The DB-36 Prototype
I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with Mike, Jim, and Clay on the new Steppir “Dream Beam 36” antenna. You may have seen hints in the pictures of one of the initial prototypes on W7CE’s (Clay) web site. These folks are DEDICATED to producing a great product. I’ve been helping out on one of the prototypes covering 40m-6m, and have been unable until now to provide commentary or pictures (other than “it’s coming along” or “it’s working really well”). What can I say about it? Well, this picture was taken in November; it’s been through a somewhat harsh winter here in the Pacific Northwest, and has been working great. I’ve enjoyed hearing reports of “Great signal” “Loud signal”, and 80-100 rate hours on 40m, 0200z to 0400z, with 80 watts in some phone contests. The most serious contest so far with it was a multi RTTY effort in the ARRL RTTY Roundup as (and with) K7BTW — and the antenna’s performance has been markedly improved since then. I lament not having more time on weekends to really give it a work out.
I’m not an employee of Steppir, and not a marketing guy (I don’t even play one on TV), but would imagine that many are going to find this product very appealing. The directionality is exceptional. Front-to-back great. Not having had a gain antenna on 40m before, I’m astounded by what I can work.
There are some things to get used to — this is a precision instrument. The sweet spot is narrow (antenna exhibits a higher Q than other yagi-type antennas), so you must be diligent with your frequency coordination of the antenna controller to rig. Working EU split phone on 40m requires the antenna be set to the TX frequency.
If you have the opportunity to try this antenna at Visalia or Dayton, I encourage you to do so.
This picture was taken at night (see stars in background) with illumination from the ground. It’s mounted on a US Tower HDX-589 Tower, at maximum height. If you click on the picture, you can get a 5MB higher resolution picture.