Questions about setting up a SteppIR antenna on a Flex-6700?

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  • Updated 6 months ago

I am seriously considering installing the UrbanBeam 40m-6m Yagi Antenna. I live in a HOA area and I believe I could hide this antenna successfully. It only requires a 15-foot turning radius. I will be able to raise it about 35 ft. above ground level, but I live on a high hill and can see for many miles in all directions.

The Urbanbeam comes with the SDA 100 Controller and I was considering upgrading to the SDA 2000 OptimizIR Controller. Is this an over kill???

All control cables will need to be about 125ft long.

I plan using my existing Yaesu Model G-800DXT rotor which is now turning a magnetic loop basically used for diversity.

I expect to build a fold over mast and should be able to repair the antenna easily if I turn the antenna horizontal to the ground before lowering for maintenance.

I would greatly appreciate all comments as to what additions and unsuspected parts may be required to interface this to both my Flex-6700 and Rotor.


Thanks – K4CAE

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David Livingston

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Posted 6 months ago

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Rich McCabe

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The SDA100 controller works great with the Flex. I have mine connected direct to 6600 but you can also use DDUTIL to connect it.

I am not sure about the SDA2000. Is it even on the market yet?  It sure is cool looking but I am skeptical about its usefulness. Lot of money for cool looking :)

35' high in a HOA?  I would say you are doing pretty good if you can pull that off !

73

Rich
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David Livingston

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Thanks for your input..  It seems the SDA 100 will do everything I need for the Urban antenna.
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Rich McCabe

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I cant find it now and its been a while since I read the information, but I thought the modeling had nothing to do with SWR and was designed to work with EzNEC.  You could create profiles or something on crank up towers and play with height for angle of radiation.

Did I dream this?  There current document does not show this and for the most part besides the nice display and having the options like radio interface, lighting protection and tuning relay, it does not look like it does that much more than the SDA 100.

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Jeff / KI0KB

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I believe that is all correct. The SteppIR's come preloaded with element lengths for some ideal antenna on a tower at ideal height, whatever that is, with no surrounding interfering objects, to give one the best front to back, dB forward gain and acceptable SWR.  I had to significantly adjust my driver on 20 meters because I assume of it's location next to a metal garage roof and closeness to the ground. Without using a modeling program I have no idea what I lost in forward gain or other factors but I've always assumed that a better SWR under those conditions generally allows for more power dissipation to the driven element...probable into my garage roof... Hi Hi.

And your are correct, those three options are a great idea. The tuning relay to prevent transmitting while the antenna is tuning, the radio interface for obvious reasons as well as the lightening protection board. I have found during the summer thunderstorm season the best lightening protection is to disconnect the power plug first then remove the control cable from the controller. Put back in reverse order for use. People, myself included, have been know to nuke a driver chip on the board pulling or replacing the control cable with power connected. Easily replaced but also easily avoided.

I have mine hooked directly from the 6600M to the SDA100. To do that you need an FTDI USB/Serial cable and the S-12 cable from SteppIR, or make your own cable. Works well without the computer involved.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The ALP board gives useful info for diagnostics. It tells you if cable open, cable short, or driver chip damaged. That's primarily why I have it. 
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David Livingston

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Thanks Ria, I appreciate this information...
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KENT HUFFORD

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I have a STEPir Big IR vertical connected to my 6600. I use the USB port on the 6600 to a serial adapter to the STEPIR control box. Works great. When I am remote, then the antenna will follow the radio with no local PC turned on. I do use DDUTL on the local PC when I want to run the KPA/KTA 500 amp. 
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David Livingston

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Thanks, this is what I was hoping for...!!!
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Neal - K3NC

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If you go towards the path of controlling the Steppir controller directly from the Flex 6000 series radio (via an FTDI usb-serial cable). there is a nifty guide to configuring the connection within smartsdr:
http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/usb-cable-interface-guide-pdf/
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Rick Ciotti

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A hex beam would be a better option IMO. At 35' on 40M this antenna will be a cloud warmer. A hex beam would eliminate the need for control cables. With a weight of about 25lbs the mast and rotor load will be minimal and the total cost considerably less. W3DIY
(Edited)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Roy, You pointed out the weak point of a tracking antenna.  A 6600 with 2 SteppIR's is fantastic, a 6400 is not.  If I had the limitation of 1 antenna an 1 scu I would put up a conventional tribander.  I love my SteppIR on its own SCU ;-).
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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"In most receive cases it does not make much difference 1-2 S unit or less than 10 dB in Ring in a non resonant band with a SteppIR. "
That's not true. It's waaaay down. 
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Neal - K3NC

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My 4 ele Steppir has been the best non-Flex investment I ever made. Rock solid and less maintenance than any other yagi I ever had.
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David Livingston

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Thanks for all the input... K4CAE
Photo of David Livingston

David Livingston

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Thanks for all the input... K4CAE