Antenna Tech / Technical Articles

Building an Antenna Adapter Collection and Keeping Track of It

When I first became an amateur radio operator, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take within the hobby. Not yet knowing where my interests lay or what I wanted to look for at ham fests and other random parts stores, I felt a bit left out of the excitement of the hunt.  

While wandering around at one particular show, I saw a cute antenna adapter set in a nice, organized case. “Wow, that is neat,” I thought. Then I picked it up and looked at the price. $125?!! What do you mean, a few pieces of metal cost $125? My first search mission was formed. It was a good one for a couple reasons:

  1. No matter where the hobby took me, I would probably need antenna adapters at different points along the way. So, the search had a purpose.
  2. In terms of equipment, this one wasn’t going to break the bank. Yes, some of the bigger connectors can cost quite a bit more, but it wasn’t like buying a family of radios, where you are only missing one and go a bit wild looking for it (foreshadowing of a possible different subject intended).

Thus began my antenna adapter collection. Shortly after I started purchasing adapters, I realized how difficult it was to keep track of what I already found. At this point, I started writing them down in a list form, and that method worked well for a while. Then it began to take too long searching the list when verifying which adapters I had. It was time to find a new way to sort.

The picture above is a quick and dirty chart that I came up with. I update it often and keep a copy with me. This chart isn’t perfect. For example, I can’t think of the last time I used a type-F connector, if ever. But I was trying to be thorough, and a lot of those existed on the market. I eventually figured out that I also left an entire category out: mini-UHF. At the time, I had never heard of them. I have also discovered that some of the connectors simply don’t exist. I’m not sure if that is because it would be illogical or there just was never a need for that particular combination.

As time progressed in my amateur radio journey, I found what my niches were and changed focus to those areas. I fell away from wanting to own all the adapters in existence. I had built a pretty good collection, though. And as I suspected, the adapters were useful many a time in the field, not only for me but also for my fellow operators.

As I look at the collection I have now, I am glad I started here back when I was first licensed. It helped me learn a lot and gave me a good background in being able to adapt quickly in the field. Maybe it is time to pull out the old quick and dirty spreadsheet and update it for all the ones I wasn’t aware of at the time. And if you see me digging through adapter boxes at a ham fest, drop on by and say hello. Feel free to give a helping hand to closing out the missing boxes on my adapter chart by discovering a hidden gem.

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at

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