Category Archives: Radio Ranch

New Tower Project

The new tower project is complete and in use. The 2 meter repeater antenna has been taken down and replaced by several antennas. At the top of 70ft Rohn 25g is a dual band VHF/UHF vertical at 80ft. Below that, a JK Antennas Mid-Tri-40 at 73ft. This is a quad band Yagi with 2 full size elements on 40m, 3 elements on 20m, 4 elements on 15m and 5 elements on 10m – all on a a 26ft boom. The Yagi is turned by a Yaesu 2800 rotor. Side mounted on the tower, is a stack of 6m Par Electronics Omniangles. Also installed, an arm to support a 80m dipole.

K2ADA JK Mid-Tri-40 – Installed August 2019

Radio Ranch antenna Upgrade – 3 Ele Steppir

The KIO hex beam has worked well here at the K2ADA Radio Ranch. Now that we are here most days, I began thinking about an upgrade. Since my primary rig here is a Flex 6300, a multi band yagi or log periodic interested me. Both would “listen” to all bands with a single coax run and I could open multiple slices on the Flex. However, both also have compromises. A mono band antenna for every band would of course be the ultimate, but I didn’t want the multiple towers and switching that would be required.

A dynamic antenna. The Steppir has been around for awhile now. The 3 element (w/ 40m option) will not pose a problem for my Universal 50ft tower and Hygain rotor, and after several months of thinking and rethinking, I pulled the trigger.

Assembly is really straight forward but the instructions could use some attention. Steppir has updated the documentation of each option and sends each as an addendum to the basic build. This is a little confusing and requires a lot of extra work to assemble the antenna correctly.  A phone call to one of the Steppir techs cleared everything up and the build took me about 3 days.  Working several hours a day.

Here are some photos (thanks Annie) of the assembly, and the removal of the hex and raising of the Steppir:

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Steppir needs to rethink their assembly documentation

KIO Hex beam
KIO Hex beam.

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Steppir element tubes

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Steppir boom and EHU (stepper motor).

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The entire boom assembly

 

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40m driven element

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a 60ft lift was used to retrieve the Hex antenna and replace it with the 3 ele Steppir

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the completed Steppir is visible in the foreground

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Thanks to help from a neighbor, we raised the Steppir, and attached it to the existing mast

I’m getting use to the time it takes the Steppir to “remodel” itself for each frequency change.  Signals have been strong and reports have also been good.

 

Flex 6300


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I have been interested in SDR (software define radio) for years. Several companies have been marketing radios for a while now and FlexRadio has been the most aggressive in America in demoing their offerings at hamfests and on the web.
I recently saw a demo of an Anan 100 which was very impressive. Apache labs makes the Anan line of SDR radios and you should take a look before plunging into this world.
When FlexRadio introduced the Flex 6300 at the Dayton hamfest (2014) I could resist no longer. The price point was in my range and the feature set is perfect for my style of operating.

So now, the Radio Ranch station is complete. When I’m on Merritt Island, I can remote into the Radio Ranch via the Kenwood TS-2000/Remote Rig set up, and work with the SDR radio when we visit the Ranch. Flex has promised some remote capability in a future software update.
Switching Antennas
IMG_0638Two rigs, one set of antennas. A simple set of switches handle the task. I use a KIO hex beam for 20m – 6m, and a Buckmaster OCF dipole for 80m – 40m. The Kenwood auto switches antenna based on the operating band. Since I have a 600 watt amp in line with the Flex 6300, I have to switch antennas on the MFJ 998 manually.
No problem since I am right in the control room when I operate the Flex.IMG_0642IMG_0643