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PL-259 Help & How To

UG Reducer Coupling Cable Compatibility Chart

Coax Loss

Which pl-259 reducer fits what cable ?

Reducer No.             Cable Type

UG-174                     RG-174, Belden 8216, LMR-100, LMR-100A, LMR-110, RG-178, RG-188 RG-196

UG-175                     RG-142, LMR-195, LMR-200, RG-316, RG-400, RG-58, and Belden 7807

UG-176                     RG-6, RG-223, RG-59, Belden 8214, Belden 8218, Belden 8281, RG-62, LMR-240, and RG-8X


Recommendations for PL-259 and couplings


PL-259 and UG reducers should be made of machined brass, not aluminum, tin or zinc.

Silver plating is best, solder flows like butter in a hot pan. You can if necessary, solder without flux.

Silver has the lowest resistance and makes the best electrical connection, it is superior to nickel.

Nickel plating is fine but it is recommended to scuff the contact areas where a solder connection will be made. Usually with sand paper or emory cloth. This ensures the solder will have a tooth by removing the nickel plate. Make sure to use flux when soldering.

Dielectric Teflon is the best, if its not milky white and translucent it is not Teflon and most likely a plastic. Bakelite is satisfactory but can deform if excessively over heated. Plastic will deform and usually always melts to the point where the center pin moves or even falls out.

Buy the best PL-259 connectors as well as other connectors at great prices This is my recommendation  Max Gain Systems - MGS


Coax Cable Loss

Coax Cable Loss Calculator


A better way to install PL-259 connectors on RG-8X type coax

Dan Richardson, K6MHE When installing small coax such as RG-8X in a PL-259 using an reducer have you ever

wondered if you were really going to get a good solid connection to the outer braid when

you looked the holes in the PL-259 and saw only one or two flimsy little strands of the

shield? Well, here is an unauthorized solution to that problem.


Installing RG-58, 8X and their kin to PL-259 connectors can be a bit of a challenge.

No matter how nice a book's assembly diagram (Figure 1) looks and how easy the

installation instructions sound my results using those methods never seem to come out

the same.

( Fig 1) Typical example of PL-259 installation.

The problem for me is getting the shield portion folded back over the reducer. The

shield loses its form very quickly when folded back over the larger diameter of the

reducer. I tried several approaches to solve this problem such as combing, trimming

and arranging the braid very carefully, but when screwed into the PL-259 body the

results many times are that only a few strands of shield is visible through the holes of

the connector body to solder.


Several years ago I observed an amateur installing PL-259 connectors on RG-8X coax

using a unique method that made me wonder why I hadn't thought of it myself. I have

been using this procedure ever since obtaining good sound mechanical and electrical

connections without ever experiencing a failure of any kind. A good thing should be

passed along so here's how it's done.

To begin, let me state that I normally always use silver plated connectors and reducers.

They are so much easier to solider to than the slightly less expensive nickel-plated

connectors. However, if you are using a reducer that is not silver-plated you will need to

tin the end of the reducer prior to installing the cable. To do this use a fine cut file or on

a piece of fine emery paper to remove the plating on the end of the reducer (Figure 2)

until you can see the bright brass exposed. Next using a large soldering iron tin the end

of the reducer where the plating had been removed (Figure 3). Apply just a light flash of

solider on this surface. Don't pile it on as it may run down the inside of the reducer and

make a mess of things.

Prepare the cable by removing the outer jacket and shield as shown below in (Figure 4)

(Note: The " dimension shown for the shield's length is approximate. It can be longer

as it will be trimmed later during the installation.)

Slip the prepared cable into the reducer so that the end of the outer jacket is even with

the reducer's end. Next, fold the braid over the end of the reducer so that the strands

are at a right angle (90) or more (Figure 5).

Figure 4 - Coax cable preparation. The " braid length is approximate and can be longer - it will be

trimmed later.

Figure 5 - Folding the shield braid strands over the end of the reducer



Note it is very important when soldering connectors onto coaxial cables to use a

LARGE SOLDERING IRON - at least 100 -150 watts or better. If you use a small pencil

type soldering iron or a soldering gun - even a high wattage type - there simply is not

enough mass in the soldering tip to do the job correctly. The idea is to make the solder

joint as fast as possible and get away from the connector quickly before the whole thing

gets too hot and ruins the cable. You should not allow the soldering iron contact with the

connector for more than 2-4 seconds. If your soldering iron is of sufficient size the short

time will not be a problem. If you can not get the solder to flow in that length of time then

that's an indication that the iron is not big enough for the job.


At this point I place the coax/reducer assembly into a small tabletop vise so that they

are held firmly in a vertical position. Carefully place the tip of soldering iron on the braid

(Figure 6). Be careful that you do not allow the tip of the soldering iron to touch and

damage the cable's plastic dielectric. The trick is to keep the tip of the soldering iron

about 1/8" away from the dielectric and let the solder wick up the braid and fuse to the

reducer. Don't pile the solder on. It takes very little solder to make a sound connection.

Also, don't try to solder the entire surface at once. I solder about 20-30% of the area, let

things cool a bit and then solder another section repeating this until I have the

completely bonded the braid to the reducer all the

way around.

Allow the assembly to cool and then inspect the dielectric to be sure there isn't any

visible damage. If you see that you have accidentally melted or damaged the dielectric

just stop at that point; remove the reducer and start over.

Using a sharp flush-cutting diagonal cutter (or heavy-duty cuticle scissors) cut off the

remaining excess braid around the reducer (Figure 7). After removing the excess braid I

use a small fine cut file to do a final touch-up removing any jagged rough spots.

Next cut and remove the dielectric insulation leaving a portion that extends about 1/32"

to 1/16" beyond the end of the reducer as shown in Figure 8. If the coax has a stranded

center conductor it should be tinned at this time. Screw the reducer and cable assembly

into the PL-259 and tighten well.

Continue by soldering the center conductor to the PL-259's pin in the conventional

manner, trimming off the excess conductor and cleaning any flux residue from the pin.

Finally, solder one of the holes in the connector body to assure that the reducer will stay

put. I have found that without this important last step, in time, the reducer will loosen.


Using this technique I have no doubt that I have a good electrical and mechanical

connection as 100% of the braid is now soldered and bonded rather that just a few


There is concern by some that soldering the braid to the reducer in this manner may

damage the cable. While that possibility exists, this method allows you to visually

inspect the dielectric for any possible damage prior to installing the reducer/coax

assembly into the connector body - something you can't do using the conventional

method. I have been using this method for a number of years and I have never had a

problem or failure.

Figure 7 - Trimming off excess braid after soldering.


Figure 8 - Coax and reducer ready for final assembly.


Professional installers who have access to specialized tools such as industrial

resistance-soldering stations may have better methods utilizing those tools, but for the

average Joe Ham (me) who is using a knife, diagonal cutters and soldering iron (of the

proper size) this procedure works very well. Try it yourself and see what you think.


Additional PL-259 Installation Options

 How to soldier UHF PL-259 to RG8x Coax Cable ( traditional )

 How to soldier UHF PL-259 to RG8x Coax Cable No. 2

PL-259 Installation Made Easy for RG213

Superior PL-259 installation SHORT Quick and Easy LMR-400





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