[TowerTalk] best medium sized tribander...

Keith Dutson kdutson at sbcglobal.net
Sat Nov 26 18:57:57 EST 2005

Excellent points, Jim.  No doubt the SteppIR is a very desirable antenna.

For the life of me I cannot understand why there are so many SteppIR owners
that get downright defensive when someone says something contrary to their
belief that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Granted it is a
wonderful innovation in the amateur HF and VHF bands, but one must consider
that there ARE alternatives, and pretty darn good ones at that.  OK, so the
SteppIR is the ONLY one that can squeeze the last dB out of every frequency
tuned, but that comes at a pretty hefty price.  If one wants to operate on
three or less bands in one mode, the simple (cheap) tribander is indeed a
good alternative, and a dB or two won't make much difference in a typical

One of the most ridiculous comparisons I heard recently was at a local field
day where there was a SteppIR vertical and a Force 12 C-3S.  The operator
could select either antenna.  He was on 20 and noted that the C-3S was about
6dB (1 S-unit) better than the SteppIR.  Well duh!

BTW, in March a group of us are planning to do a DXpedition to Malta (9H).
We will be taking a SteppIR vertical, Force 12 C-3S and Force 12 Sigma 80.
This setup should get us on 80 through 6 with minimum weight.

73 Keith NM5G

-----Original Message-----
From: towertalk-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:towertalk-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Jim Jarvis
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 2:40 PM
To: towertalk at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] best medium sized tribander...

Keith wrote the following:

All SteppIR owners love their antennas.  May have something to do with
justification of price paid.  Comparing the 3-el to the T6 is not realistic.
73 Keith NM5G

First, Keith's right, the T6 is at best a 2 element antenna on any band.
Having had a T8 for
a number of years, I can say that it's superior ONLY to small, trapped
3 el tribanders, and then only in that the traps are inefficient. TH3's, A3
& A4's, for example. And, like any LPDA, it offers no immunity from strong
out-of-band signals.
Like the SW bcdst on 21450...50db over s9 and more...tends to produce
interesting effects in some radios.

By comparison, the 3 el 5 band SteppIR I had not only was a highly effective
antenna, It's the only antenna I've assembled and had working in under 2
hours...and decommissioned for moving in about the same time.

The Bencher tribanders are effective on the 3 bands...and they've got a
wind-trim-tab, to balance out the windloading on the boom.  But they, like
all other 3 monobanders on a common boom...will not have their vswr, gain,
and f/b bandwidths aligned.  Typically they're stagger-tuned, and god only
knows where.  All we tend to measure is vswr.  They're my #1 choice for a

The advantage of the SteppIR is that you can TUNE it to optimize any factor
on any center frequency...or every 50KHz, if you want.  IF, that is, you
wanted to bother.  I never felt the need...nor had the time to satisfy my

My 3 el SteppIR wound up costing me less than any other beam I've owned.
The cash outlay is not trivial, as Keith observes.  But there is no other
antenna I've ever owned that resold for anywhere near its acquisition cost.
There's another one in my future.

jimjarvis at ieee.org


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Weather Stations", and lot's more.  Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any
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