SOTABeams Linked Dipole Clips

I’ve had to replace three of the 8 alligator clips on my 20/30/40 Bandhopper antenna, two of them within a couple of weeks of each others. Has anyone else had similar experience?

I proactively replaced the last one because I noticed that it was literally hanging on by a single wire, so it would most likely have popped on my next activation.


Sent you an email with some pics of my 1 Alligator clip per link dipole.
Done over 300 summits and used this type of antenna for most of them.
vk5cz …

I have been using the 40-30-20 linked dipole for about 9 months with no problem and good performance. Curious how long you have been using yours and when did this problem occur?
Thanks and regards,
Mike, WB2FUV

Hi Richard, I have had my Sotabeams band-hopper antenna for almost 7 years now and it gives great service however one change I did very early on was to change the alligator clips for 2mm gold-plated RC power connectors as I got fed up of nipping my fingers with the original clips. These power connectors (a male/female arrangement) “click” together and have worked very well in all weather conditions. You can remove the alligator clips and solder these on to the wires. No need to change any wire lengths or anything.
US$2.46 for 10 pairs.

73 Ed.



I solder Powerpole connectors instead of using alligator clips. It is a much more solid electrical contact than using alligator clips. I also allows you to make your own link dipoles which is quite easy

Ariel NY4G


Hi Richard,

I don’t use my bandhopper much these days, but I’ve replaced several of the clips, which failed the same way yours did. Under the rubber boot, there isn’t any strain relief at the solder connection and the tabs aren’t crimped down. I replaced mine with some of the same type of clips from Sotabeams but put some heat shrink over the solder joint inside the boot. No problems since. Good antenna otherwise.
73 John

I changed from alligator clips to power poles as I can’t always apply sufficient pressure to open the clips. The combination of Scottish winters and Reynaud’s Syndrome have made this a necessity.

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Yes, I’ve often had similar failure. Once the wire fails at one clip, the wire at other clips seems to fail fairly shortly afterwards. It’s not really surprising I suppose as the wire will have all have been subjected to the same stresses.

I first home brewed my dipoles with croc clips but then I swapped to 2mm bananas, I don’t really see much difference between them, the banana plugs mate nicer but the joint to the wire is just as vulnerable as it is to croc clips.

Personally I think powerpoles are too bulky.

I honestly don’t think there is a ‘better’ connector, they’re all equally vulnerable to the wire breaking.

73, Colin

Strain relief young man, strain relief. It is still a failure point but can be massively reduced compared to a bare soldered joint.

Too expensive! :moneybag:

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NJ7V, Charlie, has a YouTube video of making a linked dipole.
He uses a small aircraft type connector.

Gary W5GDW

I got a bunch of little bullet connectors from the radio-control models shop down the road for my link dipoles.

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Hello folks I wrote a Blog with photos on my solution to the breaking Alligator clips plus how to wind your antenna and keep it as safe as possible on the summit floor.

Not saying this is the 100% best method but have not broken a Clip in ages.
Regards vk5cz …

I had one break off when caught in a tree. I just soldered a replacement clip on. I have used power poles on linked dipoles I’ve made but do not like the bulk for portable antennas.

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I use mini-banana plugs and jacks. These are stress-relieved with small heat shrink tubing where the wire goes into each connector. I’m using #24 teflon wire, 65 feet of it, so everything has to be right.

A polyester string is used to remove the tension from the banana connectors. These have been in the wind of countless activations, with almost no issues.

I think the Power Pole connnectors would be OK too. For large wires use standard banana plugs and jacks. I also use those on window lines, but rarely use those for SOTA.



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I like adhesive lined heatshrink for transferring stress from the solder joint and copper wire to the jacket.
73 Matt

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I have used two different SOTABeams 20-30-40 link dipoles for nearly all of my activations (250+) & have had to replace most or all of the clips, some more than once. Adding heat shrink for strain relief helps, but I still get failures. I suspect that the failures (in my case) are most likely due to the stresses associated with clipping & unclipping. I have noticed that I have a tendency to twist a bit when squeezing the clips. I like the alligator clips because if one breaks off, I can still clip onto the broken wire with the other one. Also, I can clip them into a BNC-Banana adapter & use one side of the dipole as a non-resonant vertical & counterpoise (with a tuner).

Rob - AE7AP

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After trying a few different solutions, I went for bullet connectors on last of couple of linked dipoles I made. You can easily connect them in poor visibility with cold hands.

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Likewise :slight_smile:

Strain relief with heat shrink; 1st layer inside the support tube covering the wire emerging from the insulation. Second layer over tube and extending over the solder joint as well as a cm or so along the wire.
They also clip nicely onto the studs that terminate the windings on my coils for 80m and 160m; no plugs or sockets needed on the coils.
I use standard rather than small ones so they are easier in cold conditions.

Failures mostly at the centre join for the coax connector; I think this gets stressed in the bag when all is squashed up inside the sack. No breaks yet actualy at the fixing knots.

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