How do I extend my cable?How do I repair or join my cables?
Dog chewed TV cable?
For Sky, Freesat, Freeview, Cable TV etc.
Aaaagh! Not like this!
The above method lets interference in (and out) and can result in “lost channels” or “grainy pictures” and other unpredictable effects.
Cable joint kits are available for joining or repairing coaxial cables.
You should read the following information if you want to save time and money.
Q. How do I fit those ‘F’ plugs?
We can supply single or twin cable with plugs fitted (or separate – cheaper) and with or without threaded joiners. Read on…
What do I need to connect my dish/aerial to my satellite/Freeview receiver?
Every day somebody emails us to ask “How do I extend my satellite LNB/terrestrial aerial/cable TV cable?” or “where can I buy a Sky extension cable?” or “which cable is best?” or “which plug should I buy” or “I need a Freeview TV aerial cable extension” /”I need a Virgin Media extension cable. Please tell me exactly what to buy”.
Unfortunately, we usually can’t guess whether they are referring to the RF output cable or the LNB input cable or some other cable. Nor do they mention their existing cable type, exact diameter, length, age or connectors. Nor do they mention their colour preference; whether a wall socket is fitted or required, whether they prefer single or twin, thick or thin; whether the extension must be indoors or outdoors or whether they can easily reach the dish, aerial, cable entry point or whatever; whether they require DC continuity because the cable is carrying power; whether they have calculated the signal loss.
This information page has evolved to help you decide what you need.
Tip: If your existing cable is marked with a code that includes “100” and is approximately 6mm in diameter, our nearest equivalent is likely to be WF100. If the code includes “63” or “65” and it is less than 5mm in diameter, then it will be WF65.
Firstly – beware! Some so-called “satellite extension leads” sold by DIY stores are unsuitable for LNB cable extensions. They might (just) be OK for TV aerial extension but not for satellite. As a general guide, if the cable is really thin and flexible, it probably won’t do. In other words, the signal losses may be too high and/or the cable may be poorly-screened and cause interference problems that might not even show up until you buy other equipment.
Exception: our own WF65-1 “ultra-thin white cable” is suitable for short runs up to about 20m for LNB signals and up to 40m for TV aerial and RF signals. (You can use a longer length if your signal is strong – e.g. from a larger dish or aerial amplifier.)
However, if you don’t mind using thicker, slightly stiffer, more robust cable with less tendency to kink, WF100 has lower signal losses.
Tight budget? Use RG6.
Just want the best? Choose WF100 for minimum signal loss
Need the thinnest? WF65
Every last dB counts? WF125
Q. I can buy a cable from the Pound Shop for ￡1. Why pay more?
A. At only ￡1 it’s worth the risk* but bear in mind you get what you pay for.
* Risk of poor screening resulting in loss of picture whenever, for example, a nearby mobile phone sends a signal or a microwave oven is turned on.
* Risk of high signal attenuation, resulting in loss of picture in bad weather.
* Risk of fragile/ poorly-made connections and easily-snapped inner core.
Q. I bought some really good pre-made cables with gold plugs but they seem to attenuate the signal a lot. Is this possible?
A. Not only possible but likely if poor quality cable is used. It may be too thin or it may use aluminium and/or steel instead of copper inside. Also, Gold plating is pointless for anything other than very low level audio signals. It’s better to pay for weight of copper rather than gold.
We have chosen yellow for our illustrations but WF100 is available in 6 different colours.
Sky or Virgin Extension Cable looks like this:
F’ plug (male) on both ends. Female – female threaded adapter used to join cables.
You can also use it for terrestrial TV aerial extensions if you wish to use ‘F’ plugs.
All the information you need is on the relevant pages of our site but it seemed like a good idea to put some pointers on this separate page. However, you should click on the blue underlined links and read our technical information before purchasing anything! Sky extension cables are suitable for anything requiring ‘F’ plugs, including all satellite dish feeds, cable TV feeds and you can also use it for terrestrial TV aerial extensions if you wish to use ‘F’ plugs. Click HERE to purchase.
Hybrid extension cable
’F’ plug (male) on one end. TV plug (male) on other end.
COLCM adapter and threaded adapter available to join other cables.
Note: you must NOT run cable beneath a carpet unless it is in a solid channel that will protect it from being crushed. It only needs to be slightly oval to ruin your signal! Avoid kinks and crushing. Click HERE to purchase.
Freeview extension cable looks like this:
TV plug (male) on both ends. COLCM adapter converts male plug to female.
Click HERE to purchase.
Thin White WF65 cable also available
in single or twin with a choice of plugs either fitted or supplied separately for you to fit.
Click HERE to purchase thin cable.
1. Should I extend the LNB cable?
Satellite TV signals are very weak and the high frequencies are attenuated by all cable. If the signal is too weak, you will not get a “grainy picture” as with analogue TV; you will lose the picture completely.
As a general guide, we suggest a maximum length of 20m for WF65 from dish to satellite receiver or 40m max of WF100 but you could get away with longer if you live in a strong signal area (southern England) or if you use a larger dish than the standard minidish or if you can tolerate picture loss in very bad weather. If you mix cables in one length (e.g. WF100 outdoors and WF65 indoors) then calculate the lengths pro-rata on the basis that 10m WF65=20m WF100 for roughly the same signal loss.
It is not possible to predict whether you can safely add a specific length of cable but, as a general rule, if your signal strength indication and signal quality indication are strong (e.g. at least 60% on a Sky Digibox) then it should be safe to add a short length cable. All you can do is try it. Simply trail the cable along the floor to test it. Don’t waste time and energy drilling holes or clipping the cable until you are certain it is working OK. Don’t ask me whether xx metres of WFxx cable will work OK. I can’t calculate it for you just from the figures that you provide without proper measuring equipment.
Note: in all cases where you make the LNB cable longer, you will reduce your “rain margin”. This may not affect you but, if it results in picture loss during poor weather, the only solution is to shorten the cable again or install a larger dish. (An “equalised gain slope” LNB amplifier will occasionally help to compensate for cable length but it’s never certain. The only way to find out is to try it.)
Note: average life of unprotected cable outdoors is 5 years. See below.
2. Can I join different types of coaxial cable?
Yes. If you have a standard size dish, we recommend a total length of WF65 not to exceed 20m or WF100 40m or any pro-rata combination. Obviously you can use a longer length but the risk of “rain fade” is increased. You can combat this by using the next larger size of dish.
3. Can I join twin coaxial cable?
Yes, you can use twin WF65 (thin) or twin WF100 (thick) or you can use two single cables of either type. If signal loss is going to be a problem, use WF100 cable. (See notes, above, about this.)
3. Should I extend or replace the whole cable?
As we say on our cable info. page, it’s always better to replace the entire length of cable but it’s usually OK to join it if you have no alternative. A correctly made joint has negligible signal loss. However, a poorly made joint might cause loss or degradation of some channels without affecting others, so read our instructions and do it properly.
Cable has a typical life outdoors, in sunlight and rain, of 5 years before signal loss becomes evident. For this reason, cable installed outdoors should be secured so that it is as easy as possible to replace. (Painting it with a good oil-based paint will help to protect it, as will running it inside a waterproof conduit. In contrast, running it along a rainwater gutter, where it stays damp AND exposed to ultraviolet, will shorten its life.) If your outdoor cable is more than 5 years old and unprotected, consider replacing rather than simply adding an extension. If it’s more than ten years old, replace it regardless.
4. Can I split the existing LNB cable(s)?
No, that won’t work. Check the LNB on your dish arm. If it has spare (unused) outlets, you can simply connect more cables and run them wherever you want, leaving your existing cables in place. If the LNB has no spare outlets, you might consider swapping it for one that has.
5. What cable should I use?
We stock only double-screened cable, which is suitable for Satellite, Terrestrial, Cable TV*, analogue and digital. If you save pennies by buying inferior cable elsewhere, you may find that it loses more signal and, worse, allows interference in or transmits interference out into adjacent cable or equipment. Please read the notes on our cable info. page and on this review page. You’ll find the cheapest ready-made black cables here. The most popular cable is WF100 (which comes in 6 colours) but please do read all the notes. (We may supply TX100, which is almost identical to WF100.)
*Cable TV is normally rented – not owned by you – so you may not be permitted to touch it. Adding cable will lower the signal level so you may need a technician to adjust it.
There’s also ultra-thin cable, which is less obtrusive than ordinary coaxial cable. Available in twin “shotgun” or single.
6. How should I join the cable?
Buy cable with ‘F’ plugs fitted (see links above) or fit an ‘F’ plug to each cable as shown here
and use a Threaded “F” barrel coupler to join them.
If you will be repeatedly connecting/disconnecting, fit a push-on ‘F’ adapter and grease it (see below) to minimise wear.
7. Will a cable Joint Lose signal?
The signal loss in a correctly made joint is negligible.
How can I make a “quick-disconnect” joint?
Showing how the “threaded F barrel coupler”, the “push-on F adapter” and “F plug” fit together.
If you need to swap the connection between two receivers, use an LNB switch.
If the joint will be outdoors, or in a damp place, use plenty of silicone grease inside the plug where it will exclude air and moisture to prevent corrosion of the copper contact areas.
and self-amalgamating tape to make the joint weatherproof.
An alternative for RF cables or “fly-leads”, which are not connected between the dish (LNB) and satellite receiver, is the simple “TV coupler”. You can fit the cable with TV plugs.
However, if the connection is carrying power for an amplifier or “magic eye”, you must solder the plugs as described here or buy ready-made leads.
Don’t forget to order clips if you need to fix your cable to a wall or skirting board.
See Can I use an extender plate?
8. What should I use to extend the twin cable
from my Sky-Plus or Sky+HD dish?
You can use single cable, as above, or twin cable. There are two types of twin cable:
WF100 twin, (black, brown or white) which is high quality, low loss cable that resists kinking fairly well. You’ll need two 10 mm holes in the wall or one 14mm hole. Be sure to form the cable into a “drip loop” below the hole and weatherproof the hole to keep out rain and insects.
WF65 “shotgun”, (black or white) which has fairly high losses. The total cable length should be kept to 20m maximum if this type is used, unless you increase the dish size to compensate for the signal loss. However, you can use much longer runs for aerial or RF connections since these use lower frequencies where losses are lower. This cable has the advantage of being narrow enough to fit through a single 10 mm diameter hole.
Also see our INSTALLATION KITS
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