How to check the continuity of coax cable

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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Coaxial (coax for short) cable typically sends data to cable boxes and satellite receivers. You can test the continuity, or stability, of the signal travelling through a coax cable by using a signal meter. These devices are available from electronics stores and satellite service suppliers. You do not need any special skills to use a signal meter, and checking the continuity of your coax cables is a fairly straightforward task.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Signal meter
  • 6-ft coax cable
  • Cable box
  • Paper
  • Pencil

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Locate the outside junction box that sends the coax signal into your home. Unscrew the coax cable's connector from the junction box. Screw the connector on the end of the coax cable into the output connector on the signal meter.

  2. 2

    Screw one end of a 6-foot coax cable into the input connector on the signal meter. Screw the other end of the cable into the connector on the junction box.

  3. 3

    Adjust the knob on the signal meter until the needle on the scale no longer wobbles back and forth. Write down the number that is closest to the needle.

  4. 4

    Unscrew the cables from the signal meter and the junction box. Reattach the original coax cable to the connector on the junction box.

  5. 5

    Unscrew the coax cable from the connector on the cable box. Screw the coax cable into the input on the signal meter. Screw one end of the 6-foot coax cable into the output on the signal meter and the other end into the connector on the cable box.

  6. 6

    Adjust the knob on the signal meter until the needle on the scale no longer wobbles back and forth. Write down the number that is closest to the needle.

  7. 7

    Unscrew the coax cables from the signal meter and from the cable box. Reattach the original coax cable to the connector on the cable box.

  8. 8

    Compare the second number you wrote down with the first number. If the difference between the two numbers is significant (e.g., it varies by a factor of 2 or more), the continuity of the coax cable running from the junction box to the cable box is impaired. Otherwise, the continuity of the coax cable is fine.

Tips and warnings

  • The coax cable supplies the power for the signal meter, so you don't need a battery.

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