Welcome to my Hardline page...



THIS HOME PAGE IS TO HELP THOSE THAT HAVE ASK ME TO EXPLAIN HOW TO INSTALL HARDLINE CONNECTORS FOR AMATEUR USE. I WILL ALSO EXPAND THIS PAGE TO COVER HARDLINE INSTALLATION ON TOWERS FOR AMATEUR USE. TO HELP IN THE NEAR FUTURE I WILL HAVE THUMB NAILS THAT WHEN CLICKED WILL LOAD HIGHER RESOLUTION IMAGES BUT ALLOW THE MAIN PAGE TO LOAD VERY QUICKLY...

THIS IS FOR AMATEUR RADIO USE ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS AN EXAMPLE FOR INSTALLATIONS ON COMMERCIAL OR MILITARY PROJECTS. THESE INSTRUCTION ARE FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF AMATEUR RADIO AND DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OR INSTRUCTIONS OF ANDREWS OR ANY OTHER COMPANY MENTIONED IN THIS PAGE..... So much for the disclaimer .... now on to having Fun!!!


It really does not matter about the size hardline most connectors install similarly. Proper tools are a must, but you do not have to go out and purchase them from Andrews or Cablewave. Other than the adjustable wrenches most of the tools you have at home. You will need a builders knife or sharp pocket knife, a hacksaw with fine blade, tin snips, aircraft straight blade is best but old heavy tin snips will work. A pair of pliers and straight blade screw driver, or box wrench. A large enough set of adjustable wrenches and a multimeter.


First a word of Caution:


You can cut yourself badly with either the knives, hacksaw, or sharp edges of the copper. It is very important to work carefully and slowly. It never hurts to have a first aid kit near by during all tower jobs.

With the safety warning out of the way I will explain the types of connectors we will be using.


Andrew's 1 5/8" Connectors:


Andrews make many types of connectors for foam core, air core, and elliptical hardline. I will be focusing on foam core as this is what I am able to supply. Basically you will run across connectors that look alike, and for the most part are. However once the outer shell is removed by unscrewing counter clockwise, you will find the compression sleeve. Slide this off the end of the hardline with firm pressure. Be careful not to cut yourself on the copper end. Remove the O-ring and place all parts in a safe place. You are now left with the center conductor adaptor.


STOP and READ THIS FIRST before proceeding.


Andrews makes two types of center conductor adaptors. They are removed differently and if done improperly will ruin the adaptor. Look at the adaptor ... does it have a hole drilled in it or a wrench shoulder? If it has a wrench shoulder you remove it by screwing it out counter clockwise. If it has a hole drilled in it this is a two part adaptor. You remove it by inserting a hardened rod or punch and screwing it clock wise. Like you were screwing it in!!! This piece is reverse treaded to exert pressure on the inner adaptor without screwing it (the inner adaptor) further in. You will snap the treaded part off in the inner adaptor if you try to remove it with a counter clockwise rotation. Once the outer adaptor is off pry up the copper ears and with a screw driver remove the inner adaptor by turning counter clockwise.

You now have the connector completely removed. Carefully clean it and place it in a safe place. These connectors retail for $250.00+ from Andrews.

First lets review the parts of the connector:

1. the outer shell
2. the fingered compression inner shell
3. the center conductor adaptor (may be a single or two part adaptor)
4. the center pin adaptor with Teflon insulator
5. two rubber O-rings

The installation of the connector is a fast process if you have prepared the hardline well. I will give the following instructions in my favorite manor .... cook book style.

Step 1.

Begin by cutting the hardline square across the end. It is not as important as the second cut will be but it makes it easier and looks better. This is easy with a hacksaw or miter saw. As you cut proceed slowly. Both the hacksaw and power miter saw can make a mess if you cut too fast.

I always try to make my cuts a half inch longer than needed. This will allow for small mistakes. Once the first cut has been made inspect the inside of the inner connector. If it is dull you will need to dress it up in a minute. If it is corroded badly you need to make a second cut about 3 inches further in. Do this until you either have clean fresh copper or no corrosion.

Step 2.

Count down the valleys on the hardline cover and make a cut in the 8th valley from the end with your builders knife or pocket knife. This cut does not have to go to the metal. Make the cuts meet each other and then from this line make a cut toward the end of the hard line. At the edge make the cut to the copper. You can now insert your knife between the copper and the plastic cover and peel open the plastic cover. You should now have copper exposed at least 8 valleys from the end.

Step 3.

Slide the fingered compression adaptor over the copper on the hardline until there is one or two ridges exposed. Slide the base on first which places the fingers at the cut end side. I now place a stainless steel hose clamp over the fingers and tighten until the fingered adaptor is hard to turn. This will provide you with a cutting guide for your second cut.

Step 4.

Now with your hacksaw cut thru the copper using the fingered adaptor as your saw guide. BE VERY CAREFUL not the cut the center conductor as you cut thru the outer conductor. You will have to make a cut thru the outer conductor from all sides. You can now peel off the outer copper ring. When finished loosen and remove the hose clamp and slide the fingered adaptor off the hardline. Clean off any copper fragments or shavings from the previous cut.

Step 5.

Now take your knife and cut off the plastic/Teflon foam insulation. It is important to not leave the plastic/foam coating on the exposed copper. It is important to remove the plastic/foam from the copper the help tighten it in a few minutes. Also make a 1/8" grooved cut in the foam around the hardline end. This will allow the connector compression groove to tighten on the inner side of the outer hardline side wall.

Step 6.

Now re-inspect the center conductor for corrosion again like in Step one. If it is only tarnished use a "New" auto car battery terminal cleaning brush to shine the inside. It is this surface that will make contact with the inner adaptor. After cleaning this location I add an antioxidant like Nolox to make the best possible contact.

Step 7.

You should have about 3/8" to 1/2" of center conductor available. Now take a pair of tin snips and make an inverted-V cut on the center conductor. Leave from 3/8" to 1/2" of copper exposed on the center conductor. If all cuts were made correctly then you have made the last cut for this connector.

Step 8.

Now insert the center conductor adaptor into the center conductor.

If this is a two part adaptor you will screw in the first part clock wise. Now crimp the inverted copper V's over the center adaptor, and insert the outer adaptor by turning "Counter Clock Wise". This is very important ... as turning the wrong way will loosen to connection. The introduction of the single center piece conductor adaptor decreased the time for installation as well as the chance to damage the unit. This unit does not require as much center conductor being left in Step 7. I generally leave about 1/4" when using the one piece adaptors. The length of the center conductor insures that there will be adequate length for the center pin adaptor to make good contact to the hardline. Tighten the center one-piece connector down until you meet resistance. You need it firm but not enough to work loose or stretch the ribs in the center conductor.

Step 9.

You now need to slide the larger O-ring (usually white in color) over the outer copper conductor to the 7th rib. Now reinstall the fingered adaptor slowly. It should slide up on the O-ring before the fingers seat in the last (end) copper groove. This provides a seal from moisture. Make sure the smaller O-ring is on the outer ridge of the fingered adaptor and in good shape. This seals the outer and inner shells of the connector from moisture. Clean and inspect the work so far and if in good shape proceed.

Step 10.

Now find the center pin connector and plastic/Teflon insulator. It is important to inspect this part for loose solder joint, cracks or broken fingers, and corrosion. Clean the part and I preinstall it in the outer shell. Make sure that it is well seated and verify that the center pin of the N-connector is far enough out to make good contact. Now screw the outer half down over the fingered half. Watch to make sure that the fingered adaptor stays in its current position and tighten until the connector is hand tight. You should feel resistance when you try to turn the connector.

Step 11.

Take the two adjustable wrenches and tighten down on the connector. You want to tighten hard enough the cause the outer connector half to compress the outer copper of the hardline against the compression ridge inside the connector. But not enough to allow the wrenches to spin on the connector. This will not hurt the connector but it looks bad. On some of the connectors you see where the previous installation slipped.

The connector should not turn on the hardline. If it does something did not tighten up enough. Take the connector off and reinstall it to make good connections. If it is loose now a good connection will never be possible, and with time it will only get worse.

Step 12.

Assuming that all is good ... take a Volt/Ohm meter and check for good connection from center pin to center pin. Do the same for outer cover to outer cover. Check for shorts across the center pin and outer cover on both ends. If you have access to an antenna analyzer attach a 50 ohm load on one end and look up the line for the SWR. It should be no more than the load on the other end.

Step 13.

Now for the most important part .... weather proofing your connector. All connectors that I install will be taped in the following way. I usually suggest you purchase 1 roll of 3M 33+ or 88+ tape for each run. I have been accused of being tape happy ... but who wants to climb a 100+ foot tower in January to check on a hardline connector that is acting up?

I start 2"-3" below the connector on the hardline and tape up toward the connector. I over lap each previous run by at least 50%. Place a little stretch in the tape as you go. This will help assure that the seal will not stretch out over time. Tape over the gap and on up the connector. If you cut too much insulation off in step 2 you will have a harder time sealing the union between the connector and hardline. This is not bad ... just takes more tape. I then retrace my run traveling back across the previous tape and 1/2" below the start of the first run. Do not stretch the tape until it breaks, but always cut it. Stretching ruins the adhesive on the tape and it will fail faster.

As a protective measure I always tape up the N-connector and if it is to be shipped I tape a cover over the connector. This is good protection while the hardline is pulled up the tower.

Step 14.

Final weather proofing is your responsibility ... Do it well. You have a lot of fine feed line to try to cut corners here. Well I'm sure you were wondering how you could use 1/2 roll of tape above. Here is how. Now that you have the joint sealed you need to think ahead. You can apply a seal now but if you ever need to remove the connector you will spend hours cleaning it up. Pre-taping the connector will allow you to remove the sealer easily without a mess. You need to start taping from a location about 1/2" from the top of the connector to a location 4" below the connector. This provides a barrier from the sealer and the hardline. The sealer will provide a non-hardening, soft, seal that if done right will guarantee no water penetration. Some of the connectors I remove are as dry as the day installed. Others still have water trapped in them. Probably why the hardline was removed in the first place.

If you can add your jumper for the antennas do so now and tape them up. Remember to tape over the top of the connector so it will not stick to sealer in the next step. Tape from the jumper side down to the connector top. Tape across the top of the connector to the 1/2"of open space on the connector left open earlier. Now tape from there toward the jumper. Do this the best you can it is primarily there to keep the sealer from sticking to the feedline.

Once this layer is installed apply a butyl sealer wrap like Decibel Vapor Seal. I am sure there are others but I use this as it is what I was suggested when I started. I buy the 50' roll 3" wide. Cut 3 - 12"long pieces and install the first 1" - 2" above the connector on the jumper. This should be long enough to reach 1" - 2" below the bottom of the connector. It is very easy to work with and in warm weather will hold itself on the hardline. Add the second strip over loping the first. Add the third piece and now work the three pieces into one by mashing and working the margins together.

Now starting at the bottom tape up the connector to a point 2" above the end of the sealer. Remember to stretch the tape slightly as you go. Now tape 1" above the end of the previous tape ending and retape to a point 1" below the last of the tape below the connector. Remember it's not to look good ... it's to keep water out. Now as you have stretched all the other tape the last 3 turns should be applied without stretch. This will keep them from trying to pull free when they get hot in the summer sun. I now paint the whole seal with a tape sealer like Scotch Coat by 3M. This melts the tape into a solid seal.

You now have completed your hardline connector installation. Now you see why it takes a LOT of tape. I try to inspect my hard line once a year. You can tape over the last if needed. But if need be you car remove the last layer and redo and seal very easily. I have not had to reseal or retape any of mine yet in 2 years!!!

I hope this helps you with the installation of your station and I will be happy to answer any questions that I can if you will e-mail me below. Good luck and climb safely!!!

kd4wiw@ipass.net


Cablewave's 1 5/8" Connectors:


Step 1.

Begin by cutting the hardline square across the end. It is important, as the second cut is the final cut. better. This is easy with a hacksaw or miter saw. As you cut proceed slowly. Both the hacksaw and power miter saw can make a mess if you cut too fast.

Once the first cut has been made inspect the inside of the inner connector. If it is dull you will need to dress it up in a minute. If it is corroded badly you need to make a second cut about 3 inches further in. Do this until you either have clean fresh copper or no corrosion.

Step 2.

Count down the valleys on the hardline cover and make a cut on the 3rd or 4th ridge from the end with your builders knife or pocket knife. This cut does not have to go to the metal. Make the cuts meet each other and then from this line make a cut toward the end of the hardline. At the edge make the cut to the copper. You can now insert your knife between the copper and the plastic cover and peel open the plastic cover. You should now have copper exposed at least 3 valleys from the end.

Step 3.

Slide the base compression adaptor over the copper over the hardline until it slides past the copper ribs. Slide the base on first which places the threaded end at the cut end side. Now find the split rings and look at them. You notice that there is a larger flat side and a smaller side that seems to be shorter to the end. The wider side is now installed so that it is at the end of the cable end. It should fit the cable and when the other side and locking snap ring are installed will provide your guide to cut the hardline. Place it in the 3rd grove to cut the 4th ridge (from the plastic).

Step 4.

Now with your hacksaw cut thru the copper using the split rings as your saw guide. When finished loosen and remove the split rings and clamp band. Clean off any copper fragments or shavings from the previous cut.

Step 5.

Now take your knife and cut an 1/8" grooved cut in the foam around the hardline end. This will allow the connector compression groove to tighten on the inner side of the outer hardline side wall.

Step 6.

Now re-inspect the center conductor for corrosion again like in Step one. If it is only tarnished use a "New" auto car battery terminal cleaning brush to shine the inside. It is this surface that will make contact with the inner adaptor. After cleaning this location I add an antioxidant like Nolox to make the best possible contact.

Step 7.

Now insert the center conductor adaptor into the center conductor. Tighten the center one-piece connector down until you meet resistance. You need it firm but not enough to work loose or stretch the ribs in the center conductor. Now insert an allen wrench and tighten the screw until you have it tight enough to secure the center conductor.

Step 8.

You now need to slide the larger o-ring (usually orange in color) over the outer copper conductor to the 3rd valley. Now reinstall the split adaptor and the retaining ring. This provides a seal from moisture.

Step 9.

Now find the center pin connector/connector end and check all components. It is important to inspect this part for loose joint, cracks or broken center pin, and corrosion. Clean the part and make sure that it is well seated. Now screw the lower adaptor in tightly avoiding damage to the o-ring on the top part. Tighten until the connector is hand tight. You should feel resistance when you try to turn the connector.

Step 10.

Take the two adjustable wrenches and tighten down on the connector. You want to tighten hard enough the cause the outer connector half to compress the outer copper of the hardline against the compression ridge inside the connector. But not enough to allow the wrenches to spin on the connector. This will not hurt the connector but it looks bad. On some of the connectors you see where the previous installation slipped.

The connector should not turn on the hardline. If it does something did not tighten up enough. Take the connector off and reinstall it to make good connections. If it is loose now a good connection will never be possible, and with time it will only get worse.

Step 11.

Assuming that all is good ... take a Volt/Ohm meter and check for good connection from center pin to center pin. Do the same for outer cover to outer cover. Check for shorts across the center pin and outer cover on both ends. If you have access to an antenna analyzer attach 50 ohm load on one end and look up the line for the SWR. It should be no more than the load on the other end.

Now tape the connector as above in the Andrews Connector Instructions.

Thank you for dropping by ... Hope this has helped a little in the installation of the 1 5/8" hardline connectors. For more information contact Andrews


or Cablewave


Simply click on the icons you desire.

If I can answer any questions or help with connectors for your project let me know. I can be reached at my email address below:

Stephen Vinson - KD4WIW kd4wiw@ipass.net

Coming Soon: 7/8" and 1 1/4" Connectors...

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- My Hardline Connector Installation Page
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- My Tower Equipment Page
- My Tower Construction Page
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