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TV aerial socket and plug
Aerial socket on a television set

Domestic antenna plugs and sockets are devices that connect the TV set to the TV antenna so that TV signals can flow to them.

Antenna plugs are male antenna connectors that fit into female antenna sockets.

Antenna sockets are female antenna connectors that have slots or holes which accept the pins or blades of antenna plugs inserted into them and deliver or receive TV signal to or from the plugs. Sockets are generally mounted on the TV set or in the wall. Sockets are usually designed to reject any plug which is not built to the same standard. Some sockets have one or more pins that connect to holes in the plug.



The Belling-Lee connector or IEC 169-2 connector, more often simply known as TV aerial plug or PAL connector, is the traditional European antenna connector for TV sets and FM-radio receivers. It is the oldest coaxial RF connector still commonly used today. It connects a receiver to a terrestrial VHF/UHF roof antenna, antenna amplifier, or CATV network, via a coaxial cable.

It was invented at Belling & Lee Ltd in Enfield, United Kingdom, around 1922, at the time of the first BBC broadcasts. It was originally only intended for medium frequency broadcasts, where accurate impedance matching of an antenna connector is not a concern.

Belling-Lee vs other connectors

Unlike the coaxial F connector used today for the same purpose in North America, the IEC 60169-2 connector is not matched to the 75-ohm characteristic impedance of the antenna cable used. The lack of impedance matching causes signal reflections in the cable, leading to noticeable signal distortion on VHF and UHF frequencies (but not MW or Shortwave).

  • The IEC-169-2 connector is recognized as a source of signal distortion and has become a particular concern with digital signal reception, specifically UHF HDTV.
  • DAB (digital radio) and other reception modes are not as severely affected by the impedance matching issue, so only HDTV and satellite reception systems are forced to use the F connector.
  • In spite of being somewhat unsuitable for modern analog VHF and UHF TV frequencies, due to industrial inertia, the Belling-Lee connector is still used today as a TV signal reception connector.
  • In Europe and the Americas this connector is not used to connect satellite TV antennas. The more electrically suitable 75-ohm F connector is standard. However, the obsolete BSB receiver used a Belling-Lee connector for the LNB feed[1].

Miniature Belling Lee

Miniature Belling Lee plug

There is also a Miniature Belling Lee connector which was used for internal connections inside some equipment (including BBC RC5/3 Band II receiver and the STC AF101 Radio Telephone). It is not known who made them or any other name for the connector. It looks similar to a standard Belling Lee plug but is about half the size. The standard Belling Lee plug is about 33 mm long and 9.5 mm diameter (mating surface), the Miniature Belling Lee is about 17 mm long and 4.4 mm diameter. Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) used miniature Belling & Lee connectors, internally, in their 25M series Land Mobile two-way radios in the early 1970s. The socket is a Belling & Lee L1465/CS whilst the plug is a Belling & Lee 1465/PF.

See also


  • International Standard IEC 60169-2: Coaxial unmatched connector. (= British Standard BS 3041-2)

External links



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