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RF & MICROWAVE ADAPTERS Design, Details, Selection Specifications & Manufactures:

RF and Microwave adapters are passive coaxial RF component which is used to transfer RF signals between different connector interfaces or to connect different gender of the same type of connector as required by the user. 

An example is to transition of RF signals from an N-type connector interface to SMA Connector Interface or SMA to BNC or in the second scenario N male to N female interface signal transmission etc.  

There are many manufacturers that offer coaxial and wave-guide adapters for a wide range of radio-frequency applications. Adapters are generally available in between-series and in-series designs.

In this article, we will share the details about the RF and Microwave Adapters.

  • What is RF Adapter?
  • Types of RF Adapters
  • Applications of Adapters
  • What are specifications need to consider in the selection of Adapters?
  • RF and Microwave Adapters Manufactures.

What is RF Adapter?

RF and Microwave coaxial adapter is an electrical connector interface component designed to work from RF (radio frequencies) to GHz range. RF Adapters are typically used with a coaxial transmission line to match between different types of connectors or the interfaces in the chain. It also helps to reduce signal reflection and RF power loss by offering the proper impedance match at the connection end.

A good RF adapter, resist the interference of external signals into the circuit through electromagnetic interference and also offer fastening mechanism like thread, braces, bayonet, blind mate, etc. RF and Microwave adapters are widely used with removable antennas, scientific measurement instruments, and RF and Microwave chains.



Design and Application

Types of Adapters Design:

RF and microwave coaxial Adapters are classified into two types - In Series adapter and Between Series RF adapters.

 In Series RF & Microwave Adapters: 

In series, RF and Microwave adapters have the same type of connector configuration on both sides. The gender type on each side will be different or mostly it will be of an opposite type and the geometry can be straight or right angle depending on the application.

Example :

  • SMA Male to SMA Female,
  • SMA Male to SMA Male,
  • N Male to N Female  

Between Series RF and Microwave Adapters:

Between series, RF & Microwave Adapters have different types of connector configurations on both sides. The Gender type can be the same or different on the basis of application. Between series, RF & Microwave can be again classified as Coaxial to Coaxial and Coaxial to wave-guide Adapters.


  • SMA Male to N Female RF Adapter,
  • SMA Female to N Male.

Coax to Waveguide Adapter:

For Coaxial to waveguide RF and Microwave adapter, connector interface at once side will be Coaxial connector and other will be a wave-guide interface. These RF and microwave adapters are used to establish the interface between wave-guide components to coaxial RF systems.

Coaxial to Coaxial Adapter:

For Coaxial to Coaxial RF and Microwave adapter, connector interface at both the sides will be coaxial type like SMA, N, BNC, etc. These RF and microwave adapters are used to establish the interface between coaxial RF systems and components.

Coaxial to panel-mount adapters:

In coaxial to panel-mount adapters, one side will be the coaxial connector and the other side will be of panel mount type. This type of RF and microwave adapter are used to connect an RF component to a panel mount interface.

RF and Microwave Adapters classification on the base of Technologies:

Standard adapters:

Standard RF and Microwave adapters are used to establish the interconnection between the RF components and system. These are generally commercially available RF configurations.

Precision adapters:

Precision RF and Microwave adapters have higher performance and accurate RF features than a standard adapters. Precision adapters are used in RF and Microwave measurement setups.

PIM adapters:

PIM RF and microwave adapters are designed for high PIM measurement requirements. These adapters will offer better performance than a standard adapter.

Quick-mate RF adapters:

Quick mate RF and microwave adapters are designed with a slide-on coupling mechanism for easy coupling and decoupling and frequent numbers of matings are needed without any damage to the adapter.

Hermetically sealed RF adapters:

Hermetically sealed RF and microwave adapters are used in the circuit interface where, customers need to avoid the liquid, air, or gas going into the circuit through the interface.

Most common available RF and Microwave connectors for the Adapters:

RF and microwave connectors are used to make electrical connections between the components and system. The selection of RF and microwave connectors depends on the specifications like available interface, size, frequency range, etc.

  • BNC: BNC connectors are used for low-frequency RF systems, basically up to 2 GHz.
  • SMB: SMB is lower cost and offers better performance at below 4 GHz frequency applications.
  • N-Type: N-type RF connector has a thread locking mechanism to offer strong and reliable connection and used up to 12 GHz Applications.
  • SMA: SMA connectors are of Smaller size and reliable performance up to 18 GHz Applications.
  • 2.92 mm RF connector: 2.92 mm connectors are used for high frequency and microwave test applications up to 40 GHz.
  • 2.4 mm connector: 2.4mm connector is used for phase stability applications up to 50 GHz.

Applications of RF and Microwave Adapters:

 RF and Microwave Adapters are commonly used for the following applications in RF and Microwave circuits and systems test and measurement applications.

  • In the circuit where need to change the gender of the interfaces.
  • To save the connector of the instruments in precision RF test and measurement applications.
  • T-shaped RF adapters are used to split RF signals between the channels.
  • RF adapters help to reduce the mating cycles which in turn reduce the insertion force.


Basics & Selection Feature

Main specifications need to consider in the selection of RF Adapters.

Below are the few specifications that need to consider in the selection of RF and Microwave adapters in the design of the RF and microwave systems.


The frequency range of operation of the RF and microwave adapters need to verify before the selection of the adapters as each adapter has its own frequency of operation.

Insertion Loss: 

RF and microwave adapters with lower Insertion loss need to select for specific applications.

RF Input Power:

The Average Power in watt of the RF adapters needs to consider in selection to maintain the electrical characteristics of the circuits. In General, RF adapters will handle higher power, however, if feeds continue very high power, it may cause the breakdown of the adapters.  


The impedance of the RF and Microwave Adapters must match with the remaining circuit to minimize any reflection between the components and systems.

Operating Temperature Range:

The operating range of the RF Adapter indicates the temperature over which the RF adapter will work without any variation in RF specifications. In general -40ºC to +85ºC is ideal for the general application of RF and Microwave systems.

Physical Size:

The physical size of the adapter and the geometry need to consider as per the requirement. As in general straight and right angles, RF adapters are available from different manufacturers. Customers need to select the adapter as per the specific applications and space and size available in the circuit.


RF and microwave adapters are the passive components used to transfer signals from one component or system to another. The connector interface and gender of the RF adapters can be customized as per the requirement of the customer’s design needs.

We hope this article about RF and Microwave adapters will help system designers to understand the Function, Architecture, Application, and Selection parameters of the RF and microwave adapters, in the communication system.

Thanks & Regards.

RFMWC- RF & Microwave Community


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