[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 04 July 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2012 13:56:19 -0500

*Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday,
04 July 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.*

We wish our USA members a happy Independence Day, and our Canadian members
a belated Canada Day.

High summer here in North America isn't exactly the best time to explore
the HF bands, given the constant parade of interference-generating
thunderstorms marching across the continent. While bands like 160 and 75
meters may seem like wall-to-wall noise, there are always some intrepid
operators sticking to their usual schedules. The best time on both bands is
usually early morning before solar heating and convection starts cooking up
more lightning and thunder and before absorption becomes too odious, a real
problem for propagation as the sun climbs higher in the sky. Summer is the
traditional sporadic-E skip time of year, so it doesn't hurt to keep
checking out the VHF bands. A clue is that you might hear repeater
identifiers that you don't recognize because they are far outside the usual
repeater coverage area. If you hear stations on 10 meters, you might also
check out the 6 meter band.  You never know - perhaps there is an opening,
and if you are trying to work all states, such openings can be pure gold.

Summer, especially post-Field Day, is often considered the least active
time of the ham radio year. Radio clubs may shut down for a few months in
the summer - usually June, July, and August - and resume operations in
September. The conventional wisdom is that people are busy doing summer
stuff like taking vacations, working in the yard, boating, fishing - you
name it, ANYTHING but sitting inside at the radio! But summer weather might
chase you indoors with its heat and humidity. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad
time to get on the air after all. Besides, summer is a good time to get
antenna projects done. Let's list some summer ham radio activities:

   - Put up or repair your antenna system.
   - Check out VHF propagation on 6 and 2 meters. Try SSB on both bands.
   Log your contacts and send us a brag about your farthest contact so that we
   can publish it and make you famous.
   - Go bicycle mobile!
   - Take ham radio on vacation with you, both as a mobile station in the
   family car and as a portable station.
   - Check into the daily Handiham Echolink net. If you have a smart phone,
   try checking in via the Echolink app. (Android and iPhone)
   - Try out the Handiham HF remote base stations. Say hello to the folks
   on the always-friendly PICONET on 3.925 MHz.
   - Build a kit.
   - Study for a license or upgrade.
   - Try setting up your own EchoLink or IRLP node.
   - Take your handheld radio with you on a walk and find out how many
   contacts you can make on local repeaters.
   - Set a goal to work as many stations as possible on 10 meters. Log all
   your contacts.
   - What?!! You don't have a logging program? Install XMLog and learn to
   use it. http://www.xmlog.com (Yes, it is blind-friendly, and it's free.)
   - On the water? Take ham radio with you on the boat. Don't drop the
   radio in the water.
   - New to blind-accessible technology? Try downloading DAISY book
   software and reading a DAISY book with it. Make it a ham radio book from
   the Handiham website. (More on this in a minute.)

I could go on and on (maybe I already have), but you get the idea.  Now
let's get out there and have some ham radio fun!

*This is a reminder that the Handiham office is closed this week and open
only with very limited services and hours next week.*

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
Storms sideline Handiham remote base stations:

[image: Status check screen showing w0zsw offline.]

*Severe storms in northern Minnesota last night had disrupted internet
service to W0EQO at Courage North. The station returned to service around
12:50 PM on 3 July 2012. *

*W0ZSW is still offline following storm damage and power outages that
disrupted our internet and networking equipment at Camp Courage. It was the
first time in the history of our double remote system that both stations
have been offline at the same time due to storms. Due to limited staffing
at this time, we are unable to resolve the problems quickly.*

Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be moderate during
the period (03 - 05 July) with M-class flares expected from Regions 1513
and 1515.

Geophysical Activity Forecast: Geomagnetic field activity is expected to
remain at unsettled to active levels on day 1 (02 July) as CH HSS effects
persist. Activity is expected to decrease to quiet to unsettled levels
during days 2 - 3 (04 - 05 July) as CH HSS effects gradually subside. The
CME associated with today's M5/2b flare is not expected to disturb the
field during the forecast period.

Credit: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/today.html
Extra Class lectures are suspended

The Handiham Extra Class audio lecture series is suspended for revision and
all audio lectures related to the old series have been removed from the
server. The new Extra Class question pool went into effect on July 1, 2012.
Lectures will be returned to the server one at a time as they are either
replaced with new ones or revised to be compliant with the new pool.
*A dip in the pool*

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

Today we are turning to a question from the General Class pool:

G2B07 asks: *"Which of the following complies with good amateur practice
when choosing a frequency on which to initiate a call?"*

Possible choices are:

A. Check to see if the channel is assigned to another station
B. Identify your station by transmitting your call sign at least 3 times
C. Follow the voluntary band plan for the operating mode you intend to use
D. All of these choices are correct

Boy, oh boy - some of these questions are written with pretty sneaky
choices, aren't they? It is easy to assume that answer A, for example,
means that you should listen on the frequency to see if it is already
occupied. Of course you should always do that before transmitting on any
frequency, but that is not what the question is asking. If you look at the
exact wording you will realize that it says "assigned to another station".
Frequencies are most emphatically NOT assigned to specific stations in the
Amateur Service, so we can cross that one off the list. Answer B suggests
that transmitting one's call sign at least three times is the right way to
initiate a call. Well, that MIGHT be right if conditions are really bad and
it is very difficult to communicate, but since those conditions are not
given in the question, we must also reject this answer. Answer C is the
correct one, stating that you should "Follow the voluntary band plan for
the operating mode you intend to use." The reason for voluntary band plans
is to maintain order on the bands by helping to guide users toward other
users who are using the same modes. This helps to reduce interference,
increases the chances of successful contacts, and makes the use of our
frequency bands more efficient. Finally, we can easily eliminate answer D,
which incorrectly states that all of the answers are correct.

Incidentally, this reminds me that some exams showing up in VE sessions now
scramble the possible answers so that the "All of these choices are
correct" option may not be in the traditional "D" choice spot. That is why
the answer is no longer worded "All of the above...".

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
July Events by N1YXU

Summer has definitely arrived in the Southeastern states. Work on the
antennas is an early morning event to accommodate the heat of the day. The
reward is being able to operate inside in the cool house!

I hope you had a great Field Day. Our club certainly did. We were fortunate
to have pleasant weather and fairly good propagation. We will see how we
did when the results are published in a few months.

Until next month….

- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read the entire events column at:
http://www.handiham.org/node/100  <http://www.handiham.org/node/100>
*July vacation*

[image: Dude in vacation clothing, eating burger, camera on strap]

The Handiham office will be closed July 1 - 8, then open only on occasion
the next week, July 9 - 15, 2012. We hope you all enjoy a mid-summer break.
No Handiham renewals, applications, or orders will be processed during that
time. Please try to hold phone calls and emails to a minimum. No, the photo
above is not a picture of anyone at Handihams. We could only hope to be
that handsome.
DAISY software is free:  JAWS & Window-Eyes scripts are included!

[image: AMIS screenshot showing General Pool by N1BLF]

DAISY books provide spoken word audio that is connected to text. This is
the new world standard for blind users. If you have a Windows computer and
need a way to read DAISY books, you should try the free software "AMIS",
which is pronounced "ah-me". It is French for "friend", and you will
certainly find AMIS to be your friend once you begin using it and finding
out how easy it is to navigate through sections of books, finding just what
you want. AMIS is self-voicing, but the installation file does include
scripts for both the JAWS and Window-Eyes screenreaders.

How to get started:

   - AMIS is a free of charge, open source DAISY book playback software.
   DAISY books are used by our Handiham members who are blind or have a
   reading disability.
   - Check the AMIS website for the latest stable release of AMIS. You can
   view the release notes, learn the latest news, or download AMIS by visiting
   - Handiham members can log in to the Members Only section, go to the
   Handiham Daisy Book Collection, and in the DAISY directory find the book of
   interest to them.
   - For example, go to the DAISY directory, locate the file
   "2011-2015_General_pool_by_N1BLF.zip" and download it. This is the entire
   General Class question pool with only the correct answers, read by Handiham
   volunteer Bob Zeida, N1BLF.
   - A zip file is a single compressed file that contains many individual
   files. It is usually very large and provides the simplest way for users of
   DAISY books to download the entire book as a single file.
   - Once downloaded, the zip file must be "unzipped", a process that
   recreates the original DAISY book in a single computer folder. New versions
   of Windows do this right through Windows Explorer, but older versions may
   require unzipping software.
   - When you have the DAISY book recreated in its folder, it is time to
   use AMIS to open the book. The file you want AMIS to open is called
   ncc.html. All the files from the folder must be in the same folder for AMIS
   to read the book.
   - Place the folder on your Windows Desktop so that you can locate the
   folder easily. The command CTRL-O brings up the AMIS open file dialog.
   - After that, AMIS is pretty intuitive. Play around with it and you will
   be delighted with how easy it is to use.

*This week @ HQ*

*Summer hours: *Our schedule is somewhat flexible following Radio Camp in
the summer. Mornings Monday through Thursday remain the best time to
contact us, but occasionally we will be closed. Leave a voice mail message
or email and we will get back to you. Remember that summer is vacation
time, especially in July. Since we have a small staff, we will have to
defer some services for up to three weeks during July. We will update the
audio pages and lectures weekly as usual during July. There will be a
weekly Handiham World E-Letter each week during July, though the schedule
may be slightly different on July 4th, which is on a Wednesday.

*July 2012  DAISY format audio digest for our blind members:* Check out the
July edition, which at this time includes the QST and Worldradio digests
for our blind members in Daisy format in the DAISY section.  Members using
NLS digital cartridges may receive the digest by Free Matter postal mail.

*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,

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. *
*Wednesday is EchoLink net night.*

*No ham radio license? No radio? No problem! Listen to our net on line
using your computer or tablet/smartphone at 11:00 AM Central Time daily -
Everyone welcome!* <http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/?feedId=9593>

The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time,
which translates to 00:30 GMT Thursday morning.

The 11:00 daily net will be heard at 16:00 GMT.

Please note that the camp repeater, W0EQO-R, is no longer available due to
the lack of an IP address. Our single IP has been assigned to W0ZSW-L,
which controls the HF remote station and which gets quite a lot of use.

The following EchoLink nodes are always connected to the Handiham

HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.)
NX0P-R, node 513917
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

More information about repeaters and nodes may be found at

A big THANK YOU to all of our net volunteers who keep things running so
*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.

Answers to many questions about radios, Echolink, nets, and the Remote Base
stations are all at www.handiham.org.

*Supporting Handihams - 2012. *

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

Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website:

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 2012.

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

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Benefits of membership:


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

Join at the usual $12 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal date is
the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for one

Join for three years at $36.

Lifetime membership is $120.

If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable sponsored

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

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

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:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at




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:
patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:

*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, 04 July 2012 - Patrick Tice