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Coax Connectors Reference Guide for Antennas and Amplifiers

COAX cables and connectors are mainly used in connecting cables to other devices while also maintaining its outer shielding. When high-quality connectors are used, the connections are more consistent and long-lasting.

Coaxial connectors are designed to transmit radio frequencies to CATV, two-way radios, Wi-Fi devices with detachable antennas and scientific instruments. They can act as mini power connectors for attaching consumer electronics with low voltage, to external electricity.

The most popular connectors for home video installations and Wi-Fi devices are N-type and F-type connectors. Type N connectors have an integrated lining which protects it against any environmental access while also creating an air space between the center and outer conductor. Their frequency range is 11GHz while type F connectors have a frequency range of 1GHz.

Likewise, the most universal type of coaxial cables are the RG cables which stand for “radio guide” and the number next to it represents the diameter (RG174 means 0.174), and other internal properties of the cable.

Connector Gender Identification

COAX connectors and cables used in booster systems and cellular antennas are often different in gender than normal bolts and nuts. The two distinct styles; male and female, can be identified by observing the core of the cable. The male connectors have an evident metal pin in the middle meanwhile; female connectors have a hollow space to receive the pin.

You’ve purchased an amplifier or antenna that does not come with cabling and are unable to make a calculated decision on what cables to use and the connectors needed. Don’t worry because we’ve got it all covered in this nifty guide that outlines several types of cables and connectors, their properties, and functions so you know what you’re dealing with.

RF or Coaxial Connector Types:

To begin with, there is a wide range of coaxial connectors using radio frequency signals catering to various needs in different sectors. They can be found in different commercial and professional applications to television and two-way radios.  Below are some of the most extensively used connectors and their characters. Read on to learn more.

  • BNC:

It is used widely in scientific instruments like oscilloscopes and other laboratory equipment. It is designed to present a constant resistance which is 50 ohms but 75 ohms can also be obtained.

  • TNC:

It is a threaded version of the BNC coax connector and was developed to provide low noise dependable connections mostly in places where there might be vibrations.

  • SMA:

This connector is a miniature coaxial RF connector, with a screw-type coupling mechanism. It is designed to be used from DC to frequencies up 12 GHz and over. They’re most frequently utilized in hand-held radio, microwave systems, mobile telephone antennas and Wi-Fi antenna systems. 

  • SMB:

When you require a quick and easy procedure of connection, you can use an SMB connector due to its smaller, snap-on nature. Its top frequency of 4 GHz allows excellent electrical performance and is available in 50 ohms or 75 ohms.

  • N-type:

This is a high-performance RF coax connector used in a variety of RF applications. It’s available in both 50-ohm and 75-ohm versions that are able to withstand higher powers than a BNC coax connector. The standard versions are said to be able to operate up to 11 GHz but there are types that can function up to 18 GHz.

  • F-type:

The F-type connector is known to function as a low-cost coax connector which can work up to 2 GHz and is designed for household TV applications. Its main benefit is its ability to maintain impedance all across the connector while sustaining a lower cost and high performance.

Type of COAX Cable and Connector

  • RG174 – 50ohms

RG174 is a thin and flexible cable used for shorter runs due to its high loss of signals. This type of COAX cable is used for making antenna adapter cables and works best for pre-attached indoor/portable antenna connections. The connectors most commonly used in pre-attached connections are FME/Female or SMA/Male and are made of copper.

  • RG58 – 50ohms

RG58 can be used for connecting antennas and amplifiers and is accessible in customized lengths. It can also be found pre-attached to antennas and here the connector type is usually FME/Female but separate RG58 cabling can have N, FME or SMA connectors on their ends. This type of COAX cable is more frequently used due to its flexible nature so it can be used in different nooks and corners like, under window seals and around doors, etc.

  • LMR240 – 50ohms

This is available in custom lengths for antennas and coax amplifiers that don’t consist of any cabling. However, they can be used as extension cables to pre-attached antenna cables as well. You can find either N/Male or FME/Male on one side and FME/Female connector types on the other end. It is comparatively firmer than RG58 which means lesser flexibility but there is a smaller amount of loss incurred when using the cable.

  • LMR400 – 50ohms

Also known as LOW-400 cable, has a much lower loss, but has a thicker outer shielding. Similarly, it is less flexible than RG58 and LMR240. The connector type varies from N/Male on both ends or SMA/Male and SMA/Female to N/Male and SMA/Male, and the cable is available for purchase in custom lengths that can be easily used with antennas and amplifiers that don’t contain cabling with them.

Furthermore, when you wish to purchase any coaxial product make sure that the manufacturer understands your RF connectivity problems and assembles solutions that are reliable and high performing. The best type of connector is dependent on several factors such as frequency, impedance, power consumption, size and other parameters that need to be satisfied in order to function accurately. Keeping these elements in mind you can easily recognize the ideal connector for your application that fits its specifications.

Finally, by the end of this guide, you’ll be able to identify the kind of connectors present on your cableScience Articles, antenna or amplifier and understand each of their individual functionalities.

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Nouman is a digital marketing expert from Dynamologic Solutions for many years. He considers bringing all the keywords to the top of his duty and constantly strives hard to achieve the best result. Along with finding & implementing content optimization strategy, he is also fond of writing interesting blogs on SEO & digital marketing related topics. He occasionally writes articles for Shireen Inc.

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