Last Updated on September 26, 2020
Coax cables are mandatory when it comes to transmitting the signal to and from your antenna. Nevertheless, not all cables are developed equally, there are countless in the market, operating for various purposes, but for ham radio, you need to find the most reliable and efficient one.
Getting the perfect coax for ham radio feels like making a quantum leap in the world of modern communication and signal dispersal. That’s the kind of difference it can make. So, to make the best ones easier for you to find, we’ve compiled the list of the top 5 coax cables for hf ham radios in the market today.
In addition to that, we’re going to cover the following points in this guide:
- Our top pick: Cable Experts RG-8X Coax Cable
- Quick links to the top 5 coax cables, if you are in a hurry
- Detailed reviews of each coax cable
- Pros and cons of each coax cable
- FAQs section where all your concerns are clarified
- Our verdict
Quick Summary: Top 5 Best Coax for HF Ham Radio
Our editors go through and research, test and qualify our recommended products. We receive commissions on purchases from certain links.
- Best Overall: Cable Experts RG-8X Coax Cable
“This is, hands down, the best quality coax jumper I have seen. USA Made cable. Nice solder work.”
- Best Value for Money: YOTENKO RG 58 15M Coax Cable
“Surprisingly, this is a very well constructed cable that I will definitely end up using on my new discone antenna.”
- Best Quality Material: Workman 100 FT RG8X Coax Cable
“This is a high quality RG8X cable, great for HF.”
- Best Shielding Coverage: RoadPro RG-58A/U Coaxial Cable
“Great product. Enough length to run from my back tailgate all the way to the front dash of my 4 door Jeep Wrangler.”
- Best Durability: RFAdapter RG-58 PL259 Coax Cable
“It works! Wired this from the antenna on my trunk to the CB in my passenger side. I get plenty of reception with my cheap antenna!”
Cable Length: 1.5 ft up to 150 ft available sizes
Cable Type: RG-8X
When it comes to variety and perfection, the Cable Experts’ coax cable cannot be overlooked. Available in more than ten different sizes, this is one of those cables which you only have to invest in once and expect years of great signal strength.
Its flexibility is not restricted to its size alternatives, and it works remarkably well for various kinds of radios too consisting of CB radios, shortwave radios, and naturally great for HF HAM radios. This copper-braided coax cable is weatherproof, so you can anticipate it to work just as great in severe weather conditions as well.
Unlike many others in the market, this one is an RG-8x cable with remarkable signal retention. Moreover, signal loss is very rare and if it does happen, it’s less than 2.5 Db.
- Available in a range of ten different sizes
- Superb signal strength and retention
- Outstanding cable which is compatible with many radios
- Remarkable durability and overall strength
- Waterproof and weatherproof properties make it even more reliable
- The connector threads have an unusual and uncomfortably pointy design so you might want to wear gloves to avoid hurting yourself
Best Value for Money
Cable Length: 50 ft
Cable Type: RG-58 15M
The RG 58 15M from Yotenko is among the more affordable coax cable choices out there. It’s priced economically yet without any compromise on the signal retention and signal strength.
It’s versatile enough to be utilized with several radios, including those that feature two-way communication. The length of the cable is 50 feet which is ideal enough for many users. One thing to note, however, is that this is an RG-58 cable and should only be utilized for mobile installations.
Overall, the body of the cable is well-built, making it strong, durable, and tough enough to survive harsh weather. It’s also lightweight and portable.
- The most budget-efficient option in our list
- Long length of 50 feet and great signal retention
- Well-built body promotes its durability and ensures survival against harsh weathers
- Portable and lightweight
- Excellent for mobile installations
- Not usable for heavy-duty or advanced usage
Best Quality Material
Cable Length: 100 ft
Cable Type: RG-8X
This Workman coaxial cable is among the highest-rated coax cables on Amazon. It’s an RG8X coax so you can positively expect greater signal strength and least signal loss than any other kinds of cables in the market.
The RG8X coax cable and UHF adapters both work completely well at high frequencies. The coax cable is truly top-notch with a 95% copper intertwined shield, and the signal retention is easily comparable to the likes of the LMR400, which is a lot more costly option and yet has nearly the same performance as this cable.
The PL-259 ports are of premium quality also, and the total building is strong.
- Great quality with excellent signal retention
- Works nicely with radio frequencies
- Cable length is more than enough to cater to the needs of an average user
- Connectors are of premium quality
- The overall body of the cable is well-built and its highly reliable
- The cable length is more than a blessing at this price
- There have been reports of units that get damaged during shipping and arrive defectively to the customer. Make sure you order only from reliable sellers. If something goes wrong, you can get a replacement though.
Best Shielding Coverage
Cable Length: 18 ft.
Cable Type: RG-58A/U
The RoadPro RG-58A/ U Coax cable is priced remarkably economical despite being a good choice and doing its job well as a coax cable. It’s an 18 feet cable and works extremely well on high frequencies.
Surprisingly, the cable is thick and dense unlike a lot of the other choices in this price range, so it is very likely to last longer than you expect from it. It’s also flexible, versatile, and compatible with other devices such as CB radios and SWR meters. (1)
It’s an RG58 cable but the signal retention is good enough, especially considering the price it comes at.
- Nice set of features at such an incredible price
- Outstanding performance on high frequencies
- The body is thickly built, making it strong and sturdy
- Materials used in the cable are not of very high quality
- Length may turn out to be insufficient
Cable Length: 3ft up to 15ft
Cable Type: RG-58
Here is another cost-effective cable, this time from RFAdapter. It’s an RG-58 coax and readily available in 3 sizes.
It’s extremely flexible and works well with a vast array of devices, consisting of antenna analyzers and SWR meters. The signal retention is excellent, and the braided shield is made from high–quality aluminum wire.
The body is well-built and it does its job well but make sure you don’t use it for any appliance that demands too much output.
- It is the ideal cable for mobile installations
- Can be used to work with many different devices
- Made out of high-quality aluminum wire, which gives it significant sturdiness and durability
- Well-built enough to survive varying weather conditions
- Not useful for anything which demands too much
What is a coaxial cable?
Essentially, coax cables are wire cables that are normally copper-based and are a composition of a structure of 4 distinct layers.
A wire conductor exists in the cable center which is very slender. A plastic protective insulation coating borders the copper wire. For defense against any disturbance from outdoors and to protect the coax cable, another coating of wire mesh is also put.
For the final insulation, a rubberized layer is added to bring about the maximal security on the external part of the coax cable. These cables are utilizable for graphical and audio transmission and they can be used nearly all kinds of electronic devices.
What makes coaxial cables better than others?
So essentially, coax cables are tunnels for transmissions and carry electric signals with an extraordinary frequency. They ensure the least possible leakage of signals and attempt to provide the highest possible sound quality. The majority of these coax cables have an excellent length that makes them easier to utilize.
The efficiency of these cable televisions is realized when they are utilized by companies such as NASA, NOAA, and other departments such as law enforcement, fire departments, marine companies, and so on. Their magnetic base makes the setup of these coax cables simple. These coax cables guarantee you excellent dependability, versatility, and reliability. (2, 3)
What does RG mean in a cable’s name?
Going back to the second world war, the period brought about the invention of the Radio Guide (RG). The military at that time utilized RG effectively for survival, as it depends upon communication and radio frequencies.
RG, with its set standards, helped them to receive audio and sounds via receivers. So, it was like a system for interacting with each other amongst soldiers. Although the name has substantially evolved in the past few years, the world still prefers to call it with its old name. Surprisingly, all these names just came about randomly. There wasn’t any particular reason behind these specific names. It just happened arbitrarily.
A good coaxial cable is necessary if you want to enjoy nice signal strength and better transmission. There are so many in the market that it’s difficult to find one which suits one’s needs. However, as long as you are aware of the maximum budget you can spend and other basics such as the length you desire and compatibility with other devices, you’ll be able to find the perfect coax much quicker.
We hope this guide helps you make the decision more confidently and easily and answers any of your questions or doubts with the FAQ.
(1) SWR meters – https://ham.stackexchange.com/questions/9778/how-does-an-swr-meter-really-work
(2) NASA – https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-is-nasa-58.html
(3) NOAA – https://www.britannica.com/topic/National-Oceanic-and-Atmospheric-Administration