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Electronic Design

Coax Connectors

Just as important as the cable itself are the connectors that terminate coax cable. They’re a weak link since they also add to the signal attenuation and cause anomalies that can change the impedance slightly, causing reflections. Over the years, connectors have gotten better at minimizing attenuation and impedance mismatches.

BNC, F, N, SMA, TNC, and UHF are the most commonly used coax connectors (see the table). Most of these connectors are for 50-O cable, except for the F connector, which is 75 O. Also, 75-O versions of the BNC, N, and TNC connectors are available.

Since attaching coax connectors to the cable is a tricky and often frustrating process, special tools have been created to simplify the problem. However, designers often select cable assemblies with preattached connectors (see the figure).

There are hundreds of different coax connectors and many variations of each. Also, there are adapters that can convert one connector type to another, such as F to BNC or N to UHF and various malefemale combinations.

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