[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07 March 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 14:39:05 -0600

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.

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Welcome to Handiham World.

[image: J-38 code key]

On March 5, 2012 the latest version of the United States Amateur Radio
Bands chart from ARRL became effective.  If you will recall, last November
the FCC made some changes to the 60 meter band, and this new chart brings
us up to date.  Of course that will mean that you will want the latest
version on your computer or in your ham shack for reference. Prior to this
week, only upper sideband operation was allowed on the channelized 60 meter
band.  Few of us had actually made the move to 60 meters and made contacts,
partly because of the odd restrictions in frequencies and modes, but also
because many antenna systems just didn't tune on 60 meters.  Even so, those
who were adventuresome took the plunge and were delighted to find that
propagation on 60 meters made it quite a useful alternative to 75 and 40
meters since it has characteristics of both of those popular bands. This
morning I was surprised to be listening on 5.330.5 MHz and hear a station
in the southeastern United States calling CQ using CW at around 30 words
per minute. He called off and on for perhaps 15 minutes, obviously using a
programmed keyer before he was finally answered by a station somewhere on
the East Coast. I have to admit that 30 words per minute is too fast for me
to copy comfortably, so I had to listen up to make sure I was hearing
correctly. After all, only upper sideband operation was allowed on the 60 m
band. When I was sure I was copying the call sign correctly, I decided to
check the frequency chart on my wall just to confirm that only upper
sideband operation was allowed. The chart confirmed this, but then I
recalled the changes that the FCC had made and decided to check the ARRL
website for a new frequency chart. Sure enough, a new version was available
and had been released just two days ago!

The difference is pretty significant, because the effective radiated power,
the modes of operation, and even one of the channelized frequencies have
been changed.  Let's go over the "new" 60 meter band as shown in the ARRL
Frequency Chart.  Here is the new information for our blind members in an
easy to listen format:

The 60 meter band is also known as the 5.3 MHz band.  Only General,
Advanced, and Extra Class licensees may use 60 meters.  All of these
license classes have full band privileges.

The five channels available on a secondary basis with a maximum effective
radiated power of 100 W PEP relative to a half wave dipole are:

5.330.5 MHz

5.346.5 MHz

5.357.0 MHz

5.371.5 MHz

5.403.5 MHz

Some readers and listeners may find it odd that we have listed two decimal
points in each frequency. I decided to do it that way because this
preserves the concept of the "5.3 MHz band". The ARRL chart lists
kilohertz, so that the frequency would read 5330.5 kHz, for example. On my
ICOM IC-7200 transceiver the readout follows our listing in megahertz and
has two decimal points.

Only USB suppressed carrier voice, CW, RTTY, and data such as Packtor 3
transmissions are allowed on the 60 m band.

There is a bandwidth restriction on 60 m.  Bandwidth is limited to 2.8 kHz
centered on 5.332, 5.348, 5.358.5, 5373, and 5.405 MHz respectively. (For
example, you will be on the right frequency if you use upper sideband and
tune to 5.330.5 MHz, which is the carrier frequency.)

All things considered, the 60 m band has been improved by these changes. It
is still quite unique in its channelized nature, but the addition of new
modes of operation do increase its versatility and will make it more
attractive to a wider variety of users. Although there is no restriction on
which mode of operation may or should be used on which channel, I did hear
the CW station on 5.330.5 MHz, perhaps because that is the traditional
lowest frequency spot on the band where CW operators might decide to
congregate. Perhaps at some time in the future there will be at least an
informal band plan beyond the more or less agreed upon use of 5.403.5 MHz
as a DX frequency. The increase in power from 50 W to 100 W makes the band
more useful still, especially during summertime band conditions when more
power is likely to be needed to be heard above thunderstorm static.

I hope you will consider giving the 60 m band a test drive if you have a
General Class license or above and an antenna that can be tuned to 5.3 MHz.
I think you will be surprised and delighted with the propagation
characteristics on 60, and will likely add it to your regular list of
useful frequency bands.

For Handiham World, I'm...
Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx
Handiham Manager
Last, last call about the new handiham.org:

I've decided to hold the website enrollment over until this Friday.  If you
want access without the bother, just email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx  Please,
Handiham members only!

We are now running on a new server, where we expect excellent service and
reliability. There are likely going to be a few glitches, so bear with us
while we get everything up and running. The old website is now available
with somewhat less maintenance at www.handiham.net.  Please report problems
to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx   If your log in credentials don't work on the new
website, you need to create an account. Please use your callsign as
username (or whatever username you had for the old website if you are not
yet licensed.) Here is the Create Account Link:
Spaceweather.com reports that a CME is on the way:

"Big sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another major flare--an X5-class eruption
on March 7th at 00:28 UT. As a result of the blast, a radiation storm is
underway and a CME will likely hit Earth's magnetic field in a day or so.
Geomagnetic storms are already in progress at high latitudes due to earlier
eruptions from the active sunspot. Last night, auroras were spotted over
several northern-tier US states including Michigan and Wisconsin."

More at:

[image: Cartoon rabbit postal carrier with letters]

Ken, KB3LLA, sent this:

This is just what you need for when you enter the Handiham office:  Star
Trek Electronic Door Chime for $29.99

ThinkGeek has a device that any Star Trek fan would enjoy and it's helpful
to the blind as well! Have you ever wanted a sensor that could alert you
when someone entered the room? Maybe you have a business and want to know
when someone comes in to make a purchase. Well, the Star Trek Electronic
Door Chime for $29.99 plus shipping might be the thing you've been looking
for. Just mount one on the wall by your door and when someone crosses your
threshold, it will alert you. Choose between the door opening sound effect
or the Red Alert alarm. There's even a button on the front for the
Communicator Whistle sound, for those times when you need to call for
assistance. This is an officially licensed Star Trek collectible that takes
3 AA Batteries (not included). Dimensions: 6 1/2" x 5 1/4" x 1".

 Yo, ho - getting ready for Radio Camp on the lake!

  Bill Jones, N0CIC, gets the pontoon boat ready for HF radio operation on
Cedar Lake at Camp Courage. Handiham Radio Camp is an annual event - a
residential camp designed especially for people with disabilities. Camp
lies on 305 acres of beautiful lakeshore, woods and fields near Maple Lake,
Minn. (about 50 miles west of the Twin Cities).

Radio Camp is one of Courage Center Camping Department's sessions for adult
campers. Cabins are modern, comfortable, and accessible.

Through the week, we feature afternoon boat rides, and the boat has to have
radio aboard, right? After all, it IS radio camp! Bill - Captain Bill to you
landlubbers - gets the boat outfitted with a mobile HF antenna system and HF
radio so that we can make contacts, sometimes even DX contacts from around
world, during the afternoon cruise. The radio is generally an Icom IC-718
equipped with a speech chip for our blind "crew members".

The pontoon boat goes out every day that weather permits. Safety first! If
lake waters are choppy or if the weather seems dodgy, we spend the afternoon
indoors instead. Our landlubber stations are ready for you to use to talk to
friends or work DX. The camp VHF repeater is connected to the world via

We hope to see you at Radio Camp 2012!

See more photos of Bill getting ready for another Radio Camp

Another reason to come to camp - the Handiham Equipment Program:  If you
need a radio or a related accessory, we will attempt to provide it to our
radio campers so that they can take it home and get on the air.

[image: Avery, K0HLA, in his bearded phase, operating an old crystal radio
Photo: Avery, K0HLA, poses with a crystal radio set.  "I need a cat whisker
for this thing. Where can I find a cat?"

Camp application packages are available.  We have decided not to post them
on line this time, because of printing and formatting hassles.  Just call
or email Nancy for an application and one will be sent right out.

   - 1-866-426-3442
   - hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dates for Radio Camp 2012 are Saturday, June 2 - Friday, June 8, 2012.  We
have openings for up to 30 campers.

New Remote Base Pages go Online
[image: Screen from remote base pages: rig, keyboard, w4mq software]

The Handiham System operates two HF (short-wave) remote base stations for
its members. The project was conceived in 2008, and began in earnest in
2009 with the installation of a Kenwood TS-480SAT transceiver at Camp
Courage North, Lake George, Minnesota. The station was set up by Handiham
volunteer Lyle Koehler, K0LR, and Handiham Manager Pat Tice, WA0TDA, with
antenna help from volunteer Bill Jones, N0CIC, who is an expert getting
antennas up into trees. The station callsign is W0EQO, and it operates
throughout the year, 24 hours a day, and has survived even the coldest
winter nights in its unheated attic server room deep in the pines of far
northern Minnesota.

In 2010 planning began for a second station in southern Minnesota at Camp
Courage, which lies west of the Twin Cities metro area, about an hour's
drive. This second station is at Handiham Headquarters at the camp's main
reception center. The station went into service in time for Radio Camp that
year with a Kenwood TS-570 and some borrowed equipment. Volunteers Dave
Glas, W0OXB, and John Harvard, KC0UHY, put up a 300 foot double extended
zepp antenna fed with 450 ohm ladderline and a coax balun. Volunteer Eliot
Ricciardelli, KE0N, let us use an automatic antenna tuner from his own
shack and helped Lyle, K0LR, with the software setup. This station used our
flagship callsign W0ZSW, which was originally held by Handiham founder Ned
Carman, who is a silent key. The station was upgraded with a new computer,
LDG AT-200PRO autotuner, and Kenwood TS-480HX transceiver in 2011.

Both stations feature Kenwood accessibility technology for blind users,
thanks to the installed VGS1 speech modules.

The stations are controlled via W4MQ software written by Stan Schretter,
W4MQ. Stan has given us permission to host the software and continue its
development. Although we have written web pages to help members install the
software and learn how to use it, more needs to be done. The latest effort
is our beta website pages located at the new remote base website, which you
can find at www.handiham.org/remotebase.

The new site is managed through Wordpress. We hope that it will make more
sense to our users than the old collection of seemingly random pages that
grew up willy-nilly along with the remote base stations themselves.
Remember that this is a work in progress. We are open to suggestions and
serious contributions by power users who really understand the radios and
the software. The ultimate goal is to make the web resource easy to use for
everyone. The site is open to all amateur radio operators, since it has
links to both the W4MQ client software (which you install to use the remote
base stations) and the W4MQ host software (which you use to host your own
remote base station.)

Our thanks to all who have helped with this project - donors, volunteers,
members, and amateur operators who have been patient with us and with our
members as we - and they - learn to operate remotely.

You can visit the new site at:
Troubleshooting 101

[image: Cartoon guy with toolkit]
[image: A pine tree lies where it fell, across the feedline at W0ZSW.]

* What you don’t want to see: Tree down… on the feedline.*

A recent storm brought freezing rain followed by falling temperatures and
heavy, wet snow to Wright County, where the Handiham W0ZSW remote base
station is located. A (thankfully) smallish pine tree succumbed to the load
and broke about three feet up the trunk, falling onto the station’s 450 ohm
feedline. The station was taken off the air for three and a half days to
prevent damage to the transmitter. Thanks to my helpful crew of camp
maintenance guys Ben and Tom, plus the availability of a Bobcat loader to
break through the snow and ice and the essential chainsaw, the station is
back on the air.

Sometimes troubleshooting requires "big boy" tools!

Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager
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 taking a question from the new Extra Class pool.

*E1E02 asks: *Where are the questions for all written US amateur license
examinations listed?

Possible answers are:

A. In FCC Part 97
B. In an FCC-maintained question pool
C. In the VEC-maintained question pool
D. In the appropriate FCC Report and Order

This is the kind of Extra Class pool question test candidates pray to get
on their exams.  It's easy:  The correct answer is C; In the VEC-maintained
question pool.  This kind of question is generally considered way easier
than one about polar coordinates, although you will probably get one of
those, too.  It is my experience that most candidates would rather bench
press a couple of Astron RS-35A power supplies than work out a question
requiring a page of calculations.  As for today's question, it makes sense
for the resource-strapped FCC to delegate the maintenance of the question
pool to a trusted third party such as the NCVEC.  The volunteers who work
on the pool questions also know and understand amateur radio better than
the FCC.  It is a win-win situation!
Remote Base Health Report for 07 March 2012

[image: W4MQ software screenshot]

We have a new beta website for the remote base software. You may check it
out at:

*W0ZSW is on line.
W0EQO is on line. *

Please check the latest operating tips on the remote base pages:

Request for feedback!

Have you installed the remote base software?  How were the instruction
pages on our website?  We know that these pages need updating and we are
looking for feedback from users.  The idea is to make them less confusing -
and they are pretty confusing right now because we have added items over
the years without looking at the big picture.  If you have suggestions, we
would very much appreciate hearing from you. Please contact wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

The link to the daily status update pages:

Our thanks to volunteer engineer Lyle Koehler, K0LR, for his help
maintaining the station databases and updates.
This week @ HQ

Technician License Class continues in Stillwater this Thursday (March 8)
for Handiham Members and the General Public

   - Location:  Stillwater Public Library (224 Third Street North),
   Stillwater, MN.
   - When: Thursdays beginning March 1 (8 Thursday sessions)  6:00 to 8:00
   - This class is free, though participants will have to buy or bring
   their own study materials.  We - and I say "we" because I am one of the
   instructors - will be using the ARRL Technician book "Ham Radio License
   Manual" as the text.  Handiham members are encouraged to attend.

If you are a Handiham member and your member log in does not work on the
new Handiham.org, please use the Create Account link and set up your new

Your log in credentials should still work on the old site, which is now at

The Handiham website log in credentials are for the use of Handiham
members. If you are not a member, you may still enjoy browsing the many
articles and the weekly audio podcast without logging in. If you are a
Handiham member (you have joined us by contacting Handiham headquarters),
you may use the Create New Account link to get started. Please use the
email address you already have on file with us, and your callsign as the
user name. The reason for this is that we need to check to see that you are
who you say you are. We get many fraudulent credential requests from
spammers. Odd user names instead of callsigns get deleted. If you are a
Handiham member without a callsign (you are studying for Technician),
please be sure you let our office know what username and password you would
like so that we can set it up.
The link to the Create Account is here:
Tonight is EchoLink net night.

[image: Echolink screenshot]

The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time,
which translates to 01:30 GMT Thursday morning.  But next Wednesday?
Remember, it will be daylight time here in the United States. The local
time shifts ahead one hour.  That means if the net time is 19:30 CDT, it
will be +5 hours, or 00:30 GMT.

Our Daily Net changes to DST on Sunday, 10 March.  The 11:00 daily net will
be heard at 16:00 GMT.

EchoLink nodes:

HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.)
KA0PQW-R, node 267582
KA0PQW-L, node 538131
N0BVE-R, node 89680
N9GMR-R 640860
W0EQO-R, node 309436

Other ways to connect:

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

More information about repeaters and nodes may be found at
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
1-866-426-3442. Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to
contact us.
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 year.
   - 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
disabilities.  We are in the process of revising the video, so it is
presently out of stock.  You can get on the list to get one when they are
back in stock.

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

   - 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:

*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!*

[image: ARRL Diamond Logo]

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

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07 March 2012 - Patrick Tice