In mine summer tower we began a testimonial of the research performed by Oliver Heaviside (1850 to 1925), an English physicist, engineer, and also mathematician whose research study helped define our industry. If did you do it not read my last column covering resistance, reactance and impedance, you might wish to before proceeding.

Coaxial cable basics

Most of united state are acquainted with coaxial cable, which has actually been deployed in cable television since the first systems were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s. Currently let’s construct on mine last column with an check of the coaxial infection line. Coaxial cable has actually an within conductor surrounded by a tubular insulating layer, surrounding by a tubular conducting shield. The ax coaxial is used due to the fact that the inner and outer conductors share a usual geometric axis.

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In 1880 Oliver Heaviside studied the so-called skin effect in telegraph transmission lines. The concluded the wrapping one insulating casing approximately a infection line increased both the clarity of the signal and also durability that the cable. He patented the very first coaxial cable the adhering to year (British Patent No. 1407). 4 years later, in 1884, the an initial commercial coaxial cable was manufactured by Siemens. See number 1.

Coaxial cable is used to carry high frequency electric signals with fairly low loss and is supplied in a selection of applications and also industries. It differs from various other shielded cables in that the dimensions of the cable conductors and connectors are much more precisely managed to administer for the reliable transfer of electrical energy from source to pack while shielding the signal from outside interference.

In the analysis that follows, most coaxial cable parameters can be identified by well established formulas; however, v the exception of properties impedance (Z0) we’ll not evaluation them together mathematical evaluation is not my general intent.

The external sheath is usually kept at floor potential, with the center conductor at some potential various other than ground. As we might expect, coaxial cable operates in an intuitive fashion at reduced frequencies (for example, 60 Hz) because it is simply two conductors be separate by an insulating material. At greater frequencies, however, power and analysis become complex.


Figure 1. Coaxial cable construction


Figure 2. equivalent coaxial cable in ~ high frequency


Figure 3. Simplified equivalent coaxial cable

Coaxial cable equivalent circuit

At greater frequencies, the coaxial cable take away on complex characteristics that can be finest shown together a series of ‘distributed’ worths of inductance, resistance, capacitance, and also conductance. See number 2.

Coaxial cables are regularly analyzed as ‘lossy’ elements with lumped capacitance and also inductance values, back the electrical performance that a length of coaxial cable transferring high frequency signals is more complex than this.

Series resistance

The DC resistance the a coaxial cable is provided per unit length, with the resistance that the center conductor and also sheath usually provided separately. Because that example, manufacturers released data for the resistance that .500” P3 cable is 1.35 ohms every 1k ft because that the center conductor and .37 ohm every 1k ft for the sheath. Loop resistance is the amount of this values.

Series inductance

A size of coaxial cable, back straight, includes some inductance as result of the magnetic field around the facility conductor as energy is transferred. This magnetic field is stood for as a collection inductor mentioned in (micro) henries per unit length.

Shunt capacitance

Shunt capacitance represents the ability of the coaxial cable to carry a charge. Since the facility conductor and also sheath are separate conductors at various voltage potentials be separate by a dielectric, a size of coax includes capacitance and also is stated in (pico) farads per unit length.

Shunt conductance

Conductance is the contrary of resistance. That is the measure of how conveniently an electric existing flows through a material. Conductance is designated by the letter G and is rated in siemens (S), or originally in mhos (Ʊ ohm spelled backwards) for united state old timers. Mathematically, conductance is the reciprocal of resistance: G = 1/R. Generally, shunt conductance is little in coaxial cable because contemporary dielectric products have great properties v a short dielectric constant. At greater frequencies, however, the dielectric will permit some conductance (leakage) in between the facility conductor and the sheath.

Dielectric loss

Dielectric losses happen from energy absorption together the electric field rapidly alters polarity and occurs once conductance is better than zero. It represents among the major losses in coaxial cable in ~ high frequencies. The power lost is dissipated as heat, and also increases straight with the used frequency (and applied RF voltage).

RF attenuation

At higher frequencies skin impact increases the efficient AC resistance by confining conduction to a thin outer layer of each conductor. In enhancement to the increase in resistive loss, where high frequencies exist the result of dielectric loss becomes far-reaching as well. I’m not consisting of a formula because that calculation the RF attenuation, since in my experience the calculated results often vary significantly from the manufacturer’s published data for a selection of reasons. So, always use the manufacturer’s released RF attenuation data as soon as available.

Characteristic impedance

As disputed in my critical column, impedance to represent the full opposition to present flow and includes the results of resistance along with inductive and also capacitive reactance. Because reactive materials are often current (unless the circuit is resistive only), impedance is typically a facility value, definition it has both magnitude and also phase components. Most manufactured cables (including non-coaxial) have actually a specified characteristic impedance Z0. The Z0 the a transmission line of boundless length is the impedance in ohms at a stated frequency.

Characteristic impedance has an important application that can be an ext readily taken in regards to its impact on source-to-load energy transfer. If the input of a coaxial cable through a Z0 the 75 ohms is connected to a signal source with 75 ohm impedance and also the calculation of the cable is connected to a 75 ohm resistive load, all power is moved from resource to load (zero reflected energy). Us will research this idea further in my next column.

In coaxial cable Z0 is identified by the cables’ resistance, capacitance, inductance and also conductance as displayed in the adhering to formula.


Z0 = properties impedance (ohms)

R = collection resistance every unit length (ohms)

L = collection inductance per unit length (henrys)

G = conductance per unit size (siemens)

C = shunt capacitance every unit length (farads)

j = angular momentum (phase) presented by the inductive and also capacitive components

Now examine number 3. Because the resistive (R) and also conductive (G) materials in modern coaxial cable are relatively low contrasted to various other factors, the very first Z0 formula can be simplified to


for a lossless line. Keep in mind that the ratio of L/C need to remain about 5625 to productivity a Z0 that 75 ohms because that cable tv application. This ratio between series inductance and also shunt capacitance arises from the proportion of the spacing between the inner and also outer conductors add to the kind and high quality of dielectric material. This returns a 3rd formula which will be familiar to plenty of of you.



εk = dielectric constant

D = inside diameter that the outer conductor (sheath) in customs or mm.

d = exterior diameter that the inside conductor (center conductor) in customs or mm.

Using .500” P3 cable as an example, a εk of 1.3 (modern foam dielectric) add to .452” because that D and also .109” for d returns a Z0 that 74.76 ohms.

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In my winter 2020 pillar we’ll use the concepts from my spring and summer columns to do some additional observations top top coaxial infection lines consisting of several measurements.