I am curious how much CW power an N connector or SO-239 connector will handle on such a low frequency like 160m band. I know on VHF they will probably handle about 800W before getting too warm.

I have made a high powered transmitter for this band, and I've always used cables with either N or SO-239 in the past. I know something like DIN is recommended for over 1kW, but at these frequencies, I would think the others could handle it. I know the voltage handling of the N connector is 1500 volts peak which is plenty for several kilowatts, but will it get too warm?


I am partial to the SO-239 because the center conductor is so much larger.

Does anyone have personal experience using either of these connectors over 1kW? BTW my coax is fine as it's LMR400.

  • $\begingroup$ Not to worry. :-) They'll both more than handle a steady carrier at the legal limit. I use RG-6 and F connectors, and there was no temperature rise even with my 2000 watt scale pegged into a dummy load. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 15 '19 at 22:43
  • $\begingroup$ I see. LOL thanks ;) ...Oh I thought you were joking about the F connector... That's for TV coax, really? $\endgroup$
    – Synaps3
    Oct 15 '19 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ Really. Note that this is RG-6 (F-6) and not RG-59. It has an almost identical power handling curve as RG-213. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 15 '19 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ You might find an answer in in these earlier discussions here. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 15 '19 at 22:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of PL-259/SO-239 vs N Type vs BNC which is best connector to use when? $\endgroup$ Oct 18 '19 at 9:07

The average power rating is determined by overheating of the centre contact and is a function of frequency, as heating depends on the resistive insertion loss. Typical makers curves for a new clean connector with a perfect load such as page 275 of [2] for example imply ~5000 watts at 20 MHz and ~500watts at 2 GHz, i.e. a square root frequency derating law as might be expected from skin depth decreasing with frequency.

(From http://www.terminalblock-elinker.com/news/detail.php/id-345.html)

Since he sites 5kW at 20 MHz, and power handling decreasing with increasing frequency, I think it's safe to say that 2kW at 1.8MHz is no problem. (Edit: Corrected the power rating at 20MHz)

  • $\begingroup$ I can testify to that. Years ago, I witnessed 10 kW sustained at approximately 160m. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 17 '19 at 16:02

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