Times Microwave LMR cable is an upgrade to older RG-series cables. Specifically, Times Microwave LMR400 was designed to replace RG8. The number on each type of RG-series cable was simply a military designation; it does not indicate anything regarding the performance of the cable. RG-series cable was originally used during WWII for radio communications. Even today, standard RG8 is commonly used by amateur radio hobbyists. RG8 is sometimes also called RG8/U (the “U” standing for “universal”). There is also a version called RG8X, which has the same performance level but is thinner (close to the size of RG6) for increased flexibility. Once the war ended and radios started to see increased civilian use there was increased demand for coax cables.
Over time, new technology such as television started to use coax cable as well. Even as the technology it was applied to advanced, the coax cables themselves remained largely unchanged. While RG-series coax cables have been able to keep up for many decades, they are starting to struggle as the technologies they support advance by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, coax has largely remained the same. That is, until Times Microwave decided that it was time for an upgrade in the form of their LMR cables. This long overdue overhaul has resulted in a new breed of coax designed to keep up with modern-day applications.
Times Microwave LMR400 vs. RG8
There are different types of RG coax cable used for a variety of applications. Each LMR cable was designed around replacing a certain RG cable.
Specifically, Times Microwave LMR400 was made to replace RG8. There are different versions of RG8 (standard a.k.a. RG8/U & RG8X) but LMR400 is superior to them all. LMR cables were engineered to cut down on signal loss. Every coax cable is made from four layers: the jacket, braid, dielectric, and conductor. The conductor is at the core of the cable; it is a long piece of metal that carries the electrical signal. The other three layers are made to do two things: keep the coax signal in and keep other signals (interference) out. Anything that generates or uses a large amount of power (heavy machinery, electrical substations, radio towers, and so forth) can interfere with other electrical signals. The jacket, braid, and dielectric are meant to protect the coax signals from that.
At shorter lengths the difference between LMR400 and RG8 may not be noticeable, even with measuring equipment. But as the cables get longer, it starts to become clear that Times Microwave LMR400 comes out as the top contender. The longer a cable gets, the more difficult it is to maintain a strong signal. The superior shielding engineered into Times Microwave LMR400 decreases attenuation (signal loss) issues as cables get longer. This gives LMR400 a greater maximum distance in addition to superior signal strength.
When to Use Times Microwave LMR400
LMR400 is one of the thicker coax cables out there, measuring at 0.405” in diameter. Thicker coax cables use larger metal cores, meaning they can transmit electrical signals more easily. Over long distances, this extra power cuts down on signal loss and ensure that any transmitted signals come across clearly. Being designed for long-range work, Times Microwave LMR400 is typically used for cables that run across buildings. These cables are frequently put inside walls, floors, and ceilings in order to connect televisions, Internet modems, and other similar electronics. Always take electrical safety measures when handling LMR400.
Even with the invention of LMR400, RG8 coax cable is still used today. Simply put, RG8 costs less than LMR400. When making a budget, those lower costs can be very tempting. But it is important to remember that the reason for those lower costs is that RG8 is an inferior cable. Being made using older techniques and technology, RG8 transmits weaker signals, has more problems with electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), and even suffers from inferior durability due to being made from more fragile materials. Performance issues aside, the weaker materials used to make RG8 increase wear-and-tear which in turn lowers the lifespan of the cable. Saving a little money today is rarely worth having to replace a broken cable sooner.