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L-com explains RG-style coaxial cable
(Tuesday, June 18, 2013)
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L-com explains RG-style coaxial cable
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This is part two of a two part series on coaxial cabling. Click here to see "L-com explains Low Loss coax cable".
L-com explains RG-style coax cable

As a follow up to our recent newsletter "L-com explains Low Loss coax cable", we wanted to explain the RG styles of coaxial cable. As one of the original standards for coaxial technology, the RG standard was created for the US military in the 1960's. The letters "RG" were used to stand for "Radio Guide" or "RF Government" (depending on who you ask) and were followed by a number which corresponded to a specific standard put forth for the different sets of specifications. Sometimes, a letter followed the number to specify some variations in the cable construction, and a "/U" was often included to stand for the "Universal" standard.

Over time, the robust coaxial technology came to be used in non-military commercial applications, and though the RG designations are still used today, there is no standardization to ensure every aspect of the cable is constant among manufacturers, so it helps to know the specifications of the cable you need.

This chart shows some of the RG-style coaxial cable types and applications still used today, over fifty years since they were designed:

Chart showing six of the most common RG-style coax cable types, with attenuation and nominal OD

You may notice that one of the key aspects of RG coax cables is the impedance. Unlike low-loss styles, which generally all have a 50 Ohm characteristic impedance, the RG styles can vary. Most often they are either 50 or 75 Ohms, but other impedances such as 92 Ohms also exist. Impedance is a complicated aspect to explain fully, though L-com has a helpful definition in its Coaxial Cable Tutorial. As a general rule of thumb, 75 Ohm cables are used in audio/video applications, and 50 Ohm cables are used in data applications. Due to the signal attenuation, the 50 Ohm RG cables are usually not appropriate for wireless applications, especially at longer lengths (which is why we recommend low-loss coax for wireless systems).

Click here to download our Low Loss coaxial cable applications guide  to download our RG coaxial cable applications guide.

L-com lists its 50 Ohm RG style coaxial bulk cable and cable assemblies in its Coaxial section, and the 75 Ohm RG style coaxial bulk cable and cable assemblies in its Audio/Video section.

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