Monday, July 28, 2014

Choosing the right Ham Radio Coax

 

The times, they are a changin..

Been thinking about reconfiguring my Ham radio station here, and deciding on whether or not it is time to start replacing some of the old RG8 coax I have been using. Giving it a visual inspection I can see that the outer shield looks to be in good shape with no breaks or cuts. Testing it on the MFJ Analyzer also show that my Ham Radio Coax seems to be fine. That doesn't mean that it will be fine a year from now

Which type is right for me.

When deciding on which type of coax you should use, it always helps to do a little research before spending your hard earned money. Coax types like LMR 400 or RG213 are great choices for longer runs of Ham radio coax over 100 feet, or when you want to or plan to run higher power with an amp. These types of Ham Radio Coax have the lowest loss. They are also the most common in Commercial radio stations up to 300 MHZ.
For most Ham radio stations that run 100 watts or less, RG8 works perfectly well for ham radio Coax in runs of 100 feet or less. Whatever you decide make sure that the coax has a 50 Ohm impedance to match your transceiver. If you plan on using an high power amp then go with RG213 or LMR 400. If not use RG8.

Pro's and Cons.


Ok, so you made a list of the equipment you want to use in your station, distances between the radio and antenna, and the power levels you want to use either now, or in the future. So which one should you choose.

RG213

When used for ham radio coax RG213 is an excellent choice for the HF Bands. It will handle higher power levels with little loss. It is also less expensive than LMR400.

  • Higher Power (More than 100W)
  • Great for longer runs between Radio And Antenna
  • Inexpensive

LMR400

This is THE choice for serious DX stations as well as Commercial radio stations under 300 MHZ. LMR 400 is used by the Military and other government agencies. It has the Lowest loss of any Ham radio Coax. It is also one of the most expensive. It will handle power levels up to 5 KiloWatts (WOW!) and has minimal loss on longer runs between the Radio and Antenna.

  • Handles High Power
  • Best choice for longer runs of Coax
  • Very Expensive

RG-8
RG-8 is the best choice for Ham Radio Coax on the market. It is the least expensive of the group and is adequate at 100 watts or less for Ham Radio And CB coax. It will have a little more loss than the other but still minimal. The 50 Ohm impedance matches most modern transceivers and CB radios.

  • Least expensive COAX available for Ham and CB
  • Good for short runs between Radio and Antenna
  • Has most loss out of ALL coax available

So their you have it. Out of all the coax types that are available for Ham Radio Coax, the top choices are LMR 400 and RG213 for high power use and longer runs, and RG-8 for basic ham Radio Coax.

Thanks for reading, and see you on the air.