Today’s transceivers are so feature-packed that you can lose yourself in menus and manuals. TR-4 TransceiverOlder, simpler radios like TS-520s, FT-101s, TR-4s and lots of others can still yield a lot of fun for a fraction of the cost of brand new rigs.

Outboard wattmeters, ATUs, frequency counters and antenna switches can add tons of flexibility to the old boat anchors. New add-on DSP audio processors can upgrade the receive quality on any receiver or transceiver and make it seem decades younger.

You can get on the air with an old transceiver and a simple antenna setup, and then upgrade your station as time and funds permit. Don’t just look at the price of new “stuff” and walk away! You have options for getting your station going with lots of bargain equipment that can be made much better so very easily.

Q. What dimensions do I use for crimp style PL-259 connectors?

A. We have a couple of charts that you will find to be very helpful on the types of connectors used with the DXE-UT-KIT-CRIMP. DX Engineering Ultra-Grip Crimp Connector Tools and Tool Kits DXE-UT-KIT-CRIMPOne shows the various dies in detail and has a chart for various types of coax and the connectors to be used. This chart can be found here.

There is also another chart available that shows the trimming specs for the various types of coax and also lists all of the connectors with small pictures of each for reference. This one can be found here.

Additionally, the instruction manual that comes with the kit has all the info that is in the above two charts, plus details on using the crimper. It can be found here.

We hope this will help you out. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact DX Engineering by phone (800-777-0703) or e-mail (

Q: How can I use the 1200 lb Phillystran as a boom strut or mast guy cable and not use those Nicopress crimp things?

A: Phillystran is a “professional” product, and as such, they do not provide complete detailed installation documents. They presume you know what you’re doing, or that you’d hire someone who does.

That said, there’s really no difference in installing clamps on Phillystran.

You should use a minimum of three, and the saddles go on the “live” side, while U-bolts go on the “dead” side. Use end caps on the Phillystran to keep moisture out. This illustration uses rope to make the point of how this sort of termination is completed:

Phillystran end caps

To attach a turnbuckle, you’d use a thimble through the eye of the turnbuckle, wrap the Phillystran around it, and use the three clamps – just like any other termination. Or, four clamps (Note the end cap in the photo below):

Phillystran clamps

Safety first!

Do you have a tech tip you’d like to share with your fellow Hams? Post it below, or on the DX Engineering Facebook page!

Hamvention has a new home for 2017!

Greene County (Ohio) officials today announced that Hamvention 2017 will be held at the Greene County Fairgrounds. The news was first announced by the Xenia Daily Gazette.

On July 29 word broke that Hara Arena was closing and Hamvention would officially move. Hamvention had been held at Hara Arena since 1964, but rumors swirled in recent years about the building’s future.

“We’re happy to hear that Hamvention has a new home in DX Engineering’s home state of Ohio,” said Tim Duffy (K3LR), DX Engineering ‘s Chief Operating Officer and 2015 Dayton Hamvention Amateur of the Year. “Hamvention has been a great show for several decades, and has attracted Ham Radio operators from around the world.

“We congratulate DARA (Dayton Amateur Radio Association) on an excellent choice of venue. We expect that they will produce a 5-star event, and we are excited about a new era of Hamvention at the Greene County Fairgrounds.”

Read more about Hamvention’s move to the Greene County Fairgrounds on

On new equipment and old, we often need to connect a transceiver or other device with a legacy RS-232 serial port to our modern computer that has only USB ports and no serial port.

Here are some choices for those who need that special active Serial Port RS-232 DB9 to USB A Adapter Cable, which are USB version 1.1 and 2.0 compliant. Computer USB 3.0 ports are backwards compliant to these USB 2.0 version cables:

The West Mountain Radio USB to RS232 Radio Interface Cable USB/SER adapter has a DB9M (male), so it may not connect to your device without a gender change adapter.

West Mountain Radio USB to RS232 Radio Interface Cables RT1/DB9This West Mountain Radio USB to RS232 Radio Interface Cable RT1/DB9 adapter comes with a gender changer adapter for any application!

Since it is only 8 inches, the RT Systems Radio Interface and Programming Cable adapter is good only if you already have a serial cable and gender changer adapter, if you need one.

The standard USB connector on almost all desktop and laptops is known as a USB A jack, with the mating plug version of USB A at the end of the cable. To use that shorty adapter, RS-232 cables with male and female DB9 connectors and gender changer adapters are very plentiful from many types of stores. You might even find one in your junk drawer!

By: Rod, K8AAV

Some hams with nice radio tables find that their CW operations tend to move the paddle around a bit. Chasing the paddle during a contest can be aggravating as all heck!

DX Engineering PaddlePads are the perfect way to keep your CW paddle in place. These friction pads are soft, pliable and washable.

DX Engineering PaddlePadsDX Engineering offers PaddlePads in two sizes to accommodate everything from tiny, lightweight paddles to the large, heavy paddles of today and yesteryear. The large pad is about 5-3/4 inches across and 7-1/2 inches deep. The smaller pad is 3-3/4 inches wide and 5-7/8 inches deep. Both pads are about 1/16 of an inch thick!

PaddlePads have many other uses! Use them in your vehicles to keep items on the dash in place. Use them on your boat to keep glasses and mugs where you want them. They’re also super for keeping desktop drop-in radio or cordless-phone chargers from moving about. In fact, you may use them on any relatively flat surface to keep almost anything from sliding!

If you want to keep your CW paddle, straight key or bug from slip-sliding away, then PaddlePads are the elegant solution for you.


With high quality stainless steel alloys, thread galling and cold-welding can make the hardware seize and fail. Although most hams don’t understand why anti-seize is recommended, it is vital to lubricate all stainless steel nuts and bolts.

But don’t just take our word for it. Fastenal® is a major world-supplier of fasteners and associated hardware. This is an excerpt from Fastenal’s website:

“Thread galling is a common, yet seldom understood problem with threaded fasteners. Galling, often referred to as a cold-welding process, can occur when the surfaces of male and female threads are placed under heavy pressure. The frustrating aspect of fastener galling is that galled nuts and bolts may pass all required inspections (threads, material, mechanical, etc.), yet they still fail to function together.”

In precision machined hardware with National Fine threads, like antenna hardware, galling can occur even when finger-tightening nuts and bolts. Once a bit of friction occurs, cold welding will escalate to the point where the hardware will seize. Continued attempts to remove or tighten the hardware will exacerbate the condition, most likely causing the bolt to break.

Jet-Lube Pure Copper Anti-Seize, available from DX Engineering, easily solves galling problems with stainless steel hardware. Not only will the fasteners mate properly, you’ll be able to remove the hardware later without galling and breaking.


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