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How to identify Coaxial Connector Types

October 14, 2017 10:10:41 PM EDT

Over the years, we've had many customers come to us looking to clarify RF connector types when they are specifying and purchasing RF coaxial cable assemblies.  There are many different types of connectors out there, including Type-N, UHF (aka PL-259 / SO-239) TNC, RPTNC, BNC, SMA & RPSMA.

Most people can tell the difference between the "standard" connector types, but many people, ourselves included, find it difficult to identify the gender of reverse polarity connectors? Here we will do our best to help you identify the difference between male and female connectors in terms of their polarity—standard or reverse (RP). 

Standard Polarity Coaxial Connectors.

When trying to identify male and female connectors keep in mind the following:

  • When mating a plug and a jack, it is important to ensure that both connectors have the same polarity. For example, the plug and jack should both be standard polarity, or both must be reverse polarity. 
  • Typically, standard RF plugs are male, and the threads are on the inside of the shell.
  • Typically, standard RF jacks are female, and the threads are on the outside of the shell.
  • The shell of a plug (male) typically covers the shell of a jack (female).

Examples - standard polarity

  • A standard polarity female jack has a socket in the middle designed to receive the pin from the male plug, and the jack’s shell has threads on the outside. Here we have shown an SMA jack, typically found on devices such as a 3G/4G/LTE cellular gateway or a GPS receiver.  

female jack

  • A standard polarity male plug has a center pin that sticks out from the middle, and the plug’s shell has threads on the inside. Here we have shown an SMA plug, typically found on the end of a coaxial cable that connects to products such as a 3G/4G/LTE cellular gateway or a GPS receiver.

male plug


Examples - REVERSE polarity

  • A "reverse polarity" female jack has a center pin that sticks out from the middle, and the jack’s shell has threads on the outside. Shown here is a RPSMA-Female jack, typically found on such products as a 900 MHz ISM modem, 2.4/5 GHz 802.11 WiFI / WLAN radios or access points.

reverse polarity female jack

  • A "reverse polarity" male plug has a socket in the middle designed to receive the pin from the female connector, and the plug’s shell has threads on the inside. Here we have shown an RPSMA-Male plug, typically found on the end of a coaxial cable that connects to products such as a 900 MHz ISM modem, 2.4/5 GHz 802.11 WiFI / WLAN radios or access points.

    reverse polarity male plug


  • standard polarity jack (female) has a socket, whereas a reverse polarity jack (female) has a pin.
  • standard polarity plug (male) has a pin, whereas a reverse polarity plug (male) has a socket.

Connector Types and Genders

The following table identifies for you the various types of connectors commonly used, and their genders:

Connector Type Male (Plug) Female (Jack)


Type N


Type N male plug connector

(Std. N-Male) pin with threads inside

Type N female jack connector

(Std. N-Female) socket with threads outside

UHF (PL259)

UHF (PL259) male plug connector

(UHF Male: PL-259) pin with threads inside

UHF (PL259) female jack connector

(UHF Female: SO-239) socket with threads outside



TNC male plug connector

(Std. TNC-Male) pin with threads inside

TNC female jack connector

(Std. TNC-Female) socket with threads outside

Reverse Polarity TNC


RPTNC male plug connector

(RPTNC-Male) socket with threads inside

RPTNC female jack connector

(RPTNC-Female) pin with threads outside


BNC male plug connector

(BNC-Male) pin with threads inside

BNC female jack connector

(BNC-Female) socket with threads outside

Standard SMA

SMA male plug connector

(SMA-Male) pin with threads inside

SMA female jack connector

(SMA-Female) socket with threads outside

Reverse Polarity SMA


RPSMA male plug connector

(RPSMA-Male) socket with threads inside

RPSMA female jack connector

(RPSMA-Female) pin with threads outside


I hope the descriptions and images have helped you understand the differences between the connector type, polarity, and gender.

Keep in mind that there are also "Reverse-Thread" and "Reverse-Polarity / Reverse-Thread" Connectors, but that's a discusson for another day!!!!!!


Posted in News By Mike Crudele

UHF, PL-259, SO-239. What is the difference?

October 14, 2017 11:05:07 AM EDT

I get many inquiries each month from customers looking for NMO cable kits and mounts for radios with UHF connectors.  The problem is that there is often confusion concerning the terminology used to describe UHF connectors. The most common questions that I get on this topic are:

  • Is PL-259 the same as UHF Male?
  • Is SO-239 the same as UHF Female?

So, I thought that our blog would be a good place to clear up any confusion once and for all!

Here are the facts...

  • UHF-Male (or UHF Plug) is THE SAME as PL-259.  
  • UHF-Female (or UHF-Jack) is THE SAME as SO-239.

The above connectors are used in applications like amateur / HAM radio, CB / Citizens Band radio, Marine radio & VHF radio.  Typically, the SO-239 (UHF Female/UHF Jack) is installed ON THE RADIO, and the PL-259 (UHF Male/UHF Plug) is installed ON THE CABLE.  The two "mate" and are collectively known as a UHF Connection. 

UHF Male PL-259 vs. UHF Female SO-239




Posted in News By Mike Crudele

Pulse Shadow Low Profile Antenna - WhitePulse recently introduced a new white finish option for its popular Shadow Low Profile Transit (SLPT) series of antennas. These highly durable low profile antennas provide a compact vehicle mount alternative without sacrificing mechanical or electrical performance. The Shadow antenna series offers a wide array of products covering Public Safety, LTE, Smart Grid, WLAN, ITS and DSRC applications operating at 698-960/1710-2170/2400-2700/4900-6000 MHz. Antennas are available in both NMO and tamper-proof direct mount products, which support multiple cable and connector options.

"SLPT antennas are an excellent choice for both on-vehicle as well as off-vehicle applications," explains Olivier Robin, general manager for Pulse Electronics Wireless Infrastructure business unit. "These compact antennas can provide good gain, as high in 5dBi in a package less than 3.2 inches (xx mm) tall. They are optimized for performance covering specific frequency bands needed for public safety, WiFi, and 3G/4G LTE markets; and there are even versions well-suited for the emerging ITS and DSRC transportation markets."

This new on-vehicle, low-profile, white radome antenna provides an additional cosmetic option to a proven product line.

For more details and/or to purchase Pulse Shadow antennas, click here...

Posted in News M2M By HP

Laird WPD136M6C-001 AntennaRecently, we have had numerous inquiries for our WPD136M6C-001 Full Spectrum Multi-Band antenna, and I wanted to inform our customer base that WE HAVE THIS UNIT AVAILBLE – lead time is approximately 3-4 weeks to deliver to your dock. This antenna is MADE IN THE USA, and is excellent for any government, military, utility company, or public safety / LMR-land mobile radio application in the UHF and/or VHF range.  


The WPD136M6C-001 is an IP66 rated, all in one, omni-directional roof / NMO mount multi-band antenna that covers the following frequencies: 136-174, 380-520, and 760-870 MHz (which is inclusive of the Tetra PMR and P25 bands.)


If you have applications that can use this antenna, please contact us immediately, and we will be happy to help! 


Check out the WPD136M6C-001 here...

Posted in News M2M By System Administrator

We are looking for dealers who cater to land surveying and earth-moving professionals.  We need partners who can help us provide the after-market with OEM & OEM equivalent replacement antennas for Topcon, Trimble, SiTech, Javad surveying gear, rugged modems and earth moving equipment. 


450 Mhz antennas
900 Mhz antennas
2.4 Ghz antennas
3G/4G cellular antennas
GPS antennas


Contact us today at 1-888-925-5967 or Email us at:


Posted in News By System Administrator

I am posting today, because I had a client contact us this week saying that he was experiencing trouble with network connectivity, even after installing the below VC70 external antenna kit for their ruggedized Motorola/Zebra mobile computer.

Here are the possible causes of connectivity problems with the Motorola/Zebra VC70…


1. They may not have properly set up the VC70 to activate the external (vs the internal) Wi-Fi antenna.  If you are experiencing network connectivity problems with your VC70, please give our extrnal antenna kit a try, and be sure to configure it properly (see below.)

 VC70-2.4/5.0GHZ - RFMAX


2. Or, the problem could be related to their wireless coverage scheme inside the facility.  Do they have enough access points?  Are the access points positioned in the optimal locations?  Are they using high gain antennas with their A/P’s and are they articulated properly to provide the best connectivity to their forklifts below?


At Arcadian Inc., we are "The Antenna Experts" and we sell many types of indoor LAN antennas for your Motorola/Zebra wireless access points.  


Email us by clicking here if you need help.

Here are the instructions for properly setting up the REGISTRY for your VC70 kit...


Posted in News By System Administrator

We just received results from independent testing of the RFMAX Power Mapper, and the results confirmed exactly what we've been hearing from our customers: The RFMAX RFID Power Mapper does what it says it will, and is an indispensible tool for setting up and troubleshooting any RFID installation. 


According to the report: "This instrument should be a standard part of any RFID installer’s tool box".


A copy of the review is available here: 


The RFMAX RFID Power Mapper is available for purchase here:

Posted in News By System Administrator

Arcadian, Inc., a New Jersey based distributor of commercial antennas and wireless equipment has announced the launch of RFMAX, it's new line of antennas, weatherproof enclosures, cables and related hardware for the 865-868 & 902-928 Mhz UHF RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) market. The company plans to officially launch RFMAX at the RFID Journal Live! Tradeshow, taking place in San Diego, CA - April 15th - 17th, 2015.  Come see them at Booth #228.


According to Michael Crudele, President of Arcadian, Inc., "the RFMAX product line encompasses a range of products designed to solve everyday RFID challenges and to simplify RFID systems setup. Our focus is to bring to market unique and robust products to fill a variety of gaps in the existing RFID space, enhancing the ability of RFID VAR's (Value Added Resellers) and system integrators to offer the best possible solutions for the end user. We're creating these products based on Arcadians' many years of experience in RFID antenna applications." 


The initial lineup of RFMAX Products include:


RFID Reader Enclosures designed to protect sensitive RFID readers such as the Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 and the Motorola FX7500 from the elements and simplify system setup.

RFID Race Timing Antenna Kits which include everything you need to setup an chip timing or RFID Race Timing antenna system, including tripod, circular polarized RFID antenna, mount and cable.

RFID Power Mapper, a handheld meter used to map RFID antenna signal patterns and strength, and to identify null or dead spots in the RF signals.

RFID Antennas designed to meet unique application requirements and to out-perform existing products in the RFID space.  Both linear and circular polarity are available.

RFID Jumper Cables designed for quick connections and peak RFID performance. LMR195 type low-loss cable with type N-Male, RPTNC-Male, RPTNC-Female and SMA-Male connections


About Arcadian, Inc.


Arcadian, Inc. is an industry-leading distributor of antennas and wireless components for the DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems), M2M (Machine to Machine) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) markets. The firm is a Master Stocking Distributor for RFMAX, Laird Technologies, Pulse/Larsen Electronics, Times-7, MTI Wireless Edge and others. Arcadian was established in 2000 by industry veteran Michael Crudele, and is based in Little Falls, NJ. The company is privately held, and maintains offices in NJ and Tempe, AZ. 


Posted in News By System Administrator

03-17-15: Arcadian Inc. announced that they will be partnering with RFMax, the newest member of their RFID product portfolio, to present at RFID Journal Live 2015 to be held at the San Diego Convention Center from April 15-17.  Arcadian Inc. / RFMax will be in the "Smart Solutions" booth # 228 along with partners Jamison RFID, Mid South RFID, Simply RFID & Active ID.

Over the past 10 years, Arcadian Inc. has become known as the go-to source for all passive RFID gear, including: RFID ANTENNAS from Laird / Cushcraft, MTI & Times-7.  RFID ANTENNA MOUNTING HARDWARE.  RFID ANTENNA CABLES.  and now...RFID READER ENCLOSURES from RFMax.

New RFID gear that will be featured by Arcadian Inc. / RFMax:

RFID Reader enclosures for both the Impinj R420 Speedway Revolution and the Motorola FX7400 & FX7500.  These enclosures are ideal for indoor or outdoor mounting of readers, circuit protection, and in some cases GPIO and power supplies.  These reader enclosures have pre-configured backplates for the most popular RFID readers, are pre-wired with coaxial cable and bulkhead connectors, and include a grouning lug.  A true "plug and play" solution for RFID System Integrators.

10x10 inch Flush Mount RFID antennas - these are the same 10x10 inch, 8.5 dBi gain antennas that have become the industry standard for UHF RFID, but now available in flush mount.  These untis feature (4) 1 inch mounting flanges in the corners, and have a 12" pigtail with RPTNC-Female so you can connect any cable extension that works best in your installation.  These antenans are packaged 10/carton for easy shipping and storage.

R9029F12RTF-10PK - RFMAX

RFID antenna power mapper - this battery free, hand-held device is used for detecting and mapping RFID signal strengh from your RFID antennas.  This is the perfect tool for RFID system integrators to use in the field when installing systems for things like inventory tracking, people tracking, etc.  This is an essential piece of test equipment for every RFID professional.


Attending the show for Arcadian Inc. will be Mike Crudele - President, Shawn Bays - sales manager & Henry Perlmutter - marketing manager.  Please reach out to any of these gentlemen to pre-arrange a meeting at teh show.  Contact us by phone at 1-888-925-5967 or link to the emails above.

Posted in News By System Administrator

Arcadian Inc. is the single largest suppier of vehicular multi-band antenns for taxi cabs in North America.  We have spent countless hours with our clients researching the best antennas for their in-taxi systems used for GPS tracking, infotainment & mobile credit card processing.  If you have an application where you are using in-vehicle 3G/4G cellular modems (like Sierra Wireless GX440 or Cradlepoint, contact me for antenna suggestions.)  

Recently, I was working with a potential client who was utilizing the Wilson 301106 antenna, which is now obsolete.  Of course, I was working to move them over to one of our antennas, and the client's argument was that the Wilson antenna was significantly cheaper thatn anything we could offer.  So I probed further, and asked "how is that antenna actually working out for you?"  The response was NOT so postive.  Apparently, this company was having ALOT of issues in the field with taxi cab drivers struggling to get a cellular connection, and thus being unable to process credit cards in a timely fashion.  

So, I sat down and spent some time digging into their situation, and theorized that the main problem was that they were operating their taxi cab fleet in a part of the city that was particularly densly packedwith tall buildings, thus creating so-called "urban canyons."  

In the end the antennas that I ended up recommending are LOWER gain than the Wilson antenna, (but much higher “efficiency”) and here is why that is a GOOD THING for people facing a similar technical dilemma, and suffering with issue of lack of 3G/4G cellular connectivity to their vehicular modems.  The issues may very well be the choice of antenna.  You see, most people that are not antenna "experts"  do a bit of research, and find that antenna "Gain" is the measurement of an antennas strength, or at least that is how most people understand it.  That leads them to belive that more gain is better, and is the cure all for any cellular connectivity problems.  Gain is typically measured in dBi or "decibals beyond the isotrope."  To over-simplify it, the highter the dBi, the farther the antenna's wireless signal will travel.  0 dBi gain is also known as "unity gain"  More on this below...

Unity gain or zero gain has a perfectly spherical shape, it transmits up, down, and sideways with equal power.  The antennas that I ultimately recommended for this applications are LOW GAIN for urban environments – why?  Because most of the Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint/T-Mobile 3G/4G cellular signals are coming from antennas mounted on towers or from the top of buildings, and you want an antenna that can not only reach “outward” but more importantly, reach “upward.”  The trade-off of designing the antenna in this way is that it has less “reach” from side to side.  However, in these metropolitan cities or "urban canyons" where there are huge buildings on every side, that gain basically goes to waste, as it simply bounces off the buildings and never makes a connection to the Verizon, AT&T or Sprint/T-Mobile antennas that are up on top of the buildings.

The previously mentioned Wilson antenna was designed for rural environments, where the cellular signal is typically far away, (but there are no large buildings providing interference) so what they do is they “compress” the middle of the signal of the antenna so that more energy reaches “outward” vs. “upward” 

So, in actuality, in an urban environment, you want to minimize the gain (sideways power) and by keeping the gain low, you maximize the upward reach of the antenna, which is what you want.  Take a look at the graph below. 

Description: antenna.gif - 8.11 K


Would you consider fulfilling your next antenna requirement with me, and seeing for yourself?

Feel free to contact me or a member of our staff for ANTENNA HELP on your next project.  At Arcadian, we are THE ANTENNA EXPERTS and we are here to help.  

All the best, 

Mike Crudele: 1-888-925-5967

Posted in News By System Administrator
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