Ham Radio Coaxial Cables

Your ham radio system’s performance hinges on the coaxial cable you use. Different coaxial cables offer varying degrees of signal loss and weather resistance. Choosing the right one is crucial for effective communication.

But with so many options available, how do you know which cable is best for your setup?

Cable Type

For ham radio applications, choosing the right coaxial cable type is essential. The inner conductor, typically made of copper or aluminum, carries the radio frequency (RF) signal. It’s crucial to consider the cable’s impedance, capacitance, and attenuation.

The dielectric insulator surrounding the inner conductor maintains electrical separation and spacing. The outer conductor, often a metal braid or foil, shields the signal from external interference. Some cables feature impedance-matching material to optimize signal transmission.

Different cable types offer varying levels of signal loss, flexibility, and power handling capabilities. Therefore, it’s important to select a cable that meets your specific needs. Here’s a quick rundown of ham radio cable types;

  1. RG-58 Coaxial Cable
  2. RG-8 Coaxial Cable
  3. RG-213 Coaxial Cable
  4. LMR-400 Coaxial Cable
  5. LMR-240 Coaxial Cable
  6. LMR-600 Coaxial Cable
  7. 50-ohm Coaxial Cable
  8. 75-ohm Coaxial Cable
  9. Quad-shield Coaxial Cable
  10. Dual-shield Coaxial Cable


Understanding coaxial cable types for ham radio applications hinges on impedance, which measures signal transmission and reception quality. Impedance, quantified in ohms, is a vital attribute of radio frequency cables.

Coaxial cables for ham radio usually have 50 ohms or 75 ohms impedance. RG- cables typically feature 50-ohm impedance, while LMR- cables come in both 50 ohms and 75 ohms.

Matching the cable’s impedance to that of the connector and equipment is crucial for minimizing signal loss and maximizing power transfer. The right impedance prevents signal reflection and ensures efficient signal transmission and reception, enhancing ham radio setup performance.


The coaxial cable’s length impacts signal transmission in ham radio setups. Longer cables increase signal loss due to resistance and capacitance, weakening the signal. This affects impedance matching and can lead to signal reflections and standing waves.

Calculating the appropriate cable length minimises signal loss and ensures optimal transmission in ham radio applications.

Connector Type

Choosing the right coaxial cable connector type is crucial for efficient signal transmission in ham radio setups. Several factors influence this choice:

  • Frequency Range: Different connector types support specific frequency ranges, so ensure your chosen connector aligns with your operating frequency.
  • Impedance Matching: It’s essential to match the impedance of the connector cable with the signal cable and antennas to prevent signal reflections.
  • Durability and Environmental Considerations: Weatherproofing and ruggedness are important based on your usage and environment.
  • Ease of Installation and Availability: Consider how easy it’s to find and install the chosen connector type for your coaxial cable setup.

Shielding Material

Coaxial cables feature shielding material that minimizes electromagnetic interference, preserving signal integrity for ham radio operations. Braid shielding, composed of woven metal strands, provides flexibility and durability for various applications.

Foil shielding, a thin sheet of aluminum or copper, offers excellent protection against high-frequency interference. Quad-shield and dual-shield coaxial cables incorporate multiple layers of braid and foil for enhanced shielding effectiveness, ensuring reliable signal transmission for your ham radio setup.

Frequency Range

When choosing a coaxial cable for ham radio operations, it’s crucial to consider the frequency range it supports. The frequency range directly impacts signal transmission quality. Look for cables with a broad frequency range to ensure seamless operation across various frequency bands. Cables with higher frequency ratings future-proof your setup and support a wider range of ham radio activities.

Be mindful of frequency range limitations to avoid signal degradation or loss. Factors such as connector type, weatherproofing material, and grounding lug contribute to overall cable performance. Prioritize cables with effective shielding, such as braid and foil, to ensure optimal signal transmission.


To protect the coaxial cable from environmental elements and maintain signal integrity, it’s crucial to use weatherproofing materials. The cable jacket material should be durable and weather-resistant to shield against moisture and UV radiation.

Using strain relief at the connector junctions can prevent water ingress and mechanical stress on the cable. Connector boots provide added protection by sealing the connection points from moisture and debris.

Additionally, securing the cable to a mounting structure with cable ties can prevent strain on the connectors and maintain weatherproofing integrity. For outdoor installations, consider using cable glands to provide a watertight seal where the cable enters an enclosure or equipment.

Proper weatherproofing measures are essential for ensuring the longevity and reliability of your coaxial cable system.

Navick Ogutu
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Navick Ogutu
Navick Ogutu

- Hiking
- Birdwatching
- CB Radios
- Ham Radio
- Rock Climbing
- Skiing

Avid hiker and hiking enthusiast based in Nairobi, Kenya with over 20 years of experience exploring the country's most famous trails and natural wonders.

Navick has hiked extensively across Kenya, traversing renowned trails like Mount Kenya, the Aberdare Ranges, Hell's Gate National Park, and the Maasai Mara.

He provides hiking expertise on topics like outdoor skills, wildlife spotting, safety, and employing leave no trace principles.

Navick studied Urban and Regional Planning at The Technical University of Kenya.

A Note from Navick
"I want to share awe-inspiring landscapes, slopes, and products for hiking, rock climbing, bird-watching and skiing--not just in Kenya but globally."

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