The first obvious difference between RG59 and RG6 is the diameter of the cables themselves. Standard RG59 coax has a 20 AWG copper center conductor and RG6 coax has an larger 18 AWG copper center conductor, offering higher bandwidth and longer distance capability.
Generally, RG6 is widely used in CATV and Satellite DSS applications and RG59 is used for in analog CCTV or baseband video applications. RG6 Dual or Quad Shield shouldn’t be utilized for baseband applications, such as video projectors, component video, plasma TV’s, etc. It may sound like a great solution because of all the layers of shielding, but RG6 Dual and Quad Shield don’t have the proper type of shielding for the above described applications. It is manufactured using foil shields and braided aluminum shields. The makeup of the shields differs between models. The effective range of operation for foil shields is above 50MHz, which makes them perfect for rejection of radio frequency interference, or RFI, that may have an effect on satellite or cable installations. At frequencies below 50 MHz, however, foil shields are not effective. The braiding on the RG6 Dual shield and the RG6 Quad shield doesn’t have enough coverage to work effectively with baseband applications.
The frequencies that are used in High Definition are usually around 37 MHz. For those lower frequencies, an RG59 with a 95% all-copper shield is designed to block RFI inclusion at base band frequencies. Because RG59 does not have a foil shield, it shouldn’t be utilized for satellite feeds or cable feeds.
RG59 has a little less signal reduction, or attenuation, over 100 feet. The shielding on RG59 does not work quite as well to maintain Gigahertz level signals inside of the center conductor. RG6 has a better design for maintaining the signal levels inside the center conductor. This is the reason RG6 has become the standard for broadband CATV and satellite systems. A basic rule of thumb is to use RG6 for any Rapid Frequencies, and use RG59 for video frequencies. RG6 has an aluminum braid and an aluminum shield. RG59 comes with a copper braid, and in some instances, an aluminum braid and shield, although this is quite rare.
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