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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays

Michael S. Higgins (K6AER) on January 8, 2013
View comments about this article!

The adjustment of the SteppIR when stacked above and in the presence of other metal work is pretty easy. The coupling is capacitive and will lower the frequency of the resonate elements.

A Yagi antenna is constructed by element ratios to the resonate driven element. A standard dipole on 20 meters is 5600 (constant) divided by the frequency (MHz) which would be 394 inches for a free space dipole. In a Yagi design the element spacing’s are a function of normal spacing and ratios of length.

Blue Section

• Reflector Driven Element Length +(3-4%)
• Driven Element 5600/Freq.
• First Director Driven Element -(2-3%)
• Second Director Driven element -(1-2%)

• When adjusting the length of the antenna elements go to the modify element length section of the controller.

• Scroll through the element lengths and write down the element length in inches for future reference.

• Start with a carrier and look at the VSWR on the antenna.

• Adjust the Driven Element for lowest VSWR.

• Then adjust the Directors for lowest VSWR.

• Keep the ratio lengths of the element as shown in blue above.

• Repeat the process again from the driven element and directors for lowest VSWR.

• Adjust the reflector last.

• Maintain the element ratios listed above for best directivity and gain.

• Leave “modify” and don’t forget to save the new lengths. Write the new lengths down.

This process is repeated for the 180 degree and bi directional settings. In the 180 mode the director is the reflector and the reflector is the director.

In the bi direction mode you have a driven element with a director’s on each side. The normal reflector is farther from the driven element and has less effect on the driven element.

With a 4 element Yagi the second director has less effect on VSWR than the first.

K6AER/Mike

Member Comments:
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SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by KG4RUL on January 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
An article for the .01% of Hams who can afford the money and have the space for such a setup. I have to sneak a flagpole antenna for HF.
 
SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by W7ZJ on January 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Good information..Thanks for your work... Not exactly sure why KG4RUL can post a comment stating his opinion that only a very limited number of hams can use this data just because he has limited antenna options. He needs to dig deeper into the data you have spent time and effort to post and see what he can gleen from it to improve his own information base...and possibly improve his own perspective on improvements he could achive with his antenna system.
Walking away from knowledge...because it came from someone who has more equity than you...is a very very slippery slope to ignorance.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by N6AJR on January 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Steppirs are a great antenna,well made and they work. The biggest advantage is they can be resonant on any frequency in their operating range. This works well for MARS and CAP use but the biggest use is with regular old hams. If you have a fixed aluminumunumin beam or wires up, you can tune it for one freq. If you are a cw op on 20 meters, you tune your antenna for say 14.025. now this will work well on cw but be poor on say a SSB net at 14.2685. you would probably need a tuner to work there, espically if you are running an amp.

the steppir can let you work at the cw end and then lengthen itself for the Phone net as well. The Steppir is always tune for the freq you are on. This may not always be the absolute best SWR but usually is set for best gain and Fto b. A steppir is not all that expensive if you start small and you can add to it later. And the folks at steppir ( fluidmotion) are super to work with.

it works for me
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by N6AJR on January 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
and a sneakey flag pole antenna sounds like a 6m to 40 m steppir vert..:)
 
SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by K6YE on January 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Mike,

As always, thanks for a short and snappy set of useable instructions. Keep up the good work.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
DX IS and CW RULES
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by K9MHZ on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent point, YE....brevity is best. So much blathering on and on and on here on eHam. I think some of those deep thinkers (trying to be kind) have no idea how silly their ramblings actually are.

I'm putting you in for a promotion as an honorary Air Force guy. Starting the paperwork this afternoon.

Cheers,

Brad, K9MHZ

 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by W4KVU on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
LOL
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by N4JTE on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Small point; due to the spacing being fixed your maximum gain/ front to back is limited to less than a dedicated monobander with phased feed and larger spacing between elements. The compromize is very acceptable but the cost effectiveness is something most of us are unable or unwilling to spend.
Bob
 
SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by KU7I on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Good gouge Mike. Thanks for sharing. Lane Ku7i/JH1JCM US Naval Hospital Yokosuka Japan
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by KU7I on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
PS I am active duty USN....sounds like we have USMC and US Air Force also represented on this thread.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by W8JH on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think you mean the SteppIR will shorten the antenna when he wants to go up in frequency to the SSB portion.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by K6AER on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Element spacing is critical when you are trying to get best VSWR, antenna gain and front to back on a fixed element length antenna. AKA the monobander. Monobander performance is always best in the sweet spot of the VSWR cuve. On the band edges the F/B , VSWR and gain start to fall apart. Most monoband antenna manufactures will not quote antenna gain or F/B at the band edges.

When the elements can be adjusted for length the spacing is much less critical and basic performance can be adjusted over a whole octave of bandwidth. Each element an be adjusted for normal ratios on a specific frequency so bandwidth is not a problem. The element phase relationship is always optimal at that frequency with little reduction in overall antenna performance.

Element spacing has to do with element phase relation ship. Phase can also be adjusted to a degree by changing the element length.

On my 4 element stepper I notice the F/B on 10 meters is only about 15 dB. On 15/17 and 20 meters it is over 25 dB. The best band is 17 meters with almost 30 dB of F/B. Ten meters is not a problem for the band is never crowded in all directions. Higher bands are mostly about gain.

I have had my antenna up since August of 2003. It has been struck by lightning 6 times. The antenna is in ice and snow every year and is at an altitude of 7000 feet.

Not that they need replacing but this summer I will replace the rubber boots on each element. This will be done with a bucket hanging from a crane.




 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by N6AJR on January 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
yup, my bad , no wonder I have problems... :)
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by KG4RUL on January 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"and a sneakey flag pole antenna sounds like a 6m to 40 m steppir vert..:) " Nope, it is a force 12 flagpole with remote auto-tuner. It has marginal performance on 75M.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by K8QV on January 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why do some still have a fixation with achieving the perfect SWR?
 
SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by K0HEA on January 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well, if the flagpole KG4RUL has up is from force12, he shelled out a pretty penny for it, so I don't get the cost effective comment. I just went up on the force12 site and their prices must have been picked out of their backsides.
 
SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by KZ5A on January 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ownership of a SteppIR marks one as having much more money than sense.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by W4KVW on January 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I saw a video of an Oak Tree & a Watermelon BOTH had VERY LOW "SWR" but NEITHER would talked across the street! Don't know what kind of testing they do if any on the pattern of a Steppir but they do not & will not give you the E-plane or H-plane numbers for ANY of their antennas so you could compare them to other brands of antennas. Do they have something to hide? The spacing between the elements is much more important than a PERFECT "SWR" but everyone seems to forget that & the Steppir is like ALL other beam antennas in that manner because the element spacing is ALWAYS the same no matter what band you are on so it lacks in the best front to back ratios on some bands if not all.For what they cost they should change element spacing as well.My OIL FILLED DUMMY LOAD also has GREAT "SWR" but it does NOT talk very well.{:>)
 
SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by STRAIGHTKEY on January 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
For once the first comment sums it up. This should be a how-to article on a web page or in post in a SteppIR forum, not an article on a general interest amateur radio site. I'm not saying it's a bad article, I'm sure it's good information, but it's for such a limited audience.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by K2BEW on January 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I don't have a SteppIR and never will. But aren't all the articles on here limited to a specific audience? Isn't that true of the hobby in general, and the last 15 or so articles on here specifically?? Such as; "Some Advice for New Code Ops", "Ham Radio Paranormal?", "High-Tech at MARS", "Army MARS in Sandy","TS-2000 No TX/RX Possible Repair", and on and on it goes?
It was well written, so if it does not apply to you why do you even care? Is it envy, or just looking for things to complain about? I don't get it. I am surprised anyone even wants to write any articles for here. I have never seen one that did not get criticized unmercifully.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by STRAIGHTKEY on January 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>I don't have a SteppIR and never will. But aren't all the articles on here limited to a specific audience? Isn't that true of the hobby in general, and the last 15 or so articles on here specifically?? Such as; "Some Advice for New Code Ops", "Ham Radio Paranormal?", "High-Tech at MARS", "Army MARS in Sandy","TS-2000 No TX/RX Possible Repair", and on and on it goes?
It was well written, so if it does not apply to you why do you even care? Is it envy, or just looking for things to complain about? I don't get it. I am surprised anyone even wants to write any articles for here. I have never seen one that did not get criticized unmercifully.

Probably 90% of hams have been new code ops, are new code ops now, or are likely will be in the future. The chances of someone owning a SteppIR or a TS-2000 are significantly lower, that's the difference.

It's called constructive criticism, and it's for the editors of this site. A bad comment would be "this article sucks." The article clearly doesn't suck, and I said as much. But anytime you produce something good, it's meaningless if you don't have the right audience. This site could improve if there was some more editorial control of articles. Some of us actually care about quality.

I've never seen an article here not get criticized, but you have to separate troll comments from worthwhile criticism and feedback. This article quite simply doesn't fit a general interest article area right smack at the top of the front page of a site like this.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by G3LBS on January 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why not build your own GEM-type boomless spider quad then you will have optimum spacing and wide bandwidth?
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by N6AJR on January 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
you donthave to be rich to won a steppir.I got mine used for $500 a couple years ago.

At the time I spent $500 for a new create roof tower, and added a used yaesu rotor and had to brace the underside of the roof.

So yea, a new one cost a bit of cash, but over the years I have up graded from this to that, sold off this to help pay for that and so on.

I run an orion, bought used for $3500, and an alpha 87A bought used for a$5500, and so on.

I don't mind spending money on my hobby as I am an old retired guy, disabled, and so this is one of the few areas of my life that I am even with others and my disabilities don't matter. I take care of the family and help out friends and donate to some charities so the money I spend is mine to spend.

a thousand bucks for an antenna is easier to buy if you save up 100 dollars a month for a year, you are done. its all a matter of your priorities.

but No, you don't have to be rich to own a steppir. and bye the way, its not the best swr they tune to, its the best foward gain that works so well. and they are really nice folks.
 
RE: SteppIR Adjustment in Stacked Arrays  
by STRAIGHTKEY on January 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
> its not the best swr they tune to, its the best foward gain that works so well. and they are really nice folks.

How much more gain can you get from an optimized yagi like this versus a typical tribander? This isn't a criticism of the SteppIR, but a technical question. I can't imagine getting more than 1 or 2 dB. Granted the lack of traps in a SteppIR does make it slightly more efficient, but I don't think there's a significant overall advantage. (But unlimited tuning across a large frequency swath and the ability to 180 degree rotate instantly is cool.)
 
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