Mismatched connectors and cable causing bad reception – How long things take to change!

6 Apr, 2021, 2:48 AM

Written: September 8, 2017

Did you know that every type of cable spec is designed to work perfectly in conjunction with its matching connector?

So many times do we at Deeper Image find poorly fitted “F” connectors causing bad reception. General electrical contractors are a common perpetrator of this, but specialist antenna installers also are guilty of not using the appropriate “F” connector for a given specified cable.

Deeper Image records show that the most common reception fault, from a repair service point of view, is mismatched or wrongly installed connectors and cable. Out of every 10 service calls that we make, 7 of them are for cable and/or connector problems.

A common fault is for the shield to be pushed back under the PVC outer jacket: Wrong! This totally defeats the purpose of the shield.

A well-fitting ‘F” connector goes on easily and the shield remains flat against the dielectric. When badly fitted it allows impulse noise interference, there is nothing to stop this happening. There are plenty of interference sources: electrical motors, refrigerators, 12-volt down lights (a bad one) and electric fences, to name a few.

The “F ” connector entered use in Australia in the late 1960s or early 1970s. An American company called Channel Master manufactured or sold the first drop taps — splitters which were fitted with the early “F” connectors.

Some consider that it was the Foxtel cable company that really started pushing this type of connector; however Deeper Image’s founder Sally Garden had earlier installed the first MATV Systems in the 1970s using them. We were certainly the pioneers. We therefore consider ourselves experts in the selection of the right connector for the right cable.

One of our spec sheets for signal processors, around 1980, clearly shows the F connectors as part of the installed equipment. When you consider the antenna industry generally still used saddle and screw equipment up until the year 2000 it is apparent that it has taken a long time for the right type of connector to be used, and unfortunately even today you will find saddle and screw devices being sold and used.

Sally Garden estimates it took about 30 years for “F” connectors to come into general use, although commercial equipment adopted the F connector earlier.

(Sally Garden is the Founder of Deeper Image Television and Wilkgard Technology Group P/L)