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July 6, 2006
Tutorial - SMA Antenna Connectors
about 6 years ago
“The FCC gender change was instituted to prevent home users from damaging RF equipment when screwing on an antenna."
Not quite. The issue is that 47 CFR 15.203 requires that, "an intentional radiator shall be designed to ensure that no antenna other than that furnished by the responsible party shall be used with the device. The use of a permanently attached antenna or of an antenna that uses a unique coupling to the intentional radiator shall be considered sufficient to comply with the provisions of this section."
In plain English, the FCC wants to prevent untrained home users from being able to buy an off-the-shelf high-gain antenna that lets them exceed the Part 15 EIR Power limits.
Rather than design a completely new RF connector, WiFi manufacturers opted to simply flip the polarity of the standard SMA connector. Over time RP-SMA has become a de facto standard for 802.11 home gear, subverting the intent of sec 203. I have to question the practicality of requiring a unique connector for every such product anyway.
Thanks for all the great work on the tutorials!
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