Common Coax Cable Problems You Should Know


Coax cable problems are used by internet and telephone companies across the globe to facilitate the transfer of data such as video and voice communication.

Like other cables, they are prone to damage over time. And being aware of the challenges will help you to always be ready for anything and everything. 

Table of Contents

Different Coaxial Cable Problems Causes

Coaxial cable problems can be severe and compromise the entire process of data transfer.

Let us look at the common reasons why coaxial cables go bad.

Physical Damage

Physical damage arises from improper or exertion of too much pressure on the cable during installation.

For example, during installation, the bend radius and the space between the shield and inner conductor should be even throughout the entire length.

Consistent application of pressure on light foot traffic areas, crimping, improper rolling, and aging are other causes of physical damage.

Water Damage

The water affects the cable’s ability to transfer data thereby making it useless. Make sure that you cover outdoor connectors to avoid this form of damage 

Even the smallest cracks on the outer surface of the cable can allow water to penetrate into the inner semiconductor.

Needless to say, you should never submerge a coaxial cable even if it’s brand new or branded “top quality”.

Heat Damage

The two main insulators used to make coaxial cables are polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene. Heat-related problems arise because the two plastics have a low melting point. 

When exposed to high as 150 degrees, the material will become soft thereby exposing the inner copper conductor to other forms of damage.

In addition, exposing the coaxial cables to low heat for an extended period of time will reduce the insulator’s shielding capabilities. 

Based on those facts, make sure they are a safe distance from stage lights, heat signs, hot sun, and other common sources of heat in your premises. 

Connector Damage

Connector Damage

N and BNC are the two most common connectors at the ends of the coaxial cable. Damage can arise from an improperly center pin.

The cable performance will drop if the solder is weak or loose. 

Besides, clean silver-plated connectors often because they are prone to oxidation.

Severe tarnishing of the outer surface is one of the signs that you should replace them with new ones.

Symptoms of Coaxial Cable Problems

Coaxial cables convey signals from the external or source cable system from the provider to the different TVs in the house.

Take a look at the following symptoms on your cable TV.

Coax Cable Problems–No Pictures are Displayed

A faulty connection of the coaxial cable to the F connector is the most plausible reason for this.

First, do a diagnostic if the other channels are working normally. 

If the other channels are working, then you don’t need to check the cable connection.

It’s probably that the channel is off due to issues on the broadcaster’s end.

Also, if the problem is on only one TV, check the connection cables. If that’s not the case, check the cable to see if you can identify the issue.

That said, it’s recommendable to hire a professional to repair the cable to prevent the problem from recurring in the near future.

Coax Cable Problems–Pictures are flashing

One of the common causes of this problem is a drop in signal due to wind blowing the aerial wire back and forth. It could also be a result of a faulty cable box outside your house. 

If it’s only one TV affected, confirm that the F connector connection is tight. Pictures will flash if the coaxial cable center conductor cut is uneven.

As a result, it doesn’t connect with the F connector properly.

Coax Cable Problems–Snowy Picture

The snowy picture results from either an issue with the F connector or the main cable TV connector. Check if all the TVs are showing snowy pictures.

Tightening the F connector resolves these kinds of coaxial cable problems. 

While there, check if the center conductor is in good contact with the F connector.

Coax Cable Problems–Ghosts

Don’t be scared of the word. “Ghosts” means multiple pictures and a vertical bar display instead of the normal high definition pictures. 

This is a visual issue because of the external interference on the cable system.

The interference is due to a leak in a particular section of the cable. A faulty F connection also causes this problem. 

Coax Cable Problems

Safety Tips to Reduce Coaxial Cable Problems

Most of the coaxial cable problems are avoidable through proper planning and installation. Here are five safety tips to lessen the damage.

1.Coax Cable Problems–Check Obstacles

In some instances, the installers have to drill through walls to pass the cable to the inner house spaces.

Be careful when drilling the surface as any mistake can damage the cable during the installation process.

2. Coax Cable Problems–Increase the Cable Length by A Few Feet

Tension results in cracks that expose the internal center semiconductor to environmental factors such as water and heat. Avoid such incidents by increasing the length of the cable by a few feet when shopping. 

The extra length will prevent unnecessary tension.

Also, if a section of the cable gets damaged during installation, the extra length will cover your end – you won’t have to purchase a whole new roll. 

3. Coax Cable Problems–Analyze the Installation Area

Good planning will cushion you from most of the problems. Analyze the entire section to know the degree of traffic that different parts experience.

With this information, you will be able to know which area to avoid.

4. Coax Cable Problems–All Coaxial Cables Should be Color Coded

When working with a bunch of coaxial cables, it is easy to get confused especially when covering an extensive area. Ease the process by color-coding each of the cables. 

This ingenious coding technique ensures that all the connections are accurate and prevent unnecessary tugging of the cables.

Here are additional safety tips you should embrace when handling coaxial cables.

  • Ensure the distance between the coaxial cable and electrical wires should be at least 6 inches to prevent interference due to the magnetic field from the electric wires.
  • Avoid unnecessary kinking or crushing the cable to prevent compromising its internal structure.
  • Hook and secure the spool when rolling the cable to prevent cracking the external shielding. 
  • Instead of a 90-degrees bend when installing the cable around corners, create a smooth loop. A 90-degree adapter will come in handy when installing the cable in such areas.
  • Invest in the right tools and use them correctly.


Some coaxial cable problems are easy to identify by carrying out regular checks but some are difficult to notice.

But once there is something bothering you, contact us for professional cable assemblies on your budget.

Our personnel have vast hands-on experience and will use their expertise to surpass your expectations.