Foundations of Amateur Radio - Episode 145 A question that comes up regularly is one about loss, specifically loss in the coax and connectors between your radio and your antenna. The general wisdom is that better coax gives you better results and more connectors is bad. Anything with double joiners, or such like is really bad. So, essentially we've been taught that we should have the shortest coax possible with as few connectors as possible. Pretty fair and reasonable, right? During the week I was introduced to a video made by Jim W6LG. Jim has a YouTube channel going back a couple of years with about a 100 videos. One video is loosely called Jim measures the loss in coax connectors and 100 foot of RG8X. In case you're wondering, 100 foot is 30m and 48cm of coax. I know this because the United States of America despite appearances to the contrary is actually metric, they defined the inch as being 2.54cm back in February of 1964. Other than driving on the wrong side of the road, they're not too strange and they talk on the air, a lot, so there's that. Back to Jim. He rummaged through his bits box, the one you have, the one that every amateur has, and if you don't then you clearly need to spend some time being with an Elmer and learning the ropes. Jim pulled out 30 odd connectors, SO239 and PL259 by the looks of things and daisy chained them all together. Jim has been around the block a few times and he has connectors going back to World War 2, so he really did find the bottom of his box to make his video. Anyway, he rigged up a testing tool to compare a single connector to 30 connectors. Measuring the difference, showing pretty graphs, lines and scales, the whole bit. He even compared 20m to 6m and tested both extensively and even re-did the tests with a kilowatt. Then as icing on the cake, you know the one, with a cherry on top, whipped cream on the side, he did the same test with the 30 odd meters of RG8X coax. I could leave you hanging here and let you go and find Jim's video, but that wouldn't be fair if you're currently in the middle of your commute to work like several people I know, so I'll share the outcome, but if you get the chance, the 5 minutes of your life that you'll spend with Jim are worth every second. So, what was the outcome of Jim's test you ask? Surprisingly, there was no discernible difference between one connector and 30 connectors in-line, not at 14 MHz, not at 50 MHz, not at 50 microvolts and not at 1 kilowatt, about 223 and a half million microvolts. Using RG8X coax, which sits about halfway between RG58 and RG213 in terms off loss, there was however 22% loss at 14 MHz and 40% at 50 MHz. Does make me wonder if it's the coax manufacturers who have been telling us to buy more coax rather than join two bits of coax together with a connector. Might have to do that test myself. Better go and start digging through my bits box. I'm Onno VK6FLAB To listen to the podcast, visit the website: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/ and scroll to the bottom for the latest episode. You can also use your podcast tool of choice and search for my callsign, VK6FLAB, or you can read the book, look for my callsign on your local Amazon store, or visit my author page: http://amazon.com/author/owh If you'd like to participate in discussion about the podcast or about amateur radio, you can visit the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/foundations.itmaze Feel free to get in touch directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on twitter: @VK6FLAB (http://twitter.com/vk6flab/) If you'd like to join the weekly net for new and returning amateurs, check out the details at http://ftroop.vk6.net.