[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 June 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2012 11:56:03 -0500

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:

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*Welcome to Handiham World.*

*We are back after a week at Radio Camp. There are lessons to be learned.*

But first, I want to take you back to the early 1990's, when interest in
public service communications saw a real growth following the 9/11 attacks.
Ham radio operators dusted off their VHF/UHF handheld radios and headed to
training sessions. It was at one such event that many of us in my own local
radio club found out how little we actually knew about operating our
radios. In an embarrassing exercise that really only called for some very
simple operations to be performed on the handheld radios, we discovered
that many - maybe most - of us didn't know how to enter frequencies, set
offsets, and enter subaudible tones. In a real public communications
emergency all of these things might leap to the fore as necessary skills.
After all, plans change, interference happens, and repeaters can fail. We
have to be ready to deal with all of these things - and more.

[image: Matt, KA0PQW, talks on an HT while Phil, K9HI stands by.]

*Photo: Matt, KA0PQW, talks on an HT while Phil, K9HI, leads a critique of
the emergency communications exercise.*

Now fast forward to Handiham Radio Camp 2012. Our scripted emergency
exercise, written and led by volunteer Phil Temples, K9HI, called for a
post-tornado communications response. Handheld radios and one mobile rig
(for the net control station) were programmed and ready to go. Unbeknownst
to the participants, a scheduled "repeater failure" took the camp repeater
off the air mid-exercise. There was a good deal of scrambling to figure out
a workaround during that part of the exercise. As a result, the mobile rig
at the net control position was so out of whack from random button-pushing
that it required a hard reset to return it to the original factory
settings. Some participants had not programmed their handheld radios at all
prior to the exercise and were left scratching their heads or borrowing
radios from someone else.

This happens at virtually every camp, so we came up with an idea to test
for HT skills. (Thanks, AB8WF.) We will be letting you know what is going
to be involved in this skills test, more about which will be featured in
the August Worldradio Online. In addition, we also are mulling over an
operating skills exam in written format and an HF skills exam. This would
give our Handiham members some new goals to work toward. We would provide
an actual certificate for each "element" of our new skills testing. It
would be fun to earn each certificate, but it would also help operators to
focus on really learning their equipment.

We also had a VE session at camp, so here's a photo of Rachel, KC0VBV,
receiving her certificate of successful completion of examination from Dr.
Dave Justis, KN0S. Congrats, Rachel! Our thanks to the Stillwater Amateur
Radio Association (SARA) for fielding the VE team, and to VE Team Leader
Shel Mann, N0DRX, and all the VEs. Following the VE session Shel and XYL
Mary, N0DXH, stuck around to help us take down the wire antennas.

[image: Rachel, KC0VBV, receives her CSCE from Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, after
successfully passing General.]

*Photo: Rachel, KC0VBV, receives her certificate of successful completion
of examination from Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S. *

[image: Bill Vokac, K9BV, points out a sine wave during his General Class

*Photo: Bill, K9BV, teaches the General Class. Here he points out a sine
wave. "What goes up must come down." *

[image: Lucinda, AB8WF, at the notebook computer.]

*Photo: Lucinda, AB8WF, taught one on one computer lessons and brought
computers up to date, which included installing Microsoft Security
Essentials. She also taught remote base operation with JAWS. Lucinda also
suggested the operating skills certification and will continue to work with
us on the lessons and testing. *

Of course old man Murphy is not ever far from any antenna project, so the
center insulator and 450 ohm feedline got REALLY stuck in the tree we used
as the dipole antenna's center support. We did have some wind during the
week, so we will blame it on that rather than any of our expert antenna
wranglers! Here is a photo of Dr. Dave attaching the remnants of the 450
ohm line to the back of my Honda CRV so that I can drag the feedline out of
the clutches of the greedy tree with some serious horsepower. This proved
successful, and although the feedline was somewhat the worse for wear Dr.
Dave did collect the pieces for use back at his home QTH. He isn't afraid
of splicing the somewhat ragged pieces together!

[image: Dr. Dave, KN0S, attaches the ladder line to the towing hook on the

*Photo: No, we are not going to run 450 ohm open-wire ladder line to a
mobile W0OXB Special antenna!*

Although we foiled Murphy's antenna tangle, he wasn't through with his
mischief. On Thursday evening I discovered that the Drupal-powered
Handiham.org website had gone down and that problem persisted through
Friday and the weekend. Here's the story:

*Handiham.org returns to service following SQL failure*

The database failure at Handiham.org has been resolved. Our thanks to the
kind technical support people at Network Solutions for their assistance.

The SQL database required by Drupal failed due to a problem with the table
structure. This proved to be a bit beyond the pay grade and capabilities of
your humble Handiham Manager to figure out, so I had to ask the folks at
Network Solutions, our hosting service, for assistance.

The problem surfaced on Thursday, June 7, while we were at Handiham Radio
Camp and as a result of being very busy at camp I didn't notice that
anything was wrong until very late Thursday night. Friday was travel day,
so everyone was getting their travel back home underway and there was
really no time to think about the website until later on Friday afternoon
when I myself got back home. By that time it was quite late in the week and
when I called Network Solutions I knew it would probably mean a weekend
wait for a regular business day crew to be back on board - unless the staff
could help me with a relatively simple problem. I spoke to my tech support
guy, another ham who of course knew all about us, and we scheduled the
service for this week. I am happy to report that the site has been restored
to service as of this Tuesday morning, right on schedule. Good work, Netsol!

During the outage I redirected the site to www.handiham.net, which contains
much of the same information as www.handiham.org. It served as our backup
over the outage period but not all usernames and passwords work because
they have not all been updated on both sites. However, the members only
website, the DAISY directory, and the Manuals directory all continued in
service uninterrupted.

Of course we apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this outage may
have caused. I guess one good thing about it happening in the summer was
that everyone seems to be so preoccupied with summer outdoor activities
that not too many people noticed!

**HANDIHAM* Echolink node guy visits camp!*

[image: Matt, KA0PQW; Susan Tice; Pat, WA0TDA, and Handiham volunteer Mike,

*Photo: Left to right - Matt, KA0PQW; Susan Tice; Pat, WA0TDA, and Handiham
volunteer Mike, N0VZC, who hosts the excellent *HANDIHAM* conference which
makes the worldwide Handiham net run smoothly on a single high-capacity
node. Mike and Don, N0BVE (not pictured) visited to help the camp with some
networking. I think he's the guy who took this photo. *

*Post-camp cute puppy alert!*

[image: Jasper saws some logs]

*Photo: Jasper takes a well-deserved snooze after a week at Handiham Radio
Camp. He was an enormous hit among the campers and staff, probably due to
his overwhelming super-cuteness. Thankfully he only uses his amazing powers
for good. *

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
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 turning to a question from the General Class pool:

G2B03 asks: *If propagation changes during your contact and you notice
increasing interference from other activity on the same frequency, what
should you do? *

Your possible answers are:

A. Tell the interfering stations to change frequency

B. Report the interference to your local Amateur Auxiliary Coordinator

C. As a common courtesy, move your contact to another frequency

D. Increase power to overcome interference

This seems timely because summer is a time when propagation can change
rapidly. Sporadic-E, the wonderful 6 meter opening in June,
thunderstorms... All are in play during the summertime here in North
America. If a contact is under way and conditions change, something must be
done to prevent interference. There is no "We were here first" option since
both contacts were going on at the same time and there was no problem until
changing band conditions caused the interference. Increasing power would be
exactly the wrong thing to do and is considered very poor operating
practice. Clearly the only civil resolution is to move your contact to
another frequency, so answer C is the most correct. One other would be to
simply invite the other stations into your conversation! This is called
"the more the merrier" theory of interference mitigation. (Okay, I made
that up, but you get the idea.)
*Remote Base Health Report for 13 June 2012*

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

*Many operators like to check out the PICONET on 3.925 MHz. Conditions on
75m lately have been, well - I might as well just admit it - rotten. Don't
get discouraged; instead you might check out the YL System net on 14.332
MHz. *

*W0ZSW is on line.  Echolink receive control is back in service on W0ZSW
now that camp is over. The camp repeater has been taken off Echolink until
an IP address is available. Thanks to K0LR for editing the config file on
the remote base host computer.

W0EQO is on line. Echolink receive control is also in service at W0EQO.*

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

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.

*Wow! We got a personal greeting from ARRL Chief Operating Officer and QST
publisher Harold Kramer, WJ1B. Podcast listeners can hear Harold's greeting
to the Radio Camp. *"Congratulations on your 45th year of operations."
Please listen to the audio podcast to hear the entire message from ARRL
headquarters in Newington, CT. Thanks to EMA Section Manager Phil, K9HI,
for his help with this project.

*Via Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, Handiham Radio Club President: Release of BG
Battleship 1.0*

BG Battleship is a blind accessible version of the popular pencil and paper
game, Battleship.

Battleship is played between two players, each trying to be the first to
completely sink the enemy's fleet of ships. At the start of the game, each
player places their ships on their Ocean Grid. They then take it in turns
to fire a shot at their enemy's Ocean Grid. They mark the result of that
shot on their own Target Grid. This is either recorded as a miss (by
placing an X in the appropriate square of the grid) or as a hit (by placing
the initial letter of the type of ship hit). The game continues in this
fashion until one of the two players has completely sunk all the other
player's ships. That player is declared the winner. This is the basic game
of Battleship. But there are heaps of variations out there, and so to cater
for as many of these variations as possible, BG Battleship allows you to
set a host of Game Parameters to better reflect the game you are used to
playing. For instance, you can play the game in one of two Game Modes:
Battle mode which is played between two human players, or one human player
and one computer player. Solitaire mode where you play against yourself,
trying to sink the enemy's ships in as few shots as possible. This is the
20th game in Spoonbill Software's Blind Gamers series of games specifically
written for blind and vision-impaired players. You can browse descriptions
of all 20 games in the Blind Gamers series at:

*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.

*We are making progress on the June 2012  DAISY format audio digest for our
blind members.* Check out the June edition, which at this time includes the
QST and Worldradio digests for our blind members in Daisy format in the
members section.  Members using NLS digital cartridges may receive the
digest by Free Matter postal mail. *Because of Radio Camp last week, we are
a bit late with these audio digests.*

*Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, has completed the Doctor is IN column for June, which
is included in the June QST Daisy digest for our blind members. Thanks, Ken!

*Bob Zeida, N1BLF, will soon begin recording the June CQ audio for our
blind members. He will be "tracking" the audio starting with the June
digest, so that it will provide more navigational functionality in the
Library of Congress digital talking book player. Our thanks to Bob for all
his good work!*

*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. *
*Tonight 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, 13 June 2012 - Patrick Tice