Artwork from the book - Different Types of Coax Cables and Their Uses by Shawn Mike - Illustrated by Shawn Mike -
Apr 2019
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Different Types of Coax Cables and Their Uses

by Shawn Mike

Artwork: Shawn Mike

Coax cable is a copper cable that is specifically built to block out signal disruption. A combination of the metal shield along with other components makes it protective against elements that cause signal leakage.  Generally, it is used by cable companies, who primarily use it for facilitating the cabling needs associated with antennas and TV cables. Additionally, telephone companies also utilize them.

That said, coaxial cables do not come in a ‘one size fit all’ situation. They come in different sizes and shapes, and depending on its usage, each one of them serves a different purpose. In this article, we will cover all types of coax cables along with their uses. So, continue reading!

  1. Hardline

Hardline cables serve heavy duty purposes which is why it has a sturdy structure. It boasts a composition structure that is purely made out of solid metals like copper, gold or silver. It has a copper-based aluminum or pure copper conductor at its core. The conductor core is protected through a polyethylene foam cladding. Additionally, the presence of pressurized gas within the tube acts as a barrier that prevents the external environmental factors from damaging the inner structure.

The core along with the polyethylene foam is encased in a wiring shield which is made from either gold or silver. Hardline cables are utilized to transmit radio signals or for boosting the signals of radio transmissions between a ground-level transmitter and an aerial receiver. Additionally, it is used in military settings for transmitting high-strength radio signals.

  1. Tri-axial

Tri-axial cables are similar to coax cables in composition with only two small differentiating factors. These cables are made with an extra layer of insulation and have a second conducting sheath. Because of the added insulation, the copper conductor core is surrounded by three layers of protecting shields, i.e. two of the shields are either made of aluminum-layered meshes or copper and the third layer is a dielectric insulator that is situated between the two shields.

The extra insulation makes it difficult to bend; however, this protects the signals from leaking and keeps the signals safe from external noise interferences. Usually, tri-axial cables are more expensive in nature than the ordinary coax cables. However, the price tag is justified since it provides more bandwidth along with an extra layer of protection.

Generally, the tri-axial cables are used in the television industry or in such electronic equipment that is susceptible to interference from surrounding electromagnetic signal sources.

  1. Twin-axial

Rather than having one core conductor, twin-axial cables have two conductors, each of which are coated with plastic to avoid contact with each other. Just like any other cable, the conductors are surrounded with aluminum or copper layer which is then separated with another insulating material.

Each of the conductors is designed to carry and transmit differing electric voltage. Due to this, it is used in networks that rely on high-speed data transmission, i.e. computer networking. Also, it is ideal for short-range signaling equipment.

  1. Radiating

Radiating cables are similar in structure to the coax cable with only a slight difference. Radiating coax is specifically designed with small slots or cuts throughout the shielded cable to allow leakage. Sometimes called a leaky cable, its perforated structure allows radio frequency signals to enter or exit at any given time.

Given its slotted structure, radiating cables can lose transmission if not properly installed. Usually, installation near metal surfaces is avoided and a distance of 2 inches from the metal surface is strictly observed. Despite its high performance, radiating cables are susceptible to leakage.

Radiating cables have an unusually thick structure that could range from 0.5 to 2 inches in width. So, it is ideal as a long-term cabling solution and can be used for underground communication channels such as tunnels, subways, and mines. Additionally, it is used in situations where the standard antennas fail to provide adequate signal coverage.

Radiating cables can handle signals of different frequency ranges and are better equipped to facilitate the wireless microphone systems and Personal Monitor System (PMS).

  1. Semi-rigid

Semi-rigid cables are unique since they can be bent into various positions and hold their intricate shapes without any aid. Because of this factor, semi-rigid cables are ideal to be used in combination with automated bending equipment. Unlike the previous types of coax cables, semi-rigid lacks the traditional braided outer copper or aluminum conductor and instead uses a solid conductor which acts as a protective barrier for the internal conductor.

The only drawback of semi-rigid cables is that once it has been bent into an ideal shape, it cannot be further re-molded to hold any other shape. That said, semi-rigid cables are used in semi-rigid assemblies for aerospace, medical, and wireless applications. It is also used in the making of test equipment.

  1. Rigid Line

As the name suggests, rigid line cable is not ideal for bending because it contains two solid copper conductors along with a PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) dielectric buffer. It comes in various sizes which range from ⅞-inch to 8-inch in width. Generally, these cables are used in broadcasting FM and TV frequencies. This is achieved when the rigid line serves as a connection between the RF-components in FM and TV broadcasting systems. Because of its high power capacities, rigid line cables can be used in both inside and outside setting.

As mentioned earlier, the rigid lines cannot be bent. However, if the situation requires bending, then it can be achieved through specially constructed elbows designed to facilitate the cable’s course. Usually, these elbows come in either 45 or 90-degree angle.

  1. RG-6

RG-6 is one of the most commonly used coax cable which comes with either a bare solid copper or copper clad steel center. They are used in commercial as well as in residential setting to transfer signals. Usually, it is used to transmit audio and radio signals to TVs. That said, it can also be used in a number of applications because of its resilient nature.

RG-6 cables come in four different kinds, each of which is made differently. For instance, the plain RG-6 cable dutifully serves commercial/residential cabling needs. Flooded RG-6 cables contain a water blocking gel that can protect against moisture and water. Messenger RG-6 cables are made to withstand tension and Plenum is specifically built to meet with the fire-safety standards.



Since its inception, coax cables have been redesigned and branched out into various categories to meet with the increasing yet sophisticated transmission needs. Each one of the coax cables is designed to meet unique needs, so it all comes down to your intended purpose for the cables.

If your needs are commercial, there is a cable for that and if you want to utilize them for underground conduits, there is a cable for that! So carefully assess your needs, go over the area’s requirements, and choose a coax cable that can quickly help you in fulfilling your unique needs!

If your needs are commercial, there is a cable for that and if you want to utilize them for underground conduits, there is a cable for that! So carefully assess your needs, go over the area’s requirements, and choose a coax cable from Shireen Inc. that can quickly help you in fulfilling your unique needs!


More in the next pages!

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