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It is meant for reference use. Do not copy or publish without permission and citation. If asked, permission is usually granted for educational, internal commercial, and reference use. Background This page describes small RF connectors, focusing on those which perform at microwave frequencies well above 1 GHz.
Many coaxial connector types are available in the RF and microwave industry, each designed for a specific purpose and application. Much of the development of the smaller connectors that perform well into the GHz and millimeter wave range has been conducted by test equipment measurement companies.
One of their considerations is the number of connect-disconnect cycles that a connector pair can withstand while still performing as expected. Below, the connectors are arranged into three categories: Primary Interconnects - widely used to interconnect RF equipment and components, Less Common Interconnects - connectors that are used to interconnect RF equipment and components, but are less widely in use, and Connectors for Precision Measurement Systems - which, as the title implies, are usually found only interconnecting and mating to measurement apparatus such as spectrum and network analyzers.
Radio Amateurs may run across precision measurement connectors when buying flea-market items because those items are useful in microwave interconnection even though they were originally intended for measurement systems.
Why different sizes and frequencies? The frequency range of any connector is limited by the excitation of the first circular waveguide propagation mode in the coaxial structure. At the bottom of this page is a reference to an on-line calculator which allows you to figure out the cutoff frequency of coaxial structures.
Decreasing the diameter of the outer conductor increases the highest usable frequency. Filling the airspace with dielectric lowers the highest frequency and increases losses. The mating process typically changes the geometry of the mating surfaces and resistance loss at those interfaces as well as geometric changes result in variation of impedance and loss.
Most connectors have female structures with slotted fingers that introduce a small inductance. The fingers accommodate tolerance variations, but reduce repeatability and may ultimately break after connections.
There are slotless versions of connectors available, but they are, for the most part, relegated to instrument interfaces. Slotless female connectors are very difficult to clean and require very careful connection and disconnection. Primary Interconnects Female and Male Type N connectors This female receptacle has four slots, while this male outer conductor is slotless High Performance Female and Male Type N connectors This female receptacle has six slots, and this male outer conductor is slotless Panel Mount N connectors courtesy of Southwest Microwave The Type N 50 ohm connector was designed in the s for military systems operating below 5 GHz.
One resource identifies the origin of the name as meaning "Navy". Several other sources attribute it to Mr. The Type N uses an internal gasket to seal out the environment, and is hand tightened.
There is an air gap between center and outer conductor. In the s, improvements pushed performance to 12 GHz and later, mode-free, to 18 GHz. Hewlett Packard, Kings, Amphenol, and others offer some products with slotless type-N outer conductors for improved performance to 18 GHz.
Even the best specialized type-N connectors will begin to mode around 20 GHz, producing unpredictable results if used at that frequency or higher. A 75 ohm version, with a reduced center pin is available and in wide use by the cable-TV industry.
Concelman is believed to have created the "C" connector.Lori Kaiser, CPA CEO. Founder of Kaiser Consulting, Lori is a CPA with over years’ experience serving the needs of auto/auto-parts manufacturers and various other industries. Introduction.
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