Q: How do I choose what type of coaxial cable to use?

There are many types of RF coaxial cables available, but it is sometimes difficult to know which type of cable to use.

There are two main aspects of a cable to consider when selecting the right cable for a job.

Cable Loss: Each cable has its own specified cable loss characteristics. These characteristics can vary depending on what frequency is being carried through the cable.

Bend Radius: The bend radius of a cable is a specification given to a cable to define how flexible the cable is. Exceeding the bend radius specification can change the loss characteristic within the cable and lead to reduced RF performance. The thicker the cable is, the wider its bend radius will be, however, the thicker the cable is, the lower its loss will be.

If using a lightning surge arrestor, the patch cable between it and the radio is typically quite short. This allows a thin, flexible cable to be used. The thin flexible cables have a higher loss characteristic that the thick rigid cables, but as there is only a short length being used, the loss is negligible. The thick rigid cable is typically connected from the equipment cabinet to the top of an antenna mast connected to an antenna.


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