How to check coax cable for signal? Check this article if you are experiencing distortion and poor picture quality in your TVs or CCTVs.

Imagine watching the most awaited football league, and your TV screen goes black, or you have to submit your online paper, but the internet is not working.

Worst-case scenario, you have to go out of town, but the CCTV camera is not catching any signal. You call the helpline, and they ask to check the coax cable. Now the question arises, how to check coax cable for a signal?  

How To Check Coax Cable For Signal?
How To Check Coax Cable For Signal?

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Do you know that you can check your coax cable signal all by yourself?

Yes, you read it right… 

It is not at all a strenuous task. With some pieces of equipment and our step-by-step guide, you are good to go. A coax cable short, for coaxial cable, is the most commonly used cable for connecting televisions, internet, CCTV cameras, etc. to the antennas.

Coax cable has metal inner cords covered with a metal braid mesh to create a resistive coax. It helps in keeping the signal intact and prevents electric noise from interfering with the signals. Coaxial is used in homes and offices for its durability and flexibility. 

Let’s not waste more time and go straight to our guide. You will find easy steps to check your coax cable and identify signal strength while using a multimeter!


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9 Steps How to Check your Coax Cable Signal

Following are the simple steps to check the signal of the coax cable using a multimeter and probe wires.

  1. First of all, you need to disconnect your coax cable from the devices such as TV, cable splitter Camera, etc., and make sure that both ends of the coax cable are free and not connected to anything.
  2. Now get a multimeter and a testing probe. It is better to run a test on the multimeter to check if it is functioning. For this purpose, you need to set your multimeter at ohms or (Ω). Further, insert the black probe into the COM port of the meter and the red probe into the + port. Now, touch the black and red probe to each other and see what the reading is. If it shows a reading of 0 or near zero, it means there is no resistance, and your multimeter is accurate. However, if it shows OL or another digit such as 1 then the multimeter is faulty.
  3. Once you are sure your multimeter is accurate, you can move to this step. Set the multimeter at continuity or CONT option. 
  4. Connect the positive end of the probe to the center point of one side of the coax and the negative end to the center point of the coax on the other side. Make sure that the probes do not touch the outer covering of the coax. 
  5. Now take the reading or measurement by listening to the sound of a multimeter. If there is a continuous sound, this means that there is a signal in your cable.
  6. Now, touch the negative probe to the outer wire (if you are using a coaxial connector then to the outer jacket) and connect the positive end of the probe to the center point of the coax. 
  7. At this point, there should be no sound emitting from the meter. If you experience the opposite, then the coax is damaged and most likely the reason for signal loss.
  8. Another way of checking the signal continuity is to connect one side of the coax to the circuit or any device and the other side to one end of the probe to the center point and the other to the outer part.
  9. The meter will show a reading or produce a beeping sound to ensure the coax is perfectly fine and there is a signal in it. If the opposite happens, then coax is damaged and possibly needs replacing. 
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So if you follow these simple steps, you can easily find if the coax is receiving and transmitting signals or not. You can also check the signal strength of the cable while using a cable signal meter. This meter will give you readings in DMV or decibel millivolts. 

Let’s discuss some of the questions you might have on your mind.

How to Test Coax Cable With a Multimeter?
How to Test Coax Cable With a Multimeter?

How to Test Coax Cable With a Multimeter?

Coax cable provides flexibility. In some cases, you can connect a coax or an antenna to a TV without a coax input by using splitters and other connectors. It is not difficult to test coaxial cable. A cable tester, such as a multimeter, can be used to easily test the coax cable.

You can also check the cable’s ohm rating, capacitance, and impedance. The following are the steps for testing coax cable with a coax tester multimeter:

  • First, double-check the coaxial cable outlet connection. To do so, disconnect the coax cable’s two ends’ center conductors from the device to which the coax cable is connected for coaxial cable testing with a multimeter. It’s most likely a cable splitter, TV, or any networking device to which you’ve connected the coax cable.
  • Then, make the two free ends of the coax cable coil from the outer jacket for the multimeter measurement.
  • Now, take the testing probe and connect the probe’s cords to the specific ends of the multimeter for signal testing of the coaxial cable. The red jack is the “+” jack, and the blackjack is the “COM” jack.
  • One of the leads must be touched to the outer shell of the metal part of the PL-259 plug. The other pin must be connected to the center pin. If it makes a noise when you plug it in, the coax cable is shorted.
  • To take measurements, you must now select either “Continuity” or “CONT” from the multimeter’s settings.
  • If you want to perform a continuity test, you must make contact with both probe tips. If there is a tone emitting, the coaxial signal tester device will not function.
  • Connect the multimeter’s negative end to the center wire using one side of the coax cable. You must be careful not to touch the outer layer.
  • Connect the positive end to the center wire on the opposite side of the coaxial cable. You must ensure that it does not come into contact with the outer layer.
  • You must now analyze the song. If there is an emission from the multimeter’s speaker, the coax cable will function properly.
  • Then, while using a coaxial connector, touch the outer jack of the coax connector with the negative probe. When there is no coax connector, use the negative probe to touch the braided outer wire.
  • Finally, you must determine whether or not the tone from the multimeter’s internal speaker is present. Because of the faulty electrical connection, there should be no sound. The insulation in the coaxial cable is broken or damaged if there is sound or noise.
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There is another method for determining whether or not your coaxial cable is operational. The following are the steps in the coaxial cable testing procedure:

  • To begin, locate the area where the coax cable is distributed. If the coax cable is separated from the splitter, it must be screwed to the hub or splitter. If the cable is not terminated, you must push it into the coaxial adapter plug.
  • The length of the coaxial cable must then be screwed to the wall jack. You must screw the tool’s end on by matching thread.
  • You must now test the testing unit’s front panel. The cable should be replaced if the inductor light turns red.
  • If the inductor light goes out, you must press the “Test” button. If the inductor’s light is green, the cable is fine.
  • Finally, you must observe the inductor’s light. The inductor’s red light indicates a short circuit or a break in the cable. When the light is off, it indicates that there is no connection at the other end.

You must now understand how to use a multimeter to test a coaxial cable.

9 Steps How to Check your Coax Cable Signal
9 Steps How to Check your Coax Cable Signal

How Can I Test a Coaxial Cable Outlet for Internet Signal?

Internet connectivity will be poor or nonexistent if your Coaxial cable outlet is not working properly. The good news is that determining whether your Coaxial cable outlet has a signal is simple and quick.

To test your Coaxial cable outlet for signal, you have two options: manually or with a coax testing tool.

  • Manual Test with Cable Modem – You can test the signal of your coax outlet by moving your cable modem from cable outlet to cable outlet and plugging it into each coax outlet to verify a signal and connectivity. If your internet modem connects normally, this indicates that a signal was detected. If it does not connect, there is no signal. Moving a modem from one location to another can take a long time.
  • Coax Testing Tool – Using a coax cable testing tool designed specifically for the task is the simplest way to test your coax cable outlet signal. The DSS-01 Coax Cable Tester from Hitron detects valid signals from your Cable Internet provider by detecting the specific signal range (frequency range) that they use. This means you won’t get false-positive results like with other testers. Furthermore, the DSS-01 Coax Cable Tester works regardless of whether there are hidden splitters on your line, ensuring that you always get an accurate reading on a signal.
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The DSS-01 Coax Cable Tester is a simple one-person job. Simply plug the tester into any coaxial outlet and press the button.

In less than 10 seconds, you’ll know whether or not you have a valid signal at that particular coax outlet. This handy pocket-sized tool will save you a lot of time and trouble, and it fits into hard-to-reach places.

Even inexperienced users will find the DSS-01 Coax Cable Tester easy to use. The bright, easy-to-read LED indicator will either display red or green once connected and turned on. When the LED-light indicator is red, no signal was detected. When the LED light turns green, it indicates that a valid signal was detected.

The DSS-01 Coax Cable Tester is ideal for testing and detecting the presence of valid signals from your cable Broadband service provider in homes, apartments, and office buildings. It will also save you a lot of time!

CONCLUSION On Checking Coax Cable For Signal

The importance of coaxial cables is undeniable in our lives. From entertainment to work to our homes and office security, we need good quality coax cables.

However, there is no denying that these cables may tear or break after some time, all thanks to harsh weather, water leakage, or any other technical fault.

But why are you fretting over it? You do not need a technician since we have got you covered with our easy step-by-step guide above. We hope that the next time you face a signal loss, you would know what to do.

FAQs About Checking Coax Cable For Signal

Does the length of the coax cable affect the signal?

Yes, there are chances that the length of the coax cable may affect your signal. According to the experts, if the coax is 50 feet, there is a high chance of interrupted signals. However, a 100 feet cable would drop one-third of the original.

Does coax cables damage?

Yes, the cables may experience deterioration or damage over some time. Bending, high temperature, or water exposure can cause damage to the coax cables that cause loss of signal or signal interruption. 

What are different ways to increase the signal strength of the cable?

Coaxial cable strength can be increased by using a shorter length cable and avoiding a cable splitter. Directly plug the cable into the device instead of using the splitters. Further, routine checks can help you know the condition of the cable.

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