Coax Cable Basics

The specifications listed are an average of several manufacturers products. There are two sizes of coax cable used for satellite television. RG-6 and RG-11. RG-6 is by far the most common. There is another coax on the market called RG-59. RG-59 is not suitable for satellite television. RG-59 is smaller than RG-6 and should not be used. There are two types of center conductors, two types of outer shielding and several types of outer jacket.

 

Coax Cable Center Conductor

The two types of center conductor are Bare Copper (BC - also called Solid Copper or SC), and Bare Copper Coated Steel (CCS). Bare Copper is almost universally required by all satellite manufacturers. As satellite dishes, and the electronics on them get more complex, they require more power. Bare Copper coax has 1/4 the DC resistance of Copper Coated Steel coax. Bare Copper does not affect the signal loss of the satellite signal, only increases the voltage supplied to the electronics on the dish. For cable runs exceeding 150 feet, the increase in voltage can have great benefits for the operation of the system. For cable runs less than 100 feet in total length, Copper Covered Steel works very well. Even though Copper Covered Steel works well for runs under 100 feet, many installers are required to install Bare Copper.

Coax Cable Outer Shield

Coax cable is available in two types of shielding. Dual and Quad. Dual shielding has a 100% foil wrap and an aluminum braid covering either 40% or 60%. 60% Aluminum braid is the minimum required by satellite system operators. Quad shield cable has another foil layer over the 1st aluminum braid and a 2nd aluminum braid over that.

 

Dual Shield Coax Cable
Quad Shield Coax Cable
Dual Shield Coax
Quad Shield Coax

 

 

Coax Cable Outer Jacket

Coax Cable has several types of outer jacket. The two main types of jacket are Standard, and Flooded. There are several sub-types of a standards jacket. Each sub-type regulates the types of buildings and location the cable can be installed. The standard sub-types are CATVX, CATV, CATVR, and CATVP.

These jacket types are rated on their ability to resistance the spread fire in vertical spaces and the the level of toxic gases/smoke produced as they burn..

 

CATVX is the lowest grade of cable. It is suitable for limited-use in residential buildings.

 

CATV rated cable is a higher grade jacket This cable may not be used in risers or plenums spaces. Riser spaces are cavities or openings that penetrate more than two floors Plenum spaces are those areas used to move air through a structure. Commercial buildings often use the same space to install cables as Heating / AC ducts.

 

CATVR is also called Riser cable. Riser cable has the slowest vertical burn rate and is suitable for any application other than plenum spaces

 

CATVP, or Plenum cable is the highest rated cable jacket type. Plenum rate cables can be used anywhere within a building. It's low burn rate and low toxic fumes emissions when burning make this the safest cable for any building application.

 

Flooded Coax Cable

 

The last main type of cable jacket is often called flooded. Some manufacturers do not use the term "flooded", but any satellite installer should know what flooded cable is and how to buy it. Flooded cable has a stiffer, denser jacket to withstand the compression of being buried, and also contains a sticky gel substance within the outer most braided shield. The flooding compound prevents water migration along the braid when the jacket is damaged.

 

When a buried cable is cut, water can wick along the aluminum braid for a very long distance. With enough time, water can wick more than 100' along the inside of the cable. Once the water wicks into a cable, the cable must be replaced. Once a cable is buried, you do not want to replace it. If a cable is cut in the ground, and the hole fills with water, the cable can be ruined in a short time. A cable can remain operational even with water wicking along the outer braid. Unless the water moves into the dielectric core, or reaches a connector, the water can wick all the way to the receiver. I have even seen water dripping out the back of a receiver while the system was still operational.

When flooded cable is used, water cannot wick along the cable braid, and if damaged only an inch or two of the cable needs to be removed before repairing.

Flooded cable should only be used for underground applications. When heated by the sun, the flooding compound can expand many times in volume, oozing out at connections. Flooded cable should never be installed inside a home.

 

Coax Cable Specifications

 

Cable - 2 GHz
Max Freq Lost per 100 feet

DC Resistance in Ohms per / 1000 feet

Center / Shield

55
MHz
1000 MHz
2250
MHz
RG-6 CCS
1.6 dB
6.5 dB
10 dB
28 / 9
RG-6 BC
1.6 dB
6.5 dB
10 dB
6.4 / 9
RG-6 Quad CCS
1.6 dB
6.5 dB
10 dB
28 / 4.6
RG-6 Quad BC
1.6 dB
6.5 dB
10 dB
6.4 / 4.6
RG-11 CCS
.9 dB
5 dB
8 dB
11 / ?

RG-11 BC

.9 dB
5 dB
8 dB
2.6 / ?
RG-11 Quad CCS
.9 dB
5 dB
8 dB
11 / 3
RG-11 Quad BC
.9 dB
5 dB
8 dB
2.6 / 3

 

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