than 24 hours.  Antenna, feedline, and grounding are where all the money and effort should be directed.  Do it once and do it right.


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#12 n4gix

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 11:03 PM

I went with 7/8" Andrews Heliax myself, but kinda overestimated the length I actually needed. Hence I have nearly 20' excess which I've gently coiled up and tie-wrapped neatly.

 

For any future needs I have 678' of 1/2" Andrews FSJ4-50B Heliax. The Type N Male connectors are $20 each.

GGPQt.png


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#13 gman1971

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 01:01 AM

Another Anaconda? hahaha.... How did you manage to coil the anaconda??? with 1 a kilometer curvature radius?? hahaha.... the 7/8 Anaconda was just too much for my 25 foot run, basically to the top of the mast over on a 2 1/2 story house, so I went with FSJ4-50B b/c I could also fit it easily inside the 1" antenna mast tube... At some point before I had some Heliax 1/2, but turns out the cable, for some unknown reason to me, was clearly damaged as it always read massive SWR on the analyzer... no matter what connectors were installed.

 

Good to know about the gigantic spool of FSJ4-50B, however, factory made cables for me only, with factory pre-installed tri-metal N connectors b/c I now know I can't crimp those Heliax cables to save my own life... so its better to pay the professionals to do it right, just once. :) heh...

 

I think the FSJ4-50B is a great cable for most runs, provided you don't need a 200 foot run or something that long... for anything above 50 feet I would probably go 1/2 and anything beyond 150 probably 7/8 Anaconda...

 

G.

 

 

I went with 7/8" Andrews Heliax myself, but kinda overestimated the length I actually needed. Hence I have nearly 20' excess which I've gently coiled up and tie-wrapped neatly.

 

For any future needs I have 678' of 1/2" Andrews FSJ4-50B Heliax. The Type N Male connectors are $20 each.

GGPQt.png


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#14 Riktar

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 05:50 AM

I am going to be moving soon and the potential residence will be the upper portion of a duplex my daughter/son-in-law are purchasing. Looking over the layout I was going to (initially) place my yagi/rotor setup in the attic which would put it about 27' above the ground level. I am guessing I can get away with a run of 25' at the most depending on position of the antenna in the attic and the radio placement in the living area.. I was even thinking of using the KRK-10 accessory to put my TK-8180 body within 10 feet (cable length wise) and then utilize the 23' cabling to place the head unit in my residence.

 

So if I am talking a run that short (25 - 10 foot) for the coax would there be any measurable distance between the 400 or the heliax?

 

On a side note: the previous home owner had a 40 foot tower (was probably for a tv antenna) on the side of the house and left the mounting base and the lateral support near the roof still attached. I am already working on obtaining another tower. The daughter isn't so keen on the idea but you never know. But that coax cable question will be another post.


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#15 kidphc

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 06:24 AM

I am going to be moving soon and the potential residence will be the upper portion of a duplex my daughter/son-in-law are purchasing. Looking over the layout I was going to (initially) place my yagi/rotor setup in the attic which would put it about 27' above the ground level. I am guessing I can get away with a run of 25' at the most depending on position of the antenna in the attic and the radio placement in the living area.. I was even thinking of using the KRK-10 accessory to put my TK-8180 body within 10 feet (cable length wise) and then utilize the 23' cabling to place the head unit in my residence.

So if I am talking a run that short (25 - 10 foot) for the coax would there be any measurable distance between the 400 or the heliax?

On a side note: the previous home owner had a 40 foot tower (was probably for a tv antenna) on the side of the house and left the mounting base and the lateral support near the roof still attached. I am already working on obtaining another tower. The daughter isn't so keen on the idea but you never know. But that coax cable question will be another post.

Sounds like you have some buttering up of the new landlords.

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#16 Riktar

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 12:18 PM

Sounds like you have some buttering up of the new landlords.

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That or I could try threatening her with being grounded.

 

Oh wait... pretty sure my authority in that area disappeared 18 years ago....  ;)

 

Buttering it up it is.


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#17 n4gix

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 08:11 PM

Another Anaconda? hahaha.... How did you manage to coil the anaconda??? with 1 a kilometer curvature radius?? hahaha.... 

 

Good to know about the gigantic spool of FSJ4-50B, however, factory made cables for me only, with factory pre-installed tri-metal N connectors b/c I now know I can't crimp those Heliax cables to save my own life... so its better to pay the professionals to do it right, just once. :) heh...

 

The 'coil' is about 2.5' diameter. You can see it in this zoomed picture:

GH937.png

 

The connectors I bought for the (free!) heliax are not crimp type. The tool for prepping the heliax cost $139, but only takes about 10 seconds with an electric drill to complete the job. The connectors are compression type and requires only two wrenches to tighten 'em up. I didn't mind buying the tool to do the job properly since the heliax cost me nothing!

 

Here is a shot of my 'antenna farm' on the roof. The G5RV-Junior is strung between 2 x 32' fiberglass poles on the left side of this picture. You can see the 300 ohm ladder line towards the middle of the antenna. The tall white antenna near the front of the house is my UHF antenna I originally had for my repeater. I wasn't happy with the performance of only 5 mile radius so I sold the repeater to a gentleman in Oregon who had a nice tower space at 450' on top of a mountain for it. He was happy to pay me about 90% of what it cost me. It was not quite 5 months old.

 

Near the center of the roof is a dual-band V/U antenna, with another V/U antenna on a chimney mount. There is another antenna on the chimney UHF mono-band. There was a 6m antenna on the chimney as well, but a storm eight years ago took it out. I managed to put it back together but haven't bothered having it put up again, as I no longer am physically able to do any roof walking at 73 years old! 

 

Not visible is a J-pole UHF antenna on a short mast which I use as a test antenna when working on fellow hams/GMRS rigs.

 

In the foreground is my "ARC(h) Nemisis, doggone power lines...  :wacko:

 

GH9fK.png


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#18 gman1971

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 11:57 PM

 Looks great!

 

Yeah, I didn't get the tool, I only needed one cable... so it was much more cost effective to just buy a ~25 foot premade factory cable. Which clocked at 50 ohms perfect... 

 

When I was referring to my poor crimping skills I meant to say when crimping RG400 and RG142 cales...  not for Heliax, although I can probably ruin those too... Even with the tool there is a chance I could ruin it too... haha, but like I said, for just 1 cable it wasn't worth the expense at the moment.

 

G.

 

The 'coil' is about 2.5' diameter. You can see it in this zoomed picture:

GH937.png

 

The connectors I bought for the (free!) heliax are not crimp type. The tool for prepping the heliax cost $139, but only takes about 10 seconds with an electric drill to complete the job. The connectors are compression type and requires only two wrenches to tighten 'em up. I didn't mind buying the tool to do the job properly since the heliax cost me nothing!

 

Here is a shot of my 'antenna farm' on the roof. The G5RV-Junior is strung between 2 x 32' fiberglass poles on the left side of this picture. You can see the 300 ohm ladder line towards the middle of the antenna. The tall white antenna near the front of the house is my UHF antenna I originally had for my repeater. I wasn't happy with the performance of only 5 mile radius so I sold the repeater to a gentleman in Oregon who had a nice tower space at 450' on top of a mountain for it. He was happy to pay me about 90% of what it cost me. It was not quite 5 months old.

 

Near the center of the roof is a dual-band V/U antenna, with another V/U antenna on a chimney mount. There is another antenna on the chimney UHF mono-band. There was a 6m antenna on the chimney as well, but a storm eight years ago took it out. I managed to put it back together but haven't bothered having it put up again, as I no longer am physically able to do any roof walking at 73 years old! 

 

Not visible is a J-pole UHF antenna on a short mast which I use as a test antenna when working on fellow hams/GMRS rigs.

 

In the foreground is my "ARC(h) Nemisis, doggone power lines...  :wacko:

 

GH9fK.png



#19 Danny

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:10 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. Heliax maybe a little to much for me right now. Don't think I need a 7/8 cable. 

 

Can anyone provide a link to a good coax cable to purchase? Not sure where to go on getting coax cable. Like website.



#20 Riktar

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:40 PM

I was recommended/suggested to try MPDigital. They have a direct store front (Usa Coax) I will link below. I have no complaints or concerns with the coax I have purchased from them.

 

https://usacoax.com/


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