Good Source for SMA Connectors?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by N0TZU, Dec 12, 2019.

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  1. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Does anyone know a good, inexpensive source for decent SMA connectors? My current need is for a number of PCB edge mount solder female SMA jacks for little one-off projects and test jigs on standard two sided FR4 0.063" thick, like this:

    Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 4.58.16 PM.png

    The cheapest US seller I've found is one through Digikey at $1.70 or Sparkfun at $1.95 each. Other suppliers I saw are much more.

    Of course AliExpress and other Chinese outlets have numerous suppliers of 10 pieces at 1/10 that price but who knows if they are rejects from the production line.
  2. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    How many do you need? I have a bunch left over from some commercial filter projects I worked on a while back.
    N0TZU likes this.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    $1.70 sounds like an amazing deal to me.

    I remember when we used to buy these at Boonton Electonics (I was on engineering staff for the signal generators, beginning with the 102A, and we used several internal board-to-board SMAs) we used to pay over $5 each for them -- in the 1970s! They were gold plated of course, but I think almost all of them are. We used stainless steel bulkhead (panel mount) SMAs in a few places where they had to be user-integrated hundreds of times (the gold plated brass ones wore out) and they cost even more!
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  4. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cannot beat free if you can get them. If not you are going to have to buy a minimum of 10 connectors to get the price down. Found this on Amazon, from unknown manufacture, but it gets the unit price down to 75-cents.

    Really less than $2 is pretty good. As a point of reference if you search Mouser and Digikey for say Amphenol SMA PCB connectors which you now are upper end will run over $10 and up.

    Good luck, I used the ones from Amazon to build a few LNA loop antenna pre-amps. They work OK as long as you remember SMA are not made to really be used. I mean taken off and put back on. More intended for hard line and small coax interconnecting RF stages.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  5. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks, I was planning to order 20 for stock on hand but could use 4 as a start.
  6. KE0ZU

    KE0ZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ultimately they come from Amazon, through Wally world's "WallFront" corp., and finally from a junk dealer, Tasharina Corp, in Mountain View California.

    Cut out all the middle man money skimmers.

    Buy on Ebay, direct from China, with free shipping. Thats what I do. I've found the only thing you really have to be cautious about when buying from the ChiComs, is semiconductors, even then if they have thousands of transactions and 98% or better feedback they're quite probably OK. I've only had couple of occasions where I've knowingly been bit.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  7. K8AI

    K8AI Ham Member QRZ Page

    It would depend on how many mating cycles you need them to be good for, I'd think. If it's just a few then the Ebay direct-from-China is the way to go. Otherwise, I'd go for a stainless steel, etc end-launch SMA from RF Parts or Pasternack instead.
    N0TZU likes this.
  8. WA7ARK

    WA7ARK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ones from China (Amazon) are just shinny brass; not gold plated. They seem to work ok with my NanoVna....
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  9. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used to program a cnc lathe that made sma connectors, then I would test them on a network analizer that co$t as much as a Cadillac.

    $1.70 is a unbelievably good price.

    And that you can get them for a fraction from the Orient is even better.

    N0TZU likes this.
  10. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks everyone for their comments, and especially @K7TRF who is very kindly sending a few to me.

    $1.70 isn’t a lot by the standards of other RF connector types (or compared to years ago). But in my experience one can go through a lot of them pretty quickly, so I consider them to be a consumable item.

    I think I’ll order some of the US sold ones and some super cheap ones and compare. Of course I don’t have a mating cycle test machine, but a couple of dozen cycles ought to reveal if they are complete junk or not. There are a couple of easy tests for brass vs. gold plating so I’ll do that too. I don’t know of a way to test the dielectric type easily. The VNA should reveal if there is a big problem with Z0 up to 1 GHz though.

    As a related item, inexpensive short SMA cable assemblies are now available ($5 at Sparkfun, less from China) This is important for those of us experimenting with the NanoVNAs as a way to avoid connector wear and strain damage on the VNA, instead using the cables as a consumable, with an adapter as needed.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019

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