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N Connectors

N connectors are usually rated to at least 12.4GHz by the manufacturers; the
vast majority of N connectors made nowadays are rated for use up to 18GHz.
I have used N connectors up to 20GHz without any problems and I believe they
can be used even higher in frequency; for example Agilent Test & Measurement
(was HP) make a very expensive Spectrum Analyser (8565E I think) which goes
up to 26.5GHz, and it has a standard N socket for the RF input.

N connectors are usually very rugged, and if treated with care can be used
to many GHz and can handle 1kW or more at lower frequencies (such as
1.3GHz).  The reason that N connectors are not used much above 1GHz is due
to the cable; microwave cables must be thin in order to prevent waveguide
multi-moding effects at high frequencies, and since the cables must be thin
the connectors are usually small, such as SMA types.

In my experience, the biggest problem that hams have with N-types is that
there are many different types from different manufacturers - they will all
mate perfectly well with each other (as long as they are 50 ohms...), but
the way the cables are clamped is different; simply preparing a cable for an
N connector based on experience is not enough - you have to follow the
manufacturer's instructions for that particular connector.  Most
manufacturer's have assembly instructions on their websites, usually in
.pdf, so you can get all the information as long as you know who made the


Grant Hodgson
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