SteppIR control wire gauge

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by WA7F, Jan 7, 2020.

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  1. WA7F

    WA7F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hey Guys, what gauge wire are you running to your SteppIR? I have about 200’ from the control position to the antenna.
  2. WB5THT

    WB5THT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I bought my control cable from SteppIR, I think it's maybe 18 gauge? There are specifications for distance limitations before you need a driver thingy. My DB18E connection box at the antenna is about 210 feet and the antenna works well with the 33 volt power supply.
  3. WA7F

    WA7F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks. I’ll actually found that after posting and may go that route. It’s 22 AWG which seems extremely small for a 200’ run. I’m tempted to do a couple runs of CAT6.
  4. K7GQ

    K7GQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Steppir appears willing to sell a 300' length of that cable - I don't think the small wire size is much of a concern as they've dropped the 24 vdc supply in favor of the 36 vdc supply.
  5. WA7F

    WA7F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks K7GQ. It’s interesting that they increased the voltage. I bought mine used, will check the power supply voltage.

    I’m also thinking about installing a pc at the tower and removing most of the control lines to the house. This is a new tower installation and it’s already looking like 50-60 control line conductors coming into the house. I have a bunch of 4-6 conductor control cable but, that is a lot to deal with as far lightning protection is concerned.
  6. WB5THT

    WB5THT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    All of my low voltage cabling and coax (and Ethernet for the web cam) has lightning protection at the tower and at my KF7P entrance box. Best I can hope for with a direct strike is my Tash tower doesn't melt :).
  7. WA7F

    WA7F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I’m building something similar with a surplus entrance panel. The price of the control line surge protectors are enough to send a guy to the poor house. Plus I still want to be able to disconnect and ground all RF and control lines if I’m traveling or when the weather gets bad.

    I was thinking of a patch panel type of arrangement. In the normal position the lines would feed to the surge protectors and on to the shack. A second set of connectors with all pins grounded would be used for the safety position. Basically just unplug lines coming from the tower at the surge protectors and ground them. While this is a manual process that you would not want to do during a storm but, you would also have the surge protectors if a storm sneaks up on you and you didn’t get out there in time.

    I’d think this would offer better isolation of my gear from lightning than just counting on surge protectors alone.
  8. WA7F

    WA7F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    On the other hand; A cheap pc at the tower and a wireless connection could eliminate a many of the control lines to the house. Just ground the heck out it and hope for the best.
  9. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Use a wire size that is consistent w/ the allowable voltage drop over the distance. Since it has to route past your rotator, I suggest AT LEAST 7-strand wire (19 or 34-strand is better). The cable should have a jacket that is highly UV-resistant.
    I was unimpressed with off-the-shelf rotator protection devices (that used olde MOV devices), and shocked at the prices. So, I designed and built my own using Transient Voltage Suppressor (TVS) diodes. They're MUCH faster than MOVs and don't degrade with use. They're available in a wide voltage range for cheep. Since I was working w/ 24V AC, I used bidirectional diodes (1.5KE series). Ceramic bypass capacitors prevent rectification. Since I have two rotators, I built two sets into a weatherproof plastic NEMA box:
    Barrier terminal blocks provide convenient mounting for the diodes & capacitors. Quick disconnect tabs provide the interface. Plastic SO/SJ cord strain reliefs are used to pass the cables in/out. A 2" wide ground strap exits thru a slit cut in the bottom.
    K3XR likes this.
  10. WA7F

    WA7F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Bryan, that’s pretty slick. Based on what current suppliers are selling you should be able to sell them for $400 or more. :)

    I built a similar circuit based on another ham’s design a couple of years ago to protect a remote ATU but, it used MOVs and caps. It a also included relays to ground the ATU connections when powered down. The fellow that passed the design along to me felt that most remote ATU surge problems were the result of surges on the control line, assuming that the tuned antenna had a DC ground.

    I like your implementation of TVS diodes and I’ll dig into this. How did you tin the ground plane so evenly?

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