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How to Choose an RF Connector

A variety of Pickering Interfaces products are available with distinct RF connector types; to learn more about the various RF connector types and how they relate to PXI and LXI switching solutions, continue reading.

This article will review the different RF Connector types of connectors for RF. including SMB, MCX, SMA, QMA, Type N, Type F and Multipole RF Connector.

To get a free consult with our tech advisors in choosing the right RF Connector for you, or for additional info and pricing, contact us. you can reach us via mail of phone.

E-mail: [email protected] | Phone: 03-923-2277

How to Choose an RF Connector

The different RF Connector Types

Let’s get started with reviewing the different RF connector types of connectors, their application advantages and shortcomings.

SMB Connector

This tiny connector, which is typically rated for frequencies of 4 GHz, works well for PXI modules operating at 3 GHz in particular because it enables a high connector density on the front panel of the PXI module.

Access for a spanner is not a problem because to the connector’s snap-on design. It is widely utilized, and distribution stock frequently offers pre-assembled cable assemblies that can be bought.

Due to its compact size, the connector is best used with relatively thin coaxial cables because larger connectors might result in higher losses at higher working frequencies. It comes in impedances of 50 and 75 ohms.

It should be noted that the gender of SMB connectors might occasionally be unclear. On RF connectors, it is generally accepted that the inner contact defines gender, with the male contact being referred to as the plug.

With SMB connectors, the male inner contact is referred to as a socket, which is a separate convention.

When users order components that connect with RF switching systems, this may lead to user misunderstanding.

SMA Connector

The SMA connector can be used up to 18GHz or even higher frequencies.

The connector nut must be tightened with a spanner, and it is physically larger than MCX/SMB.

It mates better than the MCX/SMB with semi-rigid and bigger cables, ensuring great performance and reduced loss in systems that use this connector.

To achieve the best performance and stop moving cables from loosening the connection, the connector should ideally be torqued.

A torque spanner makes ensuring the connector is appropriately tightened for the majority of applications while preventing unintentional mechanical harm.

Only available in 50 ohms.

How to Choose an RF Connector

MCX Connectors

The internal interface size of this RF connector is comparable to that of SMB, but it delivers higher RF performance, has a smaller exterior dimension, and is designed for 6GHz.

Again, as it uses a snap-on interface, there is no need for spanner access.

Although less prevalent than SMB connectors, this superior choice is highly endorsed by the producers of cable assemblies.

Many of Pickering Interfaces’ most recent switches, which use a common PCB architecture, provide an alternative to SMB or MCX connectors.

It is available as either a 50 and 75 ohm impedance.


Similar to the SMA connector, the QMA connector has a snap lock interface that locks the connector in place until the barrel is pulled back.

A mating cable can seldom ever be disconnected or accidentally loosened. Although the connector can be used up to 18 GHz, it is often best used up to 6 GHz.

The connector was created especially for use in wireless networking, small cellular networks, and telecommunications applications where high-performance connections without the use of tools are crucial.

Only available in 50 ohms.

Type N

Because of its big and sturdy interface, which enables it to connect to larger low-loss cables, the Type N connector is common on bench instruments.

However, it is typically seen as too big for effective deployment in PXI.

It is available in 50 and 75 ohms.

Type F

This connector is frequently used and is the preferred one for broadcast applications.

Even though it is frequently stated that the connector can be used up to 2 GHz, in practice many F Type connector designs have very poor transmission line impedance (55 ohm is not unusual), which results in a significant VSWR degradation.

Only available in 75 ohms and should only be used where there is no other option.

Multipole RF Connector

Manufacturers of this type of connector include Positronics, Souriau, and others.

Using exclusive connectors, a connector block can accept a variety of coaxial connections.

The connectors are a solution utilized when a dense interconnect is required because they compact a sizable number of connections into a relatively small amount of front panel space.

Additionally, it enables the swift coupling of several coaxial connections.

The connectors utilized have crimp style terminations and are quite tiny.

The design drastically restricts the bandwidth of the connection; for instance, the 40-755 is a 2 GHz switch design.

But Pickering Interfaces advises that the maximum useable frequency before the VSWR increases above 1.5 is 500MHz when the multipole connector method is employed.

To get a free consult with our tech advisors in choosing the right RF Connector for you, or for additional info and pricing, contact us. you can reach us via mail of phone.

E-mail: [email protected] | Phone: 03-923-2277

How to Choose an RF Connector

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