All the advice I've ever come across regarding stripping RG6 coaxial cable says to be extremely careful not to nick the center conductor, and if you do, to start all over again.

I seem to be cursed with terrible luck, and always nick the center conductor... but it doesn't seem to interfere with the signal.

So, why do they say to never nick the center conductor? Should I keep trying, or is it really not that big of a deal?

2 Answers 2


The answer depends on the extent of the damage caused by the nick and where it is. Severe damage to the center core can result in noticeable signal degradation. In analog service applications, this can cause all sorts of weird visual distortions (e.g. vertical lines, dash lines, random dots, etc). In digital service applications this is a bit more dramatic (e.g. drops in cable internet speed, voip service skips, etc).

Without professional tools to verify signal strength and clarity, it's going to be difficult to say for certain. I'd venture to guess that if you don't notice any degradation in video quality, you're probably OK.

If you're going to be doing this multiple times, you might want to invest in cabling tools (e.g. crimpers, coax strippers, etc). They can make the job a LOT easier and reduce the likelihood of nicks occurring.

There's also a good set of instructions here showing the different cabling technique for various coax connectors.



The center conductor of coax is just a copper strand and nicking it just slightly shouldn't hurt the signal quality. (Unlike fiber optic where a nick can be disastrous.)

However, if the nick is sufficient that the copper bends more easily, that's a structural problem and it's likely to break and create an open.

  • The trouble lies in the fact that frequently (and in my case specifically), pure copper is not used, but instead copper-plated iron. Also, because the frequencies used by cable television are in the low MHz to about a GHz, the signals are primarily using the skin effect. But the question is, does it much matter?
    – Nate
    Commented Nov 21, 2010 at 2:12

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