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Compass Marine How To | all galleries >> Welcome To >> Easy VHF Connections > RG-213 vs. RG-58U
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RG-213 vs. RG-58U

With many things bigger is not always better but with VHF coax bigger usually is better. This is a visual comparison of Ancor Marine RG-213 and RG-58U. The signal loss for RG-213 at 100' is -2.7dB and for RG-58U it is -6.1 dB.

If you want a truly great VHF coax cable stay away from Ancor or the other "marine" coax cables and instead look towards Times Microwave LMR 400 Ultraflex or the Belden cables. The LMR 400 Ultraflex offers a -1.5 dB loss which is outstanding. Many of the hard core Ham radio guys swear by Times and Belden coax. I got my Ancor RG-213 for free, so I used it. Would it be my first choice now that I am aware of the LMR 400 Ultraflex? No, but if you get a good deal on any RG-8 or RG-213 you might as well use it.

I have learned a lot from my ham buddies but am sure I will be schooled after writing this. This article is written for the DIY boater who does not want to know more than they absolutely need to about coax or terminations. The die hard Ham's will debate for hours on solder vs. crimp terminations but I think, for boaters, I have found a solution that bridges the best of both worlds with a solder and a crimp. It is easy, and quick, and a lot more reliable than those Shakespeare quick connect terminals..

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Jonn Braman 28-Oct-2013 15:54
Times LMR 400 has a single-strand aluminum core that is copper plated (and not tinned).. I wonder how that will stand up in a marine environment and whether it can be soldered? The weave is tinned copper and it otherwise looks superior.

Thank you for explaining cable power losses so clearly!
WILLIAM E. RETTIG 23-Jan-2013 03:12
Negative signal loss means gain. Umm?
Brian 19-Sep-2012 01:42
There won't be any complaints from a "hard core ham" like myself. You are absolutly right about the cable choices. RG-213 or LMR 400 are both good cable choices. RG-8X is pretty decent if you want a smaller cable diameter.

By all means stay away from that crappy RG-58 foam filled junk seen to the right of the photo. The center conductor tends to migrate away from center position especially around tight corners.

On my soap box, I will tell you that there is no substitute for a good soldered connection at the tip AND the 4 holes of a PL-259. Period.

Regards to all....
Aike van der Hoeff 14-Oct-2010 19:51
Allthough RG213 cable seems to be suitable, companies in The Netherlands use this cable only on fisherman boats, cargo boats etc. On yachts they nowadays use aircell cable, being more flexible, less thick and the same amount of loss.