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A Brief Guide to the Coaxial Cable

In geometry, "coaxial" means two or more forms share a common axis. Coaxial cable is most commonly applied to home technology that receives cable TV signals. This type of cable actually has many more uses, but it is gradually being phased out in favor of more modern connecting cables. Coaxial cables, or "coax" as it is sometimes known, still has a place in today's world, but adapters are occasionally needed today to ensure compatibility.

During the 20th century, coaxial cables were utilized to connect radio networks, television networks, and long-distance telephone networks, but recently, advancing technologies have taken their place (ie. fibre optics, T1/E1, and satellite, just to name a few).

Short coaxial cables are still common when connecting devices such as: home video equipment; ham radio setups; measurement electronics; carry cable television signals to the majority of television receivers, as well as in other kinds of receivers.

Micro-coaxial cables are used in military equipment, ultrasound scanning equipment and for a wide range of consumer devices.

Coaxial Cable

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History of Coaxial Cable

In 1880, the coaxial cable was patented in England by Oliver Heaviside (Patent No. 1,407). Three years later, Siemens & Halske patented coaxial cable in Germany (Patent No. 28,978, 27). The same year, Oliver Lodge demonstrates "waveguide transmission" at the Royal Institution.

In 1929, the first modern coaxial cable was patented by Lloyd Espenschied and Herman Affel of AT&T's Bell Telephone Laboratories.

1936 was a busy year for the advent of coaxial modifications! The year saw the following introductions: the first closed circuit transmission of television pictures on coaxial cables, from the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin to Leipzig; the world's first underwater coaxial cable, installed between Apollo Bay, near Melbourne, Australia, and Stanley, Tasmania (the 300 km cable carries one 8.5-kHz broadcast channel and seven telephone channels!); AT&T installed experimental coaxial telephone and television cable between New York and Philadelphia, with automatic booster stations every ten miles. Completed in December, it transmitted 240 telephone calls, simultaneously. Lastly in 1936, the coaxial cable was laid by the General Post Office (now BT) between London and Birmingham, providing 40 telephone channels! Talk about a long-distance carrier!

In 1941, the first commercial use in USA by AT&T, between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Stevens Point, Wisconsin. It was an "L1 system" with capacity of one TV channel or 480 telephone circuits. 1956 — The first transatlantic coaxial cable was laid, the TAT-1.

Since then, the uses of coaxial cable have varied but are being whittled down again with the advent of new, more highly-efficient and versatile ways of connecting information from location to location.