Setting up your Radio Station.
Setting up a radio station whether it be CB or Ham can be a fun task. Next to the antenna the biggest consideration should be the type of Ham Radio coax that you use to feed the signal from the radio to the Antenna system. If you go with low budget coaxial your signal quality can and will suffer. Using old coax with dried out outer shield or dielectric can cause a tremendous signal loss. On higher power Ham radio gear of 100 watts this will not be as noticeable as a low power 5 watt CB transceiver.
Huh, signal loss ?
Yep, signal loss. As your transmitted signal travels through the coax to the antenna, any breaks or dried out coax can not only cause signal loss but will also increase the SWR. At lower power levels this makes a big difference in being able to reach and maintain consistent signal quality.
What different types of COAX are there ?
The most common type of coax that is available on the market is RG-8 Coax. This type of COAX works really well and will withstand weather conditions and abuse. Although it is not the lowest loss coax that is available, it is perfectly adequate for HF signals below 30 MHZ. This Also includes Citizens Band radios. RG8 Is also better than the smaller RG58 coax. It has a 50 Ohm impedance to match the output of most radios that are on the market.
RG8X is a smaller version of RG8 coax that is easier to work with. RG8X is fine for small runs up to about 20ft or less. If you need more then you should go with the bigger RG-8. RG8 will also handle higher power levels than RG-8X coax.
What about the more expensive coax like LMR 400.
LMR 400 is an excellent choice with very little signal loss. Even with runs over 100 ft LMR 400 will not have any noticeable loss on the HF and VHF ham radio or commercial bands. It is also a great choice for Ham Radio Coax that will easily handle the higher power levels used for HF and VHF transmissions up to 1500 (1.5KW). It is a very popular choice and used more by successful ham radio contest stations.
When you finally do decide to setup a radio station or are reconfiguring your current setup, be sure to take a good look at the ham radio coax you are using. If the outer case is dry or brittle or the inner dielectric is dried out then it may be time to consider changing your ham radio coax to something newer. For lower power levels (100 Watts or Lower) RG8 or RG8X will work fine. You Can use LMR400 as well, but will not notice any difference on the signal. If you use a high power amp that generates over 100 Watts then it may be time to consider upgrading to one of the low loss coax assemblies like LMR 400, which can be found at Amateur Radio supplies under $115 dollars.
For Pre-Assembled COAX Be sure to Check out Amateur Radio Supplies. And be sure to use Coupon Code 73 for and additional 10% savings on ALL products. Free Shipping on orders over $150.
Have fun and see you on the Air