by Rod Ehrhart – K8AAV

Rule 1: Coaxial connectors are not pipes. RF connector gender is determined by center pin, NOT by their threads.

Coaxial cable connectors have specific designations and their gender is determined by the center pin. In Amateur Radio, the PL-259 is the most popular coaxial cable connector for HF and low VHF antenna systems. The PL-259 is also known as “UHF male” in most of the world, and is an “M male” connector in Japan. It mates to the SO-239, also called UHF female. You can tell them apart because the PL-259 is the male PLug that mates with the jack or female SOcket, the SO-239 connector on equipment and antennas.

Amphenol RF 83-1SP PL-259 Coaxial Connectors 83-1SP

Amphenol RF 83-1SP PL-259 Coaxial Connectors 83-1SP

The PL-259 and SO-239 are great RF power connectors for HF systems. However, for constant impedance and lower loss, Type-N is the coaxial connector used for VHF and UHF transmitting systems, with N male typically mounted on the cable, which mates to the N female on equipment and antennas. Test equipment, metering and receiver cables often use BNC connectors. Very low power and small devices, including hand-held transceivers, use a connector called SMA. Very high power HF, VHF and UHF commercial systems use exceptional low-loss connectors called 7-16 DIN, which are now used in high-end Amateur gear. Satellite and cable TV and HF receive antenna systems use F connectors, also called Type-F. Typically, F male compression connectors installed on RG-6 type cables have a center conductor that is the center pin and the F female connectors on equipment and antennas have a center receptacle. There are many other connectors in the world of RF… too many to mention here.

Rule 2: Never ask for a cable with “end” connectors.

Knowing about Type-N connectors, you can imagine the confusion that is caused when someone refers to a cable assembly having an “end” connector.

“Was that ‘N connector’ or ‘end connector’? What kind of ‘end connector’ do you need?”

The bottom line is cable assemblies aren’t made with “end” connectors. For RF interconnections between pieces of equipment and to antennas, most coaxial cable assemblies are terminated with either PL-259 connectors or Type-N male connectors.

Be sure you know exactly which connectors you need when referring to coaxial cable assemblies. Use proper connector designations and remember that their gender is determined by the center pin.

American Tower Company – tower solutions for virtually any antenna installation.

With a wide range of options, you can use American Tower Company components to build the correct tower for your antenna and site requirements. American Tower makes each section, base, bracket and accessory to exacting tolerances, which ensures a precise, stable installation.

American Tower Company TowerAt the heart of American Tower’s product mix is its acclaimed Amerite Tower Series. The economical and versatile Amerite 25 Series tower system is a popular choice for many Amateur Radio applications. Depending on the antenna wind load, the 25 Series can be used in self-supporting, guyed and bracketed installations. Each tower section is hot-dip galvanized for corrosion resistance and double-bolted to create an extra-secure junction. The sections are made with steel tubing carrying a 50,000 PSI yield strength to meet ASTM 123 standards. The Amerite 25 Series tower sections have a 12.5′ face, with 1.25′ OD tubing legs.

DX Engineering carries American Tower’s 25, 45 and 55 Series Tower Systems. Each series contains its own comprehensive line of tower sections and accessories, including hinged base plates, tapered bases and accessory shelves. You can also purchase pre-packaged tower kits that eliminate a lot of the component-matching questions.

American Tower Company Amerite tower products are fully compatible with their respective ROHN counterparts, which means if the need arises, you have a broader pool of installation and service parts in the future.

Selecting the right tower for your application is critical. Call DX Engineering’s Tech Support Line (800-777-0703) to ensure you choose the right one. Plus, you can use DX Engineering’s straightforward shipping process to get your tower shipped to your site with no headaches or hidden costs.

DX Engineering Tech Support Phone Hours:
8:30 am to 7 pm ET
1230-2300 UTC

See the American Tower Products at

“Screwdriver” multiband mobile antennas have grown in popularity, and QST Magazine took a closer look at the West Mountain Radio TARGETuner Screwdriver Antenna Controller in its September edition.

West Mountain Radio TARGETuner Screwdriver Antenna Controller 58425-1473

You can read the entire article here, but we’ve included a couple nice summaries from author Ward Silver, N0AX, below.

The latest model of the West Mountain Radio TARGETuner automates a number of screwdriver antenna control functions and does so effectively. Transceiver data interface, SWR sensing, and numerous preset memories top the list of useful functions.

The TARGETuner really showed its value during the long road trip to and from the Dayton Hamvention. I put it in AUTO MEMORY mode and really didn’t have to think twice about the antenna afterward. Just change bands on the radio and the antenna follows right along. It was so effective that I forgot and left it on overnight, but the current draw was not enough to drain the battery. Because it was so easy to operate on different frequencies, I made lots of contacts and didn’t have to stop the car except to take care of the operator.

Do you have a West Mountain Radio TARGETuner Screwdriver Antenna Controller, or other “screwdriver” mobile antenna? Tell us what you have and what you think of it below!

QST Magazine has a new review of the Heil Sound PRO 7 Headset in its September 2015 edition.

Heil Sound PRO 7 Headset

We included an excerpt from the PRO 7 review below, but you can read the entire review here.

The Heil Sound PRO 7 is a well made, comfortable, and fine performing headset that includes acoustic background noise attenuation on receive and a cardioid mic pattern. The mic features a boost in response from 2 – 4 kHz, providing crisp articulation.

The PRO 7 is the newest in a line of Heil Sound headsets and other Heil Sound products available at DX Engineering.

Tim, W3YQ, and Tom, A8AZ, demonstrate the proper way to install Cable Grips on Phillystran Guy Line.

Once you see how this done properly, it makes the task much easier to accomplish. Video was shot and edited by Greg Ordy, W8WWV (not DX Engineering).

Transport and storage solutions for Amateur Radio equipment.

NANUK Professional Protective Cases answer the call from Ham Radio operators looking for a safe way to move and store their valuable telecommunications gear. From arctic blasts to scorching desert heat, NANUK’s cases have been tested and proven in the harshest environments on the planet.

NANUK Equipment Cases 940-2005
The cases are designed to meet strict military standards and are virtually indestructible. Each one is made from NANUK’s exclusive NK-7™ high-impact resin, which means they’re extraordinarily strong yet lightweight. A hollow core gasket makes the cases watertight and PowerClaw™ latches ensure the lids stay closed. They also have built in flanges to accept a padlock. In fact, the cases are so durable and secure, NANUK stands behind them with a lifetime guarantee.

NANUK makes its high-quality foam available separately in handy cubes and pre-scored layers to customize the inside of each case. It is easy to create a unique foam insert for the specific contents of any case. Other optional accessories include padded dividers, a shoulder strap and waterproof panel kit, used for keeping the contents dry when the case is open.

Available in dozens of sizes, colors and configurations, NANUK cases can be used for practically any piece of Amateur Radio and EMCOMM gear. They’re also well suited for delicate electronics, cameras, medical equipment, scientific instruments, and hunting accessories. NANUK’s NANO series is ideal for smaller items, like PCBs, computer cards, GPS devices and smartphones. NANUK also offers a line of wheeled cases that are ideal for Amateur Radio Go-Boxes.

DX Engineering offers all of the NANUK Professional Protective Cases. Amateur Radio operators, hobbyists and professionals can select the precise case for their needs at

Are you considering the ACOM 600S Solid State HF/6-Meter Amplifier?

ACOM 600S Solid State HF + 6 Meter Amplifiers 600S
QST Magazine has a great review of the 600S in the August 2015 edition. We have extracted a few lines below, but you can read the entire review on our website.

The ACOM 600S is rugged and well built, yet compact and lightweight. It performed flawlessly during the review period, delivering the promised 600 W or more on all bands. It stayed cool even during extended contest operation. Although the amplifier is made in Bulgaria, sales and service are readily available from US dealers. Factory support was excellent as well; I received fast and useful help when I contacted them via e-mail with questions.

Make sure to visit for our entire line of ACOM products!


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