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Making Your Own CB Antenna Cable
So if you've read anything on CB antennas, I'm sure you've read about using 18' of coax. However running 18' of coax in a Jeep isn't exactly easy, especially since you can't just coil up the extra. I don't want to start up the 18' of coax myth debate, all I know is that I cut my coax to length, which I know is not 18', and my SWR is perfectly acceptable. I'm not going to try and explain the 18' coax cable myth either.
Also note that you can buy coax by the foot, and the connectors are cheap as well, so it will save you some money to make your own coax cable. This is also handy if you need to run the coax through a grommet or small hole, then you can solder a new end on after running the line.
You'll need some solder type PL-259 connectors (do not buy the crimp type), 50-Ohm RG58 Coax in the correct length for your application, and depending on the vendor of the PL-259 connectors, you may need RG58 adapters for the PL-259s. In the picture below the piece on the far left was a separate piece for me, that's a RG58 adapter for the PL-259, sometimes that piece comes with the PL-259. The other two pieces on the right, come together.
PL259 Connector
When you strip the coax you have to be very careful not to cut through the metallic shielding.
Stripping COAX for CB Antenna Cable
To start strip 1.5" - 2" of just the outer jacket off. Typically I use a razor blade for this, and carefully just cut the outer jacket. As mentioned before do not cut the metallic shield. If you do knick the metallic shield don't worry to much, but try not to do this. Now you need to slide the very out piece of the PL-259 on the cable, and the RG58 adapter onto the coax. You want the RG58 adapter to stop right where the mettalic shield starts to be exposed.
Install PL259 Connector Parts for Soldering
Next fold the metallic shielding down over top the RG58 connector. You can trim it some if necessary, but try to leave as much of it as possible.
Fold down shiedling
Now using the center piece of the PL-259 connector as a gauge, trim the center insulator to length:
Trim to length
Slide the center part of the PL-259 on to the RG58 adapter, and screw them together.
Screw PL259 Together
Now trim the center core to length. Then solder the shielding to the outer part of the PL-259 through the windows in the connector, and then also drop solder into the tip of the PL-259.
Solder PL259 at points marked
Once you are done, use an ohm meter to test the cable. I discuss checking the cable with an ohm-meter in my CB Tuning Writeup.
© Copyright 2006 - 2024 Mike Lee