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Author Topic: SteppIR DB-11  (Read 1277 times)
5BWAZ
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« on: October 31, 2017, 11:53:38 AM »

The only location I have available for my antenna is limited to 12' of turning radius although I can go a little more as long as I park the antenna in a direction where the longest elements are parallel to the property fence line. It looks like my dreams of having a 2el 40m on this antenna have been crushed so i'm trying to cram as many bands as possible on a single boom. I looked at the Hex beam and it certainly has a workable turning radius, but it's overall look is HUGE and will draw unwanted attention. Soo.. i'm now looking at the SteppIR DB-11. The footprint is perfect, and it works on 20-6m. Obviously this antenna would be a MAJOR financial investment so i'm seeking comments, good or bad,  from anyone who has used or built this antenna. I'm guessing that i'm paying for the compact size, the band flexibility, and the 180 / bi direction changes, but how is the overall real world DX pile-up performance?

I'm in an unfortunately vulnerable situation where I've been crushed in pile-ups for years with my 43' vertical and i'm willing to spend whatever it takes to be at least sort of competitive again. Even if it means spending almost 3k on a small 3 el beam or any other options for my limited property.

 
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KC4ZGP
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 12:24:38 PM »


The SteppIR idea is a clever one but no need to spends thousands.

Build a vertical SteppIR.

Erect a pole with a pulley up top. Get a fishing reel, wire, and a cord to raise
and lower the wire just like a flagpole.

You'll figure out the radial arrangement.

Kraus
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5BWAZ
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 01:34:15 PM »


The SteppIR idea is a clever one but no need to spends thousands.

Build a vertical SteppIR.

Erect a pole with a pulley up top. Get a fishing reel, wire, and a cord to raise
and lower the wire just like a flagpole.

You'll figure out the radial arrangement.

Kraus


Thank you, Kraus,  but I'm not looking for a solution to just "get on the air". A fishing reel, wire and some cord sounds like that. I've also seen a metal flamingo I could put in my yard that's really an antenna... sorry...NO Smiley  I want a rotatable antenna with gain. As much gain and fire power as I can get in a 12'ish turning radius.
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KM1H
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 03:27:29 PM »

Rotate a small trailer with a yagi on top
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AC6LA
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 07:49:37 PM »

Can't help the OP with any anecdotes or testimonials; however, for anyone who would like to model the DB11 or any of the other SteppIR Yagis, see here.

http://ac6la.com/aecollection10.html

For the DB11, these are the Free Space azimuth patterns on 20 through 6m.  Outer ring dBi shown at upper-left in each frame, frequency shown at lower-right.



Dan, AC6LA
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K6AER
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 08:42:01 PM »

The performance of any beam (SteppIR included) will depend on how high you can place the antenna above ground. Going from 0 to 30 feet will add 10 to 15  B of signal strength over the vertical. Going to 60 feet will add another 6 dB of signal strength. In addition the higher you go with the antenna the better your noise floor will  be especially from man made noise. My SteppIR at 105 feet typically had 35-40 dB signal increase over the ground mounted vertical. Noise floor went from S9 to S1.
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KL7CW
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 01:52:23 PM »

I have been building antennas for my 63 years as a ham.  When I compare a dipole at 40 feet to an elevated ground plane at 20 to 40 feet above ground, on 20 meters and higher frequencies, the dipole probably averages an S unit better, but occasionally is equal.  On 40 meters the dipole and elevated ground plane average roughly the same, but probably I would still give the edge to the dipole.  Ground mounted verticals on 40 meters and higher frequencies are even worse, however I have never had an extensive radial system.  Now on 80 meters, a good 1/4 wave vertical may average about the same as a dipole at say something like 50 to 75 feet.....It depends very much on propagation, the distance of the Signal, etc....so I am not prepared to suggest which is better.  I have rather poor soil, and mountains, so I may not fully take advantage of possibly lower radiation angles of verticals.  Now on 160 meters, for all except close in contacts, a vertical, even shortened with a reasonable radial field will probably be better in most if not all situations. 
     I have had my STEPPIR 3 element Yagi for 13 years.  It is at 60 feet and has been trouble free in my windy and icy location.  I would estimate a DB-11 even at something like 40 feet would always be at least an S unit better than a typical vertical in an urban environment, and probably even more S units.  I will assume the DB-11 would be well clear of most obstructions and hopefully at least 10 or 20 feet above your roof.  Naturally 50 or 60 feet high would be even better, but even at something like 10 feet above your roof and 30 feet high, I will venture a guess that on 20 through 6 meters you will still see a worthwhile improvement over the 43 foot vertical, and this will help you on receive also.  I understand these are not scientific observations, but just the ramblings of an old ham who has built hundreds of vertical and horizontal antennas.  I usually leave up my old antenna to compare with a new antenna, so I could quickly switch between antennas before I decide which antenna to keep.
            Rick KL7CW  Palmer, Alaska    Vertical on 160,  Horizontal 40 through 10 meters.....80 meters  both polarizations
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KZ4USA
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 02:07:35 PM »

The performance of any beam (SteppIR included) will depend on how high you can place the antenna above ground. Going from 0 to 30 feet will add 10 to 15  B of signal strength over the vertical. Going to 60 feet will add another 6 dB of signal strength. In addition the higher you go with the antenna the better your noise floor will  be especially from man made noise. My SteppIR at 105 feet typically had 35-40 dB signal increase over the ground mounted vertical. Noise floor went from S9 to S1.
35 to 40 db stronger I don't think so.
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K6AER
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 08:06:27 PM »

I had a 4 element SteppIR at 105 feet. You had no idea what a signal that put put. With 1500 watts, I typically had S9+40 dB on the East coast from Colorado.

My 20 meter ground mounted vertical had S9+5 dB at the same time.
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KM1H
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2017, 10:03:12 AM »

Yagi dbi gain is tied directly to boom length, there are no magic snake oil in any brand. DBd gain adds ground gain which can be another 5-8dB or so.

The rest is in the angle of the lobe gain and on 20M from CO to the East Coast a vertical is usually too low but a killer for real DX.

When I had 4/4/4/4 yagis on 20/15/10 with top only, upper pair, lower pair, and all 4 instant switching the difference was often dramatic. On 20 they were at 40/80/120/160' and all rotatable on sidemounts. The highest hilltop in over 20 miles plus a minus 3 degree negative horizon added to the killer signals; you have no idea what that was like Grin Roll Eyes

Carl
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AC6LA
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 11:05:44 PM »

... and i'm willing to spend whatever it takes to be at least sort of competitive again.

If money is not an issue but footprint is, have you considered a stack of two DB11 Yagis?

Here's an elevation plot comparison for a single DB11 at 35 ft, a single at 70 ft, and a stack of both in phase (BIP) at 35 and 70.  Transmission line and phasing harness loss not included for any of the models.



An alternate view on a rectangular plot makes it easier to compare the various lobes.



Compared to a single at 35 ft (red), the BIP stack (green) gets you a few dB extra gain but more importantly it lowers the main lobe by 10° (26° vs 16°) and does a much better job of rejecting high-angle signals.

The 35 and 70 ft heights are about a half-wave and full-wave on 20m.  On other bands they are different wavelengths of course, but it is possible to use different phasing schemes to modify the pattern lobes.

For models of all the SteppIR Yagis see http://ac6la.com/aecollection10.html

For anyone who would like a copy of the AutoEZ model for the 2xDB11 stack please email me directly.  The model uses variables for heights and phasing which makes it easy to do what-if analysis on different bands.

Dan
http://ac6la.com
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KE2TR
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Posts: 616




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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2017, 07:36:42 AM »

I would look at a Hex Beam, far less money invested and you will never have issues with moving parts plus one lightning strike and your done, turning radius is under 12' and many who have had the SteppIR here in the NE have switched back to conventional beams because of failures with the motors and the tape. Hre is another clue just listen on the bands and see how many hams use that little SteppIR compared to how many use the Hex Beams.
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KM1H
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2017, 07:48:33 AM »

The compact Cushcraft MA-5B is also more popular than any shrunk SteppIR
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KE2TR
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2017, 07:15:00 AM »

Yes Carl but it does have limited bandwidth compared to the Hex Beam, the only problem I think most ham's have with the hex is the way it looks, its kind of like the Mary Poppins style antenna.
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K0UA
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2017, 07:55:58 AM »

Yes Carl but it does have limited bandwidth compared to the Hex Beam, the only problem I think most ham's have with the hex is the way it looks, its kind of like the Mary Poppins style antenna.

While I agree that the hex works very well for its size, one problem that turned me from the hex to the MA5B was the inability to mount other antennas on top of it. I have two antennas mounted above my MA5B  A 6 meter moxon and a 2 meter vertical. The hex is probably a dB or two better than the MA5B, I needed the mast space above it.
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