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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Yagi, Quad, Rotary dipole, LPDA | SteppIR Dream Beam 36 Help


Reviews Summary for SteppIR Dream Beam 36
SteppIR Dream Beam 36 Reviews: 5 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $4295
Description: 1st in a series of SteppIR Dream Beams.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.SteppIR.com
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You can write your own review of the SteppIR Dream Beam 36.

N6PSE Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2014 18:59 Send this review to a friend
DB36 is a Superb Antenna!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Iíve had my SteppIR DB36 up for about three months now. I ordered it in early 2011 and was delayed in erecting it until late 2012. It has just about every option available. It replaced a 12 year old three element SteppIR Yagi (original model) at 55í. The 12 year old SteppIR served me well so I had no reservations about ordering another antenna from them. I knew that SteppIR supports and stands by their products very well.

Before assembling it, I contacted Steppir and asked about updates. Adam from SteppIR recommended that I update the 80 meter relay box and the element sweeps to the revised models. He also sent me a few parts that were missing from my packages.

Assembly was complicated and took a lot of time. Jim and Adam were both very reachable and provided excellent support. In the manual they suggest to inventory all the parts and to take your time. Iím glad I followed their suggestions. It took me two weeks to assemble the antenna working 2-3 hours per day.

Due to limited space, I had to complete the assembly on my driveway and then a crane was used to hoist it to my lowered 72í US Tower.

How does the antenna work: The antenna is fantastic 10-40 meters. It receives well on 80 meters however I need to do some tuning to get better SWR for 80 meters. My antenna wants to resonate at 4 Mhz. I have not used the antenna on six meters yet.

Overall, I rate the antenna as follows:

Antenna performance: 5 Stars
SteppIR Manual: 4 Stars but much improved over older manuals.
SteppIR assembly/support: 5 stars, Jim and Adam were superb.
SteppIR fit and finish: 5 Stars, this is a very nice, well designed antenna.

Would I buy another? Yes, but more likely to buy the DB42 which came out after I had
made my purchase.

Paul N6PSE
 
KG4LRU Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2013 22:30 Send this review to a friend
Its gets better   Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this antenna Now 4 1/2 years Tower I am using is is old TRI EX skyneedle 100 ft , Stepper IR has been making important improvements on The DB -36 The largest improvement is the EHU and THE elements Last year and the new style sweeps I cannot stress the performance is off the wall , you cannot buy a better performing antenna 6-80 for less money . AS the antenna gets better with age it evolves for the better . I look at optibeam my tower would handle it It woulod have left me sure a few bands less cost 7500.00 I purchase My antenna at Hamvention 4800.00 with all options . I can continue to keep my antenna updated with all the up dates now have 5300.00 I can now work all band 6-160 on this antenna . I couldnt be more pleased with itys performance and the Stepper company . 30 ft boom and weight around 180 lbs I use a prop pitch rebuilt by K7NV with Green Heron .
 
K1XV Rating: 2/5 Aug 1, 2012 19:27 Send this review to a friend
Guying is insufficient  Time owned: more than 12 months
As indicated in my prior review, this antenna replaced a stack of Force 12 antennas that went through many ice storms, but finally suffered damage after 8 years of service.

There is nothing wrong with the way this antenna pulls in the DX or sends out a signal. I would rate it over 5 if that were the sole criteria.

However, last winter, in the very first ice storm, this antenna was damaged due to inadequate guying provisions as it comes from the manufacturer. The guying for the 36 foot boom consists of some very thin Phillystran and a vertical stub, a couple of feet long, at the center point. Under ice load, one Phillystran snapped, and the unequal loads now on the stub caused it to bend. The result was a bent boom that looked like a parabola. On the very first ice storm.

After brainstorming with the guys at Hudson Valley Towers, we put an attachment point about 12 feet farther up my antenna mast (remember, there used to be 3 antennas on this mast, replaced by the single DB-36), and using much heavier Phillystran, we pulled the ends of the boom back up into place., The boom now has a little wiggle in it, but the antenna seems to work fine.

The guy lines are now at about a 35 degree angle from horizontal, whereas under the original set up, they were only around 10 or 15 degrees from horizontal. At this point, the guy lines are actually doing something.

I hope this modification prevents this from happening again.

While Steppir was told what happened, supplied pictures, etc. they offered nothing other than a few words of encouragement. And told me that my location was a challenging location. Well, ice storms like this are common in the northeast. Steppir offers lots of extra cost options for their high performance antennas. A severe weather guying kit should be offered and recommended.
 
KG4LRU Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2009 20:56 Send this review to a friend
Does all the bands  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased this antenna with 80 meter dipole option and has worked better than expected ,But there is added Bonus I leave the antenna controller on 80 meters and switch to 160 meters and use a Manual tuner on the yagi .I have run several Test and Found the antenna to directional on 160 and is out performing my 160 dipole antenna . 10 s Units . All I can say I very pleased with the performance. Antenna now does 6 meters through 160 meters. All the Bands on one Beam. Thank You SteppIR
 
WA6NHD Rating: 5/5 May 6, 2009 19:25 Send this review to a friend
Works very well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the DB36 with 6M and element truss options to replace a MonstIR that was lost in a storm (mostly due to an assembly error on my part). The new DB36 antenna is located on a 50ft AN Wireless HD50 tower and spun using a ProSisTel PS71D rotator (chosen originally for the MonstIR). 25ft below the DB36 is a basic 4el SteppIR (no dipole options) on a TIC Ring. My QTH is an 1800ft ridgeline with steep drop-offs and about 270 degrees of panaromic view/coverage. So tower height is not an issue, especially on 40M. An Array Solutions StackMatch completes the integration of the two antennas, providing effective stacking advantage on 18M and above.

The crane rested the DB36 on it's perch April 30th after essentially a flawless ground-level pre-test.

Assembly Process

The newest SteppIR manuals used for the DB series are vast improvements over the older antennas (i.e., MonstIR). Excellent drawings and much better text combine to make assembling the DB-36 fairly straightforward. Be advised there are MANY small parts associated with this antenna due to the sweeps (the loops that form the "trombone" part). After checking the parts I kept EVERYTHING in the respective bags until ready for use. SteppIR did a GREAT job of packaging and labeling the kits and there were no shortages. Boom assembly was perfect: all holes lined-up. I assembled the antenna on a stand made from a 4X4 upright and four 4x4 horizontal legs with a 4x8 sheet of 3/4in plywood attached to the underside with lag screws. The stand was braced with four 2x4's and a piece of 2in mast held the boom in place, leaving the boom about 5ft off the ground. There were no issues encountered assembling the fiberglas elements. Only one telescoping element was difficult to insert into the polycarbonate sweep. After assembly I performed the initial tests as directed in the manual. One thing I did notice was the 180 degree direction VSWR was about 5:1 vs. 1.7:1 on a specified controller freq. (i.e. 7.1MHz). Obviously, one cannot excpect ideal performance 5ft off the ground. But it allowed me to check the EHU's before it went into the air. I would HIGHLY advise anyone building this antenna (or any SteppIR product) to run the controller and verify tape travel both by ear against the fiberglas element and using a bit of RF, before you put it in the air! I exercised my controller several times going from 40M to 10M and back, just to be sure. I also covered the rubber element boots with silicone tape to protect against UV. But according to SteppIR, the Fernco boots on the DB36 are UV-resistant (found that out after the fact).

Performance

Time owned so far has been short. However, the DB36 has renewed the enjoyment I had with the MonstIR, working Europe with relative ease on 40M. Those of us on the West Coast can appreciate that!! 30M performance so far has been awesome. I received S9+20dB into Europe with 100 watts on two occasions. Basically, if I can hear them, I can work them, especially on 40/30M. Yes, the QTH admittedly does play a big role.

I successfully used the controller's General Mode Frequency Offset Adjustment option to bring the VSWR to 1.2:1 at 7.12MHz once it was on the tower. The 180-degree VSWR issue became a non-issue once the DB36 was at 50ft (as I expected it would).

Summary

I will update this review (good or bad) after the antenna experiences more air time. For now, I would not hesitate to recommend the DB36 to anyone who cannot install a full-size 40M antenna. I have given this antenna a "5" because of the instruction manual, the assembly process, and performace so far (albeit that's subjective). Mike Mertel and the folks at SteppIR have always been a pleasure to work with. My prior SteppIR experiences were not without problems, but it appears the new DB series has many updates to help mitigate some of the potential issues other users have envountered. That is based on my observations of the EHU housing assemblies while building this antenna.

Winds here can exceed gusts of 80-90+ MPH during storms (with vectors in every direction, not just lateral gusts). So time will tell how mechanically sound the DB36 will remain. I feel quite confident it should hold-up fine. There's much less mass and length to act like lever arms compared to a full-size 40M yagis like the MonstIR.

Many thanks to Ron KQ6IT (my tower climber) and also Ron K6XC (my long-time friend and elmer) for their assistance with this project.
 


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