Why so many darned connector types?


Not a serious question.

I’ve just ordered a noise source and a directional coupler to have a go at this

One has a N connectors and the other SMAs. I have F connectors on my coax. So by the time I have bought the relevant adaptors and waited 5 weeks for them to arrive from China, I’ve forgotten what I wanted them for and the price has more than doubled :unamused:


One of those things, it seemed like a good idea at the time…

You end up with a drawer or other container with between-series adapters, and usually decide on what you’re going to standardize on for stuff you build. I do a lot of small RF stuff; I PCB mount SMA connectors, and have good adapters for my test equipment, and good cables. For a lot of the ham stuff I use N connectors.

But some test equipment uses BNC, so I have lots of BNC - SMA adapters, and N - SMA adapters, and then the SDRs use MMCX, so there are adapters for those to SMA and F, and some MMCX and MCX pigtails.

Muffin tins work well for segregating things. I keep the good ones in a small box – APC to 3.5mm and stuff like that. And i have a larger container full of the random stuff.

Almost like snowflakes…

Oh, an important point about adapters – there are good ones, there are cheap not-so-good ones, and they do some times go bad on you. If you have or find a bad one, you MUST follow the wisdom of one of the Silicon Valley Greats, Bob Widlar, and Widlarize it. Immediately! Widlar’s practice was to verify the failure, then take the offending object to a nearby bench vise where he proceeded to vigorously hammer it into very, very small pieces. This process of Widlarizing has many benefits: (1) the offending object will offend no longer, (2) its friends may think twice about offending now that they’ve seen what happens, and (3) it is a cathartic process, which if done properly, leaves you smiling and with a certain sense of satisfaction.

Life is too short to use cheap adapters or test cables.

There is a special ring in Hell reserved for those who work in a shared Lab and upon identifying a bad or intermittent piece of kit, don’t tag and isolate it.

If you identify a problem bit of your own kit and don’t do something about it right then and there, it will of course bite you hard some time in the future, and you deserve it.

bob k6rtm



Same with coax and cat5. Destroy it by cutting it and get it in the trash ASAP. They will infect others.



Have been puzzled for weeks why the system showed a loose contact but all connectors were fixed. Finally it appeared that the tiny centre pin of a cheap BNC to MCX had broke off and got stuck in the MCX female side. Enjoyed the Widlarizing though.