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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | SteppIR Fluidmotion 4 Element Help


Reviews Summary for SteppIR Fluidmotion 4 Element
SteppIR Fluidmotion 4 Element Reviews: 28 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $2095 USD
Description: A 4 element yagi with continuously adjustable elements, driven by a controller that can derive frequency from your transceiver, and automatically tune the antenna to provide near 1:1 SWR at any given frequency from 20 - 6 meters. Features 180 degree reverse operation with the push of a button, as well as (reduced) gain in two directions at once. Elements are contained in fiberglass tubes. Two additional passive elements for 6 meters provide a 6 element yagi at extra cost. For long coantrol cable runs (over 200 feet) an optional 33 VDC power supply provides the extra punch needed to ensure correct operation. SteppIR antennas are "modular", meaning they can be expanded by purchasing a kit to add new elements when the company develops them. When they come out with a 5 element yagi, buying a kit will allow you to upgrade to the newest configuration.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.steppir.com/
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KL7GS Rating: 2/5 Mar 6, 2009 23:26 Send this review to a friend
Good when it works  Time owned: more than 12 months
Installed a 4 el SteppIR on October 2005, and took about 8 hours to assemble on top of a 80' guyed Rohn 25 tower using the PVRC method in the ARRL Handbook. The rubber plumbing pipe adaptors that attach the fiberglass elements to the motor housing stubs, have rotted. One fiberglass element crashed to the ground a few weeks after the 3 year extended warranty expired. The inner metal tape was extended, and flapped around in the wind until I retracted it. The tape is kinked and the bullet end is missing. The factory sent new boots and a new fiberglass element at no charge, but to lower the antenna, in the middle of the Alaska winter, NO - I'll wait until spring, in May or June. SteppIR has recommended I replace the entire motor housing, which will require lowering the antenna from the tower. So I'm looking at 16 hours of work just to lower the antenna and raise it again, plus the time to replace a motor unit.

Anyone thinking about this antenna, must seriously look at installing it on a crank up tilt over tower, because it probably will need to be lowered regularly for repairs and maintenance.

On the Yahoo SteppIR chat group, I was thrashed for saying anything bad about the antenna, and for even thinking of installing it on a fixed tower, and not on a crank up tilt over.

When this antenna works it works nicely, BUT do not expect it to work all the time. You need to be able to access all the elements. My old HyGain TH6DXX worked fine for 20 years, until the crank up guyed tower came down in a storm. I'm considering a TH7DX rather than disassemble, lower, repair and raise the SteppIR. And then know that I may have to lower the SteppIR again in a few years. I'm in my 60's, am not afraid of heights, but am no longer a good tower monkey, with declining agility and strength to man handle this antenna at the tower top.
 
N7WX Rating: 5/5 Oct 23, 2008 08:28 Send this review to a friend
After 4/12 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
Boy after 4 1/2 years still going strong, no
problems as yet...Very windy up here on top of a Island in the Pacific Northwest...I knew I was in good hands when Mike K7IR came up and helped us put it together..What a great guy..If you have problems or questions get in touch with Steppir, They are real busy and well get back to you in do time..
 
LA3ZPA Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2008 09:18 Send this review to a friend
I love it  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Hi all

I order my from VineCom and Ron. Ron give the first class service.

I have 4L with the optional 30/40 dipole, 6m passive element and Icom interface. It play like it all come from the same manufacturer.

The antenna are mounted at @ 20m(65 ft) crack-up tower wit tilt over module from Westower model 3HD.

The assembly was just fun.

The performance are fantastic, point and run with only 85w from my ProIII.
My first test was at the 07 CQ WW SSB, I have to see I am so imprest with the performance, 2 call at HC8A an I was in the log, the pil-up was BIG!!!. Same with KH2,ZL,VK and so.... and I can't here this station on my BigIR.

Fome 10-20m the difference's are between 5-7S on the 4L VS BigIR 1/4 vertical with 40 radials 10-20m and .
40m the are almost same on DX, local in Europa the dipole are better.

After 30 zone in my log I don't believe my one eyes.

If you can hear them, you cant run them from 10 to 20m :-)

I have not tested the 4L on 6m, non conditions when I have been on the air.

The SWR are from 1:1 to max 1:1.2 10-40m not bad. The SWR on 6m are 1.4-1.5.

The performance on 40m are as expected, not a beam just a dipole.

The SteppIR are worth every penny.

So fare I am enormous happy with this masterpiece.

73 de LA3ZPA

Ronny

 
N0HR Rating: 4/5 Jan 14, 2008 10:56 Send this review to a friend
Worth the wait  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My SteppIR 4 element is installed at 71 ft (about 12 ft below a Cushcraft XM240 40 m beam). Performance has been very good. The ability to use the 180 degree and bi-directional features gives a clear advantage over traditional antennas - at least for contesters. Are there some disadvantages? Sure.

I've used many yagis over the years, but so far, I consider this to be a great antenna purchase with a lot of bang-for-the-buck.

Performance:
Certainly seems to work well and live up to its specs.

Mechanical:
I find that there is both pros and cons with this antenna. I've outlined these on my website.

Support: Great in every case. Lead time will be long though.

Price: Expensive - but you're buying a cutting edge product in high demand. So, it's justified in my mind.

For my detailed review (with links to installation photos, etc.) see my reviews page:
http://www.n0hr.com/HamRadioReviews/

Overall, I'd recommend this antenna.
 
IW0CMM Rating: 1/5 Nov 22, 2007 04:53 Send this review to a friend
Why only 1 for me ?  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi guys,
this is my experience with SteppIR 4 el.
Put on my tower of 20mt in september 2005 and
this is the start of my disadventure:
only 2 mount and the 2nd element motor is broken,
with new motor ( thanks Ron) after some mount
i have a problem with reflector motor and 1 director but replace it in warranty.
In summer 2007 whe need a new control box eeprom
and in november 2007 the boom is broken cause from
90km/h wind.... This is the definitivly and of my
SteppIR 4el. I'm sorry but this is the fact.
The performance on 20mt is not like the expectations and i explayng why:
on my second tower of 15mt i have a x7 chuscraft
antenna and on 20mt band (switc with pro3) the signal comin in and out from steppir is worse about 3 smeter pounts.
I'm very sorry but the SteppIR is not a good
compromise for me. The good antenna is the tradiotional force12 or full size antenna.
For any question email at iw0cmm ( @ ) tiscali.it
73
 
2WOHMS Rating: 5/5 Jan 16, 2007 11:27 Send this review to a friend
Just buy one  Time owned: more than 12 months
There was a debate with the xyl about me having another toy (a la antenna)- she was adamant that she should not be left out and said she wanted something that went 0 - 100 in 4.5 seconds......more expense.
Anyhow I bought the 4 ele from Vine Antennas here in the UK - it does what it says on the tin-and more.I kinda miscued on my garden measurements - the boom is so long,it must have it's own time zones.
No problems whatsoever on tx or rx, great signal reports worldwide.
Piece of cake to join and install,just read the instructions.
So for me it is adios to any more aluminium in the sky. The antenna has stood up to vicious poundings from south westerly winds and took them all in it's stride.
Not much more to say except BUY ONE-TWO IF YOU'RE
RICH....
Oh, about the xyl's 0-100 present, I bought her a bathroom weighing scale.....ouch !!
 
N0TW Rating: 4/5 Dec 17, 2006 20:25 Send this review to a friend
Weak Points in Design/Documentation  Time owned: more than 12 months
Performance wise, this 4-element antenna is a winner. Tuning and performance of the stepper drive motors was flawless.

The assembly manual receives a "poor" score. With the ease of digital photography and software, it would be easy to provide many more photos of the assembly process.

Biggest problem was failure of the rubber boots that protect the junction of where the fiberglass elements enter the stepper motor drive housing. My antenna was installed for just 18 months when it was removed due to relocation and 3 of the 8 rubber "boots" had cracked completely through and the remaining 5 showed cracks and would have failed shortly. Yes the boots were replaced under warranty but with the same type of material. I will take precautions when reinstalling the beam to protect these parts from UV.
 
VK2NW Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2006 20:30 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had a four element Steppir for well over a year now and delayed my review so I could see how it dealt with weathering and weather conditions - the answer to that is - no worries!! While not the weather conditions of North American winters, we do get very high wind speeds when fronts roll in. I have the Steppir at 15m and it has dealt admirably with all weather thrown at it and still looks like new.

My experience performance-wise is similar to a lot of the other reviewers - I usually run 100-200w and frequently get that "your the only one there" comment. (Perhaps no other VKs about :-)) But over time the results are consistent - to paraphrase one reviewer - "just aim, fire and log".

Construction was easy - I upgraded from a 3 element. I installed myself with the aid of a cherry picker and the amazing "One Man Tower", where the antenna etc. slides up the side of the tower.

I can also echo the comments about the exceptional customer service provided by Steppir and that makes a huge difference out here in VK-land. I also have a 40m Steppir vertical at another location - it too, is a great little antenna, but that is another story...
 
NK6R Rating: 5/5 Jan 12, 2006 13:53 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This antenna was installed in October 2005 and so far it is >bar-none< the best 4 element out there. There are many excellent reviews, listing all the advantages on this page, so I will just add to the pile of positive statements.

I took down a very nice KT-36XA and I have used several different HF yagi configurations. The closest I ever came to the performance of the 4 element SteppIR is a 4 element mono-bander I made for 17M. The KT-36XA was very good, but changed in SWR sometimes in bad weather and was a big maintenance issue living 10 miles from the ocean. With those linear-loaded elements and 3" boom there was a lot of wind loading and weight.

My experience with this antenna at 55' is similar to other reviews of being the strongest signal from the US, the >only< signal from the US, or frequently receiveing a signal reports (with 100W), many S-units higher than what I am receiving, and many stations running 5~10dB amps.

Having all bands from 20~6M on one "mono-band-looking" antenna makes for a very clean installation. I can't say enough for the folks at Fluidmotion. They are an example of what customer service, excellent product design, and quality are all about! I chose the 4 element since I wanted a large beam for 6M SSB work, but would have been just as pleased with the 3 element. The radio interface option is excellent for having the beam track with the VFO every 50KHz for optimum performance on 20,15,10M.

If you are considering a change in your HF beam I highly recommend weighing all the [pros and cons]. Any of the SteppIR beams 2~4 element, MonstIR would make an excellent choice - BAR-NONE! Good Luck!!
 
GM6TVR Rating: 4/5 Oct 30, 2005 11:47 Send this review to a friend
Good, (for a while)!!!!!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Been running the 4ele for two years now, stunning performance, Scotland #1 10mtr CQWW/SSB - 2004, just working the contest part time due to important home chores. Driven element snapped during the gales last Xmas, fortunately, the internal elements were retracted at the time, so was back up and running when the 32 + postage replacement element arrived. Close inspection of the break showed eggshell thick fibreglass at the point of failure, a disaster waiting to happen. I had to climb the mast at 4 0'clock in the morning in driving rain and the wind approaching 100 mph, as the flailing broken element was trying to demolish part of my wireless weather station, which was fixed to the side of the mast. Should I experience another failure, my next antenna will come from Optibeam. Can't complain about the SteppIR's performance though. Anyone else had a similar failure?

Cheers,

John GM6TVR / GM0FQV
 
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