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A few tips…

  1. Buy only good quality branded connectors. Using branded RF connectors from a reputable manufacturer allows one to lookup the specific assembly instructions and will spare one from problems further down the road. Over here in Europe, I mainly came across Telegärtner and SSB‑Electronic connectors at an accessible price.
  2. An «UHF» PL‑259 Type‑M connector is not a real RF connector. Historically, it is just a shielded banana plug without any specified characteristic impedance from an era when «UHF» meant above 30 MHz. Try to avoid these connectors as much as possible. If you do need one —because your equipment comes with a SO‑239 socket—, use a more expensive clamp connector instead of the cheaper threaded ones.
  3. Avoid adapters by all means. Some are of questionable design. Once, I even came across an elbow adapter that employed a steel spring as center conductor!
  4. Discard the first 10 to 20 mm of the cable end if the coax cable has been laying around in storage for a considerable amount of time. Even of the coax end was taped off, oxidation may have crept its way in.
  5. Cable stripping dimensions for the same connector type may differ significantly between brands!
  6. When cable stripping with a sharp knife, keep transversal cuts shallow. One really wants to keep the stranded shielding wires intact! Longitudinal cuts may run deeper.
  7. Always use a high powered soldering iron of at least 50 W. This may need to be more outdoors.
  8. If the assembly requires center pin soldering, carefully remove the reddish copper oxidation layer from the exposed center conductor with an abrasive. Make sure no broken off traces of the abrasive are left on the cable. Pre-tin the center conductor with a very thin layer of solder. From experience, this is the only way to ensure a good center pin solder joint. Do not rely on the tiny soldering hole in the center pin for sufficient solder to enter the joint!
  9. Keep both the cable and connector dielectric clean, by inspecting for any dirt that will incur losses.
  10. Do not overtighten clamp connectors. There should always remain a small slit between the nut and the body of a clamp connector.
  11. Test your cable for any shorts with an ohmmeter before putting it to use.
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