Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable is a leading provider of standard and custom coaxial cable solutions for a wide range of applications. Earlier this month, we began a three-part coaxial cable FAQ series to share our industry knowledge and address some common customer inquiries.
The first question, featured in our most recent post was What does RG stand for? We discussed the origin of the cable naming convention and highlighted some of the most common types of coax cables, along with their specific applications.
Another question we often hear is, How can I ensure I’m using the best coax solution for the job?
As we mentioned in our previous post, a coax cable’s RG number doesn’t always tell the whole story; there are a number of other factors to consider when selecting the right cable for your application. We’ve compiled the most important ones below.
- Application – How will you be using your cable? Certain types are designated for specific applications, such as signal transmission for military operations, while others are capable of general utility work, including commercial radio and cable television. Consider if your application will require short or long range transmission, as well as high or low frequencies.
- Impedance – Impedance is an electrical circuit’s resistance to alternating currents, expressed in ohms. It should match throughout all components of a coaxial cable system to help prevent internal reflections that cause echoes, signal attenuation, or ghosting television images.
- Environment – Some cables must withstand exposure to harsh environmental conditions. Cables installed underground should pass through waterproof pipes to protect the jackets from liquid and vapor permeation. Users can also waterproof cords with self-amalgamating tape. To provide relief from sunlight and corrosive vapors, some manufacturers use hardened polyethylene cables, as well as tin and silver coatings.
- Working Voltage and Power Rating – A coaxial cable’s voltage travels through the center wire or conductor. Each cable has a calculated maximum or “peak” voltage, which is then slightly reduced as a safety precaution. Along with RG labeling, manufacturers include the cable’s maximum input power rating in the product information.
- Signal Loss at Specific Frequencies – Coaxial cable lines can be susceptible to signal loss at very high (VHF) and ultra-high (UHF) frequencies. Some manufacturers provide a foil or braided shield for VHF and UHF interference protection. Not only are braided shields more effective at preventing interference, but they are also more conductive and easier to attach to a connector.
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable offers an extensive line of standard coaxial cables for a variety of industries, as well as custom services to develop the right solution for your application. For more information on our standard and custom coaxial cable solutions, be sure to check out the final installment in our FAQ series.
Coaxial cables are a classification of cables equipped with two conductors on a shared axis, one surrounding the other, separated by a dielectric insulator. The inner pieces of the cable are wrapped together with a metallic shield and synthetic outer jacket. Also known as coax cables, they are commonly used for high-frequency signal transmission in commercial radio, broadband Ethernet, and cable television.
We’re excited to introduce a new three-part coaxial cable FAQ series, which will give us an opportunity to share our industry knowledge with our readers by addressing some of your most common coax cable inquiries.
Frequently Asked Question #1: What does RG stand for when discussing coaxial cables?
When referring to different types of coaxial cables, RG stands for “Radio Guide,” a designation derived from World War II military specifications. Each type of coaxial cable has a different RG rating to help distinguish the cables’ distinct characteristics and specifications. For example, in the designation “RG-#/U,” the “U” indicates “for general utility use.”
Making generalizations about different RG types can be difficult; the numbers in the designation are somewhat arbitrary and, therefore, not always indicative of the specific form and function of the cable. The numbers simply mean that the cable does not fit within the original (now obsolete) Radio Guide specifications.
While each RG cable type offers a variety of capabilities, below are some of the most common options, along with their ideal uses in consumer applications:
- RG-6 – The industry standard for cable and satellite signal transmission, the RG-6 is a thin cable that can easily be coiled or bent for residential installation within a wall or ceiling.
- RG-11 – A thick, inflexible cable used to minimize signal loss in long runs, RG-11 iss typically run outside or underground. For example, it would be located in the front yard as opposed to inside the home.
- RG-59 – Another popular cable in residential settings, the RG-59 functions similarly to the RG-6 but has an even thinner center conductor. This difference makes the RG-59 the best choice for short runs and low frequency transmissions within the home, but otherwise inferior to the RG-6 in other applications.
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable offers an extensive line of standard coaxial cables for a variety of industries, as well as custom services to develop the right solution for your application.
For more information about our standard and custom coaxial cable solutions, please visit our website and be sure to check out the next installment in our FAQ series.