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CATV Coaxial Cables Demystified- Understanding Specifications and Terminology

CATV Coaxial Cables Demystified: Unraveling the Enigma of Specifications and Terminology

In the intricate tapestry of telecommunications, coaxial cables stand tall as conduits for high-speed data transmission. Particularly in the realm of Cable Television (CATV), these cables form the backbone of the network, delivering pristine video and audio signals to our screens. To harness the full potential of these cables, a thorough understanding of their specifications and terminology is paramount.

The Anatomy of a Coaxial Cable

At its core, a coaxial cable comprises three distinct layers:

Conductor: A central copper wire or tube that carries the electrical signal.

Dielectric: An insulating material (e.g., polyethylene or foam) that separates the conductor from the shield.

Shield: A braided or foil shield that surrounds the dielectric to prevent electromagnetic interference.

Key Specifications

Impedance: Measures the electrical resistance of the cable at high frequencies. 75 ohms is the standard for CATV applications.

Return Loss: Quantifies how much of the signal is reflected back to the source. Lower values indicate better signal quality.

Attenuation: Refers to the loss of signal power over the length of the cable. Measured in decibels per unit length.


RG: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) designation for coaxial cable types. RG-6 and RG-11 are common CATV cables.

Belden Number: A proprietary code used by the Belden company to identify their coaxial cables.

Connector Type: The type of connector used to terminate the cable. F-type connectors are commonly employed in CATV applications.

Selecting the Right Cable

Choosing the appropriate coaxial cable for a CATV system is crucial for optimal performance. Factors to consider include:

Distance to be covered

Signal frequency

Desired signal quality

Environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, moisture)


By demystifying the specifications and terminology of CATV coaxial cables, we empower ourselves to harness their full potential. This knowledge enables us to select, install, and maintain cables that deliver the highest quality video and audio signals for our entertainment and information needs.

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