Horizontal Loop for DX

November 16th, 2017 by Joe Stokes No comments »

The goal was to get an 80 meter loop in the air, and take advantage of theoretical low angle radiation when operating on higher frequencies. I was only able to get about 200′ of wire in a rectangular shape, at a height of 30′. I made a short section of open wire to feed the loop, and it connects to a 4 to 1 balun at the tuner in the shack. I did not calculate anything, and hoped that since it is a short run that the characteristic impedance of the feedline was negligible.

I have had my share of looses when experimenting, and I am calling this a winner. It performs great on 40 and up. In many cases it out performs my resonant 20 meter dipole (inverted V at 45′). I got lucky and have a decent match on 17m, 15m, 12m, and 6m, bypassing the tuner with SWR<1.5. I do not use 6 meter often, but find it interesting how this loop is matching.

The next step is to see how well 500′ of wire in a loop will perform. Ideally I will get a better install for the longer run. The 200′ loop is something me and a friend put up quickly on a Saturday night, and it has done much better than expected. I may not have enough room for 500′, but the goal is to get more wire in the air.

About Me

May 19th, 2017 by Joe Stokes No comments »

Joe StokesI grew up in Wilmington NC  and have always enjoyed electronics. I received an Associate degree in Electronics Engineering Technology from Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) in 1994. My first position was at Sturdy Corporation, here in Wilmington, working in a production environment as an Electronics Technician. After a couple years, I was promoted to the Electronics Engineering Lab, as an assistant to the Chief Electronics Engineer. The position included building and analyzing new circuits, verifying designs, troubleshooting, documenting results, and recommending design changes. I was involved with hardware and software for product development, and developed the procedures for production testing. My technical writing abilities lead to authoring specifications for new products.   

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Solar and Wind Power

April 25th, 2017 by Joe Stokes No comments »

While at Cape Fear Community College, I worked to implement renewable energy into the Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) program. In 2005 hydrogen based fuel cells were introduced into the engineering department. I enjoyed learning about fuel cells, and proposed our program also expose students to solar and wind power. Emphasis was placed on small scale power generation and pratical applications of the technology. Students gained hands on experience with wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, power inverters, and more. Projects emphasized proper use of test equipment, safety, working in groups, and documentation.

CFCC Renewable Energy Lab

The first system was downtown and was not a grid tie. We had a 600W 24 Volt photovoltaic (PV) array consisting of four 150W panels wired in parallel. We also had a 24V wild three phase AC wind turbine. The solar array was on an active tracking system following the sun.

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Web Design and Networking

March 18th, 2017 by Joe Stokes No comments »


NC Fusion is a small business I started in 1999 with the goal of assisting local companies with technology.

I consulted and evaluated local business with respect to the latest in electronics and computer technology. I developed specifications for the work, and time-lines for completion. I worked with third parties to complete sophisticated task for my clients. The initial mission was to help companies profit from the web, and the company grew to help businesses with all things technical.

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KV4TU – Amateur Radio and Hiking

March 7th, 2016 by Joe Stokes No comments »

This video is from the Appalachian Trail in western NC and shows portable operation of my amateur radio station. Amateur radio is also known as ham radio, and my call sign is KV4TU. The radio is a Yaesu FT-857D set for QRP operation, or low power. Using only 5 Watts transmitting power, contacts were made both stateside and DX (distance). A small battery is powering the radio while on the trail, and the antenna is a homemade 20 meter dipole setup in an inverted V configuration.

Follow this link to learn more about my amateur radio hobby.