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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Directional: Yagi, quad, rotary dipole, LPD, etc | SteppIR Fluidmotion 6-20mtr Yagi Help


Reviews Summary for SteppIR Fluidmotion 6-20mtr Yagi
SteppIR Fluidmotion 6-20mtr Yagi Reviews: 104 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $1099
Description: Remotely ajustable 6-20 mtr continuosly...available as Dipole-2 elements or 3 elements Yagi.Copper tape length inside fiberglass tubing controlled by stepper motors. 1500W rated!
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.steppir.com
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VK4QO Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2011 23:12 Send this review to a friend
great antennas  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a 4 el. steppir 6 to 40m, it is 3 years old and the gain is very good , I mostly use 200w and stations tell me I am the loudest on the band.And support from steppir is very good, even sending parts free of cost to me.The 180 function is the best feature.

RON VK4QO
 
AE6AC Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2011 21:32 Send this review to a friend
Steppir Support and Parts  Time owned: more than 12 months
I recently decided to refurbish a nine year old three element Steppir. It was pretty beat-up from the sun, wind, and wind blown sand.

I fully disassembled the antenna and inspected and cleaned the parts. Most of the internal parts were in very good condition. I elected to replace a number of external components that were at or nearing end of life.

Replaced the Element Housing Unit (EHU) control wires and seal gaskets - The EHU control wires were cracking from sun damage down to the internal wire insulation in a number of places. They are connected internal to the EHU by wire to wire solder joint and sealed with heat shrink. I removed the EHU from the boom (4 SS bolts) and opened the EHUs (8 SS bolts). You can cut the control cable outside the EHU at the entry grommet, pull the cable wires into the EHU and use this extra wire length to allow easy access to re-solder and re-shrink the connections. Or, if you are more ambitious, you can reconnect at the original solder joints. I did this and heat shrunk the new connections using protective layers of aluminum foil to keep the heat gun from melting anything else. I found a nice predrilled hole in a vertical section of white plastic in the EHU that was ideally place for a cable tie to secure the reworked control wire. Opening the EHU’s damaged the old rectangular sealing gaskets and required replacing these. The smaller round gaskets that seal the bolts that hold the stepper motor spindle board and element support tube were in good condition so I did not replace these.

Replaced boots - The older EHU to fiberglass element tube rubber boots were still pliable, however, their shape was starting to change (cold flow) in the clamp areas. So while probably not necessary, I decided to replace these anyway.

Replaced element tubes - Steppir has upgraded their element tubes over the years. This antenna had three generations of tubes with it. The oldest being 5 piece tubes that were just fiberglass at the tube interfaces, another 5 piece generation with chrome rings around the tube interfaces, and the latest generation (2011) 4 piece tubes with black epoxy coated rings around the tube interfaces. One of the old tubes was cracked at the large end near the EHU. I pondered the idea of pairs of different generations of tubes and finally decided to bring these all up to the current generation. I am not sure how much difference in dielectric constant these generations each have but there is a noticeable physical difference in the tubes. The newer tubes seem heavier and stronger. They also have a lip at the tube to boot interface that seems like it would help the tubes from working themselves out in the wind.

Upgraded the controller firmware - I also elected to bring the control unit firmware up to the latest version. You can get a new snap in chip from Steppir that will bring your controller up to the latest release.

The really good news and the principle reason for my post here is to say STEPPIR really seems to understand that we hams like to fix things and keep them working. Steppir’s support (K4DLI) and replacement parts availability is excellent. I found that every part I inquired about was available and that Steppir was willing to provide them and explain how to replace them if needed, right down the Beryllium Copper element tapes. Fantastic!
 
AC5N Rating: 5/5 Jun 1, 2011 21:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got the 6m and 30/40m options. 6m has been open some and reports were awesome with the big gain on 6m. Even with the limited gain on 40m, the band is great because it is such less noise than the vertical and signals stand out and great reports from other stations. Every band has been superb, setup is easy, I installed the antenna by myself in a day and a half. I have a crankup, tilt over tower, to i tilted the tower over, attached the boom to the mast after I was done testing, then assembled the 30/40m trombone and the reflector, tilted the tower back up, and installed the director from the roof of my house. Had an Optibeam OBW10-5 prior to the Steppir, the Steppir outperforms the Optibeam on all similar bands.
 
W7PSK Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2011 08:51 Send this review to a friend
I am Pleased as Punch  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Even with the couple of OOOPS I had, I am pleased as a kid on Christmas with my 3 element SteppIR. I can only imagine what a 4 element or a DB42 does on the bands. This antenna is head and shoulders above the A4S it replaced, its not even a close race. Its like the A4 was a piece of wire on the ground. Ive gone from a 1970 VW bug to a 2011 Porsche.

Ive heard and worked DX that I have never even heard before. These stations were active the 2 or 3 weeks before I changed antennas so I know its not the condx improving its my antenna improving. My first call was to a SV9 and he came right back to me stating I was the strongest on the band. Ive since worked 3 new states I never heard on 17m towards my WAS. I switched to the vertical I was using and I couldn't hear them.

Some thoughts.

First off, if your reading this contemplating the beam and wondering how hard it is to put together. Don't worry about it. Just read the hints and comments from the members here and the directions and it will be a piece of cake. The New Fiberglass elements look exceptional and are UV protected now. I do wish there was another way to secure them rather than taping the snot outta them.

The Optional connection box. This should be standard. It made connecting the antenna wiring together 100 times easier than I would have had with the old system. I would however suggest to SteppIR to use a little heavier gauge wiring. That thin stuff is wicked to work with.

The rig control. Its a nice enough looking system, and I have not tried it but I wouldn't say its a must have. Ive been manually tuning the antenna as I go and its easy peasy. I'm sure it will come in handy during tests though when I band hop and dont want to stop in the middle to tune.

Optional 6 meter element, As I was told by SteppIR if your serious about 6 meters, the 3 element may not be the best choice, better with the 6 meter add on. But for Casual state hunting it will be more than good. Ill be putting the 6 meter extra element on later.

I didn't get the optional 40/30 trombone as I have my vertical, but if you dont have any 40/30 access it may be a good thing.

Overall Id give this antenna a 9.5 outta 10. It didnt get a ten due to a few niggles but not enough to lower it any further.


Ill review it further after 6 months of use
 
WU5E Rating: 5/5 Mar 4, 2011 06:49 Send this review to a friend
best I've own!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I got the Steppir 3 element used at HRO in Anahiem. once I got it up the world came alive me. S51ZZ ask me did I get a new amp? I said now just NEW antenna. No tuner!!!! love this antenna. you will not go wrong getting this antenna. My setup is 3 element Steppir at 40 feet with a Hazer tram system.
 
G0VQY Rating: 5/5 Jan 9, 2011 04:28 Send this review to a friend
Truly Awesome  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been using my 3 element SteppIR for about six months now, I don't think there has been a day when I haven't been on the band since the antenna has been installed.

I got the antenna from Ron At Vine along with a heavy duty 18 m Radio Structures Tower, plus a PST rotator.

The antenna stands at just over 60 feet when the weather is good, about 50 feet during winter time, when it's ready windy, somewhat lower, but it always performs well at whatever height.

I live about 300 feet from the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea so I already have a good operating advantage (the equivalent to someone using a four element SteppIR inland, so I have been told by people in the know)

So how does the antenna perform? Absolutely superb! I have nothing but praise for this fantastic antenna. A day doesn't go by when I am not complemented on the strength of my signal, whether this be in Europe, or further afield. I have absolutely no problems working into Australia, New Zealand, the USA, anywhere really.

Whereas I don't normally with pileups, if I can't get in first time, three or four shout normally does it using the ICOM 7800. I also have the SPE 1k automatic linear amplifier and I feel that my station is now complete.

If you can afford one of these antennas then don't hesitate, go for it, you will not be disappointed, I can promise you that.
 
KD7ATL Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2010 03:32 Send this review to a friend
one supper anttenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had nothing but good outstanding reports
 
G2YC Rating: 3/5 Jun 8, 2010 14:14 Send this review to a friend
We'll see about the antenna but Vine customer service was good  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I posted a review on April 16, 2010 titled ‘Beware dodgy SteppIR antennas and poor customer service’ (see text at bottom). Two months later, I now have the antenna working and want to update my previous review to recognize what really was excellent customer service from the supplier, Vine Antennas in the UK.

After my previous review, Ron at Vine and I re-started a dialogue and began trying everything to find the source of the fault (high SWR on all bands). I took down the antenna, re-checked the wiring, checked for obstructions in the fiberglass poles, checked and re-checked the motors individually, and checked the control cable and connections. Everything checked out OK, and the control cable supplied by Vine—-contrary to previous information from SteppIR—-was perfectly within tolerances. We then focused on the controller unit. First I replaced the entire controller board with a new one sent by Ron. No change in SWR. As a last ditch effort, I replaced the processor chip with one he had also sent and that did the trick—-low SWR on all bands.

It has taken three months but I now have a working antenna. Had I followed the earlier advice to use the 'create/modify' function, I may never have found the faulty chip. There is no doubt that Ron spent much time and effort helping me troubleshoot the antenna. So I completely withdraw any previous statements about bad customer service at Vine. In fact, customer service at Vine Antennas is exemplary.

I wish I felt as good about the antenna. Even with the best quality control possible, faulty equipment can slip through any manufacturer’s net. But my problems with this antenna seem a little like buying a new car and getting it home only to find that the engine doesn’t work. To me it again raises a question I had before I bought the antenna—-is the SteppIR just too complicated to be reliable? Time will tell, and I hope the answer is 'no.' But if I had it to do all over again, I don’t think I would buy a SteppIR.


Original review posted 16 April 2010:
I bought a 3-ele SteppIR in Dec 09 and have had nothing but problems. The antenna has high SWR on all bands, and neither the supplier nor manufacturer seem to be bothered much about my problems. I'll give you the short version of a long story.

I carefully followed the most dreadful instruction manuals I have ever seen and the antenna was up. It looked great but had high SWR on all bands. I tested it and found it was resonant between 200 and 900kHz higher that the frequency display on the controller. The supplier said I must have mis-wired the antenna as the SWR shouldn't be that far out. I was sure I had wired it correctly but he convinced me that I hadn't, so I swapped the wires for director and reflector. A quick test showed that SWR was still between 3:1 and 4:1 and it was now resonant BELOW the frequency on the controller display. He agreed that it must have been wired correctly before but didn't know what was wrong.

So I phoned SteppIR in Bellevue, Washington. Calling during office hours I got voicemail, so as requested I left a message for them to call back. After a few days with no response I tried again--still voicemail. After a week or so I stopped leaving messages as obviously no one was responding to them. Instead I sent an email with all the facts. No response after 11 days so I phoned, expecting to get voicemail again. However, someone answered and assured me he was planning to respond to my email that day--hmmm. We spent twenty unproductive minutes on the phone (at my expense). I wanted to know if my experience was typical of SteppIR antennas--he said it was not. So why won't my antenna work? He had no idea and said I needed to manually adjust all bands to make it work. He got me to check resistance on the control cable, and said this was so high that it will reduce performance of the antenna--even if I get the SWR problems sorted. He said I must have lower quality control cable which is not suitable for a 51m run like I have.

So where do I go from here? It seems my antenna has problems other SteppIR antennas don't have but I am not offered any explanations as to why nor solutions to correct it except the 'bandaid' approach--using the 'creat/modify' function to manually adjust the antenna. It's hard enough to get them to even respond to my requests for assistance, so why should I expect solutions. Good customer service you say? What customer service? There was nothing wrong with the money I paid over but I have an expensive antenna that won't work.
 
WB6MMV Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2010 08:45 Send this review to a friend
Very Reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I put my three element steppir up in April of 2003. I did not have any troubles assembling or installing the antenna. It worked the first time and has done so now for 7 years. I also have not upgraded the controller from the original. My antenna is very reliable and works well.

I recently brought the antenna down to check the fiberglass coatings and they did degrade in the Arizona sun after 7 years of exposure. I put a couple of coats of paint and UV protection on the antenna and put it back up.

My experience with this antenna has been very positive.

Ken WB6MMV
 
WA7NDD Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2010 06:33 Send this review to a friend
WA7NDD Up 7 years no problems!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had a SteppIR up for 7 years with no problems, I have not even upgraded the control box. I live in Idaho where snow, Ice, and strong winds have attacked the 3 elements up at 35 feet. I have talked all over the world. I retract the elements when I know strong wind is about. Other then that it works. I don't know about service because I've not needed it, but it could be they are quite busy with few people because of today's economy. I am happy that so many ham radio outlets are still in business.
Jim, WA7NDD
 
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