Blind-mate connectors simplify RF signal interfaces by allowing push-on links between different components or elements of a design. A series of blind-mate connectors from MCE/Weinschel (Frederick, MD) goes a step beyond conventional blind-mate connectors by incorporating a unique spring-loaded mechanism to ensure reliable electrical contacts, even with some mechanical misalignment, at frequencies from DC to 40 GHz.

The company's new blind-mate connectors (see figure) include the models 7008 (for pressurized applications), 7034 (for rear-locking installations), 7035 (for front-locking installations), and 7041 (a low-cost connector version for applications from DC to 18 GHz). The connectors are used in pairs, with one half of the pair providing a floating blind-mate interface with spring-loaded inner and outer contacts and the other half of the pair providing a fixed blind-mate interface with fixed inner and outer contacts. These threadless connectors are designed to save space, especially in multiple-connector, panel-mount applications such as receivers (Rxs), while providing excellent electrical performance and reliable operation (the blind-mate connectors are typically rated to withstand as many as 25,000 mating operations). Each connector pair can tolerate typically 0.02 in. of radial and axial offset misalignment per pair while still meeting minimum electrical specifications.

For applications requiring as much as 1000 psi hydrostatic pressure (and 50 psi static pressure), the model 7008 blind-mate connectors are 50-Ω SMA-type stainless-steel designs with an operating temperature range of 50 to +125°C. The connectors feature insertion loss of no greater than 0.3 dB through 18 GHz, no more than 0.8 dB through 26.5 GHz, and no higher than 1.5 dB through 40 GHz. The VSWR is 1.30:1 or less through 18 GHz, 1.40:1 or less through 26.5 GHz, and 1.65:1 or less through 40 GHz. These pressurized planar blind-mate connectors are manufactured according to the interface dimensions of MIL-STD-348 and are designed to mate nondestructively with MIL-C-39012 connectors.

For installations in which connectors must be locked by means of rear-panel access, the rear-locking models 7034 and 7034-1 provide maximum insertion loss of 0.85 dB through 40 GHz with less than 1.35:1 VSWR through 18 GHz and less than 1.55:1 VSWR through 40 GHz. Offering similar electrical performance, the models 7035, 7035-1, and 7035R-1 are designed for front-locking installations. Both connector series are designed for operating temperatures from 50 to +100°C and feature insertion-loss repeatability (from one mating cycle to another) of typically ±0.1 dB. Both connector series are stainless-steel 2.92-mm designs with gold-plated contacts.

The company also offers a lower-cost 2.92-mm stainless-steel version of the front-locking blind-mating connectors in the form of the model 7041, which is rated for 0.6 dB maximum insertion loss and 1.40:1 maximum VSWR from DC to 18 GHz. The blind-mate connectors are ideal for applications requiring the installation and/or exchange of RF modules in mere seconds, without sacrificing electrical performance compared to conventional threaded connectors. The company offers a wide array of options, including interfaces for SMA, SSMA, SMB, 2.4-mm, 2.92-mm, and 3.5-mm connectors. MCE/Weinschel, 5305 Spectrum Dr., Frederick, MD 21703-7362; (301) 846-9222, (800) 638-2048, FAX: (301) 846-9116, e-mail: sales@weinschel.com, Internet: www.weinschel.com.