[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 03 October 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2012 14:36:48 -0500

*Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday,
03 October 2012*

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. You
can listen to this news online.

MP3 audio stream:

Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:

Get this podcast in iTunes:

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
*Welcome to Handiham World.*

[image: Knight Kit T-60 transmitter]

*Back in the fold and confused as heck.*

From time to time I talk with an amateur radio operator who has been "away
from the hobby" for a while - sometimes quite a few years. The scenario is
that this person has kept his (or her) license current but has simply been
busy with other things and has not only not been on the air, but has not
been paying any attention at all to radio-related publications or websites.
This sort of thing has been happening for the entire history of amateur
radio. When I was first licensed as a teenager, I was full of enthusiasm
for radio and electronics, so it was hard to understand how some of the
other guys seemed to be able to set ham radio aside for a period of time
and simply not be active at all. The explanations varied, but usually
boiled down to being busy with work and raising a family. Over the decades
that I have been licensed, I have found that my interests have changed and
there is a natural ebb and flow in my attention to amateur radio. Still, I
have never actually taken any kind of sabbatical from amateur radio in the
sense that I put the equipment away and didn't get on the air. Some people
do that. Even when I didn't operate a lot, I did stay in touch with my
friends and kept up with the amateur radio news. I'm a long time ARRL
member and QST has always been a good source for news and information about
amateur radio and technology.

But what happens when you pack the equipment away and never read anything
about amateur radio for a significant period of time?

The answer is that you are in for quite a surprise. In fact, there may be
more than one surprise. For one thing, your treasured amateur radio
equipment that has been packed away in boxes for the past 15 years is now
hopelessly out of date. Vacuum tube equipment, if it was part of your ham
shack decades ago, is now passé unless you are an aficionado of such
antique gear. If your equipment was used and sort of old when you
originally got it, it may not even cover all of the modern bands. It might
have analog frequency readout. Even if it is solid-state, the battery that
maintains the settings may have died long ago and left the radio in a
factory default mode. Even worse, equipment that has been stored unused for
long periods of time may not even work. Frequently the storage conditions
are less than optimal, especially if they allow for the intrusion of
moisture – even humidity – or are places that are allowed to get extremely
cold or extremely hot, such as attics or garages. Most often the storage
place is a basement, and if the basement is not well ventilated, humidity
can be a slow killer as it causes contacts to corrode. Equipment that
contains large electrolytic capacitors can be especially dodgy after long
periods in storage because the capacitors may deteriorate. All in all,
equipment that is unused for a long period of time is probably going to be
a disappointment.

Another thing that I run into is people who, because they have not kept up
with the amateur radio news, simply don't know about changes in the rules
and regulations and the state of the art in amateur radio. Thus is it
possible to run into people who still don't know that the Morse code
examination is no longer a testing requirement and who have never heard of
the 60 m band. It's a pretty good bet that these are the folks who will
have the old, dysfunctional station that they think they are going to put
back on the air. If my contact with this person is a phone call, I know
that I'm going to have to settle in for quite a discussion as I bring them
up to date on the last couple of decades in amateur radio. Doing so can be
tricky; how does one explain EchoLink when the person has no idea that a
personal computer is an essential component in the modern ham shack? You
have to be kind of careful and tactful with some of your explanations
because you have to remember where the other person is coming from. In a
sense, it is as if they have time traveled, 20 years into the future, and
when they look around they see technology that they never even imagined
could exist, much less understand and use in amateur radio. I always try to
start with the basics and help them assess their amateur radio goals so
that I can make suggestions as to how they might proceed to get back into
the hobby. The idea is to make getting back into amateur radio seem like a
reasonable and reachable goal, and that means that you will have to help
them figure out what they want to do. If they have kept up their amateur
radio license all these years, they have obviously valued amateur radio as
a worthwhile activity. I always figured that it is my job to help them be
successful, and that can be as unique for every person as there are people
with amateur radio licenses. The secret is to set them at ease so that they
do not feel overwhelmed and hopelessly out of date. A friendly discussion
about how they enjoyed amateur radio in the past can lead to clues about
what their goals in amateur radio might be today. It never hurts to suggest
the local radio club as a helpful resource.  Amateur radio publications and
organizations like ARRL have a fantastic array of services and resources in
print and on the web. Although I am willing to provide phone number and
website information for amateur radio vendors, I like to make sure that a
returnee to our amateur radio fold has a pretty good idea of what his or
her goals are before putting down some big bucks for a new station. On the
other hand, I am not going to be shy about helping the person understand
the limitations of decades-old equipment that they have had in storage.

If you have a chance to help someone who has been out of amateur radio for
a period of time, please be a good listener and help them to reach their
amateur radio goals. Won't it be wonderful when you are able to make a
contact with them on the air, and welcome them back?

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
Troubleshooting 101:  SWR goes up when adding radials to vertical

[image: Cartoon guy with hard hat and toolbag climbing tower]

You have installed a short HF trap vertical antenna, ground-mounted in the
back yard.  By short, I mean that it is a typical multiband antenna that
uses a combination of reactances to be resonant on several HF bands without
a tuner. If you consider that a quarter-wave on the 40 meter band would be
around 10 meters, or over 30 feet, and your antenna is shorter than that
because of the inductance in the traps, then you can expect the feedpoint
impedance of the antenna to be lower than that of a full-sized quarter-wave
single band vertical for that band.

With me so far?

Okay, so you connect the feedline, 50 ohm coax, and run some SWR tests.
The antenna tunes great, and the SWR is low - as close to 1:1 as you can
get - in spite of the fact that you have not even put down any radials.
Tuning around with the receiver, you hear a few stations on several bands,
but nothing spectacular.  An attempt to make a contact on 20 meters fails
because you just can't seem to get through.

Time to finish the job by adding the ground radials that the manufacturer

After the radials are in place, the bands really seem to have improved.
Stations are more numerous and louder, and it's time to check the SWR again
before trying to make some contacts.

Problem: The SWR has gone up!  It's not 1:1 anymore, but it isn't 3:1
either, though it does get pretty high toward the band edges on 40 meters.
In fact, it's a bit too high - around 2:1 - where you like to hang out on
40, in the General class phone band, but lower, around 1.5 to 1 in the CW
band. How should you solve this problem so that you can use the antenna in
the phone band?

It is important to know what is going on here.  You might assume that the
radials are cut to the wrong length and have detuned the system. It would
be a lot of work to pull them up and put in new ones. But the problem did
show after you installed the radials, right?

What you need to know:  Loaded (trap) vertical antennas that are physically
shorter than a quarter-wave will typically have a rather low feedpoint
impedance, below the 50 ohm impedance we would like to see when we use
coaxial cable like RG-8X or RG-213. Over a perfect ground, this would
result in an SWR of over 1:1, sometimes quite a bit over. However, you
installed your vertical over the soil in your back yard, which is not a
perfect ground. Ohmic loss in the soil might add just enough to the too-low
feedpoint impedance of your vertical antenna to add up to a better match
for the 50 ohm coax!

But there is more to a good antenna system than having a low SWR.  A dummy
load has a low SWR and it is not an efficient antenna. Ground radials add
to the conductivity of the soil, cutting ohmic loss and making the antenna
more efficient.  That is why the addition of the radials is recommended by
the manufacturer and why you found out that after they were installed you
were able to hear more stations.  Unfortunately, adding the radials also
had the effect of raising the SWR by cutting those losses that were
contributing to a better match between feedline and antenna!

What to do:  A less than perfect SWR is not a tragedy and the antenna will
work quite well as long as the transmitter will put out full or nearly full
power. In the case of the 40 meter tuning problem, you may need to tune the
antenna by taking it down and shortening the overall length by telescoping
the tubing at the top section, or following whatever tuning procedure is
recommended by the manufacturer. This brings the resonant point close to
where you need it to enjoy whatever part of the band you wish. The
manufacturer may also recommend a matching device at the feedpoint.  You
can also use your automatic antenna tuner to flatten out the SWR so that
the radio will put out full power when you want to run RTTY or CW, assuming
the antenna's SWR might now be higher on the lower frequencies in the 40
meter band.  Whatever you do, don't skip the initial tuning process
outdoors at the antenna, because an indoor automatic antenna tuner cannot
compensate for an antenna that is far out of resonance.

A good radial system is your vertical antenna's best friend, even though it
may raise the SWR a bit on some installations.  Overall, the gain in
efficiency is well worth it!
Handiham Remote Base Software Update

*Posted 03 October 2012*

The W4MQ client has been undergoing many changes. We are working on solving
several issues which will make the next client version work much more

1. The new W4MQ proof of concept Enter Login Information is under
development. With this new interface, both sighted and non-sighted users
will have a way to manage their remote stations in a much more intuitive
and efficient manner. We are adding visual as well as non-visual features
to this interface which we want to release to testing very soon.

2. Skype Runtime error 6 : overflow – This is an issue that we are working
to solve in a current beta version of the client. We are gathering
information in order to figure out what is causing the runtime error.
Current, beta 7 of the W4MQ is under testing and we are obtaining technical
information which will allow Jose Tamayo – KK4JZX to figure out how to
solve the runtime error.

3. Various fundamental code changes are still being made to W4MQ in order
to minimize the number of conversion errors in the application when moving

4. A station has to be chosen from the list first before the status message
shows for the particular station even when the station shows as the first
in the list.

5. Various comments are being added to the client code in order to document
certain functionality.

6. Client deployment process. We are working on preparing an installer that
will allow Handiham members to install new versions of the W4MQ client
without having to perform manual steps to copy files.

7. Performance Improvements. Look for many improvements in performance with
the new client versions. This is a target for all versions of W4MQ client
releases that we are going to make available to the general public.

8. Minor Interface improvements. Other improvements are going to be made to
W4MQ and other items that are broken are being fixed. For example, the DX
Summit option under Info will be fixed in the next version of the Web
Transceiver client. A future version of the client will make the DX summit
URL a customizable option. We are also making the client keyboard keys
easier to understand.
Don't miss the new Tech Net! This week is session five.

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

We have heard lots of positive comments about our new Handiham Tech Net, a
place to discuss technology related to amateur radio. The Tech Net is on
the air at 19:00 hours USA Central Time each Thursday. The regular Handiham
Radio Club Wednesday evening net is at the same 19:00 hours, just one day
earlier.  Daily nets are at 11:00 hours USA Central Time. New this week is
our audio archive, so if you missed the first four sessions, you can find
them here:

*Missed the weekly on the air Handiham Tech Net?  Listen to it

*Missed last week's Handiham Tech Net?  Go to the archive page.

Frequency in the local Minnesota repeater coverage zone: 145.45 FM,
negative offset with no tone and 444.65 MHz with 114.8 Hz tone in the Twin
Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota. The UHF repeater will be
heard more easily in the Eastern Twin Cities.  You will find our daily net
on the air at 11:00 hours USA Central Time, with the Sunday session
featuring a special trivia question theme for a change of pace. A Wednesday
evening session at 19:00 hours USA Central Time also offers a chance to
take a guess at a trivia question and visit with your friends on the air.
Ideal for those who can't make the daily morning session! Then Thursday
evening at 19:00 hours return to the Tech net and learn something new!

*EchoLink nodes:*

HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.)
KA0PQW-R, node 267582
KA0PQW-L, node 538131
N0BVE-R, node 89680

*Other ways to connect:*

IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)

WIRES system number 1427
MFJ anniversary broadcast this weekend![image: MFJ antenna dummy load]

MFJ Enterprises will be celebrating their 40th anniversary October 5th and
6th (Friday and Saturday) in Starkville, Mississippi! For those who can
attend in person, there will be door prizes (must be present to win), free
factory tours (MFJ, Ameritron, Cushcraft, Hy-Gain, Mirage, Vectronics, and
MFJ Metal Shop), free lunch, free tailgating, free forums/discussions, and
FCC license exams.

The event will be carried live on the W5KUB website.  For more information
about content and schedule, please visit:
*A dip in the pool*

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the question
pool, that is!

Let's go to the General Class pool, where we take a look at two related

G2A06 asks: Which of the following is an advantage when using single
sideband as compared to other analog voice modes on the HF amateur bands?

Possible answers are:

A. Very high fidelity voice modulation

B. Less bandwidth used and higher power efficiency

C. Ease of tuning on receive and immunity to impulse noise

D. Less subject to static crashes (atmospherics)

*Hold that thought while we take a look at the next question in the pool. *

G2A07 asks: Which of the following statements is true of the single
sideband (SSB) voice mode?

Possible answers are:

A. Only one sideband and the carrier are transmitted; the other sideband is

B. Only one sideband is transmitted; the other sideband and carrier are

C. SSB voice transmissions have higher average power than any other mode

D. SSB is the only mode that is authorized on the 160, 75 and 40 meter
amateur bands

To answer these questions correctly, one must know something about single
sideband and why it is the preferred mode of phone operation on the HF
bands. You also need to understand the nature of the bands themselves - how
the spectrum space is much more limited than that of of our VHF and UHF
bands, not to mention the characteristics of propagation and the challenge
of noise and interference on the HF bands. When I am teaching about this in
my radio club's General Class course, I like to point out that an HF band
is like a city block with parking places for automobiles along the curb. A
delivery truck might take up several parking places that might be filled by
regular passenger cars. You could fit even more compact and subcompact cars
into the available parking space. Our amateur radio signals are like those
different kinds of vehicles, depending on the mode of operation that we
choose. An FM signal suitable for a repeater on the VHF bands can take up 5
to15 kHz, which is a pretty big "parking place". Single sideband voice only
takes up 2 or 3 kHz, so you could potentially "park" up to five SSB signals
in the same space as one FM signal. Amateur television (fast scan) takes up
a whopping 6 MHz, which would be the equivalent of a huge piece of
construction equipment, taking up every parking place on the block!  AM
voice operation takes up around 6 kHz, and used to be very common on all of
the popular HF bands before SSB. As SSB came into more common use, it
became pretty obvious that it "made the trip" through noise and
interference better than the old AM signals, thanks to its ability to use
the available power only for part of the signal containing information. And
it was a huge bonus that you could fit 2 SSB signals into the same "parking
space" on the band as a single AM signal.

By now you know that answer B, Less bandwidth used and higher power
efficiency, is the correct answer to the first question. And the reason
that is correct is contained in the correct answer to the second question:
B, Only one sideband is transmitted; the other sideband and carrier are
suppressed. This allows the available power to be concentrated in only one
sideband, allowing you to concentrate on sending only
information-containing power.  There is no sense using power in the carrier
and the other sideband because one sideband contains all the necessary
voice information. That is why most of the phone signals on the HF bands
are SSB.  AM is still used on certain frequencies, where the folks who
enjoy using older equipment or who simply prefer AM like to hang out.  One
such hangout is around 3.885 MHz. You might try listening early in the
morning on that frequency to hear some of the old AM equipment in use!

Errata:  In the question from last week, *How much power is consumed in a
circuit consisting of a 100 ohm resistor in series with a 100 ohm inductive
reactance drawing 1 ampere?, *the correct answer is found by ignoring the
part of the question that refers to inductive reactance and simply treating
it as a simple problem of Power in Watts = Current in Amps squared
multiplied by Resistance in Ohms.  That's it!  So you multiply 100 by 1 by
1 and get 100 Watts.  I inadvertently left out the "squared" part of the
formula.  Thanks to K0CJ for pointing out this omission. Lucky for me that
1 times 1 still equals 1, so the answer was still correct - but had it been
another number I might not have been so lucky!

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
*Remote Base health report: W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line.

[image: Image of TS-480SAT courtesy Universal Radio]

Work continues at a good pace on the client software update. Accessibility
is a high priority in the new release.

If problems show up, please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

New! Keyboard commands list updated:

*Solar Activity Forecast:* Solar activity is expected to be very low to low
for the next 3 days (3-5 October).

*Geophysical Activity Forecast:* The geomagnetic field is expected to be
mostly quiet for the next 3 days (3-5 October).

Credit: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
This week @ HQ


*We are in the process of moving file storage back to our Golden Valley
location. *This is a time-intensive process and will affect my availability
for audio lectures and office hours through the end of October.

*Change in address for equipment donations:  *Please contact Pat, WA0TDA,
before making any donation of equipment. My phone number is 763-520-0511
and my email address is pat.tice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The address is now the
same as our postal mailing address. This should simplify our contact

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

*Equipment change: *We no longer accept antennas, except small accessory
antennas for handheld radios.

*The October CQ has arrived this week, thanks to reading volunteer Bob
Zeida, N1BLF.  It will be available on Friday in DAISY format for our blind
members. QST and Worldradio have arrived and we have read selected articles
for our blind members.  *Our blind members using NLS cartridges or 4-track
tape cassettes will receive their mailing soon. Tape users, please remember
that your tape service ends this year as we phase out the old cassette

*Digital mailers are important! *If you do mail a digital cartridge to us,
please be sure that it is an approved free matter mailer. Otherwise it will
quickly cost us several dollars to package and mail out, which is more than
the cost of the mailer in the first place. We don't have a stock of
cartridges or mailers and not including a mailer will result in a long
delay getting your request back out to you.

DAISY audio digests are available for our blind members who do not have
computers, playable in your Library of Congress digital player.  Handiham
members who use these players and who would prefer to receive a copy of the
monthly audio digests on the special Library of Congress digital cartridge
should send a blank cartridge to us in a cartridge mailer (no envelopes,
please), so that we can place the files on it and return it to you via free
matter postal mail.  Your callsign should be on both the cartridge and the
mailer so that we can make sure we know who it's from. Blank cartridges and
mailers are available from APH, the American Printing House for the Blind,
Inc. <http://www.aph.org/>

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Catalog Number: 1-02610-00, Price: $12.00

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price:

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital

Get it all on line as an alternative:  Visit the DAISY section on the
Handiham website after logging in.
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 at
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call

Handiham Manager Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone at 763-520-0511.

Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us.

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, KD0LPX, at
763-520-0532 or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Call 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.
Email us to subscribe:

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:
patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

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
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  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


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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 03 October 2012 - Patrick Tice