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Connect 2 VCRS: RF Cables

This page shows you how to connect 2 VCRs together using simple RF (aerial) leads. If your equipment allows for it, you might prefer to use AV (audio-video) connections for better quality.

Note: If you haven't yet read the introductory page about source and record machines, do that first.

You will need:

RF Cable
Male RF ConnectorFemale RF Connector

Before you begin, get your RF leads ready. Although there are numerous different types of RF leads, the most common one is is pictured on the left. It is called a Belling-Lee connector (also known as RF, Coaxial or TV connector).

RF stands for Radio Frequency, and the signals travel through these leads in the form of radio waves. This signal is the same as the signal which is picked up by your TV aerial (in fact you can use RF leads as extensions to your aerial).

RF leads have one advantage in simplicity: A single lead caries both the video and audio parts of the signal. This means that each component in the chain only needs one lead to connect to the next (instead of multiple leads when using AV connections).

The main disadvantage is that RF signals are lower quality and more prone to interference than AV connections.

Belling-Lee connections on your TV and VCR should look something like those pictured on the left. They may be labeled "AERIAL" instead of "RF".

Note: If you don't plan on using a TV aerial, simply ignore the corresponding parts of the following instructions.

Step 1: Connections

Connect your machines like so:

  1. Plug the TV aerial into the source VCR.
  2. Plug the RF output of the source VCR into the RF input of the record VCR.
  3. Plug the RF output of the record VCR into the RF input of the TV.
Read view of RF connections

Step 2: Tuning

Now you need to tune the TV and both VCRs, starting with the TV:

  1. Find a spare channel on the TV (channel 0 is a logical choice).
  2. Put a video tape in the record VCR and play it.
  3. Tune the TV until you see the video.

Next, tune the record VCR in much the same way:

  1. Make sure the TV is still tuned to the record VCR.
  2. Find a spare channel on the record VCR.
  3. Put a video tape in the source VCR and play it.
  4. Tune the record VCR channel until you see the tape playing (just the same as you did with the TV).

Finally, if desired, tune the source VCR into your local TV channels.


Once you're all connected you can play a tape in either of the VCRs and see it on the TV. If you have tapes playing in both machines you'll see the record VCR.

Step 3: Record

  1. Place the tape you wish to copy (or edit) in the source machine.
  2. Place your blank tape (to be recorded on) in the record machine.
  3. Press "Record" on the record machine and "Play" on the source machine.

See also: Connecting using AV leads

To learn more how to record and edit using this system, see How to edit with two VCRs.