Types of Coaxial Cables

Since the advent of the RG numbering system, manufacturers have continually advanced cable technology through research and development. This has been necessary to keep pace with emerging applications and includes improvements to both materials and manufacturing processes. An array of coax with expanded operational capabilities has emerged, allowing additional system design capabilities.

Coax Type and Electrical Specifications

Coax Description Outside Diameter (in) Dielectric Material Center Conductor Material Shield Material dB/100 ft
@400 MHz @10 GHz
RG-58C 0.195 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 14  
RG-119 0.465 ST Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 3.8  
RG-120 0.523 ST Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 3.8  
RG-122 0.16 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 18  
RG-142/A/B 0.195 ST Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 9  
RG-177 0.895 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 2.8  
RG-178/A/B 0.072 PTFE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 29  
RG-211/A 0.73 ST Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 2.3  
RG-212 0.332 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 6.5  
RG-213 0.405 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 5.5  
RG-214 0.425 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Double Braid 5.5  
RG-215 0.463 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 5.5  
RG-217 0.545 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 4.3  
RG-218 0.87 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 2.5  
RG-219 0.928 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 2.5  
RG-223 0.211 PE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Double Braid 8.8  
RG-303 0.17 PTFE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 9  
RG-304 0.28 PTFE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 6  
RG-316 0.102 PTFE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 20  
RG-393 0.39 PTFE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 5  
RG-400 0.195 PTFE Ag/Cu Ag/Cu Braid 9.6  
RG-401 Semi-Rigid 0.25 PTFE Ag/Cu Cu Solid Jacket   33
RG-402 Formable 0.141 PTFE Ag/Cu Sn/Cu Braid   50
RG-402 Semi-Rigid 0.141 PTFE Ag/Cu Cu Solid Jacket   41
RG-403 0.116 PTFE Ag/Cu/ Ag/Cu Braid 29  
RG-405 Formable 0.086 PTFE Ag/Cu Sn/Cu Braid   82
RG-405 Semi-Rigid 0.086 PTFE Ag/Cu Cu Solid Jacket   65

Diagram of Coaxial Cables Types

Types of Coaxial Cables Diagram

Flexible Coax

Having originally set the standard of performance, flex has been the go-to for military and aerospace applications. This type of coax yields lower electrical performance when compared to semi-rigid and formable cables but offers lower cost. A flex cable utilizes either a stranded center conductor where repeated flexing is required or a solid conductor when lower loss is necessary.

Generally, a silver-plated copper shielding braid over the insulator provides a high level of flexibility but shielding is not continuous due to the air gaps between the stranded braid. The shielding can be further degraded when flexing of the assembly occurs, increasing the size of the air gaps. This can be overcome by specifying a second or third layer of shielding, but flexibility is then sacrificed.

Semi-Rigid Coax

Utilizing a solid outer shield made of either copper or aluminum, the semi-rigid cable provides superior shielding compared to a woven braid. This is especially apparent when higher operational frequencies are required. While offering higher shielding performance, this coax is also less flexible and therefore requires fixturing to achieve complex routing bends.

Formable Coax

Constructed with a tin-filled copper outer conductor braid, the formable cable has similar performance characteristics of semi-rigid but offers the flexibility to be formed and reformed without degradation to the coax. Being hand formable, a cost savings is realized due to a lack of need for fixturing where routing bends are required.

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