Connectors – N vs. PL259

Recently I specified some cables and connectors for an antenna system we are putting together at work. I stumbled across this…

http://www.eham.net/articles/5300

There are some good thoughts in there and, quite obviously, some belief systems in place.

For the average ham with max power on HF and something less on bands above 50MHz the following points worth consideration include:

  • N connectors work well from 0-4GHz.
  • PL259 connectors work ok from 0-400MHz.
  • N connectors are better constructed (if you buy the better ones).
  • PL259 connectors might be well constructed (only if you are very careful to buy the good ones).
  • N connectors are more weather resistant than PL259 – neither are weather proof so you should still goop up your connection points outside.
  • Good N or PL259 connectors cost about the same.
  • N and PL259 connectors are equally easy to install (assuming you are not using one of those solder-the-braid kind).
  • Crimps and Clamps are the way to go – no one should be soldering the braid any more.
  • Crimps from Times Microwave captivate the shield between its housing and the crimp shell resulting in the best RF connection of shield to connector possible.
  • If you are not paying at least ten bucks for any connector (includes the connector itself, parts and a piece of adhesive backed heat-shrink) then you are cheap to a fault. By the way, being cheap is just fine if that is your schtick, but please don’t tell anyone being cheap yields a superior anything because you get what you pay for especially with coaxial connectors.
  • Yes crimps require some tools – are you in this hobby or not?


PL259 connectors have their place, but only in amateur circles. All other things being the same there really is no reason to not use N connectors for 160M and up.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.