Why Is There Such a Significant Difference in the Market Prices of RF Connectors?
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Why Is There Such a Significant Difference in the Market Prices of RF Connectors?

Views: 0     Author: Uly Hong     Publish Time: 2024-07-07      Origin: LenoRF


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In the current situation of involution, I often encounter customers demanding lower prices, who usually do not understand the production process and cost differences of a RF connector. Pursuing low prices naturally sacrifices quality, leading to many quality issues. This results in a lose-lose situation for both customers and suppliers. Due to intense involution, individuals and organizations often invest significant resources (time, money, energy, etc.) in ineffective competition, leading to huge waste of resources. These resources could be used for more valuable innovation and development.

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Section 1: Basic Understanding of Connectors

To fully understand the price differences of RF connectors, one must first have a basic understanding of the performance parameters of RF 

connectors. This way, you can choose the best cost-effective RF connector suitable for your project, rather than just pursuing low prices.

An RF connector is a passive electronic component. Its performance is determined by mechanical processing precision, materials, and assembly precision. It is a mechatronic product. Generally, we measure the quality of a connector by key parameters such as VSWR (Voltage Standing Wave Ratio), insertion loss, PIM (Passive Intermodulation), mating force, operating temperature, and salt spray resistance. In practice, the most critical parameters are VSWR, retention force, mating and separation force, mechanical compatibility (interface dimensions), salt spray resistance, and mechanical durability. Below is a simple and understandable explanation of these parameters, which are closely related to the product's price.

  • Operating Frequency: Higher frequencies require higher precision in      parts and assembly. [Factors: design, processing precision, assembly      precision]

  • VSWR: The      smaller the VSWR, the smaller the signal reflection interference.      [Factors: design, processing precision, assembly precision]

  • Retention Force: High retention force means longer service life and lower contact      resistance. [Factors: materials, assembly precision]

  • Mechanical Compatibility (Interface Dimensions): Ensures the connector      can be mated with other manufacturers' connectors of the same model with      stable performance. [Factors: processing precision, assembly precision]

  • Mating and Separation Force: The force required to insert and remove the      connector, affecting user comfort. [Factors: processing precision,      materials]

  • Salt Spray Resistance: The product's ability to resist corrosion in its      operating environment. [Factors: plating quality]

  • Mechanical Durability: The ability to withstand collisions, vibrations,      and impacts. [Factors: assembly precision, materials]

Section 2: Materials, Equipment, and Processes Related to Connector Prices

Production Process of Connectors:

  • Demand analysis and design

  • Raw material procurement

  • CNC processing

  • Plating

  • Finished product assembly

  • Inspection

  • Packaging and shipment

Main Materials List:

Material Name

Suitable Connector Parts



Housing, inner conductor

New material, recycled rod

Phosphor Bronze

Inner conductor, elastic connector

Multiple grades

Beryllium Bronze

Housing, inner conductor, elastic connector

Multiple grades

Stainless Steel


303, 304, 316L

PTFE (Teflon)


First grade, second grade, recycled



First grade, second grade, recycled



First grade, second grade, recycled

Plating Processes List:

Plating Name

Suitable Connector Parts


Imitation Gold

Housing, inner conductor

Not real gold, looks like gold, but poor corrosion   resistance


Housing, inner conductor, elastic connector

Different thicknesses (3um, 5um), good conductivity,   easy to oxidize, suitable for low intermodulation scenarios


Housing, inner conductor, elastic connector

Different thicknesses (0.025um, 0.05um, 0.1um for   civilian use, 1.27um, 3.0um for military use), salt spray resistance (24h,   48h)



Low cost, wear-resistant, easy to solder

Ternary Alloy


Medium cost, good salt spray performance, suitable   for low intermodulation scenarios

High Temperature Ternary Alloy


High salt spray resistance(720 hours)

High Phosphorus Chemical Nickel

Housing, inner conductor

High salt spray resistance(720 hours), can be used   as a base layer for gold plating.

Tin-Nickel Alloy


High salt spray resistance (720 hours)

machining classification

Parts Processing Equipment List:

Equipment Name

Processing Cost (USD/min)

Instrument Lathe


Cam Lathe


Gang Tool CNC Lathe


Swiss Type CNC Lathe


Engraving Machine


Machining Center


Summary: The use of different materials, plating, and processing equipment directly affects the performance and price of the product.

Finished Product Processing Equipment List:

Equipment Name


Manual Press

Mechanical compatibility, ensuring interface   dimensions

Automatic Wire Stripper

Precise wire stripping

High Voltage Tester

High voltage testing

High Frequency Welder


Vibration Tester

Mechanical durability

Waterproof Tester

IP6X testing

Network Analyzer

VSWR, insertion loss testing

Height Gauge

Interface dimension detection

Vernier Caliper

Dimension detection


Dimension detection

Coordinate Measuring Machine

Dimension detection

CCD Microscope

Appearance detection, welding quality detection

Jigs and Fixtures

Custom-made according to product type

These are some basic finished product production and testing equipment, not a complete list. Although these equipment are not direct costs, they need to be included in management costs when pricing products. Without this equipment, it is difficult to produce high-performance RF connectors and jumpers.

Section 3: Case Study: SMA Price Comparison

sma plug rg58

Due to the wide variety of RF connectors and jumpers, with about 40 types defined by IEC standards and some custom standards by enterprises, it is impractical to analyze each one. SMA is one of the most widely used RF connectors with moderate cost. Comparing and analyzing the price and cost of SMA connectors is representative.

Basic Knowledge of SMA:

SMA (SubMiniature version A) connectors were initially designed to meet the needs of high-frequency microwave systems. Over time, they have been widely used in radio communications, microwave systems, antennas, radar, and testing equipment.

Main Parameters and Characteristics of SMA:

  • Frequency Range: 0 - 18 GHz, extendable to 26.5 GHz.

  • Characteristic Impedance: 50 ohms.

  • Threaded Connection: Ensures stable mechanical connection and good      electrical contact.

  • Miniaturized Design: Small size, suitable for space-constrained      applications.

  • High Reliability: Excellent weather resistance and mechanical shock resistance,      suitable for harsh environmental conditions.

Price Comparison Analysis for SMA Male Crimping for RG58 Coaxial Cable:


Low-Cost Option

High-Quality Option


Recycled brass, simple process, mass production,   imitation gold plating

New brass, milled hex surface, sharp edges, real   gold plating passing 48-hour salt spray test

Sealing Ring

Recycled silicone rubber

New silicone rubber

Retaining Ring


Beryllium copper


ABS injection molding



Recycled brass, imitation gold plating

New brass H59, real gold plating passing 48-hour   salt spray test

Inner Conductor

Brass, imitation gold plating

Brass H59, 0.1um gold plating

Crimp Tube

Brass, nickel plating

H62 copper, nickel plating

Processing Precision

5-10 microns

1-5 microns

Finished Product Assembly Precision

5-10 microns

3-5 microns

Maximum Operating Frequency

3 GHz

6 GHz

Can work for 18Ghz,but RG58’s maximum working   frequency is 6 GHz

Salt Spray Resistance

24 hours

48 hours

Mechanical Compatibility

Loose fit, poor hand feel

Smooth fit, good hand feel


0.13 ~ 0.17 USD

0.5~0.65 USD


Low-cost options can be used in less demanding scenarios such as consumer electronics. High-cost options can be applied in all scenarios. Therefore, before procurement, it is essential to fully understand the project's actual needs and choose the correct cost plan. Otherwise, blindly pursuing low prices while ignoring quality will result in manufacturers excessively lowering costs to win orders, leading to a market situation where inferior products drive out superior ones.

The End.

Our company, Zhejiang LenoRF Industry co. LTD, occupies an area of 30 hectares and is equipped with world class equipment to make millimeter wave connectors and phase stable cables. We specialize in coaxial connectors, cable assembly, and passive devices. Our current products are the latest millimeter wave connector and phase stable cable on the market.

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