Amateur Radio Quiz: The “Well-Connected” Amateur


By H. Ward Silver

Every station is home to hordes of connectors -- at the wall socket, the computer, the test equipment and…oh, yes…the radio! If you are just getting started, be prepared to learn a lot more about connectors and connections than you ever expected. Here are few questions that will spark your interest!

1) Which type of USB connector is most likely to be on the end of the cable that connects to your computer?
a. Type A
b. Type B
c. Hub
d. I didn’t know cables had sidebands!

2) Which part of a cable connector protects the connections between the cable wires and connector pins?
a. Strain Relief
b. Flange
c. Backshell
d. Crimp

3) Which coaxial connector style is used at microwave frequencies?
a. DIN
b. SMA
c. UHF
d. BNC

4) Which type of connector is used for Ethernet networking connections?
a. RJ45
b. DB-25
c. AX.25
d. RJ11

5) Which type of connector is also known as a “phono” connector?
a. Tip jack
b. RCA
c. Banana plug
d. Fahnstock clip

6) What are the three circuit connections of a stereo phone plug?
a. Center, shield, jacket
b. Phase 1, phase 2, neutral
c. Hot, neutral, ground
d. Tip, ring, sleeve

7) Which way should a wire wrap around a screw terminal?
a. Don’t wrap the wire at all
b. Clockwise
c. Counter-clockwise
d. Either direction works equally well

8) Which type of crimp terminal is often called a “quick disconnect”?
a. Spade
b. Ring
c. Fork
d. Hook

9) When installing a PL-259 coaxial connector, what part must go on the cable first?
a. Body
b. Backshell
c. Center pin
d. Jacket

10) Which connector changes a transmission line from coaxial cable to waveguide?
a. Transition
b. Transformation
c. Transducer
d. Transplant


Bonus Question: Bare wire ends are named for what animal part?



1) a -- The flat connector is a Type A, while the square connector on most accessories is a Type B.
2) c -- A backshell holds the cable steady within the connector to prevent flexing and stress on the wire-to-pin/socket connection.
3) b -- The SMA miniature threaded connector can be used to nearly 20 GHz.
4) a -- Modular connectors are used for telephone wiring, as well.
5) b -- This designation derives from the Radio Corporation of America’s use of the connector for phonograph connections in the 1940s.
6) d -- Also referred to as “TRS” connectors, these were originally used in telephone switchboards.
7) b – Clockwise, so that the tightening of the screw will pull the wire around its threads instead of pushing it out from under the head. A single half-turn is sufficient; more turns prevent the screw from fully seating.
8) a -- Spade terminals are held together by friction.
9) b -- The backshell will not fit over the body of the connector. Every ham forgets this step at least once!
10) a -- These are some very interesting structures, converting electromagnetic waves from one media to another very efficiently.


Bonus Answer: Pigtails!