This blog was created to share my projects, ideas, and experiences in amateur radio with other operators around the world who also enjoy this wonderful hobby.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

PL-259 Connector Installation on Belden 9913F

step 1

The first step is to make sure your coaxial cable end is properly cut and the cable is not dirty or corroded. You will know this when the coaxial outer cover is removed. If the shield is not bright and clean, cut the cable further inside until you find the braided shield wires shiny. When the coaxial cable is new, this inspection is not necesary. If the coax is old or has been used outside your shack, it is very important to check the coaxial. If it is corroded it won't take solder. In this example I am using Belden 9913F coaxial cable and the Amphenol  83-ISP-1050 Pl-259 connector.

step 2

Next, you will need to cut about one inch of the outer coaxial cable cover with a sharp knife. Use a coaxial stripping tool if you have one and be very careful not to cut the braid wires.

step 3

The next step is to cut the braid leaving about 3/8" of it trimmed with a  very sharp cable cutter or a small scissor. Trim the braid all the way around  to the proper lenght and make sure there are no wires left above the 3/8" mark.

step 4

Now you need to solder the braid all the way around with a good quality 60/40 rosin core solder. I use Radio Shack 60/40 rosin core .032" diameter (part number 64-009)  You also need a soldering iron, pencil type or a soldering station, 40 watts or higher. Avoid using soldering guns unless you have some experience soldering with them. They are more than 75 or probably 100 watts and excessive heat will damage your coaxial cable, melting the dielectric material and shorting it. Do not use too much solder, just the right amount to fill the braid. You will see the solder being absorbed by the braid, If the solder is not absorbed, you need more heat or the coaxial cable is not clean enough. If you use too much solder, it will be impossible to install the Pl-259 connector to the cable.

step 5

The next step is to cut the dielectric material above the braided area you have just soldered. Use a sharp knife and be careful not to cut the center conductor wires. The Belden 9913 has an aluminum foil shield on top of the dielectric material, make sure that there are no wires from the braid or foil touching the center conductor. Trim them as necessary.

step 6

Now, insert the Pl-259 ring with the threaded part facing out, do not apply any solder to the center conductor wires. The Belden 9913 (solid center conductor) and the Belden 9913F (stranded center conductor) have a large center conductor diameter, if you apply solder to the center conductor it won't fit inside the center pin of the PL-259 connector. On other coaxial types, like RG-8/U or RG-213 it is a good idea to apply a little solder to the tip of the center conductor wires. Since the diameter of the center conductor on these coaxials is smaller than the Belden 9913, it is not a problem when trying to install the connector on them.

step 7

In this step, you install the PL-259 connector body to the end of your coax cable. Pliers are needed to help install  the connector to the coax cable. Stop, when you see the braid thru the four holes on the connector barrel and the center conductor is visible at the tip of the center conductor pin.

step 8

Now,  it is time to solder your connector. Before you start soldering, it is a good idea to file the four holes on the connector barrel with a thin round file. This will expose the metal below the nickel plating on the connector barrel and help the soldering process. If you are using silver plated connectors, this step is optional. Smaller wattage soldering irons will require more time to heat up the barrel of the connector to an acceptable temperature for the solder to flow. If high wattage soldering irons or soldering guns are used, care must be taken not to bring the temperature of the barrel too high, or you will end up shorting the coaxial inside and ruining the connector. After you have soldered all four holes, solder the tip of the center pin. Please allow enough time for the connector to cool down between steps. Do not use water or any other substance to force cool the connector body to speed up the process.

step 9

The completed Pl-259 installation. Once the connector cools,  it's time to inspect all the soldering, you can file or scrape any excess solder on the connector tip. Slide the connector ring toward the Pl-259 body and screw it carefully, making sure there is no solder residue on the threads.


The last step is to verify the connector for any shorts. Using a VOM (volt ohm meter) or DMM (digital multimeter). Measure the resistance between the tip and the body of the connector. You shouldn't get any reading (infinite resistance) when performing this check. If there is a low resistance reading, your connector is shorted and a new one will need to be installed. If you have never installed a Pl-259 before, it is a good idea to practice on a small piece of coax, just the cable preparation and connector installation, not the soldering. Once the connector is soldered it is very hard to remove from the coax. Avoid using paste flux, to help with soldering and never use acid type solder.( the one used at plumbing) Rosin type solder contains the right amount of flux inside and as long as the coaxial is clean and not corroded it will flow easily and provide a good connection.

The tools needed for the Pl-259 installation are, soldering iron or soldering station ( I use a Weller 921ZX), a sharp knife or coaxial stripping tool,  small flush cutter or small scissors, a large cutter (to cut the coaxial), medium size pliers and a thin, round metal file. Materials needed for the installation are, PL-259's (I use the Amphenol 83-ISP-1050) 60/40 rosin core solder (Radio Shack 64-009 or equivalent) and the needed length of your choice of coaxial cable. Always keep the tip of your soldering iron clean and tinned. A small sponge soaked in water is recommended to clean the tip of your soldering iron periodically. On the 921ZX station I use maximum heat (850 F.), to solder the connector barrel holes and (700 F.) to solder the tip. If you need any help with your Pl-259 installation or have any question, please  e-mail me. I hope this tutorial helps tackle your PL-259 connector installations. Good luck!

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