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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile) | SteppIR CrankIR Portable Antenna System Help


Reviews Summary for SteppIR CrankIR Portable Antenna System
SteppIR CrankIR Portable Antenna System Reviews: 11 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $484.00
Description: Standard Model 6M through 40M with optional tunable Radial Unit
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.steppir.com/
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You can write your own review of the SteppIR CrankIR Portable Antenna System.

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VK4APN Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2017 07:03 Send this review to a friend
A few idiosyncrasies sure, but a great antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had the opportunity to set up and use the Crank IR for over 2 years now. My home was the ground base for the 2015 Willis DXpedition and the 2017 Mellish Reef DXpedition. I was lucky to have Adam an expert on the Crank IR, and a SteppIR man on the Willis effort.
So I have my own Crank plus have seen approx 20 hams trained on the in initial setup and use including the counterpoise heatshrink setup.
You do need to carefully read the manual (which I agree could be better and more up to date) than the actual antenna and the frequent tension adjustment is a little painful( but unavoidable if you think about it) but becomes second nature after a few tries.
The antenna is simple in electrical principle BUT the mechanics make the Crank IR what it is, a beautiful piece of engineering that simply works well. It packs up into a small carry bag and is quick and easy to setup. The presets heat shrink markings are always very close to the mark even in differing situations.
 
KM4CQG Rating: 4/5 Sep 21, 2017 11:03 Send this review to a friend
Crank IR a bit cranky  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this antenna after using a Buddipole and was tired of using my Antenna Analyzer every time I made a band change. The Crank IR I thought had a LED that measured proper SWR. That's what there literature says and there Adds say. I was told when I called them that this feature was removed and there is now heat shrink tubing premarked on the Vertical portion and I would need to mark the radial section using my Analyzer. I was also told that I should order the 80M version as it works better on 40M and to get the heavy Tripod.

It's been 2 months since I 1st started testing out the Crank IR and Hurricane IRMA has taken out some of my dipoles so the Crank IR has gotten some great testing and use.

It's a very simple antenna design 1/4 vertical dipole is all it really is. The Crank portion can be a bit tricky when putting it away. Most tangles occur then but you don't know it till the next deployment.

The Heavy Tripod is not necessary and it's extra height is not needed just get the regular one you also can't adjust a individual leg for uneven terrain another negative.

The 80M extension basically gives you an additional 6 feet it's much heavier then the regular mast but it's very solid.

I have tested the Crank IR from 80M down to 10M and it's fantastic getting a low SWR under 1.3 is not a problem sometimes on the entire band.

The Antenna is no longer copper wire not sure what it is looks like stainless I took my time using my Rig Expert AA600 setting up the Radial on Band centers for lowest SWR since this was done a Analyzer is no longer needed another plus.

Deploying the Antenna for 20M is fast 40M to 80M takes a bit longer and you can fold back the Radial if you don't have ground space for it.

SteppIR manuals are not up to date and not written well but there product quality is the opposite it's excellent.

The Crank IR I received indicated that about only 450 of these antennas are made. It can also handle lots of wattage

If the manual was written better and crank tension didn't need constant attention when deploying for band changes I would give it a 5.


 
KO7I Rating: 4/5 Jun 25, 2017 09:18 Send this review to a friend
excellent portable antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Live from Field Day 2017 Kansas, this year I trekked from my native nw Washington to a little town of Fowler, KS (near Dodge City) for field day. I have to honest as a EMC engineer by profession I had my doubts about this little antenna. Very quickly I was eating crow. From the middle of the US I was able to hold and command a 40M frequency with the band open to both coasts. 1 qso would be east coast and next would be west coast - literally. Once the band opened to KH6, they were easy-peasy to work, even some JA's as DX. Our primary antenna for 40M was supposed to be a 1/4 wave slopper on 40M, it barely got used.

2 thumbs to the CrankIR.
 
AF7RV Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2016 07:02 Send this review to a friend
Get One!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
If you want a full function portable station this antenna is what you need. No coils. Simple design. There is some learning curve, such as learning to guy the mast before setting up the adjustable radial and watching the tension on the cord/radiators, but it is well worth the investment. (Keep some #14 fishing swivels and needle nose pliers on hand.) With 100w I was able to reach all four corners of the US from the Washington coast on 15 through 40m and made contacts in Hawaii and Cuba. All were at least 55 and most were 59. Easy set up. Very portable. Tunes quickly with an analyzer. A tuner is NOT required or desired. In my experience SWR never exceeded 1:1.2 on any band from 10-40M. The higher the mast the better so get the 80m kit or a Jackite pole even if you never operate below 40m. The Jackite won't fit in the carry bag but it is a less expensive option. The 80m kit will fit in the bag and provides more flexibility. I use both masts depending on the circumstance. This is a vertical antenna but unless you have a way to hang an 40m or 80m dipole at an acceptable height go with the vertical.
 
K0XB Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2016 07:12 Send this review to a friend
Solid Performer  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After using this antenna for the past five months at a temporary location, I wanted to add my positive comment to the others posted here. It's straightforward to put up and take down, it tunes easily, it is well-built, and it works well.
 
VK2BJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 9, 2015 20:20 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Portable Antenna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My wife bought me a CrankIR to enable me to operate on holiday in Vanuatu in November 2014. I took it on the plane as carry on baggage and it did not raise any eyebrows with airport security. I erected it (with a few hiccups - you do need to read the manual very carefully !) the day after we arrived on the grass in front of the villa and about 10 metres from the shoreline. Once I had it up properly, its performance was excellent on all bands and I generated worldwide pile ups from 40 through to 10m using just a barefoot K3 at 100w. I also had quite a number of "local" Pacific area QSO's with VK, ZL and FK8 on 6m. I used a Rig Expert AA54 antenna analyser to tune the antenna/radial system to resonance on each band and from my experience, I regard the use of such an instrument to be virtually mandatory, although the antenna does have a rudimentary built in resonance check facility. I was so impressed with the antenna that my wife has now bought me the 80m extension kit. I have already tried this out at home and found it works great. So our next holiday in Vanuatu will include 80m operation - and even with the 80m kit, it will still all fit in the original bag provided and be suitable for carry on luggage. You can see a picture of the antenna set up on my YJ0BJ page on QRZ.com.
 
ZL1BYZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2014 17:19 Send this review to a friend
Great performer and design  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have had the CrankIR a short time now. I set up and tested it at the home QTH during some stormy weather for a few days it has stood up to it just fine.

What really prompted me to write about the CrankIR is I have just done the first trip away with it for the International Lighthouse/lightship weekend (ILLW). We have done these ILLW trips for many years and have carted poles and yagi's with us all over the North island requiring roof racks and trailers. We don't like to compromise performance even when portable. Well this time I took the CrankIR. When I arrived at the site for this year the other team member was already setup with various antenna's. His comment was "Where is your antenna"? I replied "it's in the bag".

To mount the CrankIR I had an umbrella ground screw and a short length of aluminium pipe that gave me 1.5m hight. I also had a couple of bright yellow plastic electric fence pegs that I used to support the tunable radial and a few extra pegs just to warn the radial wire was there since we were setting up in a public area.

I set about putting it up, which did not take long and then run it through the bands with an antenna anyliser just to see how it looked compared to how it was at the home location. An excellent match was easily achived on all bands. The heat shrink markers that I had set on the radial system were on some bands a little off to be perfect but this was expected for a diffent location and still a very good start, often good enough and I did not ever have to vary from the markers set on the vertical radiater itself to get an excellent match on a band. Once I had learned the little variations on the radial for this location, retuning was easily repeatable. The tuning led worked well when I tested it with 5w although was a bit bright to pick the dip at night.

So how did it go on air? In a word. Great! I made a total of 630 QSO's all over the world on various bands with this one antenna. Changing bands was easy enough even at night just using my iPhone as a torch.

So I'm very happy and thinking about all the future trips away with this great performing light weight portable antenna. This has opened up a whole new dimension of ease and flexability with performance for portable operations, thank's to the SteppIR design team for a great concept in portable antenna's.

This is the second SteppIR product I have purchased and I have to recomend SteppIR on been a great company to deal with. Which gives great confidence when purchacing from overseas.

John ZL1BYZ.
 
ZL1BYZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2014 15:15 Send this review to a friend
Great performer  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have had the CrankIR a short time now. Set up and tested at the home QTH during some stormy weather and it has stood up to it just fine.

What realy prompted me to write about the CrankIR is I have just done the first trip away with it for the International Lighthouse/lightship weekend (ILLW). We have done these ILLW trips for many years and have carted poles and yagi's with us all over the north island. Well this time I took the CrankIR. When I arrived at the site for this year the other team member was already setup with various antenna's. His comment was "Where is your antenna"? I replied it's in the bag.

I set about putting it up, which did not take long and then run it through the bands with an antenna anyliser just to see how it looked compared to how it was at the home location. Excellent match was easily achived on all bands. The heat shrink markers that I had set on the radial system were on some bands a little off for perfection at this location but still a good start, often good enough and I did not ever have to vary from the markers set on the vertical radiater itself at all to get an excellent match on a band.

So how did it go on air? In a word. Great! I made a total of 630 QSO's on various bands all over the world with this one antenna. Changing bands was easy enough even at night just using my phone at a torch.

So I'm very happy and thinking about all the future trips away with this great performing light weight portable antenna.

This is the second SteppIR product I have purchased and I have to recomend SteppIR on been a great company to deal with. Which gives great confidence when purchacing from overseas.

John ZL1BYZ.
 
VE4MM Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2014 16:37 Send this review to a friend
As Described  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got the antenna a while back and with the now melting snow I thought I would try the antenna.

Took about 1/2 hour setup and the manual was well written.

Signals were decent but obviously not as good as my 2 el Steppir beam.

Once I got the feel for the 2 reels, extending the retracting the copper line was a breeze.

The pole sections went up easy and did not require any electrical tape to hole them up. Retracting them was easy too.

Tuning is easy and the bank markings on the copper line help as well.

This product is a winner.
 
K7RBW Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2014 10:02 Send this review to a friend
Easy to tune from 40m - 2 m  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just picked one up at the K7LED hamfest/flea market and have had great luck with it, so far. The kit is complete, the instructions are clear and easy to read (be sure to read them!), and the antenna sets up quickly. Once assembled, it tunes easily and quickly. After you tune the counterpoise and mark it with the color-coded heat shrink markers, tuning is quick and, best of all, repeatable. Once tuned, you should get <2.0:1 SWR across the band it's tuned for (except maybe 10-m, which is a pretty wide band for HF).

The construction and craftsmanship are solid and it looks like it's built for the task. The manual says that it can be used in the rain, but aside from the tune toggle switch, which is covered by a rubber boot, it doesn't appear to have anything done to keep water out; however, there might not be anything inside that would be damaged by water. Since the manual describes a procedure for cleaning it after use in/near salt water, it looks like they've thought about it so I'll take them at their word and not worry (too much) if it gets wet.

The manual says to secure the fiberglass mast sections with tape, but so far, they seem very secure and I haven't taped them (or had them come crashing down), yet. However, I put some tape in the storage bag to be ready for a longer installation.

I live in a "no antenna zone" house, but I mounted a pipe to our deck and a clothesline along the back of the house to use for the antenna. With that, I can set up the antenna in 10 minutes or less by mounting the antenna on the pole and using the clothesline to extend the counterpoise. Disassembly is almost as fast and it all goes back into its carry bag without a problem.

I like the little extra touches they put into the design and the manual--that speaks to the company's pride in construction and to their knowledge of the customer. The manual, for example, describes how to perform corrective maintenance on the reels should you happen to get the cable or the string tangled in the reels.

For as fun as it is to ignore the manual (and you can actually go pretty far without it), the manual includes operational tips throughout that make it worth sitting down and reading it for a few minutes before getting to the fun part (i.e. actually putting it together). It's time well spent!

I had such good luck on 40m that I might have to get the mast extension kit and try my luck on 80m. I would definitely recommend this antenna to anyone looking for a portable, tunable, vertical HF antenna.
 
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