Getting the best coax for ham radio is like having a breakthrough in the world of communication and signal distribution.
There are many out there, working for different purposes, but for ham radio, you need the best.
Obtaining a coaxial cable that works perfectly without any interference sends straight signals and aids optimal communication. That being said, how do you get one?
Simple! This article show you the ten best coaxial cables for ham radio. Rest assured, they all work perfectly fine.
Getting The Best Coax for Ham Radio Buyers’ Guide
The best coaxial cable purchase comes with a satisfying feeling. No doubt, you are set to use it for a long time. But the essential duties to carry out before buying one matters most. What are the critical factors to consider? See for yourself here.
01. Cable Types
When opting for a coax, it is essential to state your needs, especially when it comes to the standards.
Existing are two main classes of coax. The first consists of 75 ohms and applies mostly to video signaling. In comparison, the other one has an impedance of 50 ohms, primarily used for data and wireless transmission.
Both are great and contribute to coaxial technology. The ones with 75 ohms are our very own RG59U and RG6U. In terms of availability, you’ll find this class of coax in 1000, 500, and 100-foot reels.
Examples for the latter, which is 50 ohms, are RG174/U, RG188/U, and RG316/U. If you want to get the best from 50 ohms cables, apply them in a situation whereby an operator builds coaxial wires in a field.
Wait! Do they have foot-reels, too? Of course, they are, and the same: 1000, 500, and 100 foot-reels make up the 50 ohms coax.
In all, what’s with their 26 AWG center conductors? Nothing much. It increases flexibility and makes the cables fit for high-powered applications.
The best fit for losing less signal is 50 ohms cables with 100, 200, and 400-foot reels. They are highly efficient for wireless implementation. Talk of shielding — each comes with a Teflon outer jacket.
02. Level of Frequency
Skin effect: it is a condition, whereby energy changes positions initially from the central core to the outer jacket as the rate rises.
It is, without a doubt, another factor to consider before making a purchase.
First, why are you buying this cable? Does it require a high or low level of frequency? Technical operators use this method to understand how well energy can travel at a given rate. Simply put, the distance gets shortened as the frequency increases.
03. Wire Attenuation
When a cable attenuates, it yields a large amount of signal loss. You can simply tell what you want by considering if the selected coax does the same.
If your cable continues to attenuate, more signal loss for you. Practically, say, we have two wires with a tendency of attenuating.
The one with a larger diameter will likely be in form than the other. In other words, attenuation occurs less in a cable with a larger diameter.
Now, let’s check between these two coaxes: an RG59/U with 14AWG center conductor and an RG/11U with 20 AWG center core. Sure, to say, the former carries a signal double the length of the latter.
04. Characteristics Impedance
The characteristic impedance of a cable is critical for making any purchase. It can tell how well the cable you’re opting for will perform.
To state clearly, this factor is a joint measurement to check the capacitance per unit length with the inductance per unit length.
If all you want is optimal performance, know one thing: the characteristic impedance must go hand in hand with the inductance/resistance of your moving capacity.
Types of Connectors
Users find one thing challenging, and that’s to solder multiple coaxial cables together — seems impossible, right? You can actually do that, but you need the connectors because that’s their job.
Most companies use the soldering method. And often, when a breakdown occurs, these connectors are the first things that go into a replacement.
Here are the main types of connectors — about three or four of them:
- SMA: works for most RF applications.
- Reverse Polarity SMA: this works mostly for wireless connections
- U FL: is the smallest type of connectors and is often compatible where other ones wouldn’t fit because it is tiny.
- BNC: this is a little bigger than the others, and its application area is based on amateur radios and test equipment.
Quick Note: RG cables vary in types and functions. Checking for specifications is necessary before making any purchase. If you want, use excellent technical aid.
What is The Best Coax For HF Ham Radio?
Strongly recommended are products from MPD Digital, a reputable company contributing to coaxial technology.
Why MPD Digital is The Best Brand Coax For HF Ham Radio?
It serves ham operators with the best coax for both long and short hops and provides excellent signals for radio transmissions.
Comparison Table of Top 10 Coax Cable For HF, VHF, UHF Ham/CB Radio Antenna (2023 Updated)
10 Best Coax For HF Ham Radio Reviews
01. Steren 205-700 – Best Overall Coax For HF Ham Radio
- PL 259 Cable (Completely cleaved)
- Accelerated from RG58
- Well-versed PL259 antenna
- 50 ohms
- UHF-UHF antenna
- Coated with Nickel plate
On top of our list is the Steren 205-700. This coax is fully coated and has connectors made with a nickel plate.
One of its centers of attraction is the well-versed jumpers, actively working with antenna tuners, main antennas, and switched meters.
It is a male to male (UHF to UHF) connector with an advanced coaxial capacity, developed from RG-58 to RG -8X.
Users find this cable useful enough, as it is highly magnetic. Ham radio users have no issues sending signals with this cable because it works well with VHF.
“The PL-259 coax can work with high-powered applications, but a few users find it to be lossy.”
You can solder it with an antenna, but be careful to fix it well.
The ends are tight with the connection when fastened.
What makes it more enticing is the installation process. And the reason is simple: you experience zero stress.
Steren 205-700 produces clear connection radio signals and transmission — sounds like a life-saver during emergencies.
- Installs easily
- Works perfectly for high-powered applications
- High durability
- Yields clear connection
- Lossy & Tight ends
02. MPD Digital LMR400 (35ft) – Best Heavy Duty Coax For HF Ham Radio
- Foamy dielectric
- Completely molded
- Optimal shield protection
- Low power radio jumper
- Cable assemblies with broad coverage
MPD Digital LMR400 is definitely one of the coax cables in demand because of its low loss support. Transmitting and receiving signals have always been on the agenda of technicians.
For this reason, Times, the company behind this invention, has chosen to make this cable work with all applications.
All thanks to its inventors, as it has extensive coverage of different wireless signals.
MPD Digital LMR400 accepts all forms of connection requiring optimal radio signals. Sure to say, sending and receiving transmissions works smoothly.
This coax has better signal retention, and it doesn’t disappoint when sending a message to a receiver.
If you want a low loss alternative, say, VSWR less than 1: 1.35, opt for Times Microwave’s LMR400.
The center core providing radiofrequency is active and surrounded by a foamy dielectric, making it prone to interference.
Interestingly enough, it does what hardline coaxial cables are capable of and is flexible enough for most signal coverage.
Talking about flexibility — this coax has coverage for hams, CB radio, and WiFi. Guess what? They all have easy installations.
- High flexibility for hams, WiFi, and all types of radiofrequency
- Foamy and shielded dielectric
- The high capacity center core
- Retains high signal
03. Cable Experts RG-8X Weatherproof Jumper – Best Budget Coax For HF Ham Radio
- 50 ohms Coaxial cable
- Manages up to 875 watts
- 74 % velocity pace
- Sole antenna
- HF to VHF
- 16 AWG inside core
Are you working with a frequency as low as 30 megahertz? Or is it scaling very high? Here’s what you should know: Cable Experts RG-8X works with any frequency rate.
Although it has just one antenna installation, the connection is as smooth as a bald head.
Covering the center core is an insulated dielectric foam made with polyethylene. It prevents signals from escaping and helps to yield good transmissions.
More importantly, you can use this cable almost anywhere, as it is weatherproof.
This jumper is just so good that hands down, it leaves you wondering whether to purchase an extra one, so you won’t have to go through the assessing process when next you need a coax.
This coax has several areas of applications, and it works best with CB and ham radios.
What more do you expect from a cable that works with both high and low frequency? The best, of course.
- Strong signal transmission
- Works with high and low frequencies
- Works indoor and outdoor
- Highly insulated (prone to interference)
- Complicated soldering
- Rough connector threads
04. RG58 15M Low Loss Extension Coax
- 50 ohms impedance
- Male to male PL259 connectors
- Versed antenna cable
- Pl-259 adapter
This coax works with low loss and can deal with two-way radio applications. It has a Pl259 adapter on each side that connects to the antenna, switches meters, and tuners.
For ham radio users, it serves well with its ability to send strong signals through HF, UHF, or VHF.
Say, you are riding through a river; you can sail without the fear of losing connection to the real world.
And when you want to pass a message to someone else in a different location, the durable connectors make it easier.
Soldering this type of coax must be done with care, as it has its ends tightly fixed.
Despite that, users find it very thrilling, and the complicated soldering area doesn’t stop yielding excellent transmission.
In all, RG58 15M Low Loss Coax is just as good as others that work with both high and low frequency. Getting one would be just fine for your ham radio.
- Sturdy connectors for ham radios
- Works with HF/UHF/VHF
- Low signal loss
- Cleaved connectors for functional RF connectivity
- Fair with other radio frequency
05. Wilson 400 N-N coax
- CL3 rated
- Weatherproof and strong connectors
- The high powered center cores
- Versed with service carriers
- 50-ohms amplifier
How reliable is the coaxial cable that you use? You’ve tried other coax, I guess. Wilson 400 N-N works for 50ft connections and its connectors are robust. Therefore, they don’t hesitate when transmitting data.
Still, it has a high capacity, carrying a maximum of 300 volts and working with 11 gigahertz. One more thing: you don’t need to worry if it’ll work with your appliances.
Wilson 400 is compatible with most gadgets, be it ham or CB radio. Just so you know, it goes hand in hand with the popular service carrier you see out there.
Do you know why this is good for ham radio? Its connectors have a clad that makes transmission flow through quickly.
It is, without a doubt, a versed coaxial cable, but it still does well with amplifier coverage and antenna enhancement.
Need help transmitting information to your coworkers or accomplices without experiencing signal or data loss? Try Wilson 400 N-N coax.
- High-powered and weatherproof connectors
- Double shielded
- Quickens data collection and transmission
- Enhances antenna tuning and amplifier coverage
- Not copper clad
06. HYS TC – 110m
- RG58 coaxial cable plug
- A mag mount (4.3”)
- The thick and shielded outer body
- PL259 connectors on each end
- Easily installed magnetic base
This coax is for you if you’re the type that often uses your ham radio in cars and mounted areas.
It lets users mount antennas on top of their car, where it catches strong signals. Not to forget, it also has a low signal loss.
The magnetic base is strong with about 30.8 Ibs, and it suits most radio frequency transmission, ranging from UHF male — to PL259 antenna — and SO239 mobile radio.
Note that this cable works only for antenna installation below 1.3m, and 0.5 kg is the maximum weight it can accept.
Also, it doesn’t accept mp1 ham radio connectivity because of its magnetic mount. But for 220mhz, it works perfectly fine.
- Messy installation of magnetic base
- Works perfectly fine for car ham radios
- Durable mag mount
- Holds a five-foot antenna
- Magnet is smaller than the base, not much strong
07. Boobrie UHF RG58
- Single PL259 ponytail wire for aerial signals
- Gold-plated layer
- Distinct copper conductors
- 50 ohms blockade
- 15m cable length
It sure looks great when a wire specializes in one frequency transmission. Boobrie coax works with anything that has to do with UHF transmission.
It has a gold-plated surface treatment that prevents easy rusting and pure copper connectors for stable connectivity. Appearance looks like alloy, but it isn’t.
You can use this wire to join an SO239 male to a SO-239 female pick without hassle.
Boobrie RG58 isn’t for ham radios only. Its areas of applications widely vary — CCTV, WiFi, TV, Radios, Microwave and electronic forms, Wireless LAN Devices — and all kinds. In all, it only accepts UHF transmission (male to male)
The telecom world has enhanced a lot in recent years. This coax is, without a doubt, a contributor to wireless communication — mostly recommended for UHF users.
- Wide area of applications
- Weatherproof connectors
- Comes with a fixed screw cap
- Well-constructed wire tips
08. MPD Digital LMR400 (20ft)
- PL259 coax connectors
- 11 GHz frequency rate
- 50 ohms impedance
- Soldered center core (Silver-plated)
MPD Digital system has been making waves with different coaxial inventions. Once again, it brings you the LMR400 for 20ft.
This coax is actively responsive to UHF transmissions without interference. It also has a low loss capacity.
Trust MPD Digital; the company will always provide you with low loss alternatives, and this is another of its kind. When compared, its peers don’t get a chance because it does what hardline coaxial cables can do.
”However, as stated by the manufacturer, you should avoid this cable if you need it for a frequency range above 300MHz”
Simply put, only HF and UHF users stand to get the best from this coaxial cable.
It all depends on the frequency range. Anything ranging from 30 to 300 MHz is excellent and compatible with the connectors.
It gives a clear signal to antennas, switches meters, receivers, and radio funneling.
- Connects to several appliances
- Comes with hardline coaxial characteristics
- Well-constructed as a whole
- Nicely-fixed ends
- Not recommended for frequency range above 300MHz
09. Times LMR-240 (40ft)
- Up to 6GHz
- Silver-plated connectors
- Teflon dielectrics
- Pl-259 UHF coax cable
Here’s another of Times Microwave’s inventions. It is more like a larger RG-8X, with a diameter of ¼ inch.
The silver-plated connectors make it possible to retain better signals. Whether for ham or CB radio, LMR-240 aids communication well.
This coaxial cable can do long and short runs without disrupting signals, all thanks to the improved conductors.
The length is just so right that it mounts easily on rooftops. Moreover, what good is the length if it doesn’t yield the right signals?
Times have thought about that; hence, this particular piece is a good match for antennas mounted anywhere. Of course, signaling and communicating are no big deals, as the connectors have a low line loss.
If your best choice has to do with a coaxial cable with flexibility and versed frequency range, opt for LMR-240.
The jumpers are life-savers for emergencies. With this, you shouldn’t be worried about off-grid communication.
- Aids off-grid communication optimally
- Well versed with any frequency range
- Improved conduction
- High-powered connectors
10. MPD Digital LMR400 White UV (75ft)
- Double-shielded UV protector
- Marine-grade cable
- Foam dielectric
- 50 ohms coax
This coax is more like the best cable you need to communicate with someone elsewhere. It serves well with its double-shielded UV protector and yields a clear signal upon transmission.
With this coax, you definitely won’t be able to recall when last you had an increased signal loss — LMR400 White UV yields nothing like that.
Guess what? It has a long-lasting marine-grade cable that works perfectly fine even in harsh conditions. Rest assured, it gives the best signaling when sailing.
This coax is especially recommended for those who find themselves in tight situations. Of course, they need nothing less than a trusted coax.
LMR400 White UV comes to the rescue here. Using this cable for any shipboard and radio involving ultra-low loss alternatives would do better.
One more thing — unlike the rotten eggs out there, spoiling the reputable status of high-quality coaxial cables, LMR400 White UV absorbs energy from your radio transmitter. After which it passes them to your antenna with low loss.
- Quality cables
- Low coax loss
- Flexible and weatherproof jumpers
FAQ’s of Best Coax for Ham Radio
What are the components of coaxial wires?
You must have heard the word “coax” if not coaxial cable — both have similar meanings, as they work for Radiofrequency and applications.
It consists of vital parts, as follows.
The surface that looks sharp and tiny and appears like a mouth is the central core, otherwise known as the primary conductor.
Covering the connector is a dielectric material. In some cables, you’d see foam dielectrics. They contribute to transmission and better retention.
Lastly, the whole cable is shielded with an outer jacket that prevents signal loss. The primary purpose of this outer coat is to shell the current passing through without letting in impurities or moisture that could be kinky if in place.
What makes one coax better than the other?
Every proper working coax out there has probably achieved the hype because of its shielding type. Obviously, shielding matters and its method vary in different coaxial cables, with one to four layers.
The best coax for ham radio involves a shield with better coverage or percentage cover. Well, you may want to consider trying the one with a tight metal braid.
Conductivity works well, plus it has about 95% coverage. Hold on. Where goes the remaining 5%? Nowhere, I guess.
Manufacturers place an extra layer (two metallic foil), which helps resist some of the Electromagnetic Interference attempting to pass through tiny holes in the braid.
What does RG mean?
Dating back to the world war II era brought about the existence of Radio Guide (RG). The military back then used RG efficiently for survival, as it depends on communication and radio frequencies.
RG is a set standard that helped them to distinguish these cables’ grades and functions. Although the name has evolved, the world still uses this same old method of naming. Interestingly, there was no reason as to how the names came into place. They all came randomly.
What are coaxial cables used for?
Coaxial cables are tightly on point when it comes to powering applications and sending transmissions.
They can carry high-frequency signals without disruption from Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). EMI is a form of interference that disturbs the smooth flow of electrons.
These cables are standard in our day-to-day applications if you begin to observe them. They work perfectly fine for radio communication. One of the active sets of users is ham operators.
These people make use of coaxial cables regularly. The same thing applies to the telecommunication industry, and there are many active users there. You’ll also find these things in homes, schools, and offices.
What’s best for microwave line transmission?
There are tons of micro-coax available in the coax world. In fact, these are the most common types.
In a situation whereby a low level of frequency leads to a low RG power, considering the phase matching, RF shielding, and operating frequency tends to make a micro-coax preferable.
What tip does the author have for me concerning the best coax for ham radio?
Here, it is essential to keep to two rules:
- First, your field runs are a primary factor. It would be best if you kept it as short as possible.
- Secondly, opt for a cable with low loss power compatible to your operating frequency.
Now, let’s do simple physics. Every cable experiences loss; the tendency is what matters. The conductors carry electrons through the wire, and they slow down as they meet with resistance.
Remember, resistance is part of the phase, and electrons can’t flow through without encountering a form of resistivity.
Still, you can slow them down by using a more substantial and thicker cable.
Notably, the path in which Radiofrequency travels depends partially on the wire — not wholly. As the radio wave increases, RF gets closer to the wire.
Sure, to say, a cable with thicker conductors has enough space for retention. Thereby decreasing the level at which signals escape. Indeed, broad and well-shielded conductors are much better than slimmed ones.
Another thing; consider the length of the cable. Next is the operating frequency. After that, research the chart of losses exhibited by popular cables and see their losses. Are they acceptable to you?
What does the N connection mean?
It merely describes the exhibition of low loss VHF and UHF but standard UHF and high-powered radio equipment.
Are you still in doubt scouting for the best coax for ham radio? Check the charts of the popular ones available and see if their loss is acceptable to you.
Also, consider the guide in this piece to put you through the process. If you still need some help, opt for technical support.
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