RF Cable Group Compatibility (Modifier Letters)



Often times we are asked about a certain RF Cables that we do not list in our catalog but have very similar names. Sometimes the cable groups will have extra identifiers and letters attached to the name and one should look out for these. I will specifically be talking about the RG (Radio Guide) cable group as an example for this informative post. If you are curious what these identifiers/modifiers are please visit this tech forum post:

The modifiers listed in the post above are sometimes applied to these cable groups, for example, some may ask for RG-142B versus an RG-142 cable or RG-6/U versus an RG-6. Even though we have a list of what these suffixes mean, the modifiers can either mean major differences between cable design or very minor differences between cable design. It is very possible that an RG-142B is similar enough to an RG142 (same with RG-6/U) to be cross-compatible. Unfortunately, modifiers can change per manufacturer and data sheets or drawings may not include all the information needed about these modifiers. The best plan of action if you want to see if RG-142 can be used in place of RG-142B (or whatever modifier is used on RF cable) is to compare specifications and dimensions. Specifically, I would suggest checking the type of strand (stranded versus non-stranded), wire gauge or wire diameter, shield types, type of cable (coaxial, twinaxial, riser, plenum, etc…), and impedance. These design attributes are the most important to consider when comparing cables. For example, a quad shield has a greater thickness than a standard RG-6 connector, so it will not fit. Also, the same situation can happen when comparing riser grade RG-59 versus plenum RG-59. In short, always compare attributes of similarly named RG cable groups before deciding to use substitutes.