How To: RG6 Quad Shield Coaxial Strip and Termination

How To: RG6 Quad Shield Coaxial Strip and Termination

Written by Don Schultz, trueCABLE Network Expert, BICSI INST1, INSTC, Fluke Networks CCTT

Sometimes you just have to go heavy duty! RG6 coaxial cable is the mainstay for broadband applications like CATV, satellite, cable modems, and even antenna applications for over the air digital TV (HDTV). The terms applied to this cable are a bit confusing at first. Quad shield (QS) RG6 coaxial cable has many names. You often see it referred to as:

  • RG6-QS
  • RG-6/U Quad
  • RG6/U QS
  • ..and more  
RG6 Quad shield cable, Cable cutting and stripping tool, F connector
These terms all mean the same thing. There are dual-shield and tri-shield types out there as well. Quad-shield is the heaviest of all. Adding yet more confusion to the naming scheme is the cable jacket type, which dictates where the cable can be physically run depending on the installation environment. Often, terms like CMR or CMX are tossed about. If you would like to learn more about the differences between dual shield and quad shield and where each one is a “best fit”, please see The Difference Between Dual Shield vs Quad Shield Coaxial Cable. If cable jacket types confuse you, then please see Facts About Ethernet Cable Jacket Ratings.

This blog includes a video. I suggest you watch the short video and also read the blog.   You can get close-up photos in a written blog!

trueCABLE has introduced both quad and dual shield RG6 coax cable, with solid bare copper conductors (referred to as BC or bare copper). There is another variety out there, called CCS or copper clad steel which is also acceptable for use per the TIA standard, but it’s applications are a bit more limited. See more about the differences between solid copper and copper clad steel in Copper Clad Steel (CCS) vs Solid Copper Coax.

This blog is all about working with RG6 quad-shield coaxial solid copper cable, otherwise known as RG-6/U QS. We will talk about how the cable is constructed, how to prepare it for termination, and finally demonstrate a trueCABLE F-Connector sneak peek. Here we go!

Quad Shield RG-6/U Construction

RG6 Quad Shield, open
  • A = Cable jacket (riser or CMR in this case)
  • B = First aluminum wire braid shield (40% coverage; also functions as part of the conductor circuit)
  • C = First aluminum foil shield (100% coverage)
  • D = Second aluminum wire braid shield (60% coverage)
  • E = Second aluminum foil shield wrapped onto the dielectric (100% coverage)
  • F = Dielectric
  • G = 18 AWG solid copper center conductor

RG6 quad shield coaxial cable is quite a bit thicker than dual shield. “Quad” literally means what it says; there are four shields. Two shields are the aluminum wire braid shield and two more shields are aluminum foil. The construction for the rest of the cable is the same as dual shield and tri shield varieties. Commonality between all types being a cable jacket, dielectric, at least one wire braid shield, at least one foil tape shield, and 18 AWG conductor.  

Quad Shield RG-6/U Preparation

Quad shield coaxial cable is more challenging than dual shield when preparing the cable for termination. This process consists of:

  • Stripping to 1/2”, with a 1/4” + 1/4” dual level strip involved
  • Combing back the first wire braid shield away from the first foil shield
  • Removing the first level foil shield to expose the second wire braid shield
  • Combing back the second wire braid shield away from the second and final foil shield

The tools required for the job are; one for cutting your cable to length and one for performing the correct strip. Fortunately, trueCABLE has been offering a handy tool for some time that does both of these functions and also has a braid comb on it, our Cable Cutting & Stripping Tool:

Cable cutting and stripping tool, RG6 Quad Shield cable
Here is the step by step preparation process, with pictures:
      
Cable cutting and stripping tool, RG6 Quad shield cable

Put the cable end into the tool, cut-end even with the right side

  • Once the cable is properly inserted, turn the entire tool clockwise
  • You will hear and feel a grinding noise. That is the first level strip blade cutting through the wire braid shields and down to the copper conductor.
  • After the grinding stops, continue turning three more times as this will now slice into the cable jacket for the second level strip...but be careful not to accidentally overstrip on this step, as you will remove more braid shield than you want to!
  • Take the cable out of the tool and pull off the two pieces as below

RG6 Quad Shield cable, black, stripped

Proper 1/4” and 1/4” strip. You know you did well when pulling off the hollow jacket piece and little to no pieces of wire braid shield came off with it!

 

warning sign

If you see a lot of little pieces of wire braid accidentally cut off during this step, start over. The wire braid shield must be largely intact for the cable to function properly.

 

RG6 Quad Shield, Braid Shield Comb, Cable cutting and stripping tool

Braid shield comb in action!

  • Use the braid shield comb found on the tool to brush the first level wire braid shield backwards
  • Make the comb-out as concentric and even as possible
  • No stray pieces of wire braid shield should remain against the foil shield!

 RG6 Quad Shield Cable, Foil Shield, open

Find the edge of the 1st foil shield and fold it to the side so you can “nip” it

RG6 Quad Shield Cable, Foil Shield, Open

Carefully make a “nip” in the foil shield right at the bottom corner as shown. Flush cutters are ideal for this.

RG6 Quad Shield Cable, Foil Shield, Peel, Open, Braid Shield Combed

Once nipped, you can peel the foil off. Do this carefully so that you remove all of the foil shield!  Don’t leave any behind.

RG6 Quad Shield, Braid Shield, Open

Now the second wire braid shield is exposed. You have to comb that back as well.

RG6 Quad Shield Cable, Cable Cutting and Stripping Tool, Braid Shield Comb

Combing back the second wire braid shield, exposing the final foil shield. Don’t leave any stray wires on the foil shield, it should all be combed back.

warning signWhen combing back the second braid shield, it is important to comb it back as evenly as possible. The more even and concentric you make it, the easier it will be to get an F connector onto the cable!

F Connector Termination

  • Once the cable has been prepared as above, you are ready for a RG6 F Connector
  • Compression style F-Connectors are preferable to any other design
  • Simply press the F-Connector onto the cable until the white dielectric is flush or just below flush with the inside nut of the F-Connector (assuming you are using trueCABLE brand RG6 universal EZ fit F Connectors). If you are using another brand, you might be in for a fight. Sometimes flaring tools are required for the sleeve type compression connectors. This is especially true for quad shield coaxial cable.

RG6 Quad Shield Cable, F Connector

Properly seated F Connector, just below flush in this example

After the F-Connector is properly seated, you may compression crimp the connector onto the cable.

RG6 Compression Tool

trueCABLE RG6 compression tool in action

Terminated RG6 Quad Shield Cable, F connector

Properly compressed RG6/U F Connector

warning signAfter compression, it is recommended to firmly tug on the connector a couple of times to make certain it is firmly attached.

So, there you have it. This termination process is much simpler than with Ethernet cable, and is easy for the average Weekend Warrior or DIY’er to get the hang of. The F Connectors shown here are pre-production samples for your viewing pleasure!

HAPPY NETWORKING!

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