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  Can a GPS cable be spliced?

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Author Topic:   Can a GPS cable be spliced?
Slippery Eel posted 02-13-2009 09:58 AM ET (US)   Profile for Slippery Eel   Send Email to Slippery Eel  
I inadvertently cut my GPS antenna cable while removing it from my Revenge. I see that the cable is shielded with a open stranded (assume ground) running outside of the shielding. Can this be spliced? It doesn’t look like a splice will make the proper connection. It is for a Humminbird system.
Chuck Tribolet posted 02-13-2009 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Just a center wire and a shield, right?
What Humminbird model?

If it's just a center wire and a shield, then I'd try some
of the Shakespeare Center Pin BNC connectors.


Slippery Eel posted 02-13-2009 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Slippery Eel  Send Email to Slippery Eel     
The cable has 2 center wires wrapped in a foil shield and then a stranded wire outside of the shield and under the cable pvc jacket. The GPS antenna was on a Humminbird Matrix 97 unit.
Chuck Tribolet posted 02-13-2009 06:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Well, then the Center Pin trick isn't going to work. That's
the bad news. The good news is that it's probably NOT an
antenna but rather the whole GPS, and the outer shield is
ground. The two inner wires are power and NMEA position
back from the GPS. Very spliceable.


jimh posted 02-13-2009 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There really is no particular category as a "GPS cable." Some GPS receivers connect to their antennas using a coaxial transmission line. If this transmission line is damaged or cut, it can be repaired, but the repair must be made in a manner which maintains the characteristic impedance of the transmission line and does not introduce much loss. This type of arrangement, with a receiver and a separate antenna, is seen in older models of GPS receivers.

Other GPS receivers are entirely contained in what boaters often call the "antenna." The housing which seems to be an antenna actually contains all of the GPS receiver components. These days a GPS receiver is really a very small electronics assembly about the size of a quarter coin. On units like this the cable connecting the GPS receiver to an associated chart plotter does not use transmission line techniques. The cable is typically a multi-conductor shielded cable. Supply voltage is carried on the cable to power the receiver. The receiver generates a NMEA-0183 serial data output signal. There may also be a conductor for passing serial data to the receiver so that it can be controlled or updated. With this type of arrangement you can make a splice in the cable without worrying too much about maintaining the characteristic impedance of the cable. A splice made by carefully soldering and insulating the individual conductors should restore operation.

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