A coaxial cable for ham radio is the most popular type of transmission line for digital appliances to carry radio frequency (RF) signals from one point to another. It is manufactured with a metal shield and appropriate components inside to secure the signals from unwanted loss and interference during the transmission.
This article is going to help you acknowledge each common coaxial cable type on the market to decide which one is a best fit for you. Of course, there are detailed product reviews of the best coax for ham radio for you to consult, together with loads of my precious personal experience and tips.
- Best Coax for Ham Radio Reviews
- 1. CablesOnline Coax Antenna Cable
- 2. Workman Coax Cable for CB/Ham Radio
- 3. Extreme Consumer Products Coax Cable
- 4. YOTENKO Ham Radio Cable Coaxial
- 5. MPD Digital LMR-400 Coax Ham CB Radio
- 6. RFAdapter CB Coaxial Cable
- 7. STEREN 205-750 Coax Antenna Cable
- 8. Ancable Coax Cable for CB Ham Radio
- 9. Boobrie Ham Radio Antenna Coaxial Cable
- 10. MPD Radio Antenna Coax Genuine
- 11. Workman Coax Cable for Ham Radio
- 12. Bingfu Antenna Extension Coax Cable
- What to Look for When Buying a Coax for Ham Radio
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Coax for Ham Radio Reviews
1. CablesOnline Coax Antenna Cable
Being an outstanding upgrade of the standard RG-58 coaxial cable for ham radio makes this 50-foot RG-8X unit by CablesOnline become a true reliable antenna cable.The coax is meant to be used with high power on most ham and CB radios. It is a great jumper to antenna tuners, switches, meters or even a main antenna.
A different cable length which from 2 feet to 50 feet can be used to meet multiple requirements. On the other side, its 50 Ohm power is the ideal solution for low loss on radio frequency signals because it is the standard measurement for radios.
The copper conductors and soldered internal connections are built to be much stronger and longer-lasting. I like how the two PL-259 male to male plugs on each end are also molded. Moreover, these nickel-plated PL-259 connectors are already attached to this unit when they arrived.
2. Workman Coax Cable for CB/Ham Radio
Despite being the mini RG-8/U coax cable type of RG-8X, this Workman unit is manufactured to be 100 feet long so you can take advantage for flexible purposes. I believe that the cable would be a fantastic companion to be set up for your first or next CB base antenna, all on your own without any hassle.
Its copper braid shield is approximately 95% of the entire internal housing so this coax is highly valued for the quality of its material. Furthermore, it is a long and well-shielded coaxial cable for CB and ham radios, so this coax ensures low frequency signal loss in all cases.
The center conductor of this cable is 16 AWG and stranded, which is considerably thinner than RG-8 but it still delivers the same signal quality. I advise you to apply the unit with amateur radios since they will work well together. Each of its ends also contains a soldered PL-259 plug.
3. Extreme Consumer Products Coax Cable
The heavy duty RG-8X antenna coax is only 25 feet long but its capability is more stunning than other longer cables. It is mainly thanks to the high construction quality from inside out, especially its PVC black external jacket coating to allow direct ground burial with a weatherproof feature.
Moreover, this coaxial cable is praised as the best coax for VHF/UHF and HF radio as well. Its 16 AWG stranded copper conductor can transmit high frequencies between two ends. Apart from these walkie talkies, I suggest you connect the unit to SWR meters or antenna tuners for enhanced performances.
I see that the brand Extreme Consumer Products has manufactured the coax to function with 50 Ohm, which is the perfect power for any CB or ham radio for better transmitting. Additionally, the dielectric foam insulation is made out of polyethylene for lowering signal leakage and ensuring the signal transmission is consistent.
4. YOTENKO Ham Radio Cable Coaxial
For those who need to use a standard RG58 coaxial cable for ham radio, you might want to consider this YOTENKO 15m RG58/U unit to connect to your receivers, meters and antennas. The pigtail design along with PL-259 connectors on both ends are the best to work with most radio types available.
Its impedance of 50 Ohm is wonderful for functioning with stations and CB radios. Moreover, the male 15m RG58 coax ensures you can have the lowest rate of signal loss. Hence, there is no doubt that this standard antenna cable of RG58 is a must-have connector to all electronic devices.
5. MPD Digital LMR-400 Coax Ham CB Radio
Proudly manufactured in the US, the brand MPD Digital has been delivering top-notch workmanship in assembling this LMR-400 CB radio antenna coax. It makes a brilliant transmission line with a minimum coiling of only 4 inches. There is a flexible list of different cable lengths for you to choose from 3 to 250 feet.
The LMR-400 coax has been professionally installed with microwave male to male PL-259 connectors and they are heat shrunk for maximum protection in use. By using such an antenna jumper for your devices, it runs up to 70 feet in WiFi and cellular use while enabling better signal retention for VHF, UHF and HF.
6. RFAdapter CB Coaxial Cable
With only 50-foot antenna cable like this RG-8X ham radio coax from the brand RF Adapter, you will be able to connect it to the antenna switch, analyzer, tuner, meter and dummy load. In case you are owning a Jeep Wrangler, this coax can be installed to work with your CB radio and boosts a majority of RF.
When comparing an RG58 vs RG8X coaxial cable, I see that there is a major step up unit thanks to a thicker 17 AWG internal conductor made out of copper. RG-8X coaxes enable far better performance for high-powered applications. Its price range for diverse cable lengths from 3 to 100 feet is also fairly reasonable.
Like most RG-8X 50 Ohm CB antenna cables available, this unit consists of pre-installed nickel-plated male to male UHF PL-259 connectors on both ends. Its aluminum wire for the braided shield effectively secures the transmitted signal during the process and ensures the loss amount is at a low rate.
7. STEREN 205-750 Coax Antenna Cable
As you have known throughout this article, RG-8X is a mini and thinner unit of the RG8 coaxial cable and of course, an upgrade from the standard RG-58. So this is not surprisingly that this 205-750 50-foot RG-8X antenna coax from the brand STEREN has been seen as one of the most recommended models, especially to support high power applications.
Its 50 Ohm operation belongs to the low signal loss list based on the coaxial cable calculator. Therefore, you can freely use the coax as a jumper for your meters, tuners or the main antenna. It is really interesting that the RG8X coax is highly rated for its sheerness while operating, which is a unique bonus.
There are different cable lengths for purchasing so you would be able to get a 3-foot or 100-foot RG-8X antenna cable of this unit as preferred. On the other hand, its male UHF PL-259 connectors are nickel-plated and fully molded for security. This coax is a brilliant transmission line for amateur radios like a CB and ham.
8. Ancable Coax Cable for CB Ham Radio
The Ancable RG58 jumper cable for ham radio of 15-foot receives high ratings from the overall packaging to its craftsmanship, which is a major bonus at first sight. Its impedance of 50 Ohm and aluminum wire braided shield with more than 95% coverage also makes this unit an excellent feed line of low loss.
Besides a coax cable for ham radio and antenna tuners, monitors, switches, analyzers, SWR meters, this 15-foot RG58 antenna coax works well with a CB on a Jeep Wrangler car. The other good aspect of this unit is that its tinned copper inner conductor and brass PL-259 connectors can resist oxidation for longer usage.
In addition, during the transmission, this coaxial cable not only protects the radio signal but also does not produce obvious rising on the SWR meter. Specifically, after testing, this jumper cable does not deliver any static nor intervention when I bridge the CB radio to an SWR meter, which is great.
9. Boobrie Ham Radio Antenna Coaxial Cable
The standard RG58 ham radio antenna cable from the brand BOOBRIE is an extension one with male to male UHF PL-259 connectors. However, they are able to connect to a female SO-239 adapter. It is approximately 49.2 feet, which is 15 meters long with an ideal impedance of 50 Ohm for perfect use on CB & ham radio.
Most projects that involve a UHF connector are beneficial to use this coax. The long list includes walkie talkies, CCTV, microwave, telecom, wireless LAN devices, broadcast and antennas, etc. Of course, the RG58 15m coaxial cable also performs well with a series of different amateur radio models on the market.
Furthermore, I like how the PL-259 male connectors are made. They are made out of pure copper (not alloy) to ensure a high level of connection for all radios. The surface treatment is also gold-plated to resist oxidation. Besides, its price is perfectly reasonable for a package with one pigtail cable.
10. MPD Radio Antenna Coax Genuine
Here is another special LMR-400 coax cable manufactured by the registered trademark US brand MPD Digital. In spite of having the same size as an RG8U coax, this cable is an upgraded version with stable support for HF VHF UHF installation.
It’s quite convenient that this high-quality connector comes with a standardized length of 75 ft. With this package, it is enough to get an excellent cable to use with whether a Wifi or Cellular connection for good communications.
This coax also includes an ultra low signal loss feature even after bending this cable with 90 degrees. Thanks to this feature, this unit is more advantageous than others. The PL-259 connectors on each end are both soldered with silver plates as well.
11. Workman Coax Cable for Ham Radio
Throughout my market research, I have discovered this small 3-foot RG58A/U jumper ham radio coax cable by Workman that can be a perfect choice for those having a low budget. Its PL-259 connectors are soldered and silver-plated for maximum protection. Such a standard coaxial cable is the best for most two-way radio hookups.
For your additional information, I find that the manufacturer indicates this cable with an impedance of 50 ohms. It runs quite well with my ham radio.
12. Bingfu Antenna Extension Coax Cable
Different from other competitors on the market, I am fascinated by the fact that Bingfu has chosen to equip this extension RG58 coax with 2 different connector types on its ends. The male PL-259 and female SO-239 connectors both operate with an impedance of 50 Ohm. Hence, this detail makes wiring far more flexible.
Besides the 3m (10-foot) coaxial cable length, there are other measurements as well so you will be able to purchase a small coax for 2m/70cm application. Its compatibility list goes a long way from SWR meters, surge protectors, linear amplifiers, dummy load, duplexers to lightning arresters.
What to Look for When Buying a Coax for Ham Radio
Male/female connectors – A coaxial cable often has PL-259 male or SO-239 female plugs on each end. These are important components as they are used to connect the coax with an electronic device. Loads of coaxes on the market fail my expectations just because of poorly-made connectors.
As far as I am concerned, they are mostly soldered for better protection to enable long-term use. However, non-molded ones are also a fine selection. Some additional heat shrink tubing would be awesome as you do not want to have moisture get into these connectors at all.
Moreover, these connectors need to have an appropriate length to be screwed down your device properly such as a tuner, antenna or receiver, etc. Otherwise, it prevents their outer sleeves from going deep and results in the inability to use. Last but not least, making sure both ends are evenly soldered is another thing to do.
Suitable cable Ohm – This section is especially dedicated to those users who are confusing between the impedance of 50 and 75 Ohm for a coaxial cable. Since there are hundreds of different antenna coax types available and they vary in impedance, so I will break down the most basic functions of these two.
50 Ohm adapts much better to transceiver or receiver devices, for those requiring high-powered applications and low electrical loss. You can check this for free with the coax loss calculator on the Internet. According to what I know, a lot of coaxial cables for ham radio operate with 50 Ohm, more than 75.
If you do not focus on the power storage but pay more attention on how to move signals effectively through this cable with any loss of energy, then having a coax cable with 70 Ohm is the best solution. Powering up household electronic devices such as home theater gear, HDTV, Blu-rays, etc. are the perfect buddies for this impedance.
So as you can see, higher Ohms are certainly not better in all circumstances. Though it does create a better sound experience for your devices, it depends wholly on whether or not you are using a suitable Amp to supply the needed power. Both of them can get the job done if you spend time doing the research before buying.
Durable jacket material – A jacket coating is the final external layer of a regular coaxial cable to protect its inner components of small electrical wires.
A powerful jacket material can even make this entire unit weatherproof while in use. I see that polyethylene is highly rated for its flexibility and durability so a lot of brands choose it. Plus, some people want to have their coax ham antenna directly buried into the ground. So it is good for you to check whether the coax has a durable jacket or not.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a ham radio coax cable? Who is this for? How does it work?
A ham radio coax cable is an electronic cable that is used to transmit radio frequency (RF) signals from one end to the other. On the market, there are hundreds of different ham radio coax cable types and they vary in gauges (RG), lengths, impedances (Ohm), connectors and main applications with your devices.
A coaxial cable is for anyone who owns electronic appliances with suitable adapters, especially CB and ham radios. Moreover, this product can serve for both residential and industrial purposes. You need to research and purchase the appropriate unit.
This cable can carry an RF signal that moves across its center conductor and the metal shield as well. Both of them create a magnetic shield. Whereas the insulators prevent this signal from coming in contact with or canceling out on each other. As a result, it delivers signals for long distances without losses or interference.
What are the different types of ham radio coax cables?
RG-6/U – This is technically the most common and basic type of coaxial cable for ham radio. The coax impedance is 75 Ohm and is often used for both household & commercial applications, including wiring up for cable television.
RG-8 – It is quite similar to the RG-6 but on the opposite, it is incapable of transmitting pure signals from videos. The 50 Ohm impedance is suitable for working in audio control rooms or radio stations. RG-8X is a miniature and thinner version with higher AWG for its center conductor but it offers the same quality.
RG-11 – As a coaxial cable with a higher gauge, the RG-11 is usually applied to CATV, HDTV, TV antennas and also video distributions. It operates with the same impedance as the RG-6 cable and provides frequency signals at 3GHz.
Being the more advanced generation of the RF antenna cables, LMR coaxes ensure much lower loss in communication signals based on the ham radio coax cable loss chart. Better flexibility and performance make them a bit easier for assembly at lower costs. You can see LMR cables often on airplanes, satellites, ships & missiles.
LMR-200 – The LMR-200 coax is flexible for outdoor use with low signal loss. The 50 Ohm is perfect for short antenna feeders and it has a low PIM feature.
LMR-240 – Much alike to the cable type as mentioned above, it is also an outdoor coax that ensures low leakage on communication signals. The impedance is also 50 Ohm and it is good for applications on GPS, WLAN & mobile antenna.
LMR-400 – In case you wish to have a coax that needs periodic flexing, I think an LMR-400 unit would satisfy your requirements. Most of its applications are for jumper installations in wireless communication systems and of course, also for short antenna feeder runs. It is designed specifically to replace the RG-8.
LMR-600 – Regarding the matter of bending and handling, this LMR-600 “half inch” coax is considered one of the most flexible. It is also a wonderful choice for outdoor use with an impedance of 50 Ohm.
LMR-900/1200/1700 – When it comes to antenna feeder runs in medium size, a LMR-900/1200/1700 will all work out fine because they are much larger. The coax can be wired up to most devices for easy routing and low loss of signals.
Why do you need a coax for ham radio?
Apart from personal uses, I can see that a lot of cable operators, Internet providers and telephone companies are fond of using a coax for ham radio. It should be applied for auto tuners, SWR meters, lightning arresters, wireless LAN broadcasts, CCTV, antenna analyzers, dummy load and microwave hookups.
It also helps to boost the WiFi and 3G 4G cellular signals to be more effective at your home. The coax can carry basic RF signals through its ends for walkie talkies, especially CB and ham radios. While copper-based ones work to enable cable Internet since they are piped into your house from the service provider.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted coax for ham radio brands?
If you wonder which is the most trustworthy coax for ham radio, then talk a look at these brands: Workman, CablesOnline, Bingfu, RFAdapter, BOOBRIE, MPD Digital, Ancable, Extreme Consumer Products and YOTENKO. I have not regretted any of my purchases from them and I believe you will be as well.
These brands are well-known brands for manufacturing and selling the best coax for HF ham radio on a global scale. Their products are sold at popular shopping websites and chain stores at reasonable price ranges. The components are also made with the best quality to give you a wonderful experience to use.
What is the difference between RG* and RG*X?
As being mentioned earlier, RG8 is a thick 50 Ohm cable at 12 AWG and mostly used for amateur radios. While RG-8X is the mini and thinner version with a 16 AWG center conductor but still delivers the same quality.
From my perspective, the RG-8X version of a coaxial cable is not really that different from its initial RG8 unit. They both operate with an impedance of 50 Ohm for radio transmitters and receivers. These two only slightly distinguished from each other about the overall gauge and AWG of their center conductors.
Is LMR 400 the same as RG8?
An LMR-400 coax is the newer version and manufactured to replace the RG8 unit, therefore, there are more advantages if you choose this cable. Moreover, while RG8 is usable for when the coax needs to be flexed (e.g. to go around a rotor); then LMR-400 with an aluminum conductor breaks shortly if applied in such cases.
Can RG6 be used for ham radio?
According to the coax cable specifications ham radio, professionals have rated the RG6 antenna coax should be used for applications below 150 Mhz. So it is acceptable with radio transceivers on the 2m band. However, the losses are really high so you should probably invest in a 50 Ohm cable.
How to use it?
Following my guideline, you only take less than 2 hour to complete the installation process and anyone can succeed at ease. You would need a set of screwdrivers, power drills, fish tapes, poles, wire strippers, wrenches and cutting as tools. Other materials include signal amplifiers, drywall screws and coaxial cables.
To begin with, attach one end of your new coaxial antenna cable to an outlet nipple of this signal splitter. Pick up the prepared drywall screws and get the power drill to anchor the splitter to a framing member. This is currently the end of step 1.
Following, you need to run the coaxial cable to the new TV jack’s location. I suggest you use a fish tape to snake this coax through a finished wall. Then, the cable has to be kept at least 6 inches away from electrical wires to avoid any interference. You can mark the floor to find the cable after completing the wall construction.
How to take care and maintain it?
After use, I believe this coax should be unplugged from your devices, then you will need to wrap the whole cable length and tie it up with an extra string to save storage space. Based on my experience, you might want to put the coaxial cable back into the initial packaging box when not in use.
Because the antenna coax is an electronic cable, you should try your best to avoid leaving it for long hours of exposure under sunlight or rain. Furthermore, this ham radio coaxial cable should be placed far from the reach of children since they are likely to pull the cable apart, which is not good at all.
Do not intentionally step or sit on the cable. Moreover, remember not to use a scissor or any other household tools to cut the coax in half. Instead, the most appropriate way is to contact customer service or professional help.
Where can I buy it?
Out of all possible locations in the country to successfully obtain a high-quality coax cable for VHF radio, I would not hesitate to advise you to visit these places: Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and eBay. These names are both online shopping websites and famous local chain stores to get such a cable.
The reasons why I highly recommend these addresses are mainly thanks to their reputation and long-term services. You can absolutely purchase all of my previously reviewed units at these places with the most reasonable price and many trustworthy warranties.
A ham radio coaxial cable serves your household purposes in the most effective way, it is also widely used by many cable operators, Internet providers and telephone companies. That is clear proof of how a small and short electronic cable is worth purchasing for the ham radio at home.
I hope this article has attempted to bring a clear overview of specific products, a detailed buying guide and other important tips on how to use and take care of the coax. I had also strived my best to explain the main functions of each coaxial cable type so you can benefit as much as possible from it for your own advantage.
So what is your personal opinion on this article about the best coax for ham radio on the market? I would love to hear in the comment section below. And if you find the information here is helpful enough, do not forget to share it via Facebook and Twitter for all of your friends and family. Thank you for reading.