Quick and simple guid to Coax Connectors

With so much choice available for Coax Cables, I thought I would take a small selection of connectors and give a little more information to help you choose the right one for your application.

Of course, to make sure your assembly works the way you want it to, you must make sure you select the correct cable. Better still, speak to your cable assembly experts who will help you make the right technical choices. So here is my quick and simple guide to Coax Connectors


“UHF” connector: The “UHF” connector is better known as your “TV Connector” the old industry standby for frequencies above 50 MHz (during World War II, 100 MHz was considered UHF). The UHF connector is primarily an inexpensive all purpose screw-on type that is not truly 50 Ohms. Therefore, it’s primarily used below 300 MHz. Power handling of this connector is 500 Watts through 300 MHz. The frequency range is 0-300 MHz.

“F” connector: “F” connectors most commonly used for Satellite TV Boxes were primarily designed for very low cost high volume 75 Ohm applications much as TV and CATV. In this connector, the centre wire of the coax becomes the centre conductor.

“N” connectors: “N” connectors were developed at Bell Labs soon after World War II so it is one of the oldest high performance coax connectors. It has good VSWR and low loss through 11 GHz. Power handling of this connector is 300 Watts through 1 GHz. The frequency range is 0-11 GHz.

“BNC” connector: “BNC” connectors have a bayonet-lock interface which is suitable for uses where numerous quick connect/disconnect insertions are required. BNC connector are, for example, used in various laboratory instruments and radio equipment. A BNC connector has much lower cut-off frequency and higher loss than the N connector. BNC connectors are commonly available at 50 ohms and 75 ohms versions. Power handling of this connector is 80 Watts at 1 GHz. The frequency range is 0-4 GHz.

“TNC” connector: These connectors are an improved version of the BNC with a threaded interface. Power handling of this connector is 100 Watts at 1 GHz. The frequency range is 0-11 GHz.

“SMA” connector: “SMA” or miniature connectors became available in the mid 1960’s. They are primarily designed for semi-rigid small diameter (0.141″ OD and less) metal jacketed cable. Power handling of this connector is 100 Watts at 1 GHz. The frequency range is 0-18 GHz.

“7-16 DIN” connector: “7-16 DIN” connectors are recently developed in Europe. The part number represents the size in metric millimetres and DIN specifications. This quite expensive connector series was primarily designed for high power applications where many devices are co-located (like cellular poles). Power handling of this connector is 2500 Watts at 1 GHz. The frequency range is 0-7.5 GHz.

“IEC antenna connector”: This is a very low-cost high volume 75 ohm connector used for TV and radio antenna connections around Europe.

“UFL” connector: Hirose U.FL, I-PEX MHF, AMC or UMCC is a miniature connectors for high-frequency signals up to 6 GHz manufactured by Hirose Electric Group, I-PEX, and others.

U.FL connectors are commonly used in applications where space is of critical concern, such as in smartphones and Laptop WiFi cards. U.FL connectors are commonly used inside laptops and embedded systems to connect the Wi-Fi antenna to a Mini PCI, Mini PCIe or M.2 WiFi card. Another common use is connecting GPS antennas.

Now we know there are loads more connectors and options than we can possibly cover here, but this at least should have been an interesting and informative guide. I suspect at this point you still want to speak to your cable experts before you go-ahead and design the assembly all by yourself.

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