Steppir 2 elements

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I thinking to upgrade my vertical Hustler to Steppir 2 elements....I wonder what I do really need to buy in order to make it work with my 6300, Steppir sells a cable they say works directly with Flex, does anyone has experience with it?....by other side I have DDutil working with my Flex, Antenna tuner, and Amp, as well as integrated with HRD 6.0 software, I have read some post about DdUtil and seems a good possibility........I would appreciate all comments and advises

Greetings & 73's

George
YV5WZ

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YV5WZ

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Posted 3 years ago

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Walt - KZ1F

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In case you are waiting up for a reply (there are several people on here with Steppirs). Very early on in a Hamvention or some such in CA, they did have a Flex directly controlling the SteppIR controller.  That never saw production. The people that have the steppir use DDUtil to actually control it. That cable may still be needed, albeit for the DDUtil interface. When I was strongly researching SteppIR 4-ele I did not see any cable that said DDUtil. Personally I think the 3-ele is not really better than a good LP, such that you can, in real time, immediately be tuned on multiple bands. After all, isn't the the point of a Flex? Two element? I am sure you'll get tons of 1st hand accounts. GL.

73, Walt - KZ1F
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YV5WZ

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Thanks Walt!.. why SteppIR 2 Elements?

Well after reading good reviews about it, I got some info I liked!!.... as it  was used with good results on last Navassa Dx expedition, it only has 57 inches Boom Length and 37 lb what mean a small footprint what keep my station in low profile at condo.

I'm trying my station can be hear clear around globe, but I want to hear too, my vertical its giving me a lot of issues in 15m and 20m, you know verticals are too noisy, and sometimes I have to deal with 5-6 S of noise.

Thanks for LP advise,  I will check alternative

Best Regards

George
YV5WZ
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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SteppIR are Fanatastic Antennas. LP are at best a compromise


I have had a SteppIR MonstIR for more than 10 years. It dominates the bands when I am on the air. It is in effect a monobander on every frequency. NO COMPROMISE


DDUTIL works great with SteppIR. I use it to control my antenna frequency even when remoting like I am doing right now


SteppIR are a major advantage in Constests because you can switch 180 degrees in a couple of seconds.


There are detailed instructions on the DDUTIL web site for the cable but it really is quite simple. Cable.

http://k5fr.com/DDUtilV3wiki/index.ph...

(Edited)
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YV5WZ

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Thanks Howard...
do you use antenna tuner with your steppir?

Best Regards

George
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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No real need for a tuner with a SteppIR. My 6700 and Expert 2K-FA have internal tuners but they are absolutely unnecessary with the SteppIR. You can optimize the SteppIR by band to minimize SWR or maximize gains (not necessarily the same point) so you never need a tuner.
Some people do not realize that there is at least 1/2 dB loss when you insert a tuner into the system.

I have used LP's in the past but they truly are a compromise compared to a SteppIR
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Right, Howard, we obsess too much about the "perfect match." Even with an amp, most of the time a match less than about 2:1 should be ok. When I got my log periodic up I turned the internal tuner OFF, except on 12 meters where the boom resonance is causing an SWR spike of about 4:1. (I will adjust that when I can rent a lift for cheap.)

The highest SWR other than that is on the low end of 20 at about 1.7:1 and I don't mess with it.

BTW, for a "compromise" antenna, my T-11 Log is performing well! (Grin). I figure it to be about halfway between a two element and three element yagi on all bands 20-6 meters. And no traps or complicated control boxes or multiple wire motor cables to maintain. In another situation I might have loved to have a three element trombone beam from StepIR! 40/30 meter coverage would be nice.
(Edited)
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Brian Morgan VK7RR

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There is another solution which I have been using. I have a 4 element SteppIR which I have used for nearly 10 years.  The program Logger 32 comes complete with a virtual steppir controller so that you get both a first class logging program, a rotor controller and a steppir controller all in one. Set up is a breeze and the cable is the same as in the details set out in the previous post.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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One advantage of DDUTIL is that it not only tracks frequency but it also gives you full control of your SteppIR including Forward, Reverse, Bidirectional, Calibrate and Home/Shutdown right from your desktop

Since you are already using DDUTIL for your amp and HRD the SteppIR connection is almost automatic
(Edited)
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ai6re

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Another consideration in your plan for a SteppIR antenna. I have the 2 elemant +40M SteppIR and I think it is great. I am able to use it with my Flex6500 and KP500 amp and I get excellent results all over the world. The only problem with a steppir and the Flex 6k' series radio is that you have a radio that cam function over the entire HF spectrum and an antenna that is very narrowly tuned to one spot in the spectrum at a time.

I often look at several bands at one time to see what is going on and I am able to see to some extent the signals on other bands. I have often thought that a good match for the Flex would be a Hex Beam as I could see all the bands equally well no mater where I was currently tuned tuned.

The difference in price for a 5 or 6 band HexBeam and the 2 ele. Steppir make this decision more of a challenge. Another thing might be if you plan to run more power you might consider a tuner for the Hexbeam where no tuner is ever needed for the Steppir.

I am not trying to suggest either antenna is a better choice. These are just things I have considered since getting the Flex 6K 2 years ago.

I love my SteppIR.
Don
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Interesting installation, squeezing the StepIR inside the satellite beams. I have never seen it done that way!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I actually am able to watch several bands at the same time with my SteppIR

I sometimes listen to JT65 on several different bands at the same time. My 6700 hears well enough without being tuned to a specific band.

Put is perspective. A multi element beam gives you about 10dBi gain or about 2 S units over an untuned antenna. More than enough signal in most cases to listen to several bands at the same time.
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Barry N1EU

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Plenty of good points have been made.  DDUtil works very well to allow your SteppIR to track the SDR.  The 2-el SteppIR has AMAZING performance for such a compact antenna. but it's essentially a single band antenna.  I think you'd be very happy with the 2-el SteppIR.
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Peter Bentley

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The Ultrabeam from Italy is a much better engineered Antenna.

I have recently 'Scrapped' my 4 ele SteppIR, mine was not 'fit for purpose' in a windy environment, continual failures, breakages and costly repairs over a 5 year period.

In construction, its like comparing Ford with Audi...

At least take a look at the UltraBeam.
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Walt - KZ1F

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@Peter, on your 4-ele steppir, did you have the 40m trombone? I almost got one except I heard too many failure stories that, for the most part, seemed relegated to the 40 meter trombone.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The Ultrabeam is illegal in the USA because it violates Steppir's US patents. Probably legal in YV
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Bob - W7KWS -

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There have been a lot of approaches listed in this thread so far so here's another.  It does not use DDUtil which I never have tried due to a friends frustrations in the past with it, his Flex 5000 and PowerSDR.

My preference has been PstRotatorAZ by Codrut YO3DMU.  The cost is €20.00 at his WEB site http://www.qsl.net/yo3dmu/index_Page346.htm .  This has been well worth it for me and the customer support has been quite good and very quick via email and includes frequent updates with new features.  It's worked fine with Windows XP, 7, 8.0, 8.1 and now Windows 10.

I like this approach as it includes SteppIR, rotator and antenna switch control all in one program.  It only requires an off the shelf RS-232 cable for the SteppIR controller as well as other devices that it is compatible with.  Some relay boards can be controlled by USB or Ethernet interfaces although I haven't tried any of these.

PstRotatorAZ can connect to and track your Flex directly via CAT within your PC or track multiple rigs including the Flex in conjunction with OmniRig.  If OmniRig is used, it is controlled by PstRotatorAZ so after setup there is no further need to interact with it.

I use three serial ports. The connection to the SteppIR controller is to the "Data Out" connector which, unlike the  "Data In/Radio" port uses a standard RS-232 cable, nothing special.  Other connections are to a serial card in a Yaesu rotator controller and to a serial Relay card which then controls an antenna switch.  All of these use standard 9-pin RS-232 cables.

Look at Codrut's WEB site for details but a few highlights can be seen in the screenshot below.  Included are programmable, automatic antenna switch control capability on a per band and frequency basis, beam aiming by clicking on any one of several included maps or by programmable preset or by call sign prefix.

There are really only two things I interact with on the PC when I'm operating, SSDR and PstRotatorAZ to aim the beam.  Antenna switching and SteppIR control is automatic unless I want to go to bi-directional or 180 mode.

73

(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I personally am a HUGE FAN of DDUTIL... the Swiss Army Knife of Interfacing Virtually everything to Flex Radios...In computer terms DDUTIL is Middleware...the middle of everything.

It is INCREDIBLY EASY to set up DDUTIL.

It works with almost anything that you want to interface to your Flex.
Better yet.. if your device is not listed, send an email to Steve Nance K5FR and he will write a new interface for you.....DDUTIL is FREE.

Right now I use DDUTIL to control my SteppIR MonstIR, my Yaesu GX2800 Rotor, LP1 and Wavenode Wattmeters.  It interfaces to virtually every program such as HRD, WSJT, MixW, Writelog, etc, etc, etc,


Frankly approaches such as using Omnirig mentioned above are primitive compared to DDUTIL.


Currently Steve is writing a control app (at my request)  for the Expert 2K and 1.3K amps so that I can remotely control even my amps from DDUTIL.

DDUTIL already controls most other popular amps... including power, antenna switching and band data...

The SteppIR controls in DDUTIL allow me to forward, reverse, home, calibrate, bidirectional the antenna direct from DDUTIL

I run my station remotely much of the time as we travel a great deal (Countries 25, 26, 27 due in September).  I can leave DDUTIL running on the computer connected to the devices..  Remote into my Radio via either Parallels Access or K6TU's new (Alpha) iPad App- DDUTIL totally manages all the peripherals for me without my having to worry about anything.

Highly Recommended..
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Tom

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Howard, I would also like DDUTIL to control my Expert 2K....I dont know what is your arrangement with Steve about control app but Im ready to share costs. Rgds, Tom, 9A6TKS
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Steve writes DDUTIL for Free

Since I am leaving this week for 6 weeks for France, Greece, Turkey + a Secret Rare DX location near you...I offered to ship my 2K to Steve so he could test his software while I was gone... But he had other commitments so he declined my offer.

Steve recently indicated that SPE did give him a work around to deal with remote power on and off commands that were lacking in their API. 

So we will just have to wait until Steve has time to finish the Expert 2K and 1.3K Software interface.  Hopefully soon
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Winston VK7WH

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I am also following this with interest Howard , as like Tom I am also want to be able to control my Expert 2k with DDUTIL. Enjoy your upcoming trip.

73 Winston VK7WH
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Bob - W7KWS -

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OmniRig was only mentioned as it can be used with PstRotatorAZ, which was the thrust of my post.  I could change to DDUtil but following the KISS principle, I've yet to find a reason.  I'll look into DDUtil & see if it's easier to use than PstRotator but what I've described accommodates all that follows:

Remote control is pretty much my exclusive method of operating whether on the road or at home and PstRotator lends itself to remote control of many different station arrangements. 

I remote three rigs for differing situations, two of which  automatically switch to an Elecraft KPA500 amplifier at power on.  The Flex is default when the other two are off as it is always powered on. The amplifier is followed by an antenna switch controlled by PstRotator thereby avoiding any requirement for manually controlling these connections but manual override is always an option.

At home I use the Flex 6300 from my easy chair using a Windows tablet which has pretty much replaced a Kenwood TS-590 & Perseus using HDSDR for the  spectrum & waterfall displays but these remain operational.  By the way, the latter two track each other in in bi-directional lockstep along with the SteppIR.

I also use one or the other of those two rigs via Remote Desktop in fixed remote locations on the road such as in the motor home or a hotel room using Remote Desktop.  I also find the 590 convenient to use from my Android phone or tablet using the Pocket RxTx app by YO3GGX or Remote Desktop.  Pocket RxTx is a nice Android app which includes several scripts for controlling a number of rigs but not the Flex.  I modified it originally for the 590, which has now been included in an update.  Making the changes for a Flex would be straight forward if it weren't for lack of motivation.

When I'm mobile I use an IC-706 since it mounts well on the dash & gives me VHF & UHF.  The control head talks to the radio at home via a Verizon hot spot & the SteppIR follows right along without worries interfaced via PstRotater & OmniRig.  If antenna rotation is wanted, I stop & do that from the phone but this is infrequent. 

Tablets & smart phones are great but not for me while driving.  The 706 can generally be run by touch with one hand in a traditional mobile fashion.
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YV5WZ

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Howard:

I see you use Yaesu Rotor.....there are a lot of negative reviews about Yaesu Rotors....I ́m looking at AlfaSpid...but.....I would like to hear you opinion about Yaesu Rotor

About Ultrabeam, I have not idea if they are legal down here at Venezuela, Personally I try to respect it  and I ussually  buy devices from original developers, I have read about Ultrabeam, and look like a copy from SteppIr whom has been for more than 10 years on market...by other side Ultrabean  I think they are less than 5 years old, and there are a lot of negative reviews about their customer support....

I would like to thanks to Brian and Barry for their comments.... Thanks

TO Don ai6re ....very interesting your point of view  about Hexbeam.....it has created another perspective for me....I took a look to 12Force XR-6C  but I ́m afraid even XR6 has worse Dbi numbers than 2 elements SteppIR , have you hear something about 12Force XR6C?

Thanks all you for your advises.....all are really apreciated them

73

George, YV5WZ
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have had my SteppIR MonstIR up on my tower since March 19, 2005.  Customer Support is Excellent.  The only caution with SteppIR is that you need to apply a good quality marine paint to protect the fiberglass elements in high UV areas like YV5

Personal Opinion:  Since I am personally very sensitive to the theft of Intellectual Property, I do not look favorably upon Ultrabeam even though they have likely made  design improvements..  It's unfortunate that SteppIR did not file a EU patent so Ultrabeam gets away with copying the SteppIR in Europe.

Yaesu Rotor.. I have been using a Yaesu GX-2800 to turn my MonstIR and the US Tower MA-850MDP Rotatable Tower for 10+ years with no issues whatsoever.  

Hams get all twisted in knots about specs that don't mean much.  When choosing a rotor by far the MOST important spec is the Braking Force. Why?  It really does not matter that much how much turning force the rotor has or the speed that it will turn.. basically as long as the rotor can turn the antenna that is good enough... However the thing that damages antennas and rotors is Wind.  When you have strong winds, you are very unlikely to be wanting to turn your antenna or at least you should use your better judgment and not try to turn it.....

But you really want to make sure that your rotor will hold everything in place during high winds..Hence Braking Force is the main determinant of how safe your system will be.

When I came to choosing a Rotor.. the GX-2800 had the largest Braking Force Number.. It was nowhere near as powerful or as fast or as well made as the Alphaspid nor was it strong enough to push the antenna in very high winds......but it could hold the antenna in place during high winds better than any other brands - hence it was my choice..

In your case, you are putting up a fairly small antenna.. so you don't need a big rotor like a GX-2800... look at the braking force specs and choose the most braking force for the dollar that fits your needs..
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YV5WZ

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THANK YOU SO MUCH HOWARD!!!

73's

George
YV5WZ