[handiham-world] Corrected version: Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 04 May 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 4 May 2011 13:45:12 -0500

Corrected camp dates.  



Patrick Tice

From: Patrick Tice [mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2011 1:09 PM
To: 'handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'
Subject: Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 04 May


This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
<unsaved://Untitled_1.htm#Contact> , or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. 

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Welcome to Handiham World!  

Description: Vertical antenna with small American flag on top at Field Day
site with tent and picnic table in foreground.

It's May, and for many amateur radio clubs, the end of the regular meeting
schedule.  The summertime months are filled with other activities, and ham
radio meetings are not really right up there on our list of priorities.
When the weather finally gets nice, we want to head outdoors and forget
about meetings.

That said, it does not mean that amateur radio disappears in the summertime.
Consider the following ham radio highlights:

.         May and June are the traditional months when the six meter band
perks up and band openings make it a lot easier to collect 6 meter QSOs
toward "WAS", or "Worked All States".  Listen on 50.125 MHz USB.  Wikipedia
tells us more: The 6-meter band is a portion of the VHF radio spectrum
allocated to amateur radio use. Although located in the lower portion of the
VHF band, it nonetheless occasionally displays propagation mechanisms
characteristic of the HF bands. This normally occurs close to sunspot
maximum, when solar activity increases ionization levels in the upper
atmosphere. During the last sunspot peak of 2005, worldwide 6-meter
propagation occurred making 6-meter communications as good as or in some
instances and locations, better than HF frequencies. The prevalence of HF
characteristics on this VHF band has inspired amateur operators to dub it
the "magic band". In the northern hemisphere, activity peaks from May
through early August, when regular sporadic E propagation enables
long-distance contacts spanning up to 2,500 kilometers (1,600 mi) for
single-hop propagation. Multiple-hop sporadic E propagation allows
intercontinental communications at distances of up to 10,000 kilometers
(6,200 mi). In the southern hemisphere, sporadic E propagation is most
common from November through early February. Read the entire article on
Wikipedia; just search for "6-meter band".  

.         Dayton HamventionR is in May, and will attract tens of thousands.
Get details on Hamvention.org.  This year's show is May 20-22.  The summer
may bring other shows and fests, or perhaps ham radio flea markets near you!

.         ARRL Field Day is the last full weekend in June, which turns out
to be the 25th and 26th this year. There will be many clubs, small groups,
and individuals participating.  Find a club or group with Field Day goals
that fit your own idea of having fun, and go for it!  You can always run
your own single op station if you have an independent streak. 

.         Ducting and Sporadic E propagation can come and go all summer
long, and are usually surprising when they pop up unexpectedly.  You may
hear a two meter repeater from hundreds of miles away, or even farther.
Communications beyond the line of sight are possible.  

.         Public service events like parades and races are common in the
summer months.  They may provide opportunities for you and your radio club
to provide volunteer communications.

.         Summer ham radio events like hidden transmitter hunts can combine
being out of doors with ham radio direction finding fun. 

.         Radio Camp!  It's August 8 through 13. Even if you can't attend
camp yourself, you can work us on the air and get a QSL card.

.         Vacation time?  Take ham radio along.  If you are taking a road
trip, learn to use the tone search feature in your radio so that you will be
able to find the repeater subaudible tones.  The ARRL Repeater Directory is
a must, too. 

.         Skywarn!  ARESR!  The hot, humid summer days bring those dew
points into the danger range and severe weather is a real possibility.
Generally the severe weather season begins in the southern United States in
the Spring and migrates northward, reaching the northern states in late
Spring and early summer.  Severe weather or other emergency situations can
happen anytime, though.  Amateur radio operators can make the difference in
providing vital communications services.Description: Guy climbing tower

.         Antenna projects: The best time is in the summer, not during a
sleet storm in November or a blizzard in January. Get those antenna projects
out of the way when the gettin' is easy!

.         Back indoors...  Yes, there will be some days when it is hot and
humid outdoors, or raining buckets.  Might as well get the ham shack cleaned
up or work on a kit or other building project.  

.         Those lazy days on the deck or patio?  Spend at least part of them
studying for your license upgrade.  You folks studying for General will have
to test using the old pool before July 1. 

With all the potential ham radio stuff going on in the summertime, who needs
radio club meetings?  Take some notes on the things you do all summer and
you can give a report at your September radio club meeting:  "What I did on
my summer vacation."

For Handiham World, I'm...

Pat Tice


Strap on your tool belt! It's time for... 

Troubleshooting 101: Technology and obsolete media - some further thoughts.

Description: Small tools and wire

Last week we posed this dilemma: 

Help!  My old computer died - and it really wasn't that much of a surprise,
since it was nearly 10 years old and didn't really owe me anything. I love
my new, faster replacement machine, but recently I decided that I needed to
set up the memories in my trusty HT, and two things were pretty much

1.      My rig software was installed on the old machine, which is now dead,
and the original installation disk is a 3.5" floppy.  My new machine doesn't
have a floppy drive!
2.      The interface cable that came with the rig uses a DB-9 serial
interface, but my new machine doesn't have one of those, either.  

What can I do?

Several of you wrote to remind us that USB sticks are really coming down in
price and going up in storage capacity. They make good substitutes for old
media like floppy discs and can easily substitute for compact discs or DVDs
when you are using netbook computers that don't have DVD/CD drives. In
addition, you can buy USB extension cables and "hubs" that add multiple USB
jacks in case you have more USB devices than jacks to plug them into.  USB
stands for "universal serial bus", and this type of serial port has
overtaken the less-versatile DB-9 serial jack on many new machines.
Universal means that there are technical standards applied across a broad
range of uses for USB cables.  You can get USB to DB-9 converters.

Our readers are correct - those little USB storage sticks are a substitute
for traditional disc media.  But there are some potential "gotchas":

*       Easy to lose because of small size, which can result in data loss
with possible security and privacy implications.
*       Hard to label because of small size.
*       Because they stick out of the side of a laptop computer, they are
easily bumped and that can result in the computer's USB jack being damaged. 
*       Prone to damage (such as going through the washing machine because
of being forgotten in a pocket.)
*       The computer will attempt to reinstall drivers for the USB storage
device if you plug it into different USB ports.  This isn't a big deal, but
it can be annoying. 

I use USB storage all the time, but still have not figured out a way to keep
track of USB sticks that look alike, and finally bought a really high
capacity, high-speed one that I more or less can keep track of. I encrypted
the sensitive files on it with the open-source software TrueCrypt, which you
can get at: http://www.truecrypt.org/.  Don't forget your password, because
it's darned near uncrackable. 

George, W8FWG, writes:

I really enjoyed the section on computers last week.  I have a couple more
items you could add:

1. How about mentioning the newer "flash drives" sometimes called "thumb
drives", which can be purchased on sale for less than ten dollars, and can
contain GIGABYTES of storage! People can take all of their 3.5" floppies and
put them on just one of these flash drives.

2. Also there are now TERABYTE drives (external). I have one, to back up
flash drives. They are available for around $100.00. I see they are now
advertising TWO TERABYTE drives for a little over one hundred dollars.

3. There are external floppy drives (3.5 inch) that plug into a USB port on
the newer computers.

4. This is interesting... you can buy a small LED (light) that plugs into
your computer's USB port for additional illumination at the keyboard.

5. And one can buy a small USB-four-port unit, that will allow even more USB
ports (external) to the computer.

6. Finally, the newer laptops do not have a built in modem! You can buy an
external MODEM that plugs into the USB port for connection to a dial-up
telephone line.

John, N1UMJ, writes:

Another thing you can do sometimes, if you have an external hard drive with
an openable enclosure so you can replace the drives, or if you are like me,
found one for $5 at a hamfest and kept it around empty for just such an
emergency, you can pull the hard drive from the dead computer and see if
maybe the drive's good and you can salvage anything from it. Just slap that
drive in, hook the enclosure to the USB port on the new computer and try it,
if the program will even run. I keep a couple old computers around in the
workshop for programming commercial radios and radios like the VX-5, where
the program I have for it is in a group of programs and half of them won't
work with Windows Vista or 7, so I keep a couple old computers around for
that. You can find older computers at recycling centers, or sometimes put
out a want on Craigslist for an old computer, and you'd be surprised how
many have them sitting around because they don't know how to dispose of
them, thought they might want to save it for the kids but didn't, or
whatever. Being on the 900 MHz band there's only commercial equipment to go
up there, so I keep old computers around to program the Motorola radios. The
Kenwood software will for some radios run on newer computers but not all.
For what little VHF I do I prefer the commercial radios when I can anyway,
so it's always nice to have an old computer around that for sure can program
them, plus I have a few friends who were given old Motorola Sabers and what
not to get on with since they can be had for a song just about, they're a
good starter radio. What's sad is, I've had a couple commercial radio shops
around here come to me once or twice because they just couldn't find that
older version of software for a radio, that's when you know you have too
much and I had to set up shop in my storage unit in the basement of the
building I live in.  I have a workshop in there as well because there's no
room in my apartment. I have storage in one corner, work bench and tool
boxes in another corner, a freezer in there and a small old desk with a
computer or two, a box of programming cables and RIB boxes and a power
supply to program the radios. It's always nice to have an old computer
around if needed. My neighbor's furnace is in the middle of it all though,
so I hope they never need to go in there because they'll think I'm crazy or
something, though if they knew me, they'd already know I am.

Send your ideas about troubleshooting to wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for possible
inclusion in next week's edition of your weekly e-letter.



Description: Dog barking at mailman. Jasper loves our mail carrier - she
gives him a treat when she stops by!

George, N0SBU, writes to send us two links to possible LDG talking watt

The TW-1 HF version: 

Both TW-1 and TW-2 (the VHF version):

George also adds: "Pat, this outfit has the LDG talking wattmeter in stock.
It is under their closeout link."

We want to emphasize that we cannot confirm that anyone has these
discontinued units in stock.  However, since they are listed on what looks
like a current website, they may be available. 

Paul, K7VWH, found a story about how ham radio frequencies are under threat.
It appeared April 30th on National Public Radio, which itself is under
threat of funding cuts.  The story is entitled "Ham Radio Volunteers Worry
About Spectrum Plan" and may be found in both text and audio at:


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

This week we take our question from the Extra Class pool, and because I woke
up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and am crabby about all the
rotten weather we have had for months here in Minnesota, we are going to the
"Electrical Principles" section and asking you about complex impedances just
because I feel mean and extra cranky:

E5C02 asks us: In polar coordinates, what is the impedance of a network
consisting of a 100-ohm-reactance inductor, a 100-ohm-reactance capacitor,
and a 100-ohm resistor, all connected in series?

Forget about escaping.  I've locked the doors and windows and we are going
to do some math. Your possible answers are: 

A. 100 ohms at an angle of 90 degrees 

B. 10 ohms at an angle of 0 degrees 

C. 10 ohms at an angle of 90 degrees 

D. 100 ohms at an angle of 0 degrees

When you get questions about polar coordinates, you are going to have to
expect to come up with an answer that includes a number of so many ohms at
such and such an angle. Although you could try to do some brain-busting math
every time you get one of these questions, there are clues to picking the
correct answer, but you have to know a couple of things:

First, capacitive and inductive reactances in series cancel each other out.
If you have played with antennas and learned how to "roll your own", you may
have discovered this basic property.  An antenna that is cut too long may
tune to resonance only if you add capacitive reactance in increments until
you get it just right!  A rule of thumb is that impedances in series add
together. If you add two 100's that cancel each other to one that is pure
resistance, you get 100 plus -100 plus 100 equals 100 ohms.  So there you
have half the answer with mental math - no need to pull out your calculator.
But they will still be looking for an angle to complete the answer.  If you
already know that all you have left is pure resistance because the
capacitive and inductive reactances have cancelled each other out, the angle
will be zero degrees. In polar coordinates, X, or reactance will be on the
vertical axis of a graph and R, or resistance, will be on the horizontal
axis.  Since you have zero reactance after they have cancelled out, the
graph will simply show 100 ohms on the horizontal axis, or zero degrees.
Therefore, the correct answer is D. 100 ohms at an angle of 0 degrees.  


How many questions do I have to get right to pass?

Description: Transceiver with braille book

That's a common question from folks getting ready to take an amateur radio
exam. It depends on the total number of questions in the exam you are
taking. The Tech & General both have 35 questions and the Extra has 50.

Technician: You must correctly answer 26 questions out of the total of 35.

General: You must correctly answer 26 questions out of the total of 35.

Extra: You must correctly answer 37 questions out of the total of 50.

If you are taking a "no figures" exam because you are blind, or have
requested a Braille exam, which is available from some ARRL VE teams
(request it early), you will still get either a 35 or 50 question exam.
Questions without figures will be substituted from the same sections of the
question pools so that you are properly tested on all of the material.


Remote Base Report for 04 May 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

The W0EQO & W0ZSW Handiham Remote Base HF stations are functioning normally.
We will be doing maintenance at W0ZSW on Thursday and the station will be
out of service for a period of time. 

Please report any problems to:  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 


This week @ HQ

*       We have added the Technician question pool with only the correct
answers in computer-spoken MP3 audio in the Manuals/Pools section for our
blind members <http://handiham.org/manuals/Pools/Technician/> . TextAloud
MP3 with AT&T Natural Voices generated the speech. 
*       I will be out at camp again on Thursday and unable to get most phone
calls or email messages. I have two meetings and also hope to get some work
done on the stations. 
*       My home phone: Please, anyone who has my cell or home phone numbers,
instead call my office number, 763-520-0511, for ANY ham radio related
stuff.  We have a limited number of minutes each month on those other
personal lines, which are not paid for by Courage Center. Calls to my office
number go to a Skype in number, which I can get anywhere while I am working.
This number has no limit on minutes. 
*       Nancy is out of the office today, Wednesday.  She will return to the
office on Thursday. 
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.

*       Radios for new Technicians at Radio Camp!  We are pleased to
announce that we will be able to provide new Wouxun dual-band handheld
radios for our campers who earn their Tech licenses at this summer's Radio
Camp.  Call Nancy today for a Radio Camp application. 

.         Tonight is EchoLink net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net
is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +5 hours, or
00:30 GMT Thursday morning. 

o    EchoLink nodes:

*       KA0PQW-R, node 267582
*       N0BVE-R, node 89680
*       HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity

o    Other ways to connect:

*       IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)
WIRES system number 1427

*       Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone
number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in
touch with you. You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  or
call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact


Supporting Handihams - 2011. 

Description: graphic showing figure using wheelchair holding hand of
standing figure

Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage
Center's secure website.

It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you need to use the pull-down
menu to designate your gift to the Handiham program.

.         Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website:
<https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344> &srcid=344

.         Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down
Designation menu to select "Handi-Hams".

.         Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift
is a tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information.
This would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example.

We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year
due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure
that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and
we plan to continue doing just that in 2011.


Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Reminder: Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or
join, as we need you to keep our program strong!

You will have several choices when you renew:

.         Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal
date is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for
one year.

.         Join for three years at $30.

.         Lifetime membership is $100.

.         If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for
the year.

.         Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our

.         Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible.

Your support is critical! Please help.

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532 or
email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club
program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio
Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities.
Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free.1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new
hams on the air.

Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date with
ham radio news. 

You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org
<http://www.handiham.org/> .

Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at
www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> :

.         Beginner

.         General

.         Extra

.         Operating Skills

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!


Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


Description: ARRL Diamond logo

ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide. Please
contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you
fill out the paperwork!

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is
available to everyone free of charge. Please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for
changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and
your new address.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  



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  • » [handiham-world] Corrected version: Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 04 May 2011 - Patrick Tice