Adapting PL-259 Coax Connectors to CATV Hard Line Coax Cable
Aluminum jacketed CATV hard line is an excellent feed line for amateur radio use. Designed for transmission of TV signals in the hundreds of MHz range, it is very low loss at HF and VHF use. It is mass produced for the cable TV industry so the cost is low. Since the cable installers don’t want to mess with lengths under a couple of hundred feet, these “short” pieces are often available for free or very low cost.
The problem is that connectors are expensive and often difficult to obtain. Even if the coax is free, the system cost can be very high if new connectors are purchased.
A number of methods of making connectors have appeared on the Internet or in magazine articles. I have not been happy with the complexity and/or cost of using these methods. Several years ago I came across a simple and reliable method on W5UN’s web site. Unfortunately that page does not appear to be online any more.
The basic idea is to use brass tubing to adapt the common PL-259 to the hard line. The first step is to get some 9/16” and 17/32” diameter brass tubing. This is available at hardware and hobby stores. The smaller tubing telescopes into the larger.