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Old 18-03-2013, 09:56   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: [S]Hamble (Spring and Fall)[/S], Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
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Bewildering Choice of Coax Cable

I apologize to all of you who have already tried to help me with this question.

I am in the process of putting four new antennae on my mast and spreaders, and two more on the rail, so I have to buy a whole mess of coax cable.

Here in the UK, the manufacturers are different and the types of cable available don't always correspond to what we have in the US. I'm having trouble figuring out what to buy.

For my mobile telephone antenna, I have to use foam core .4" cable to have an acceptable amount of attenuation, although I have dug up now more than enough evidence that foam core cable like LMR400 is prone to moisture absorption and problems. I have no choice here, and since the phone antenna is only on the first spreader, it won't be the end of the world if I have to replace it in 5 years. I will be using something called "LBC Extraflex 400", which is similar to LMR400. It has a stranded copper core, an aluminium foil shield, and a silver-plated copper braid. It's pretty expensive -- about 4.80 pounds (or about $7.50) per meter, but I only need 17 meters of it so that's not the end of the world. Gigatronix - Coaxial Connectors, Coaxial Cables Assemblies, Coaxial Cable

For my masthead VHF antenna, I will need about 30 meters or 100 feet of cable. I can't risk any reliability problems so LMR400 is out. I have a choice between three types of cable:

1. RG214, with silver-plated pure copper stranded core and two silver-plated copper braids. It costs an arm and a leg and a testicle, at more than 5 pounds a meter or $8, so $240 just for the cable just for the one antenna. Is it worth it? We all know that silver is nature's best conductor, but does it make such a better cable to be worth triple what copper cables cost? Here it is: Gigatronix - Coaxial Connectors, Coaxial Cables Assemblies, Coaxial Cable

2. RG213, with stranded tinned copper core (so far so good), and copper-coated aluminum (ick) single braid. Will the aluminium braid be impossible to solder? Will it corrode in two years? Why is there only a single braid -- is that a problem? But it is one-third the price of RG214, with the same performance specs. Here it is: Gigatronix - Coaxial Connectors, Coaxial Cables Assemblies, Coaxial Cable

3. Military spec RG213/U. It's all copper. Costs the same as the RG213 (1.35 pounds per meter plus 20% VAT), but I have to buy a 100 meter drum of it.

What do you guys think? I guess the main question is whether the RG214 is so much better that it's worth the massive cost difference compared to regular RG213. Whatever I choose will be used for the masthead VHF antenna, for the spreader-mounted AIS/ ham 2 meter/ ham 70cm antenna, and for the interconnection between my M802 and the tuner.

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