Why Can't I Solder a PL 259?

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by K7EHT, Oct 12, 2009.

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  1. 2E0WHN

    2E0WHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I too have had problems with PL's. First thing is to "tin" your centre core of your cable. Then put it in and hold the iron to the center on the outside. Let the solder flow in.

    Remember the solder does not flow unless the point that it is touching is hot enough.

    The decent connections are the ones with the brown center. They are bakalite. You get white PVC ones and they melt quicker than a Alaskan in a holiday in middle of a Arozona summer heatwave (As a Brit I know how hot it gets there). Get a variable soldering iron and for he white center ones use a 50W setting quick heat and solder it. Bakalite ones about 30W. Takes longer but the heat should make the connection stick.

    Compression connections are easier to connect as the center is where the solder goes. But the standard ones for the braid you need to solder in spots. Soldering spots around the apature on the side stops you burning through the center isolation and you end up getting a good solder joint where the cable will not move. If you pull the braid through and solder it on make sure you do solder it to the outer part of the connection well enough for it to last.

    If in doubt as the local ham club to put on a demonstration about soldering tips. Basics of radio (or any other hobby) is a good indicator of making you better as a refresher is the best way to keep your "skills" fresh.
  2. WB1HJS

    WB1HJS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Make sure the iron tip is contacting both the inside of the hole and the surface of the shell underneath. Both surfaces have to be hot or it's not going to work. That for me is the tricky part -- especially with a large iron tip, where you can just get one corner of the tip through the hole, and even with lots of "horsepower", you'll have to hold it there to get the assembly hot enough to melt and flow, while probing it with the solder to see when it gets there.
  3. K7EHT

    K7EHT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you everyone! I'm going to go out and give it another go today. Those YouTube vids make it look so darn easy :eek: Proof to me that my problem is one of technique rather than equipment. It is possible though, that my 150/400W gun is not what I thought it was. I read some reviews online and the consensus was, "junk, get a Weller instead". So off to Sears I go for a return and search of a Weller.

    Also, I believe I did get some decent connectors from Ham City:

    I've got one more left to ruin, then I'm throwing in the towel for now. If I wreck another one, I might "give up" and go down to a local commercial radio shop. The guy there said he'd show me how to do it.

    Got to go, the morning net is starting :D
  4. 2E0WHN

    2E0WHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Get a better one than that. Those melt. Better off spending some more money on the decent ones than ones that melt and go all rubbish.

    The white ones like this melt due to too much heat for too long


    Better off getting these as they do not melt as much or are harder to melt from heat.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  5. KF7EFX

    KF7EFX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not a bad idea--I have been using spit!! :eek:
  6. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    K-Y Jelly works well too. (Oh, nother subject).

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  7. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't solder the shields when using the adapters for RG-8X or RG-58. If you prepare the shield correctly, the adapter makes a very nice compression fit. I also avoid using the smaller coax outside. If weatherproofing is needed, I use a little RTV sealant to really weatherproof things. Two layers of cheap electrician's tape, applied with care to ensure it will tighten, not loosen the connector, and a spray of acrylic paint will keep it dry for years. As an alternative you can apply water-repellent grease over the tape.
  8. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    My only advice is try and solder silver plated connectors with Teflon insulators. Some connectors are nickel plated which has to be heated to a higher temperature in order to take solder so I avoid those. The worst ones are plated with "mystery metal", definitely avoid those! :p

    I also use 63/37 tin lead solder which helps quite a bit. ;)

    For the smaller cables I use a crimping tool and crimp connectors.


  9. K8MCN

    K8MCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh, reminds me of Grandma's house when i was a kid, get up in the morning to the aroma of fresh baked biscuits, loaded with butter and a wallop of KY (Kentucky) jelly---not a lot of flavor but they slide right down:p
  10. KJ4GXU

    KJ4GXU Ham Member QRZ Page

    My solution to soldering on PL-259s is to use crimp on instead.

    Seriously I get the solder on to work about 90 percent of the time but it's a considerable amount of work compared to a crimp on connector and I've never messed up a crimp on and had equal performance out of them. Prices are comparable too.

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