PL-259 Assembly Instructions

Conquering the PL-259
Walt Stinson,W0CP

New year's resolutions for hams.... Among the ones I've heard recently is "l will always solder the braid to the PL-259." That got me to thinking about what a hassle it is working with coax and PL-259's (not to mention hardline and N-connectors!).
Well, many years ago after consulting with Mr. Murphy, I made that same resolution. I faithfully followed the instructions for assembly of connectors in the Handbook. I remember using the tip of a nail to unravel the braid and trimming it with scissors.
Two moods would fall over me after a session of soldering 259's: Self righteousness, for I was truly entering the ranks of the deserving; and klutziness, because about half the time l would have to cut of the end I was working on and start all over again. Sometimes, I'd forget to slip on the fitting cover. Other times  I'd have an intermittant after a couple of years.
Finally, after years of trial and error. I devised a fast and foolproof method of assembling the little buggers. If you follow my prescription, I assure you that you too will enter the ranks of the deserving (of course you will also need an antenna).
Gather up the following tools: (Buy these tools, if you don't have them!!)
Weller D550 240/325 watt soldering gun or Weller SP-120 soldering iron
1" adjustable pipe cutter (Rigid No. 104, available at hardware stores)
Tape measure with sixteenth inch scale
Razor blade style cutting tool
Triple core 60/40 solder, .047" diameter
Black felt tip pen
Household style pliers
Vise (pana vise)
Here are the steps: (POST THIS BY YOUR WORKBENCH)
1. Using the razor, cut off 1-1/8" of insulation.
2. Put the Weller on high and tin the braid
3. Measure 13/16" from the end of the coax and mark it with the pen.
4. Using the pipe cutter, cut through tinned braid and insulation at the mark (don't cut the center conductor!
5. Twist off the braid/insulation & tin the exposed center conductor.
6. Slip on the coax fitting sleeve!!!
7. Screw the coax connector onto the coax using the pliers until the center conductor reaches the tip of the fitting.
8. Secure coax in vise. Heat a hole in the coax fitting. Apply solder through the hole, melting it into braid.
9. Apply solder through all holes. Keep fitting hot but work quickly to avoid melting coax center insulation. Cool with water when done. Don't flex while coax is hot, allow time to cool in vise before flexing.
10. Solder the tip of the fitting and check continuity.
Since I have been using this method I have not had one intermittent problem. Moreover, my coax once got caught as I was raising my motorized crank up and the cable just about tore the tri-bander off of the tower! Fortunately the coax was connected to a balun and a remote switch. The females were ripped out of both of these but my cable was unscathed. This proves another of Murphy's laws - solving one problem simply reveals another.

[This appeared in the February 1999 edition of B. A. R. C's Bark", the newsletter of the Boulder Amateur Radio Club, and has also appeared in several other newsletters around the country. Permission to reproduce with credit is granted.]

(PL-259 Assembly Instructions)

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