RG-58/U the Un-coax Cable
By Rick Beatty - W7RNB (was NU7Z)
I have seen several articles, recently, where others get on their soapbox and tell us just how awful this cable really is. I agree that cheap cable can be bad and that the buyer must be aware of the quality of cable. But to tell everyone, on the web, that you should never, never, never use this stuff is a little much and at least over the top.
Most of us have used so much of this stuff that our arms hurt from coiling it up, but there are those that must believe we don't know what we're doing and make general statements about such things when they really don't know how to use it. How sad this is!
For years now this cable had served us well with HF, and VHF/UHF applications. Sure, it has insertion loss but none the less in some applications it makes sense. Mobile, for example, is probably the most prevalent place to see it. HF, VHF, and in some cases even UHF! At home, as long as it isn't to long for 10 meters it works fine. Heck, we use it for VHF and UHF, IF cables, to run transverters up to 25ft long or longer. And in a pinch it has been used, successfully I might add, to make many contacts on 1296, and do I say 10Gc!
That should make the munchkins itch! But it's true, and it can be done.
Did you know it makes great attenuators? Yes, it sure does! Using the correct length you can make an attenuator to cut back the amount of drive getting to an amplifier or mixer. How about a dummy load for checking power output? Or setting receive IF levels, and the like. There are still many applications for this type of cable.
Don't be fooled! Information like this is not necessarily correct. In reality there are many applications for this cable and there are a number of types of RG-58 one can purchase. For example RG-223, or RG-142B.
Each has its own characteristics and use.
But beware; use this information at your own risk! If you tell, you may regret it.
I know there are those that will be willing to argue that I am loony, crazy, or like to be verbally abused for my comments, but this is one time that I prefer not to see you spend your hard earned money on fancy cable. That you spend 6 hours trying to install into your Geo only to find out that it didn't make one lick of difference in your signal on transmit or receive. Call me crazy, but good "Belden" RG-58 is a whole lot easier to install, hide, and use.
Oh yeah, don't let me forget the other piece I read about RG-8X and how bad it was! Now there is a good one. This stuff has come on the market in the last 10 years and has really helped out where no other cable could. It has the flexibility of RG-58 at only a fraction of the loss. What is wrong with that, I ask?
Now, before some of you get all upset with me and tell me that I have no idea what I'm talking about. I want to let you know I am not trying to argue the specifications on coax. However, I am suggesting that knowing the limitations of coax cable will help you to decide which one fits your application. And if you have the means, check the losses, I do! Every cable in my shack gets checked before it is installed, and I hope you do the same.
Beyond that RG-58 has limitations, but works great for a lot of applications.
Don't be fooled, by "Nay sayers", check it out.
Rick Beatty, W7RNB