RSOC SteppIr Vertical on the Air

At the Radio Science & Operations Center (RSOC) we

Getting ready for the move to install location

have the SteppIR Mark IV vertical installed and working, using temporary Field Day ground radials. 

One of the grounding blocks had a broken tab, so we “only” put out 35 radials, in

AL5M (left) and KL7WY (right) terminating another ground radial

stead of the design number of 36.  We have a fix for the grounding block and another ground radial ready to go. 

While the vertical was still on the ground, I tied the guy ropes in the wrong sequence.  After we installed the vertical, I wasn’t happy, even though it would have worked just fine.
So we set up a ladder scaffold, with 2×6 cross planks and a step ladder on top. I climbed up there and fixed the guy ropes.  Kent Petty, KL5T is showing the “don’t try this at home” warning symbols in the photos.
Don’t climb this…
Making control connections to base of SteppIr






We used “Create, Modify” on the SteppIR controller to optimize the antenna lengths for the band tuning segments on 80m, 60m, 40m, 30m and 20m.  I haven’t had time to look at any of the higher bands, but in the meantime, just use the SteppIR yagi. See the SteppIR Controller manual for a table listing the band tuning segments.

KL7WY (foreground), KL7TS (walking), and AL5M (background) measuring out new ground radials

One annoying thing:  There is a band tuning segment from 3.75 MHz to 5.20 MHz and if you tune the vertical for 3800 kHz, then the Alaska State Emergency Frequency of 5167.5 kHz is out-of-whack, probably because it’s so close to the upper limit of 5200 kHz.  If you tune the vertical for 5167.5 kHz, then the 3800 kHz frequency is wrong.

KL7WY (left), AL5M (middle), and KL7TS (right) stowing ground radial cable

I tuned it for 3800 kHz, in the 80m phone band, since we can always use the SAMS loop for 5167.5 kHz, but it was annoying to discover this issue with the SteppIR vertical.  I will continue to look for a possible solution.  The “five channels” in the 60-meter amateur band are working just fine.

About ready to stand this up

Thanks to everyone for their help in getting another RSOC antenna on the air!


TJ Sheffield, KL7TS
Emergency Coordinator
Radio Science & Operations Center