Hamtronics is supported by its audience. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Best Coax Cables for VHF Radio for 2020

A coaxial cable for VHF radio is a type of feed line used for connection with radio transmitters & receivers, antenna tuners or SWR meters, etc. for the marine frequency band. Since its first establishment in 1880, a coax cable has been a great tool to deliver high-frequency signals for distances without much loss.

best coax cable for vhf radio

Unlike the regular coaxial cables on the market, I can see that the VHF radios feature particular highlights in their constructions and designs for durable marine use. By using the best coax cable for VHF radio properly in this article, you can get a reliable data transmission line over far longer distances.

Best Coax Cable for VHF Radio Reviews

1. MPD Digital RG8x Coaxial Antenna Cable

Just like me, I bet that you’ll be immediately attracted to this 50-foot RG8X coaxial cable for VHF from MPD Digital among lots of other competitors on the store counter. How else can you find an RG8X antenna coax made in the USA and receiving the UL certification for marine grade with all AIS and RF radios?

The most recommended length for you to get this coax cable for marine VHF would be 50 feet, but you can also get between 1 and 85 feet as the brand offers. On the external coating, this marine band coax for VHF is shielded with UV protection and salt tested to go through harsh environments out in the sea.

Because it is a step up from the standard RG58 coaxial cable, this unit shares the same flexibility with RG58 but its signal loss is 34% less than the old one. In longer runs, professionals had proven that an RG8X antenna coax like this has good signal retention, which is the best compromise for flexibility and loss.

I am deeply impressed by how this 50-foot marine band cable sweeps with the innovative Bird SiteHawk SK-4000 antenna analyzer, so your VSWR remains no more than 1:1.42. The male PL-259 UHF connectors are made from Silver Teflon to ensure up to 15 years of usage in outdoor environments with difficult conditions.

In order to route this coax to my VHF marine radio and antenna, I had to cut off one of the connectors to fit through the holes in my boat. Their heat shrink did not assure a fine watertight connection. I ended up replacing them with 2 diameter pieces to provide better watertight. I expected more from this cable.
Pros
  • Made in the USA and entirely UL certified.
  • Provides different lengths from 1 to 85 feet.
  • Includes UV shield protection & salt tested.
  • Flexible like RG58 but with 34% less loss.
  • Remains the VSWR mainly under 1:1.42.
  • Silver Teflon connectors for long-term use.
Cons
  • The heat shrink is not of good watertight fit.
This MPD Digital RG8X marine coax is certainly a better cable for UHF VHF RF AIS radio while flexible enough with good signal retention. All of its materials and components are of the marine grade. This coaxial cable is a wise investment at a low price for long-term use on the ocean to pick up marine signals.

2. MPD Digital LMR-400 Antenna Coax

Here is another electronic coaxial cable from the famous brand MPD Digital so of course, it is genuinely made in the USA for the highest quality possible. The LMR-400 jumper antenna enables an 80-foot transmission line that works best with most radio transmitters (CB or ham), tuners, meters and main antennas.

In case you need a basic comparison of an RG213 vs LMR400 coaxial cable, I think that they are of the same size but an LMR-400 cable ensures better retention of signal for higher frequency. This ham radio antenna coax supports superior work even for HF VHF UHF installations and 50 – 70 feet in WiFi and Cellular use.

Its PE jacket coating has been covered with a dual shield so you are able to reduce the need for conduit tasks and avoid touching electrical sources. The applied PE material for the jacket also helps this cable to stand abrasion. As the LMR-400 80-foot CB coax uses 50 Ohm, it is the ideal impedance for transmitters.

Personally, I feel that the male PL-259 connectors of this LMR-400 coax cable were probably too loose because one of them fell off while I was connecting it to an antenna. Either way, the crimp to its shield was awful or the conductor was not soldered well. This brand has to try a more solid way to attach these connectors.
Pros
  • Manufactured in the USA with high quality.
  • Can adapt to radios, meters, antennas, etc.
  • Same size with RG213 but better retention.
  • Enhances WiFi and Cellular up to 70 feet.
  • No conduit thanks to the PE jacket coating.
  • The 50 Ohm impedance is ideal for radios.
Cons
  • Its connectors easily loosen from the coax.
Regarding the most popularly used types of coaxial cable for VHF radio on the market, I believe that most users would be fond of this LMR-400 unit. It includes many advantages for multiple radio models like CB, ham, VHF, UHF hookups, while at the same time boosting the function of meters and tuners as well.

3. Steren 205-750 RG8X Coaxial Cable

Simply manufactured for users who want to use the best coaxial cable as their main transmission line, this Steren 205-750 RG8X 50-foot coax is perfect for amateur and two-way radio applications. Its sheerness during operation is one of the small details but has a much bigger influence on users than expected.

Both of the coax ends are equipped with 2 male to male PL-259 VHF radio antenna connectors for you to connect them to all sorts of antenna tuners, switches, meters, etc. These connectors are nickel-plated and fully molded to ensure the highest quality and durability through uses in difficult conditions.

As long as your radio transceiver and antenna contain PL-259 connectors, I believe this RG8X coax will be able to work well with marine VHF connection at the top of the mast. Its impedance of 50 Ohm is proven to generate a low loss of signal while in use. There are versatile cable lengths from 3 up to 100 feet.

Nonetheless, the RG8X 50 Ohm coaxial cable was pulled out of its connectors due to poor soldering and no visible signs of crimping nor securing the outside of the connector shell. A lot of users have reported this problem and certainly not satisfied with it, including me. This connector attachment has to be more firm.
Pros
  • Provides amazing sheerness in operation.
  • Can adapt to antenna switches, tuners, meters.
  • 2 durable, fully molded PL-259 connectors.
  • Low loss of signal with 50 Ohm impedance.
  • Different cable lengths from 3 to 100 feet.
Cons
  • No fine securing for the outer connector shell.
One of the most important things when using a marine coax out on the sea is definitely low signal loss and interference for uninterrupted transmission. And I can guarantee you that this 205-750 RG8X 50-foot antenna cable from Steren will achieve these goals at ease. Its price is tempting in the trade of long uses.

4. MPD Digital LMR400 Coax Cable

Being a legit UL approved marine grade coax cable, this VHF radio LMR-400 antenna coax from MPD Digital certainly features a powerful jacket coating to protect its internal components. Its WP-PE jacket has been made with 2 layers of shield and full UV protection, as well as passing a salt test to last for longer.

Though the LMR-400 100-foot coaxial cable is a bit less flexible than an RG8 and RG-213 coax, the.405-inch diameter still helps it bend 90 degrees in 2 inches. The good news is that this antenna cable for VHF radio sweeps with a technology called Bird SiteHawk SK-4000 to maintain VSWR less than 1:1.35.

By using the Silver Teflon PL-259 connectors that are a true signature by this brand, you can gain an ultra-low loss on signal and maximum strength. That is why LMR-400 is fancied by so many radio and antenna users to boost signals. This coax has the ability to endure all kinds of harsh environments for a long time.

The ends of the marine VHF coaxial cable were cold soldered and it is not a recommended method. After the installation, the match was way off as I pulled slightly on its PL-259 connector and it slipped right off this cable. In the end, I had to resolve it properly. I hope the brand will improve this issue in the near future.
Pros
  • Receives UL approval for a marine grade.
  • Dual shield UV-proof coating & salt tested.
  • Can be easily bent 90 degrees in 2 inches.
  • Keeps the VSWR rate no more than 1:1.35.
  • Silver Teflon connectors enable a low loss.
  • Stays attached through harsh environments.
Cons
  • Not good as connectors are cold soldered.
Similar to most other coaxial cables manufactured by the brand MPD Digital, I enjoy the advanced features and sturdy construction that this unit brings to its users. Despite the LMR-400 coax cannot be as flexible as an RG8 but it can ensure a low loss and maximum signal power.

5. Times Microwave Antenna Coax Cable

With both male to male PL-259 connectors on the cable ends and a 50 Ohm impedance, this LMR-400 coax from Times Microwave enables the lowest signal loss. If your radio transmitters & receivers, antennas and SWR meters use this same connector, you can easily connect them together.

Of course, the silver-plated PL-259 connectors are soldered carefully to stay attached for a long period without falling off from this LMR-400 coaxial cable. I have already tried and felt quite happy with the results on my SWR meter since it is low at 1.1 and no buzzing noises. Buying this coax is undeniably my best decision.

Fortunately, I have not found negative reports on any defection of this 30-foot VHF LMR-400 antenna cable so far. It clearly shows that almost all users are pleased with what they invest in and the coax is one reliable feeding line for all of your appliances. I look forward to seeing even more happy users with the cable.
Pros
  • Low signal loss with 50 Ohm impedance.
  • Works with antennas, meters and tuners.
  • Two silver-plated connectors are soldered.
  • Low VSWR rate and no noises of buzzing.
Cons
  • No serious defection until now.
I think you have already known how challenging it is to find one VHF coaxial cable on the current market that does not have a serious error. This coax of LMR-400 30-foot for marine by Times Microwave is undeniably one of their most excellent products. You should never hesitate to get yourself a cable like this.

6. Bingfu RG58 Coaxial Cable

This short RG58 coax jumper is one of the rare ones that use SO-239 female adapters to connect to other electronic appliances. Such an antenna cable by the brand Bingfu is proven to be compatible with handheld ham radios, walkie talkies and antennas, especially those from BAOFENG, Kenwood and HYT, etc.

1m is not the only length that this RG-58 coaxial cable offers since you can purchase the same model of coax for 2m/70cm long to support household uses. The standard RG-58 coax is extremely flexible and easy to run on your own at home. Its impedance of 50 Ohm is highly rated for low interference of signals.

Although the ham radio antenna coax managed to perform well as it should, I still want to suggest you purchase a longer length than you actually need. It’s because this RG-58 coaxial cable turned out to be a little shorter than I had anticipated. Other than that, there is no serious problem that can affect the overall quality.
Pros
  • Uses a female SO-239 adapter to connect.
  • Functions with walkie talkies and antennas.
  • A variety of diverse lengths to choose from.
  • Flexible cable & easy to run right at home.
  • 50 Ohm impedance for a low loss of signal.
Cons
  • The cable length is shorter than expected.
I believe that the best application for this 3-foot RG-58 coaxial cable from the brand Bingfu would be serving household purposes. It is guaranteed to work with any of your appliances that also include female SO-239 connectors. The RG-58 model is always said to be the most flexible and very simple to install.

7. MPD Digital RG-8U Coaxial Cable

The entire RG-8U coax cable for FM antenna is manufactured in the USA to ensure the highest quality level with full heat shrink and silver solder for these PL-259 connectors. As far as I am concerned, cable connectors that are well treated like this would have an extended service life and no longer go through oxidation.

I am amazed by its variation of cable lengths from at least 1 feet up to 150 so you can feel free to choose the suitable length to support your purpose. Like the other antenna coaxes from this brand MPD Digital, this RG-8U VHF cable sweeps with a tech called Bird SiteHawk SK-4000 for VSWR to be lower than 1:1.35.

Based on my observance, I can see that this RG-8U cable assembly includes soldering on the inner pin of its male PL-259 connectors. However, it never reached the wire itself, so only the crimp sleeve was holding the wire in. While apparently, the crimp sleeve was not crimped well, and that made me disappointed.
Pros
  • Heat shrink & silver-soldered connectors.
  • Protects the connector against oxidation.
  • Variable cable lengths from 1 to 150 feet.
  • Can make sure the VSWR is less than 1:1.35.
Cons
  • The crimp sleeve is not crimped very well.
Your household electronic appliances like radio transmitters, antenna tuners, SWR meters, etc. only need to use a marine VHF antenna connector to be connected to this RG-8U coax. The brand MPD Digital has done a great job in manufacturing the standard antenna cable with high quality and good material.

What to Look for When Buying a Coax Cable for VHF Radio

best-coax-for-vhf-uhf

Suitable coax type – In terms of coaxial cable types on the market, I can see that there are many different models with diverse advantages for you to check out. I can help you choose the most suitable one for VHF radio to transmit and receive signals on the marine band, and to respond to your personal needs.

The RG-58, RG8, RG-8X, RG-213, and LMR-400 marine coax cable are those coax types that appeared in this article so I will go into the details for each of them below. The standard RG-58 coaxial cable is really flexible and easy to run at home. It works best for signals under 100 Mhz for the marine band has higher losses.

While the RG8 enables 34% less signal loss than RG-58 with a more stable transmission line, an RG8 coax provides great retention with the best compromise for flexibility and loss. It cannot carry pure video signals. RG-8X is the miniature and thinner version of RG8, which produces the same quality.

Besides the difference in their outer jacket coating, RG-213 and RG8 cable are not that distinguished from each other. They are built for high-powered uses and can be buried underground. In comparison, the LMR-400 is newer and made intentionally to replace RG8 with an ultra-low loss and highest level of propagation.

Those are among the most common coaxial cable for VHF radio types being reviewed here so I hope you can somewhat acknowledge their main strengths via this section. You should go for the most suitable antenna coax with your personal purpose of use and not the strongest one, based on my experience.

Reliable connectors – As far as I am concerned, two popular VHF antenna connector types available for a VHF coax cable are male PL-259 and female SO-239. Antenna coaxes with both male and both female connectors are more common. Or they can include male on one end and female on the other sometimes.

Regardless of the connector type on this cable, your electronic appliances need to have the same connectors with the coax for connection and ready to use. There are a few things that you should need to focus on when checking out the connectors of a VHF radio antenna cable and I will list them out here.

The majority of these cable connectors are soldered and pre-attached to the antenna coax. Non-molded ones are also suggested as another great option. The extra heat shrink on the connectors can prevent moisture from getting in, so it is quite a crucial must-have and should be of good watertight fit.

Another detail is that the connectors require to have the appropriate length for screwing down your electronic devices. In many cases, short connector plugs have blocked the outer sleeve from going in at a sufficient depth. As a result, this entire coax is worthless. I advise you to give it a direct test before buying if possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs-by-Hamtronic

What are the most trusted coax cable for VHF radio brands?

It is a true challenge to filter out some of the most trusted coax cable for VHF radio brands available among thousands of them in the world. But if you ask me, I would definitely recommend you reach out to Steren, MPD Digital, Bingfu and Times Microwave in order to obtain the best coax for VHF/UHF.

I like how the overall price range for their coaxial cables is fairly reasonable as well as the diverse list of different lengths to choose from. These providers have all sorts of coax types for sale like the RG58, RG8 or LMR-400. They all adapt well to tuners, switches, analyzers and meters with the same connector.

These brands have a lot of worldwide distributors, both in physical stores and online platforms. Hence, you can either purchase a coax cable from such sellers or the manufacturers themselves. Their antenna VHF cables always come with full warranties and a return window for you to deal with the defections for free.

How to use it?

Signal boosters – Apart from enhancing marine radio signals, you could also use a coaxial cable to connect to cell phone boosters. In terms of positioning, an antenna is usually installed outside of your house, whereas the second one is on the inside and the amplifier to enhance these signals is placed indoors as well.

A coaxial cable has the responsibility to tie these 3 electronic devices together and helps strengthen your cell phone signals better. If you choose to use this technology, you are able to boost a weak 3G 4G cellular signal. But remember that this coax cannot create any signal on its own nor enhance landline WiFi.

Basic RF – The most basic function of a VHF coax cable is to carry RF (radio frequency) signals from one point to another through its center conductor and connectors on both ends. RF waves would be generated when an alternating current moves through a conductive material, like in this case with metal coax.

Cable Internet (copper-based) – Copper-based coaxial cables can work as a cable Internet at home. This cable would be piped into your house from a local cable service provider. You plug its connector into a router or cable modem, which can be plugged into a TV or computer to gain the Internet and viewing access.

Ham radio – People use ham radio as a means to wirelessly communicate via airwaves. A coaxial cable helps connect it with an antenna so the signal would be stronger. The good thing is that you can set up a ham radio in the middle of nowhere and it does not need any Internet or cell phone technology to work.

How to take care and maintain it?

Here are a few simple steps to clean up a VHF antenna cable. First, both of its connector ends have to be disconnected. After, you have to get a piece of cotton ball and place it on top of an open bottle with rubbing alcohol. When it is quickly turned back upright, this solution will saturate the cotton ball a little.

Next, use tweezers to grab the cotton ball but make sure the side with the alcohol is on the opposite of the tweezers. The last thing to complete is to rub the cotton ball into the connector’s grooves and be careful not to accidentally break or bend the center stud that enables the signals. Repeat until all dirt is removed.

Based on my experience, you should collect the whole coaxial cable and tie it up with another string for better storage when not in use. Also, it should not be exposed for long hours under bright sunlight or rain. Place the antenna cable far from the reach of children and do not detach its components without skills.

Though the majority of available coaxial cables for VHF radio are mainly built with strong and durable materials, their general lifespan can only be extended with your care. Without proper maintenance throughout continual use in a marine environment, even the finest antenna coax would not be able to last for long.

Where can I buy it?

There are several locations where you can reach out quickly and purchase a VHF cable and I will recommend going to Walmart, eBay, Home Depot, Best Buy, Amazon and Lowes. They are both trusted local chain stores and online shopping websites, so the product quality, in general, is amazing and worth trying.

Not only are the coaxial cables here diverse in manufacturers and prices, but they are also made with the highest standards and always go with warranties. The reliable brand names above have their antenna VHF cables sold at these addresses. Therefore, it would be really beneficial for you to buy a coax there.

Conclusion

If you are having a VHF radio and wish to use it at the marine frequency band, I believe a sturdy and effective coaxial cable is exactly what you need to get. It can help you out a lot when it comes to boosting marine signals and survives a difficult environment out in the sea. Do not hesitate to purchase a coax right now.

I would love to hear what you have to say personally about this article on the best coax cable for VHF radio. I hope my buying guide and other tips would be helpful for your shopping plans in the future. Share this article with friends and family if you find it interesting and informative. Thank you for reading this.

Leave a Comment