Need to join two different types of antenna cables
September 30, 2021 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Simple question: What are these two connector types called? I need to order an adapter that will let me join these cables end-to-end. They're both GPS antenna cables. In case it matters, this is for a Verizon network extender that requires a GPS antenna to be mounted in a window.
posted by alex1965 to Technology (8 answers total)
Gosh it mostly looks like an SMA cable but not exactly?

Will this thing work?
posted by ftm at 10:21 AM on September 30, 2021

The left one is SMA and the right one is likely MCX.
You may want to check the dimensions to be sure, it could be MMCX or a variant.

I think this adaptor would work.
posted by stobor at 10:25 AM on September 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Left is SMA male, right is SMB female - it's not MCX, which doesn't have that outer shell.

You need an SMA female to SMB male cable.
posted by automatronic at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

Could you expand a little on what your end goal is?

Verizon's documentation for Install the GPS Extension Cable - 4G LTE Network Extender has you taking off the antenna unit, exposing a plug connector on the extender. You then connect that with an extender antenna cable to a socket connector on the antenna unit. (The document doesn't identify the connector beyond 'mini-coax', but it's probably subminiature A or B.) If the current connnectors are, say, SMA, and you're adding an additional extender cable that's SMB, won't you need a second adapter to return to SMA for the original cable?

Extender - SMA (Plug) - SMA/SMB Adapter 1 (Socket-Plug) - SMB Cable (Socket-Plug) - SMB/SMA Adapter 2 (Socket-Plug) - Original SMA cable - SMA (Socket) - Antenna Unit

If I'm off base here and you're doing something else, please carry on.
posted by zamboni at 12:02 PM on September 30, 2021

Response by poster: @Zamboni: There is already a GPS antenna in place from a previous, obsolete network extender. The existing antenna cable is about 50 feet long, runs through the drop ceiling and through various internal walls, and was a pain to install the first time around. The new Verizon network extender uses a different connector type where the antenna cable attaches to the actual unit. I was hoping to use the existing GPS antenna & cable and just get a small adapter (or maybe a short cable with appropriate connectors on either end) to attach it to the new network extender.

In retrospect, I suppose I should have photographed the actual connector on the network extender itself, rather than the connector on the associated cable that came with it – but I figured that if I could just find out the connector types, I could order the proper adapter to use.
posted by alex1965 at 12:16 PM on September 30, 2021

I haven't been in your exact situation with your device, but GPS antennas with different connectors may be wired differently and may not work interchangeably, even if you find an adapter. Not sure if the documentation goes into details. I've worked with commercial / data center GPS units that have different specifications & requirements per GPS receiver / antenna combo.
posted by dobi at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: a small adapter (or maybe a short cable with appropriate connectors on either end)

Definitely definitely go for the short cable with appropriate connector on each end. Never ever use rigid-bodied adaptors.

The only rigid-bodied adaptors it's actually safe to use are the ones with a 6.35mm stereo headphone plug and a 3.5mm stereo headphone socket. Every other such adaptor will instantly become a wrecking bar devoted to wrenching apart whatever socket you plug it into as soon as any sideways tension is exerted on the cable.
posted by flabdablet at 12:31 AM on October 2, 2021

Response by poster: Just wanted to give an update: I ordered this set of adapters and this short cable, and I was able to make everything work. The cell signal extender is working as expected now.

Thanks for everyone's help.
posted by alex1965 at 7:29 PM on October 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

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