The Ins and Outs of Coaxial Cable
| Amanda Kole
Designed by English engineer and mathematician Oliver Heaviside, Coaxial Cable (coax) designs have been around since 1880. When manufactured these cables are constructed with an inner conductor surrounded by a tubular insulating layer, enclosed by a tubular conducting shield, certain types also include an insulated outer sheath or jacket. This detailed construction of coax cables provides an interference-free transmission path for high-frequency electrical signals.
Each element of the design of a Coaxial cable affects its size, attenuation, frequency performance, power handling capabilities, strength, flexibility, and pricing. Different constructions of the inner conductor, Overall Diameter (OD) and dielectric materials, produce different values for ohms, maximum voltage, and impedance.
The thin center conductor is composed of solid or stranded (more flexible) braided copper insulated with a dielectric layer. The inner conductors are sometimes constructed of silver plated copper for high-frequency performance. Solid polyethylene (PE) and Teflon (PTFE) are common choices for insulating these cables. Shielding the dielectric is either metal foil or a braided copper mesh. To supply enhanced shielding performance certain cables are manufactured with double layer shields, such as two braids, a common choice is a thin foil shield covered by a wire braid. Higher priced cables may invest in more than two shields like quad shields that have alternating layers of foil and braid for shielding purposes. The shielding choices are chosen depending on the flexibility needs of the application. This construction is then covered with an insulated jacket. The shield layers are grounded to the connectors on the ends of the coax cable which helps enhance the signals and eliminate interference.
Although WireMasters stocks an assortment of coax cable throughout our 4 warehouse locations, one of our top quality specification cables is the Mil-C-17 coaxial cables commonly utilized on aerospace and defense applications for data communications. Often referred to as RG cables (old military coaxial part numbers), the Mil-C-17 and RG cables have corresponding part numbers and all cables supplied under these specifications will be manufactured by Q.P.L. (Qualified Products List) companies. Depending on the requirements of your electronic systems WireMasters can meet a variety of construction needs including flexible and semi-rigid, with solid and semisolid dielectric cores, and with single, dual and twin inner conductors.
WireMasters’ top four featured coax cables include - M17/176-00002, M17/128-RG400 (RG400), M17/60-RG142 (RG142), and M17/74-RG213 (RG213). M17/176-00002 is a jacketed high-temperature Twinaxial coax cable option rated at 75 ohms and 1000 volts. For a double shielded coaxial cable option, the M17/128-RG400 and M17/60-RG142 would be great choices. The RG400 has a stranded center conductor with Silver Plated Copper, a PTFE dielectric, and an FEP (Teflon) outer jacket. Also with an FEP jacket, the RG142 contains a Silver covered copper clad solid steel center conductor, with a solid PTFE dielectric and a Double Silver Coated Copper Shield. The RG213 is a great single shield option. With a Stranded bare copper conductor, this coax is constructed with a solid Polyethylene dielectric and a bare copper shield.
WireMasters has is an authorized distributor of top suppliers such as Harbour Industries, T/E Connectivity, Times Microwave and Coleman Cable to supply our customers with the highest quality coax cables for faster transmission speeds and high-frequency signals to maximize the potential of our customers communicating systems. With over 50 representatives in our sales department available to speak with you, they are ready to help you locate the proper coax cable for your applications!