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Patch Leads and Feeders when Portable


#1

I’m sure I’m not the only one to experience problems with patch leads and feeders on an activation. I had another failure of a patch lead on Gun earlier this week. As luck would have it, I have always carried a spare patch lead with me after a disaster on G/SP-002 last year.

Undoubtably, the constant screwing and unscrewing into rigs and tuners rolling up pulling in and out of rucksacks and in my case, standing on them on more than one occasion, takes its toll.

Both my patch leads are cut to 1 Metre lengths so that in the event of the feeder to the collinear going U/S, they can be joined together and double up as a spare feeder, enabling me to at least carry on with a VHF/UHF activation.

I spent Thursday evening at the club, making fresh patch leads and feeders using new coax and plugs, I’ve used heat shrink to strengthen the joints between the coax and PL259. The result is an extremely strong connection which I’m hoping will last some considerable time!

I wonder, just how many activations have been ruined before they start, because of a defective feeder/patch lead?

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#2

In reply to 2E0YYY:

I never seem to have trouble with patch leads or feeder, except for my RG174 feeder getting tangled up in a big ball no matter how carefully I unwind it!

One area I have major trouble is the power lead for my APRS tracker. It came off yet again last Sunday, which is why I disappeared from the APRS map half way up Pendle Hill! http://aprs.fi/?call=m0cgh-7 I must build a spare lead, so I can replace it on the hill if needed.

Hope the new patch leads give good service Mike.

73
Colin
M0CGH


#3

In reply to 2E0YYY:
Sorry to hear about the faults Mike!

I find the best solution is to buy the best quality plugs and coax you can afford, after a while the cost outweighs the false economy of buying cheap gear

PL259 - dont even get me or even Andy MM0FMF started on them…Look at past postings and you will discover why both the a man above the border and I favour BNC/TNC or N! However other people swear by them! I don’t want to start anything here!! The main point of the post is buy good quality gear and you will be rewarded.

73

Matt G8XYJ


#4

In reply to G8XYJ:

Tee Hee Matt. It’s really the difficulty in being sure a 259 is correctly fitted that I see as a big problem. But with crimp and compression fitting versions available now that’s less of a problem.

It’s around were the coax emerges from the connector you tend to see faults appearing due to repeated flexing beyond the allowable radius of bending. Mike has done the most important thing in fitting some kind of strain relief. The strain relief will minimise bending at this point and reduce strain on the connections to the coax.

I’ve tried to keep all SOTA antennas using the same connector and in my case BNC because I obtained a healthy number of ultra-high quality Radiall ones which were scrapped from the defence contractor I worked for. Scrapped still in the packaging and unused. I got some of my taxes back that day! :slight_smile: Of course SMA connectors on handhelds throws a spanner in the works so I have 2 home made adapters for BNC to SMA designed to minimise strain on the handheld’s antenna socket. For anyone interested, Westlake sell SMA male plugs that accept RG-58 sized cable for a couple of quid.

A suggestion would be to consider replacing the cable every 100 activations due to all the coiling, uncoiling and bashing about it gets. You can reuse the connectors (the military wouldn’t) and replace the cable. Having seen off the PA and driver in an 817 from an intermittent fault in a feeder, the cost for a few metres of coax every 2years in my case is not worth worrying about. It’s most annoying because I’d been thinking it must be about time to replace that feeder but had just been too lazy to do so. Grrrrr!

Andy
MM0FMF


#5

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Mike/Andy/Matt

I use these

which are cheap as chips and come with a moulded plug. They fit nicely onto the front plug on the FT-817. I haven’t had any issues so far…but it would be my dread to do a ‘biggy’ and find the coax knackered at the summit. I carry two, just in case.

The sell them in various lengths but they seem to be RG58 cable only.

Regards
Dave


#6

In reply to MM0FMF:

It’s around were the coax emerges from the connector you tend to see
faults appearing due to repeated flexing beyond the allowable radius
of bending. Mike has done the most important thing in fitting some
kind of strain relief. The strain relief will minimise bending at this
point and reduce strain on the connections to the coax.

Having suffered two coax failures on activations, I’ve taken a belt and braces approach and used two lots of heat shrink one over the end of the PL259 itself and an additional piece along the coax. The results have made it almost impossible to bend the leads at the critical joints.

A suggestion would be to consider replacing the cable every 100
activations due to all the coiling, uncoiling and bashing about it
gets.

I’ve taken to checking the feeder/patch leads for RF losses on my power/swr meter, about every 20 activations and as a result, had to replace at least one other patch lead.

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#7

In reply to 2E0YYY:
Mickey, I am sure all your patch lead problems would vanish if;

  1. You learn how to fit the plug on properly, including stopping soldering your fingers! Only you would pick up a soldering iron in the middle to see if it is hot or cold. How is the 3rd degree burn coming along. LOL. I have to admit that my magic extra pair of hands with the magnifying glass really help. £5 from a show. If you are having difficulties seeing the thing, just ask me.

  2. Stop standing on them! You have a gift in your ability to manage to stand on something even without looking for it! 5,000 square miles of Welsh upland to choose from and you always seem to end up standing on my coax…so perhaps you do the same with your own?

  3. Don’t coil them too tight. Every cable has a maximum degree of bend and it is usually not as tight as some folk seem to think it should be. Also make sure you you are not twisting the cable when you coil it up. Perhaps your ‘sod this it’s raining : I’m off’ style of packing up won’t help the longevity of your cables.

  4. And you wonder why I don’t like to lend you anything! I bet you used to break ALL your toys when you were younger?

  5. No doubt this thread will end up costing me this week :wink:


#8

In reply to G1STQ:

Also make sure you you are not twisting the cable when you
coil it up.

This might Help:

I have not actually tried this with RF Cables!

Stewart G0LGS