Coaxial Terminator Guide: Understanding and Using Terminators


Coaxial cables are essential for transmitting radio frequency signals in various applications, from cable television to telecommunications. To ensure the integrity of the signal and prevent unwanted interference, terminators play a critical role. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of coaxial terminators, their purpose, types, and how to use them effectively.

Understanding Coaxial Terminators

Coaxial terminators, also known as coax terminators or cable terminators, are passive components used to terminate open-ended coaxial cables or ports. These terminators are crucial for maintaining signal quality and preventing signal reflection in coaxial cable systems.

Purpose of Coaxial Terminators

Signal Integrity: One of the primary functions of Coaxial cable terminators is to maintain signal integrity by preventing signal reflections. When signals reach the end of an open coaxial cable or port, they can reflect back, causing interference and signal degradation. Terminators absorb these reflections, ensuring that the signal travels cleanly from source to destination.

  • Noise Reduction: Terminators also help reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). By providing a controlled impedance at the end of a coaxial cable, they prevent external signals from entering the system.
  • Protection: Terminators protect the open ends of coaxial cables from environmental elements, dust, and debris, which can accumulate and damage the cable over time.

Types of Coaxial Terminators

Coaxial terminators come in various types, each designed for specific applications and impedance values. Here are some common types:

  1. 50-Ohm Terminators: These are suitable for cable television, two-way radio, and many data transmission applications. They have an impedance of 50 ohms, which is the standard for most RF and data communications.
  2. 75-Ohm Terminators: These terminators are commonly used in cable television and satellite TV installations. They have an impedance of 75 ohms, which is the standard for broadcast and video signals.
  3. TNC Terminators: TNC (Threaded Neill-Concelman) terminators are used in radio frequency and wireless communication systems, where threaded connectors are preferred for their secure connections.
  4. N-Type Terminators: N-type terminators are used in larger coaxial systems, such as in wireless infrastructure and industrial applications. They offer a robust and reliable connection.
  5. BNC Terminators: BNC (Bayonet Neill-Concelman) terminators are commonly used in video surveillance and broadcast applications due to their easy-to-use bayonet coupling mechanism.

How to Use Coaxial Terminators

Using coaxial terminators is relatively straightforward, but it’s important to follow these steps for effective termination:

  1. Select the Appropriate Terminator: Choose a terminator that matches the impedance of your coaxial cable or system. Using the wrong terminator can lead to signal loss and interference.
  2. Remove Dust and Debris: Ensure that the open end of the coaxial cable is clean and free of dust and debris.
  3. Attach the Terminator: Screw the terminator onto the open end of the coaxial cable, ensuring a snug and secure connection. Hand-tightening is usually sufficient.
  4. Check for Loose Connectors: Inspect all connectors in your coaxial system to make sure they are properly tightened. Loose connectors can lead to signal leakage and interference.
  5. Test the Signal: After attaching the terminator, test the signal to ensure that it is transmitting without issues. Look for any signs of interference or signal loss.


Coaxial terminators are essential components for maintaining signal integrity and preventing interference in coaxial cable systems. By selecting the right type of terminator and following proper installation procedures, you can ensure that your coaxial cables and connectors perform optimally. Whether you’re setting up a home cable television system or managing a complex RF communication network, coaxial terminators play a vital role in ensuring signal quality and system reliability.


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