What’s a DC Block?

Print anything with Printful

DC blocks filter out audio and DC frequency interference in coaxial antenna systems. They use a blocking capacitor to allow RF signals to pass through while blocking unwanted frequencies. They come in internal, external, and internal/external forms, with different connector types, voltages, and maximum frequencies. Larger capacitors offer a lower cutoff frequency. Internal blocks are connected in-line while external blocks are connected to the ground plane. The risk of electric shock is present in external and internal/external blocks but is considered negligible.

A direct current (DC) block is a frequency filtering device used in coaxial antenna systems. DC blocker allows radio frequency (RF) signals to pass while blocking audio and DC frequency interference that can damage your system. DC blocks are used in three different forms known as internal, external or internal/external. These components are further classified by connector type, voltage, and maximum frequency.

DC blocking works by using a blocking capacitor to capture the flow of low-level DC currents through a coaxial cable. It does this by allowing the higher frequency AC currents used in radio signal transmission to go through a process called coupling. DC blocking can produce restrictions on the transmission of all lower level frequencies, including AC frequencies, so system modification is sometimes necessary. This modification process is called circuit tuning.

These devices use a capacitor to filter out unwanted frequencies that could damage sensitive electrical components in laboratory test equipment or radio transmitters and receivers. Larger capacitors offer a lower cutoff frequency while smaller capacitors cut the transmission in a higher range. Where the various DC blocks differ is their placement in the coaxial system.

An internal DC block is connected in-line as an integral part of the main conductor of the coaxial system. Connected along the conductor, also called the system hot wire, this configuration is sometimes incorporated into specialized equipment to avoid the need for aftermarket parts and coaxial system modifications. When an external DC block is used, it is connected to the ground plane of the circuit, in series with the outer conductor of the coaxial cable. Combinations of the two systems are known as internal/external DC blocks. These blocking capacitors are incorporated along the ground plane and hot wire of the coaxial system.

The external and internal/external varieties of the DC block have a special feature that limits their use. Due to the fact that these devices are placed in series with the ground plane electrical wiring, they have the potential to carry current. This means that the configuration allows the operator of the equipment to receive a shock should he touch a charged piece of the system. These systems are sometimes used when it is necessary to inject current into a system for transmission modulation. Although the configuration presents a risk of electric shock, the risk is considered negligible when weighed against the benefits to the transmitted signal.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content