We’ve often covered the importance of good quality connectors and termination tools in relation to good overall electrical and mechanical performance of the RF interconnect. However, if working outside or anywhere where the RF connectors may be exposed to moisture ingress, everything will be for naught if the weather sealing is not taken into consideration.
All of our connectors have interface gaskets which will seal the front end of the connector when the coupling nut is properly torqued. The connectors are also supplied with adhesive lined, dual wall polyolefin heat shrink boots. We’ve always recommended that any mated interface (feeder-jumper, feeder- antenna bulkhead, etc.) which will be outdoors for any length of time, be protected from the elements. This has been accomplished, historically, with either silicone tape (WK-S-1), Cold Shrink or a traditional butyl rubber-PVC tape combination (WK-U).
Working with traditional weather sealing products in the field can sometimes be challenging. You may not have a heat source to shrink boots or may have to deal with cold and wind which can make shrinking a boot in the field almost impossible. Butyl rubber and PVC tape combinations are subjected to technique. PVC tape, along with silicone tape, require space to be able to wrap the tape while applying the proper tension. Cold Shrink can provide a consistent solution but removing the inner poly string can be challenging in some installs.
We have just introduced two new products (WSB boots and IPB boots) to help installers with these challenges. The WSB boot is a molded silicone boot which makes an interference fit over the cable and snaps over the ribs of our X series connectors for an IP-67 seal in the back of the connector while also providing a rugged strain relief. The WSB boots are currently available for LMR-240, 400 and 600 in packs of ten. A WSB boot for use on LMR-195 and LMR-200 is currently in development.
The WSB boots can be used to ruggedize and help weather seal a cable-connector combination for any application and are especially useful when working with short term outdoor deployments where you are relying on the interface gasket to provide sealing.
The IPB boots are a fool-proof way of weather sealing the mated connector in both long term outdoor deployments and mission critical short term deployments. The IPB boots come in two different interface sizes (N and 7/16 DIN). The “N” boots will cover anything smaller than a mini DIN. Boots are sized for a particular cable and are available with either male or female threads. We currently have boots for LMR-400 and 600 as well as ¼”, 3/8” and ½” helically corrugated cables, and ½” and 7/8” annularly corrugated cables. O-rings are available for N and 7/16 DIN female bulkheads which can be used with any of the male cable boots.