Insight: Use solderless & thread less connectors with caution

Please note, where common favourites of long standing use goes - such as banana plugs and crimped connectors, I’m not condemning their use as items of caution.

Such as those oldie but time tested items are still useful for RF equipment and always have been used appropriately.

Crimped ring connectors - when you want to add an earth, they are solid and as power connectors, no issues as long as your fitting allows room that if one comes loose it can’t cause a short. Whilst there’s many arguments in favour of simply crimping, I still suggest in power and rf use that you insert the wire, solder & crimp as a precaution. You’d be amazed how many SWR and earthing issues got fixed by a solder and crimp combo fitting of connector to cable.

Banana plugs - definitely not on my list of suitable earthing or rf connectors for even improvised testing of driven elements, radials etc. That said, for low power tests such as used for tune up by auto atus and manual atu tuning, you’ll be OK for simple quick fit/swapping of elements. But please, once you’ve tested, use RF safe connectors or anything suitable high current/voltage rated at a push.

Solderless RF connectors - please, in name of your sanity and long term health of radio PA and to avoid lots of mysterious intermittent issues, avoid these like the plague. I’ve yet to see an RF rated example I’d trust and don’t get me started on PL259 examples - they literally are a sick joke on the radio world.

Quick-fit PL259 - if solderless PL259’s are a sick joke at the expense of radio folks sanity, then quick-fit '259 connectors must qualify as malicious. I swear, I’ve never seen more bad/misleading instrument readings than when I’ve had to resort to patch cables with the cursed items on. Do yourself a big favour, if you must use PL259 plugs, learn to assemble and solder them correctly and do it right old-school and avoid solder less examples like you would a known minefield.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-quickfit thread less connectors, for simple quick fit and test interconnects they will suffice, but use proper soldered threaded connectors and bayonet-types like BNC. Alternative worthy threaded types (RF wise) are N (as a 259 alternative that’s actually rated for use above 30mhz) and for compact threaded, SMA and F types. I don’t put much faith in MCX types, but they are better than quick-fit 259’s so they ain’t all bad.

Just think about how many headaches you want to avoid, then ask yourself if quick-fit (QR) type RF connectors and solderless ones are really necessary.

The odds are, you’ll eventually conclude they are a sick joke at best.

I’m sure they have their fans, but I’m a lifetime subscriber to the avoidance ideal.

Talking of dodgy connectors, my other pet hate are mic cables with RJ45’s and those silly flat cables such as interconnects between handset and base on phones with their equally pain mini-RJs. Not worth the grief, if designing gear and choosing connectors - I’d rather have a bulky multi-pin DIN type or D-Plug when you need to account for more than three wire connections. For 3-wire, XLR’s are your robust low voltage DC/Audio friend - there are high voltage rated examples if you need such animals, but generally they are ■■■■■■ robust items, second only to 270° DINs with captive latches.