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:
- RG-6/U Quad
- RG6/U QS
- ..and more
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!
Quad Shield RG-6/U Construction
- 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:
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
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!
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.
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!
Find the edge of the 1st foil shield and fold it to the side so you can “nip” it
Carefully make a “nip” in the foil shield right at the bottom corner as shown. Flush cutters are ideal for this.
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.
Now the second wire braid shield is exposed. You have to comb that back as well.
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.
When 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.
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.
trueCABLE RG6 compression tool in action
Properly compressed RG6/U F Connector
After 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!
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