Recycling LMR crimp connectors

A while back, I came upon about two dozen Times Microwave Systems TC-600-NM connectors that had been improperly installed and cut off.  Knowing that LMR-600 type cable is commonly available, I stashed them for later use.  These connectors cost between $8 and $15 each, so the ability to recycle could offer a substantial savings.  I endeavored to see just what it would take to do so.

The first step is to remove the heatshrink tubing (if installed).  These connectors employed a relatively easy-to-remove heatshrink, which I was able to get off with a sharp knife.  (That probably means that they would have filled with water if they had been used.)

Twist off the old crimp ring with two pair of Channel-Lock-type pliers.

Presto!  (Be sure to do this in a work area where it is easy to vacuum up the small strands of braid that will invariably fall everywhere.)

A butane torch gets the pin off in no time.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough hands to take a photograph and demonstrate the proper technique.  Place the tip of the flame on the widest (diameter) part of the pin and rotate the cut-off coax with the pin hanging down.  The solder will melt and the pin will drop.  Reinstallation can be performed in the exact opposite sequence with the pin sitting on top of the coax.

The secret to this whole operation is the replacement crimp rings.  I originally was going to make them but since I did not know the dimensions, I was searching around the Web.  And, I discovered that Times Microwave offers them individually (part #CR-600).  So, I contacted Joel at The RF Connection and he sold me a bunch of them (second from right below) at an attractive price.

The three rightmost components—connector body, crimp ring, and solder pin, form a complete connector.  You just need to add heatshrink, which is also available from the RF Connection and many other vendors.  The trick to getting a correct installation on the connectors is to be sure that the pin seats (clicks) into the body before crimping the ring.  The whole process of disassembly takes about as long as assembly (minus the stripping step)—just a few minutes.

I recently obtained about 250 ft (80 m) of LMR-600 pieces from various places for about what it costs to fill the gas tank in my Escort.  So, this should be a relatively attractive cable for use at K8GU.

Ethan Miller, K8GU, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Maryland, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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