Tip: Use Snap Ring Pliers to Tighten a Loose HT Antenna Connection

snap-ring-pliersGot this great tip from Larry KG4ZAR:

Every ham seems to have a HT or two in their shack and sooner or later they find the rubber duck antenna loose.

Most times it’s the locking ring/nut on the chassis mount that’s worked loose. If you use one of the improved 1/4 wave aftermarket antennas, this becomes a more frequent problem.

Trying to tighten up this ring (especially on one of the Chinese radios) usually means grabbing a pair of needle nose pliers and making a mess of things, along with pinching your fingers when the pliers slip off the ring.

A much simpler way to tighten these rings is to purchase a cheap set of “snap ring pliers.” A set of these pliers (with various interchangeable tips) are under $10 at Harbor Freight and you’ll find many other uses once you own a set.

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

7 Responses to “Tip: Use Snap Ring Pliers to Tighten a Loose HT Antenna Connection”

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    That’s a great idea! When I worked in a radio shop we had nutdriver-like tools to tighten the mounting nuts on controls and jacks, but they’re specialty items and not cheap. You’d never find them at someplace like Harbor Freight.

  • Frank ON6UU:

    It is not only the case with cheap chinese material. I can not fasten the BNC on my Elecraft KX2 either.

    Maybe it will work with what is in the article. I’ll find something similar here i’m sure. Good tip !!

    TU ee

  • Bob KK5R:

    RE: I can not fasten the BND on my Elecraft KX2 either. — ON6UU

    Excelite used to make every kind of hollow-shaft socket their handle. I had one that tightened the nuts on control knobs and another that worked with nut on the panel mount SO-239. Look for a supply house that offers Excelite tools and the needed nutdriver socket may be found. At one time, no electronic technician’s tool kit was complete without a set of Excelite tools. The tools have been copied by others tool makers but never seem to be the quality of the ones from Excelite. I still have my set from 1962 and none have broken. It still looks like new. The roll-up holder had to be replaced a couple of times, though.

  • Urb W1UL:

    Great Tip.

    Urb W1UL

  • Jim, KC9ZKM:

    Excellent tip! Where’s my Harbor freight list?

  • Alexandr UR4MP:

    Great Tip

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    Frank ON6UU: When I worked in a radio repair shop we used to get handhelds in all the time with loose antenna connector nuts – even from the Big 3 manufacturers (plus Alinco). We’d tighten them down with the proper tools, then add a small drop of cyanoacrylate glue (superglue) to the threads to lock the nut in place. If we had to remove the connector to work on the radio later, a soldering iron applied to the threads would heat the glue until it broke down, then we’d unscrw the nut.

    If you do that, don’t breathe the fumes from the hot glue. Nasty.

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