[TowerTalk] SteppIR Anetnnas

Dick Green WC1M wc1m73 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 26 15:30:42 PDT 2010

Of course, it depends on which SteppIR antenna you're talking about. 

FWIW, I have a stack of three 4-el SteppIRs. When set for 20m, the 4-el
SteppIR is pretty-much the same as a standard 4-el yagi with a 30' boom. I
happen to have a 4-el F12 EF420 on another tower at about the same height as
one of the SteppIRs, and they're pretty much comparable on gain and F/B. The
SteppIR is slightly more flexible because it's adjusted every 25 KHz for
best SWR. In theory, this allows for fewer tradeoffs with forward gain and
F/B, but I the difference is pretty marginal. On 15 and 10 the performance
can't be as good as a comparable monobander because the element placement is
fixed. You probably wouldn't notice on 15, but the F/B on 10 is well below a
comparable monobander (on the order of 10-15 dB worse, off the top of my
head). Thus, from a performance standpoint, 10 is the weakest band on the
SteppIR yagis. That said, I would say that overall performance beats the
heck out of any tribander I've used. Yeah, I think F/B on 10 might make
running EU in CQ WW a little dicey, but at least you'll have decent gain. My
stack performs extremely well on that band (and just for good measure, I
have a 6-el 10m F12 EF610 in the garage for when the sunspot cycle peaks --
if that ever happens!)

As for mechanical reliability, my SteppIRs have done very well (knock on
wood.) One of them is about six years old. The other two are about three
years old. I've had no mechanical problems that weren't self-inflicted (I
had a broken EHU that resulted from dropping the antenna on that motor
several times when moving it from one tower to another.) The major issues
reported on the SteppIR reflector include broken EHU shafts (due to a
materials problem that was fixed some time ago), tapes jamming in the 40m
trombones before they made some adjustments to the tubes, failure of the
rubber element boots due to UV exposure (can be solved by requesting Fernco
boots and, optionally, wrapping with black tape), and broken fiberglass
element tubes, probably also from UV exposure (some have painted the
elements with special UV-resistant paint.) If you retract the elements when
not in use, which most of us do, the most expensive parts of the antenna are
well-protected from weather (i.e., ice loading along with wind could
conceivably break a UV-weakened fiberglass tube, but the EHU and element
tape will be safe.)

Definitely join the SteppIR reflector if you want to know more.

73, Dick WC1M

-----Original Message-----
From: K7LXC at aol.com [mailto:K7LXC at aol.com] 
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 3:14 PM
To: towertalk at contesting.com; k7hph at q.com
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] SteppIR Anetnnas

In a message dated 8/26/2010 12:01:08 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
towertalk-request at contesting.com writes:

>  Are there any articles or websites comparing SteppIR  antenna 
performance to other manufacture's products? I would like to see how  the
compare and what actual operating experience is showing. Also would  like to
how they are holding up mechancally/electrically. I live in the  mountains 
with cold winters and high springtime winds...
    I think you're asking about 2 things - electrical  performance and 
mechanical reliability. You can get a very good idea of their  performance
the specs on their website and compare them with the dozen or  so of other 
yagis that we tested awhile back (including Force 12, Hy-Gain,  Cushcraft, 
etc.). Steppir used our protocol so the results should be pretty
BTW Force 12 provides the same information under their Net Gain  spec. 
    The complete tribander comparison report can be  found at 
(http://www.championradio.com/shop/Publications.2) .
    As far as the mechanical part, they seem to be  pretty reliable. And 
the SteppIR folks give great customer service if you have  any problems! 
There'a also a SteppIR reflector if you want to talk to owners  directly (or
too for that matter). 
Steve     K7LXC
Champion Radio Products
Professional tower services for hams
Cell: 206-890-4188


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