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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For having a very good radio (actually two of them) and a good Digital antenna, my VHF radio has never been as good as I thought it should be. I had it "professionally" installed.

Since both ICOM 502 radios worked poorly, I suspected the antenna. I called Digital and they said unless the cable is abused there is nothing to wear out in the antenna. They suspected the "professionally" soldered connector may be faulty. I used to teach all kinds of soldering and welding and other metal technology processes and fully understand soldering. Went to West Marine to get a new connector to solder on. The guy at WM said there is a new type crimp connector that is actually better than the solder type. I was very skeptical but bought two of them any way.

Just installed the connector and the radio works better than it ever did. I could not even get one weather channel without turning the squelch the whole way down and then it was very scratchy. With the new gold plated brass crimp connector, I now get five weather channels clearly.

BTW, when I pulled gently on my "professionally" installed soldered connector, it fell off in my hand. There was never any solder touching the shielding as required, only a little drop on the end which had worked loose.

For those who are interested, it is a Shakespeare Centerpin PL-259-CP-G Connector. I can highly recommend them to anyone who needs them. I guarantee even the technically challenged can intall one in less than five minutes.
 

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Great tip.Amazes me how many boaters go out with a VHF radio they KNOW is not working well.If the E-gas causes all the problems people think it will this spring-a working VHF is going to be very important.Cell phone coverage is bad on some parts of the bay. Skip
 

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great i need that asap. i used to think i could solder but.... have gone through two solder conn with out success. so easy a caveman can do it....
 

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Bill: Great tip... I was surprised how great those connectors work too... I used one on my old boat and couldn't beleive the difference.

Glad you are back in business.... Mike
 

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I agree those connectors are awesome, installed one a last week and was also amazed. Another great tool is the Shakespeare VHF meter, it's about $45. It will tell you how many watts your VHF is putting out and if you antenna or connections are bad.
 

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I installed one a few weeks ago on a new antenna, so I can't give a direct comparison, but it installed so easy that I was sure I must have been doing something wrong! Four wx channels, w/clarity that rivals my satellite radio.
 

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get the gaff,where did you buy your meter at? thanks.
 

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Thank's for the tip,I buggered mine up on install through my T-top.I will have to get one and try it.
 

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Thanks for calling me and letting me know Bill. My new Digital antenna was waiting for me when I got back from our trip. Going to wax the boat and put the antenna on today. Thanks for the tip!
 

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Sound interesting. Where there any special crimping tools required to make the connection? I've had what I thought was good luck with solder connections throughout the years but it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All you need is wire cutters to cut the cable straight and flush and a pair of pliers to do the crimping. About as simple as it could be and you do not have to wonder if your solder joint is as good as it should be. This connector may give even a better connection than the old soldered ones at their best and certainly is far better than a poorly soldered one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No, Digital is the name of the company that makes a very good VHF antenna, but the connector will work on other VHF antennas. The digital antenna I use is a 4' fibergalss and it has a 4.5 db rating. The Shakespeare 36" SS whips I used to have were only 3 db. A good 8 footer is usually 6 db.
 

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....(Digital) said unless the cable is abused there is nothing to wear out in the antenna.....
Thanks for the info on the connector WB, but I'd need to have a discussion with the Digital Rep about that statement as it applies to my old Shakespeare antenna.....

Many moons ago I had a problem with my VHF radio and learned that the wire which runs up inside the antenna had dislodged from the tip and had fallen down inside the whip. I fished it back to the tip, secured it with some goo, and all has been well ever since.....

Just thought I'd share that tidbit.
 

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Thanks for the great information Wild Bill along with the tool requirements.
 
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