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How to join coax cables

Updated March 23, 2017

Coax cable is a simple, effective way of delivering the signal from a TV aerial to your TV set. It consists of a single insulated central wire core surrounded by wire mesh to prevent interference. Extend your coax cable by joining two lengths with a coax barrel connector. The task is easy, inexpensive and straightforward.

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  1. Mark a point 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) from the end of your coax cable. Use a knife or wire strippers to cut round the outer plastic coating where you marked it. Do not cut too deeply otherwise you will cut into the inner wire. Remove the cut plastic by holding the main part of the cable with one hand just above the cut then use your other hand to pull the plastic from the main cable. Once the outer sleeve is removed the wire mesh is exposed.

  2. Push the wire mesh up the coax cable with your fingers until it forms a neat ring at the start of the outer plastic coating. A plastic insulating sleeve will be revealed which contains the central wire core.

  3. Use a small knife or electrical wire strippers to remove a 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) length of the insulating plastic sleeve protecting the central core. You'll see the copper central core sticking out.

  4. Unscrew the cap from your coax plug. There will be a small "winged" clamp inside used to contain the wire mesh and the main body of the plug which will be inserted in your coax barrel.

  5. Thread the coax cable through the coax cap. Ensure the threaded end of the cap faces the end of the stripped coax cable so you can screw the cap back on the main plug.

  6. Push the open end of the clamp over the coax cable until it reaches the wire mesh. The clamp can be opened slightly with your fingers to allow it to pass over the cable easily. Ensure the wire mesh is enclosed in the clamp. Push the clamp together to form a tight fit. You can use your fingers or, for a firmer fit, use electrical pliers.

  7. Put the central wire core into the hollow pin of the coax plug until the clamp sits neatly on the outer flange. If it doesn't sit neatly, strip a very small amount of plastic covering the central core. Hold the body of the coax plug and cable together and bring the screw cap down to meet the plug. Screw tightly together.

  8. Repeat the process to connect a coax plug to the additional coax cable then insert each coax plug into the coax barrel to complete the connection.

  9. Check your equipment to ensure your joined coax cable works correctly.

  10. Tip

    If you are wiring a lot of coax plugs consider using compression plugs as an alternative. They are slightly more expensive, but the fit between plug and cable is more secure and the wire mesh on the coax cable can be stripped back to the sleeve of the outer plastic coating.

    Always use digital TV-grade RG6 coaxial cable for the best quality connection.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical pliers
  • Coax plugs
  • Coax barrel connector

About the Author

Stephen Benham has been writing since 1999. His current articles appear on various websites. Benham has worked as an insurance research writer for Axco Services, producing reports in many countries. He has been an underwriting member at Lloyd's of London and a director of three companies. Benham has a diploma in business studies from South Essex College, U.K.

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