Field Day / Technical Articles

Preparing for ARRL Field Day 2023 (Part 1): How Are Your Coaxial Cables Looking These Days?

Could there be anything about ham radio less exciting than a coaxial cable? If your heart skips a beat and your eyes widen at the sight of the latest SDR rig, shiny new straight key, legal-limit HF+6 amplifier, or multi-band Yagi, your answer might be, “No, there isn’t.”

But while your transceiver and antennas may be the quarterback and wide receivers of your team, your coaxial cables and connectors are the offensive linemen, doing the dirty work in the trenches so your star players can get the job done in spectacular fashion. Old, worn, and substandard coaxial cable purchased to save a few bucks will cost you when it comes to performance on game day. Just add a couple of all-star guards and tackles (higher-grade low-loss cables with quality connectors) to your team and, boom, you’ll notice the upgrade right away. Yes, we love our sports analogies at OnAllBands!

When assessing your stations’ needs in anticipation of ARRL Field Day 2023 (June 24-25), we recommend taking stock of your coaxial cables first. Here’s an excellent video from Tim Duffy, K3LR, DX Engineering CEO, about the importance of making sure the coax and connectors you’re using are up to snuff. K3LR also includes some valuable tips on soldering connectors onto your coax and details on companion products such as High Impedance Common Mode RF Choke Kits and Bead Choke Standoff Kits.

Click here for the DX Engineering Coaxial Cable Reference Chart, which provides a quick look at the characteristics of different types of DX Engineering coax.

If you’ve inspected your stations and discovered it’s time to upgrade your coaxial cables for Field Day, the great news is that DX Engineering makes it easy to order the precise cable you need, whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or prefer to receive your cable with connectors already installed. Choose from three hassle-free ways to order:

  • Premade cable assemblies in a variety of types and lengths (3 feet to 200 feet), with DX Engineering’s patented crimp/solder 8U or 8X PL-259 connectors installed on both ends or BNC male ends in some cases
  • By the foot and by the roll up to 1,000 feet
  • Made to spec (type of cable, connectors on both ends, length) using the online DX Engineering Custom Cable Builder at Your custom, handmade cable assemblies are individually hi-pot tested and finished with a thick, strain-relieving weather-seal heat shrink for excellent longevity. Custom cables ship within two business days after purchase. In addition to DX Engineering branded cable, you can order customized Times Microwave LMR-400, LMR-400UF, LMR-400DB, LMR-600, LMR-600UF, and LMR-600DB cable assemblies. Also available is DX Engineering Tinned Copper Braid for safely grounding your stations.

DX Engineering branded coaxial cable covers the full range of ham uses and price points, from high-end RG-214 Double Shielded 50-ohm cables to types that deliver great performance but might make better sense for your amateur radio budget—everything from cables for direct-bury applications to those best suited for mobile radio setups. Click on these links below for full details.

What do hams say about RG-400 coax?

Five Stars: “This stuff is simply amazing. I use it in my shack coupled with the DXE SO-239 and—bingo!! Can’t beat it. I also use it for toroid windings.”

What do hams say about the RG-8U coax?

Five Stars: “I have been using this coax for several years now and have no issues. It’s flexible, so easy to pull runs. The jacket is holding up to the elements, full sun to ice, and it performs great. Two years ago I changed my connectors to the DXE crimp-ons, and it’s the perfect match. Highly recommended.”

Also visit for coaxial cable connectorsconnector adapterscoaxial cable prep tool kits, and anything else you could possibly need to make Field Day 2023 a roaring success.

Not sure what cable is right for your Field Day operation? Contact the active hams at DX Engineering, who are also in the process of making sure their own stations are ready for the big weekend! You’ll receive wise advice from folks who are looking forward to Field Day as much as you are.

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