RF Connector Mounting

RF connectors are often developed to mount to an underlying support structure. They may be soldered to a circuit board, screwed to a flat surface, secured through a hole with a nut, or simply left hanging in free-space. Each mounting mechanism follows an internationally recognised naming convention.

This article provides an overview of common RF connector mounting features. There are a multitude of variations among mechanisms such as right angle and elbow shapes, in the interest clarity these have not been listed.

Several illustrations used in this educational article have been provided with the generous assistance of Automatic Connector.

Connector is fed through and mounted from the front. Used to transmit signal from internal circuitry through a panel, using a flange with two holes to accommodate mounting screws or bolts. Best suited for use with thin panels.

Two hole flange panel front mount RF connector

Connector is fed through and mounted from the rear. Used to transmit signal from internal circuitry through a panel, using a flange with two holes to accommodate mounting screws or bolts. Best suited for use with thin panels.

two hole flange, rear mount RF connector

Connector is fed through and mounted from the front. Used to transmit signal from internal circuitry through a panel, using a flange with four holes to accommodate mounting screws or bolts. Best suited for use with thin panels.

four hole flange front mounted panel RF connector

Connector is fed through and mounted from the rear. Used to transmit signal from internal circuitry through a panel, using a flange with four holes to accommodate mounting screws or bolts. Best suited for use with thin panels.

four hole flange, rear mount RF connector

Used to transmit a signal from internal circuitry through a panel, using a single mounting hole. Best suited for use with thick panels. Mounting nut is behind panel.

Bulkhead front mount RF connector

A secondary coaxial dielectric insulates the connector body from the panel. A solder lug is provided to transmit the ground signal from the connector body.

Bulkhead isolated ground RF connector

Mounting nut is in front of panel. Used to transmit a signal from internal circuitry through a panel using a single mounting hole. Best suited for use with thick panels.

Bulkhead rear mount RF connector

RF Bullet connectors are typically a female-to-female coaxial connector that use a spring-loaded interface to interconnect two male board-mounted connectors. Typically seen in aerospace and military applications.

The most traditional type of RF connector cable connection, representing the attachment of the connector to an ordinary coaxial cable.

Free hanging RF connector mounting feature

RF connectors mounted to a Printed Circuit Board. This is a generic category with several subtypes.

PCB End Launch, or Edge Mount, RF connectors are designed to be soldered directly on the edge of the PCB surface. This style of connector offers the strength advantage of through hole mounting, with the performance of surface mount technology.

PCB End Launch RF connector courtesy of Southwest Microwave

Surface mount connectors are designed to be soldered directly onto the PCB surface. This type of mounting is used in conjunction with a coplanar waveguide or stripline to carry an RF signal over the PCB circuitry.

PCB surface mounted RF connector

Through hole connectors are mounted using pins that are inserted into pre-drilled holes on the PCB on one side, and then soldered to pads on the opposite side. This type of design is more durable than surface mount RF connectors.

PCB mounted RF connector through hole mounting

Press-Fit connector mounting is a method of attaching a connector through a bulkhead panel where the body of the connector itself is forcibly punched into the surrounding panelling. This type of connector body typically has serrations to produce a friction or interference fitting between the two surfaces. 

Press Fit RF connector mounting feature

Thread-In connector mounting involves a simple mechanism whereby the thread on the supplied connector is matched on the panel, so that that the two can be screwed together.

Thread-in RF connector mounting feature