Signal Booster Indoor Antenna
F Connector vs N Connector for repeater signal antenna

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F Connector N Connector

Type N

Discussions about the UHF connectors shortfalls will invariable lead to the Type N system. Named after Paul Neill of Bell Labs, the Type N is perhaps the most versatile and mechanically sound of the antenna connector types available today. It was developed in the 1940s for military use, and today it can handle frequencies up to 11 GHz. By employing a rubber gasket in the seat of the male casing, the Type N creates a waterproof connection point.

Because of its waterproof and mechanically sound qualities the Type N connector is most often used in Base Station setups or repeater installs;

however, a growing number of Hams are replacing the UHF connectors on their mobile radios with aftermarket Type N connectors. From what Ive heard, some or many of the European version mobile radios have been equipped with stock Type N connectors, a sign that manufacturers recognize its superior performance but that Americans are simply not quite ready for a complete transition. Long story short, the Type N connector is the best of the bunch, and as a whole, we should probably start using them more often.

Type F

Lets start with the first connector you are likely to come across as a new hamthe SMA. The SMA is a lightweight, all-purpose connector that is particularly practical for smaller applications like handhelds. It can effectively carry signals ranging from 0-18 GHz (well outside the range of most Ham operations!) and utilizes a threaded connection, which is one of the most secure connection types. As is the case with a great deal of radio equipment, the SMA was designed to satisfy military requirements, so even for its small size it provides a very strong connection.

The SMA was developed around the 1960s in an effort create a simple connection interface for RF coaxial cable. Its creation was most likely in response to the development of the 75 Ω F Connector early in the 1950s, which is most commonly used for television applications. In fact, as a word of warning to new Hams, make sure to not confuse the two! Both the F Connector and SMA connector look rather similarthe main difference, other than their dimensions, is their impedance. The standard impedance for an amateur radio setup is 50 Ω, while the F Connector is 75 Ω. Attempting to mate a 75 Ω connector to a 50 Ω antenna will yield less than desirable results!