The best coax for HF ham radio is crucial for signal transmission between antennas. Many consider it as a communication breakthrough, effectively minimizing interference and signal loss. Plus, it has a rugged design and superior resistance, making sure that it withstands long-term use.
A coax cable serves as a point-to-point connection between amplifiers, bandpass filters, antenna tuners, and receivers, among other parts of an HF ham radio. It completes the set-up of ham radio, making it more effective even in the most challenging environments.
While a coax cable is a must-have addition to your HF ham radio set-up, take note that they are not all the same. To differentiate the options, below are some of the most important considerations:
- Impedance: Expressed as ohms, this technical specification determines the compatibility of the coax cable. For ham radios, most options are 50 ohms, which are ideal for high-powered applications while delivering low loss. You will also find coax cables with a rating of 75 ohms.
- Connectors: A coax cable can have male or female connectors. Match this to the set-up of the ham radio you are using. The connectors can be crimped or soldered, which ensures a tight fit.
- Construction: From the inner conductor to the outer core, the overall construction has a huge influence on longevity and performance. Look for materials that improve signal while also withstanding external elements, especially if you install the coax outdoors.
Clueless about the coaxial cable for ham radio to buy? This guide walks you through some of the top products available, as well as their most notable features.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Coax for HF Ham Radio Reviews
- 1. STEREN 205-700 Coax Cable Connector
- 2. MPD Digital LMR-400-PL259-UHF-18inch Coax Cable
- 3. Extreme Consumer Products Coax Cable
- 4. YOTENKO Lii-04113 Coax Cable
- 5. MPD Digital MPD-400 Coaxial Cable
- 6. Workman FBA_8X-100-PL-PL Coax Cable
- 7. Superbat Coax Jumper Cable
- 8. BOOBRIE 0003709 Coax Cable
- 9. HYS TC-110 so-239 Coaxial Cable
- 10. Wilson Electronics 952350 Coax Cable
- 11. MPD Digital N1-BUHN-XX80 Coax Cable
- 12. Times Microwave LMR-400 Coaxial Cable
- What to Look for When Buying Coax for HF Ham Radio
- What is the Difference Between RG* and RG*X
- Is LMR 400 the Same as RG8
- Can RG6 Be Used for Ham Radio
Top 12 Coax for HF Ham Radio Reviews
1. STEREN 205-700 Coax Cable Connector
With a length of 100 feet, this coax cable is suitable even for high-powered applications. It has an incredible construction that makes it fitting even for the harshest conditions.
Amongst its impressive features, one of my favorites is its versatility. It is a great investment because of its multiple applications. I can use it in an antenna switch, tuner, or meter, among others. Regardless, it demonstrates top-notch functionality, making it hard to match.
More so, it has a fully-molded PL259 cable. The latter provides the cable as a male plug for UHF to UHF connectivity. The connectors, meanwhile, are plated with nickel, which protects against external damages through years of use.
The casing of the wire is indicative of longevity. It feels solid to the touch, so I am confident that this product will last a long time. It also helps that it has braided copper, making the cable tougher. Not to mention, this material is also effective for eliminating signal loss, resulting in better reliability.
Another good thing about this product is that it is flexible. I have used a lot of strong cables, but the problem is that they are quite difficult to bend or roll. With this model, however, the wire bends easily without damaging the internal components.Heads-up: However, the biggest problem with this cable is the poor construction of the connectors. The soldering and crimping could be better to minimize the possibility of loosening.
- Versatile functionality for an antenna’s switch, tuner, and meter
- Has a PL529 cable for UHF to UHF functionality
- Comes with a high-quality casing for durability
- Minimizes signal loss with the help of braided copper
- The connectors easily loosen
2. MPD Digital LMR-400-PL259-UHF-18inch Coax Cable
A popular option for critical communications, such as in the police and army, this HF coax cable is another option you should not miss.
The cable uses a proprietary dielectric material, which is responsible for its low loss. In turn, it delivers better signal retention compared to many of its competitors. Plus, it optimizes mechanical and electrical performance.
Another reason why its construction is top-notch is its ability to tolerate the heat of the sun. According to tests conducted by the manufacturer, it withstands 20 years of UV exposure. Such makes it one of the top-rated coaxial cables for outdoor applications.
It is also an excellent cable if you want peace of mind. The manufacturer offers a ten-year factory warranty, which is one of the most extensive I have seen. To add, it has a one-year exchange policy. Meanwhile, I can return it within 60 days and receive a refund without a restocking fee.
With a diameter of.405 inches, this is a large cable. Its size is a good thing since it also means that the center conductor is large. The latter improves signal retention in HF, VHF, and UHF radios. To add, it is also responsible for making the wire useful even for higher frequencies.Heads-up: Despite the good things, one of the issues with this coaxial cable is that it is too stiff. The cable is suitable only in applications when you need a straight wire. Otherwise, it is difficult to bend.
- Uses an exclusive dielectric material for low loss
- Comes with a ten-year warranty, one-year exchange, and 60-day return policies
- 20-year UV rating makes it great for outdoor applications
- Has a large center conductor for better signal retention
- Too stiff to bend
3. Extreme Consumer Products Coax Cable
From its quality to its price, this coax cable for ham radio is another favorite. Despite being economical, it packs plenty of features that make it comparable to its higher-end alternatives.
It has an impressive overall construction, which is a result of its high-quality parts. One of the best is the.242-inch PVC jacket insulator. It has a flexible outer shield that ensures flexibility without damaging the internal components. Its ends, meanwhile, both have male connectors.
More so, it also has a tough build because of the woven copper braid, which has up to 95% core coverage. The latter helps in minimizing signal leakage. At the same time, it also lessens electrical interference from the external environment. As a result, communication between users is clearer.
Meanwhile, its interior core has a 16 AWG stranded copper conductor. It transfers high-frequency signals from one end of the cable to another. A dielectric foam polyethylene acts as insulation, which improves signal consistency.
It is also good to know that the manufacturer is offering a five-year warranty. It shows how confident they are of its quality.
The versatility of the cable is another good reason to choose it. It works for both ham and CB radios. It is also compatible with other electronics such as switch meters and antenna tuners. I can use it in several applications as long as the latter will match the wire’s 875-watt maximum power handling.Heads-up: Connecting the threads can be tricky because of the rough ends. I find them quite difficult to spin.
- Has a PVC jacket insulator that protects the interior
- Woven copper braid prevents interference and signal leakage
- Comes with a five-year warranty
- Versatile design for multiple applications
- Rough connector threads are difficult to spin
4. YOTENKO Lii-04113 Coax Cable
If you are looking for a low-cost cable with decent quality, this is one option to include on your list.
I used this antenna for the base station of my ham radio, and it worked well. Among others, one of the most notable is the tightly threaded connections. Spinning the connectors is easy, and once they are in position, the wire does not easily detach.
The wires are thick and sturdy, which is indicative of durability. Even after years of use, I am confident that they are not easily prone to wear. With the way they are built, it is easy to resist external elements that can damage their components and negatively impact the overall performance.
To add, it will work well on CB, ham, two-way, and amateur radios, among other types. It connects to transmitters, antennas, meters, and receivers. All that you have to do is make sure that the ends are compatible with male connectors.
The best thing is that all of these benefits won’t come at a high price. It is one of the cheapest wires I found on the market. It is a great choice for people who are on a budget but unwilling to compromise quality.Heads-up: Watch out when bending this cable. While it is flexible, some people shared that it is prone to short out issues that would definitely affect its performance.
- The threaded connectors ensure a tight assembly
- Thick wires ensure durability
- A great pick for buyers on a budget
- Works well on different types of radios
- Prone to shorts especially upon bending
5. MPD Digital MPD-400 Coaxial Cable
This US-made cable is another notable option for the top-tier coax for ham radio. It is low-cost but high-quality, making it a worthy addition to this guide.
Among others, it stands out because it combines flexibility with performance. The aluminum-clad center has pure copper, which also makes it easy to bend even in the tightest radius. Despite this, the signal retention remains strong.
I also like how it has two types of exterior materials to suit different applications. The black jacket is for standard use. Meanwhile, the white outer jacket is for marine applications. Regardless of where I use the cable, it demonstrates good performance.
It is also commendable because of its ultra-low loss, which provides better RF shielding. This also means that it can deliver lower attenuation even at higher frequencies. The outcome is that they produce clearer communications.
Furthermore, this coax cable handles a wide range of temperatures from -15 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that it is suitable even for harsh environments. No wonder, it is a common choice even for the military.
A standard cable may not be enough for outdoor applications. This product is an excellent alternative since it is designed with UV protection. Even with sun exposure, it will be reliable. The manufacturer notes that it can last up to 20 years in open-air installations.Heads-up:
- Has an aluminum-clad copper center to boost signal retention
- Available in two types of jackets depending on application
- Ultra-low loss for better reliability
- Withstands extreme temperatures and harsh environments
- The cable is thinner than I expected
6. Workman FBA_8X-100-PL-PL Coax Cable
From radio transmitters to antenna tuners, this Workman coax cable is an option you won’t regret.
It has a 16-grade center conductor with foam insulation. The latter is a good feature because it makes the cable more resistant to pressure, compression, and pinches. This will also make it more suitable for bends and slopes.
More so, its shield is a 95% copper braid. This is another reason for its elasticity, making it easier to shape depending on the form that you need. It is better than those with inferior aluminum braiding, which are easily susceptible to breakage.
It is also impressive because of the low signal loss. Without excessive leakage, you can expect ham and BC radio communications to be clearer. Additionally, it works great in different conditions. Whether there is snow, rain, ice, or sun, it has a notable performance.
The best thing is that despite the many benefits of this RG 8x cable, it is affordable. Even if it is budget-friendly, it packs a lot of features that you will see in its higher-end counterparts. Plus, it can provide the best bang for the buck because it has a length of 100 feet.Heads-up: Nonetheless, one of the cons of this product is the end of the connector. Soldering seems to be the problem, making them a bit loose.
- Foam insulation surrounds the core for damage protection
- Has an elastic copper braid for easy shaping
- Low signal loss for better output
- Affordable with plenty of exceptional features
- The connector ends are not too tight
7. Superbat Coax Jumper Cable
Whether it is for SWR meter, antenna analyzer, or ham radio, this is a fantastic coaxial cable.
I highly recommend this product to people who are on a budget. It is one of the cheapest of the products I am reviewing in this guide. Despite such, it does not mean that it has sub-par quality compared to its more expensive counterparts.
Despite being economical, it has a robust construction. Among others, one of the best in it is the polyethylene insulation. It is a thermoplastic material, which is tough and abrasion-resistant. Even if it is robust, it is flexible. The latter makes it easy to shape depending on what the installation requires.
The inner conductor, meanwhile, is made of tinned copper. Compared to bare copper, the latter is better in terms of resisting wet environments, high temperatures, and humidity. To make it even better, it has a PV jacket.
I also love the quality of the threaded connectors. They are effortless to screw and best of all, they stay snug once they are in place. This is unlike cheaper counterparts that quickly disconnect with the slightest movements.
One more thing that can convince you to choose this product is the 100% satisfaction guarantee for one month. Within such a period, if you are unhappy in any way, let the manufacturer know and you will be eligible for a refund.Heads-up: If there is one drawback, however, it would be that it is best only for small radios and low-powered rigs. If you have a bigger system, then you might want to choose one with higher cable specifications.
- Polyethylene insulation resists abrasions
- Connectors are easy to screw and stays snug
- The inner conductor resists harsh conditions
- Comes with a one-month satisfaction guarantee
- Works only for small radios
8. BOOBRIE 0003709 Coax Cable
Improve signal quality and minimize interference with this trusted coax. It has male UHF connectors and an overall length of 15 meters.
This cable has an impedance of 50 ohms, which is common within the product category. It enhances the performance even at a long distance. This means that the length of the cable will not negatively impact voltage and power signals. It also improves the efficiency of data travel.
Being a low-loss cable, it has a lower attenuation compared to its RG counterparts. One of its most notable benefits is better shielding. Even at a distance, there is minimal loss, which guarantees better reliability.
The connector material is incredible, which is made of pure copper. Many of its cheaper competitors contain alloy, which negatively impacts the overall performance. This is also the reason why it has better connectivity. Plus, it has gold plating, making the wire tougher.
Its rigidity is also worth noting. Despite this, it is easy to form. It isn’t difficult to bend the cable when it is necessary. The best thing is that shaping such will not minimize its effectiveness. If you do not twist it, however, the cable remains straight.Heads-up: One of the cons of this product is its fragile connectors. Even with light hand-tightening, they are easy to break. Make sure to handle it carefully to avoid damage during its set-up.
- Has a 50-ohm impedance that is ideal for long connections
- Low loss design for better shielding
- Comes with a pure copper conductor to improve connectivity
- Rigid cable but easy to form
- Connectors can easily break
9. HYS TC-110 so-239 Coaxial Cable
In your search for the best coax for VHF/UHF, this is another notable product. From the quick assembly to its versatility, it offers plenty of benefits.
One of the biggest differences from the other products in this guide is that the other end is a mount with a female connector. It has a solid base that accommodates various antennas. It is magnetic, so it is easy to install, such as your car’s roof.
Some of you might not like the thought of attaching a magnet to a car since it can cause scratches. This model solves such a problem by having a rubber sheath. The latter adds a layer of protection, minimizing the likelihood that it will affect your vehicle’s finish.
It is also worth noting that it has a small but durable cable. I like how it is unobtrusive. It runs from the roof to the interior of my car without being a disturbance. It is tiny enough so that I can still close the door without any problem.
Its versatility is also a plus since I can use it beyond ham radios. It is equally extraordinary in a VHF, UHF, HF, and CB radio. Plus, it supports different antennas, as long as it has a weight of lighter than 500 grams and a length below 1.3 meters.Heads-up: While it has effortless plug-and-play installation through a magnet, it is weak. This means that it can easily slide even with the slightest effort.
- Easy installation with its magnetic mount
- Protective rubber sleeve to prevent scratches
- Works on different types of radios
- Accommodates several kinds of antennas
- Can easily slide because of the weak magnet
10. Wilson Electronics 952350 Coax Cable
Improve transmission lines with this coaxial cable. It is an excellent addition to your HF ham radio set-up, ensuring better communication.
Compatible with 50-ohm antennas and amplifiers, it allows uninterrupted signals. The latter is important for clarity when using ham radios. It also minimizes interference, especially when you are in a challenging environment.
With dual shield twisting pairs, it is notable because of its durability. It uses premium materials, so I am confident of its long-term functionality. It is also noticeably thicker than many of the coax wires I have used. Not to mention, it is made in the United States, making its quality unquestionable. To add, it carries up to 300 volts and is ideal even for commercial applications.
To make it more durable, it was built even for outdoor applications. Exposure to the sun and rain, among other external factors, will not have a negative impact on its performance. It is heavy-duty, making it worth every dollar.
It is also worth noting that it has a low-loss design, which makes it better than a conventional RG cable. There is low attenuation loss even when there are high frequencies. The outcome is that it is incredible even with moisture exposure and flexing.Heads-up: However, one of the issues with this product is that you will need N-connectors. The latter will limit its usability.
- Provides uninterrupted signals
- Made using premium materials to guarantee longevity
- Withstands even extreme weather
- Low loss to deliver top performance in different environments
- Requires using N-connectors
11. MPD Digital N1-BUHN-XX80 Coax Cable
From radio transceivers to other RF sources, this is another cable that can do wonders. It is a high-end product, so you can expect top-notch features.
One of the reasons why it stands out is its ultra-low loss. This feature of the transmission line means that it can guarantee maximum performance. Although, the latter will depend on several factors, such as the position and quality of the antenna you currently are using.
The UV-proof construction is another reason why this model makes it to my list. It has a 20-year UV exposure rating, which shows how long-lasting it will be despite sun exposure. This is unlike others that are easily prone to damage in an open-air setup.
Another good reason to pick this cable is its large diameter. The latter also means that it has a larger center conductor. In turn, it boosts signal retention even at high frequencies that will ensure its reliability.
It is also admirable that the company is offering a ten-year warranty. This is one of the best in the industry. Plus, you can exchange the cable within one year of use and return it within 60 days and get a refund when you are unhappy.Heads-up: The biggest drawback of this product is its price. While it is one of the most expensive on this list, it has great features that make it worth every dollar.
- Ultra-low loss for optimal performance
- Has a UV exposure rating of 20 years
- The large center conductor retains signal
- Comes with an industry-leading ten-year warranty
- One of the most expensive on this list
12. Times Microwave LMR-400 Coaxial Cable
Wrapping up our list is one of the most popular cables in the market. It works for both CB and ham radios.
This feed line has soldered connectors with silver plating to ensure a tight fit into a compatible device. To add, it has Teflon dielectrics. The latter is one of the reasons why it withstands high temperatures, making sure that it remains stable despite the conditions of the external environment.
Like other LMR cables, it has low loss properties while delivering the same transmission characteristics that you will find in a hardline coax. Even when you are using it at high frequencies, it passes signals exceptionally.
Another reason why it is extraordinary is its weatherability. It is built for outdoor exposure without minimizing its effectiveness. With its UV resistance, it has a life expectancy of more than 20 years. It also helps that it has a polyethylene jacket.
More so, Times Microwave Systems, the maker of this coaxial cable, has built a solid reputation for developing wires that are used even in military applications. This is another proof that they are built to withstand even the most challenging conditions.Heads-up: Nonetheless, some of you might not like how it is only 30 feet. It might limit its applications since the radio and the antenna should be near each other.
- Has soldered connectors that will guarantee a snug fit
- The Teflon dielectrics sustain harsh environments
- Low loss even for high frequencies
- UV-resistant construction with over 20-year life expectancy
- Some users may find it too short
What to Look for When Buying Coax for HF Ham Radio
As you narrow down your list, this section talks about some of the most important considerations. Whether it is a coax for 144 MHz or any other frequency, these factors will help you make a decision you won’t regret.
When you are checking a coax comparison chart, one of the most important technical specifications is impedance. Expressed as ohms, it dictates the compatibility or functionality of the cable. If it is 75 ohms, it is best for video signaling. On the other hand, if it is 50 ohms, then it is better for wireless communications, including ham radio.
Differentiating ham radio coax cable types requires looking at their connectors. It can be male (PL-529) or female (SO-239). The right choice will depend on what is suitable for the radio or antenna that you are using. Both male and female connectors should have threaded connections to ensure a tight fit.
From the jackets to the inner conductors, the choice of material directly impacts the overall quality of the cable. Especially for outdoor applications, the components must withstand UV exposure, rain, and other external elements that can speed up wear. Plus, it should be built in such a way that it is easy to shape or bend without affecting its functionality.
The more a cable attenuates, the more signal loss there is. Attenuation is lesser when a cable has a larger diameter. In turn, it increases the quality of communication by eliminating interferences.
One of the most important coax cable specifications’ ham radio, the right length depends on your needs. Most of the products in this review ranged from 50 to 100 feet. If it is too short, you won’t have the freedom to optimally position the radio and antenna so that you can have the best reception.
Do not forget to read reviews about the product and learn from the real-life experiences of other users. To avoid regrets, we recommend buying only from trusted e-commerce sites, where you can see genuine reviews. That said, Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot are some of the best places to buy ham radio coax.
What is the Difference Between RG* and RG*X
You will find several types of coaxial wires. A common way to differentiate them is based on their gauge or thickness, which is expressed as RG or radio guide. The higher the number, the larger the central conductor is. If it is RG8 (RG*), it means that the conductor is an 8-gauge (or whatever the gauge is). There is also a version known as RG*X (such as RG 8x), which means it is thinner but the signal quality remains the same.
Is LMR 400 the Same as RG8
LMR 400 is one of the most common cable types. However, take note that it is not the same as RG8. Instead, it is common as a replacement to the latter. Nonetheless, keep in mind that LMR 400 has an aluminum wire as its center conductor. This makes it more difficult to bend, so it is best only for straight installations. More so, according to the ham radio coax cable loss chart, LMR has a lower loss.
Can RG6 Be Used for Ham Radio
Yes, RG6 coax is compatible even for ham radios. Nonetheless, while you can technically do so, we recommend using other types since RG6 can result in high losses. The latter will affect the reception quality and overall radio performance.
With the best coax for HF ham radio, it is easier to communicate over airwaves. These cables connect to an antenna or any other component while minimizing loss and interference. As a result, you can expect clearer communication at both ends. The overall quality and performance, however, depend on the specific product that you will use.
Hi, I am Amaro Frank – the Wind Up Radio’s content editor and writer. Working with Adam is so much fun, as his stories and experiences enrich my knowledge about radio communications and radio accessories. My main tasks in Wind Up Radio are building content and generating great articles on different topics around radio accessories.