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Gepco International manufactures a version of mic cable called X-band. The cable is constructed with video-grade foam dielectric that specifically reduces the capacitance and provides an increased bandwidth. Conductors are finely stranded, oxygen-free copper. It also comes in multiple colors.
Belden has its own new type of mic cable that actually began as AES3 patch cable material. Because of its construction it too has low capacitance. The Belden part number is 1800F.
Mogami offers a new mic cable called Polar Flex. It uses the same internal 105-strand conductors as the company's standard 2791 stage cable, but with a different outer jacket that allows it to remain flexible down to -40°C. The part number is Mogami 3284.
On the opposite end of the system is speaker cable. Many of us use powered speakers but there are still many instances where heavy-duty speaker cable is needed.
Monster Cable makes many cables of this type but the CL3 plenum-rated caught my attention. It features four individually color-coded 16-gauge conductors (the familiar red, black, white and green) comprised of ultra-fine, highly pure copper strands.
Belden makes its own speaker cable, part number 5T00UP. This 10-gauge cable is UL-listed and NEC rated for in-wall use. Belden 6T00UP is the plenum rated version.
One of the most important types of cable around a radio facility is coax. Times Microwave Systems manufactures the LMR series coaxial cables. The cables come in sizes from 0.10 inch up to 1.25 inches. They are exceedingly flexible and therefore the need for jumpers (pigtails) at either end is essentially eliminated. The cable is constructed of closed-cell, dry-nitrogen-injected foam dielectric for low loss and a high velocity factor. The outer is made up of multi-laminar aluminum composite tape bonded to the dielectric, with an outer braid of tinned copper. Times makes a complete system of connectors and installation tools as well.
Belden has taken its coax technology even further with the 7800 series 50Ù cables. The loss of each of these cables is about the same as the last generation of coax, but the new generation cables are smaller. Belden makes a riser-rated version, a polyethylene jacketed outdoor version, and a hurricane version as well.
The proliferation of new communications technologies has had a tremendously positive effect on the amount and types of construction materials available for a radio studio facility. With its ease of installation and ubiquity, Ethernet cable has actually precipitated changes in technology around the broadcast studio. New and better types of coaxes for use in wireless applications are obviously available for radio station purposes as well. If you haven't built a facility in the last 10 years, it's a whole new universe out there.
Manufacturers of wire, cable, accessories and connectors
Alpha Wire Company
Belden Wire and Cable
Bomar Interconnect Products
Clark Wire and Cable
Energy Transformation Systems
Liberty Wire and Cable
Ram Systems and Communications
Times Microwave Systems
West Penn Wire
Irwin is director of engineering at Clear Channel, Seattle.
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