The Importance Of High Quality RF Connectors In The Antenna

May 17, 2019
The Importance Of High Quality RF Connectors In The Antenna

High quality RF connectors are the cornerstone of any antenna design. The RF connector in the antenna is critical for its dual function: the mechanical connection between the antenna and its connected RF system; and the conduit for RF energy flowing between the connected RF system and the antenna element located within the antenna radome.

RF connectors are also the most common point of failure in deploying antennas. While some antenna designs will include additional mounting support structures, most deployed omnidirectional antennas still rely on RF connectors as their sole mechanical connection point if additional flanged bases are provided.

If you choose a cheap or poorly designed RF connector, the importance of ignoring this during the design phase may reduce the overall electrical performance of the final antenna design in an unexpected manner and make the antenna susceptible to mechanical failure. These failures not only result in loss of communication, data or video in an untimely manner, but can be life-threatening for first responders or military personnel who rely on a powerful wireless communication network to ensure their safety and mission success.

It is also important to choose the RF connector that is most compatible with the intended application of the antenna. For example, SMA RF connectors are generally well suited for indoor or commercial RF applications, but may not be suitable for rugged outdoor military applications. For applications that are used in extreme environments, it may be worthwhile to use a RF connector that can withstand more abuse, but it takes more space on the face of the radio and is heavier.