Crimping and Sealing for a Life Offshore


Mast antennas, like all electrical components, are particularly vulnerable to water intrusion at connectors. In the extreme, corrosion at unions or terminals can damage a transmitter.

  1. A crimping tool with matching dies for N-type connectors is available online from most radio equipment suppliers like Quicksilver Radio.
  2. This N-type connector from Amphenol is more resistant to water intrusion than the industry standard PL259, which needs to be carefully sealed to prevent water intrusion.
  3. A nearly assembled PL259 connector is ready for soldering. When installed properly, these connectors are rarely a source of power loss, but they must be carefully sealed.
  4. To seal external connectors, the connector should be filled with coaxial dielectric grease, taped with self-amalgamating tape (shown here) and then taped again with vinyl electrical tape.
  5. Solderless PL258 connectors are popular among do-it-yourselfers because they are quick to assemble. PS recommends these only for temporary repairs. A coaxial cutter (top) ensures clean, straight cuts.
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.


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