[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 14 November 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2012 13:53:35 -0600

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

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
Handiham System. Please do not reply to this email. 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.*"This will be good for something someday."

[image: Cartoon guy looking into crystal ball]
If only we could look into a crystal ball and see the future!

How many times have you thought that some electronic part or outdated,
non-functioning radio was going to come in handy someday?  Plenty of times,
probably.  And you put that part in a box, where it joined hundreds of
other someday useful parts, things that become part of a future project.
Except that most times the future is not what we expect.

Most everyone does this sort of thing to some extent.  We have a junk
drawer in the kitchen for miscellaneous odds and ends that don't seem to go
anywhere else.  The ham shack has its venerable junk box tradition, too.
Sometimes the junk box does yield a useful treasure that just happens to be
exactly what is needed to finish a project or complete a repair. But let's
face it - the most likely scenario is that once something goes into the
junk box, that is where it will stay for the next 20 years. Or longer.
Sometimes *much *longer.

I was reminded of this a couple of days ago when I took a phone call from a
nice fellow who was trying to handle a fellow radio amateur's estate. It
didn't take me long to figure out that he had his work cut out for him.  He
had hoped that the Handihams could take electronic equipment, but I had to
explain to him that we can only use good, functioning radios and
accessories - later model solid-state units that are likely to be useful to
our members or at radio camp.

"He never threw anything away", the caller told me.

Ouch. This guy needed a reality check.  Charities cannot take what amounts
to "e-waste", electronic parts and devices that are so outdated,
incomplete, or mysterious that it could not possibly be reasonable for the
charity to process them for sale or distribution.  Every charity that takes
used goods faces this dilemma. Old TV sets, CRT computer monitors, outdated
computers and accessories, specialized electronic gear that has long since
been abandoned by industry, loose parts of every description, homemade
circuits that defy description, ham radio gear that has been through a
flood or a lightning strike - none of it was worth saving in the first
place, and none of it is going to be accepted by charities.

I explained our situation - we have very limited needs and even more
limited space. The best I could do was to suggest the county recycling
center and a commercial outfit that simply comes by with a two man crew and
picks up junk.

"Do they charge for that?"

Well, I told you this was a reality check. This poor fellow was doing a
good deed - helping out a fellow ham with his estate - and now I had to
explain to him that he (or his friend's estate) was facing the expense of
hiring a crew to dispose of a big collection of junk. Over the years that I
have been working for Courage Center, I have seen some really monumental
junk collections. I am talking entire basements and an outbuilding or two
crammed to the rafters with junk.  I'll grant you that sometimes there
might be a useful item in that kind of collection, but holy cow - how do
you ever sort it out?  The time and expense of dealing with years - decades
- of collecting can be significant.  Surviving relatives can be at a loss
as to how to deal with such things and sometimes call us or some other
charity in the hope that we can take it off their hands, but charities are
not equipped to handle the transport, sorting, and disposal of e-waste.

Antennas are another issue.  I remember one guy who was moving to a condo
and had to downsize.  We were welcome to come on over and pick up his
station, but only if we took down his antenna and rusty old tower. I have
to wonder what people are thinking!  Do they imagine that we have a crew of
tower specialists on staff, equipped with a bucket truck and insurance and
bonding to safely handle such a project?

Let's face it - you don't want to burden your friends or loved ones with a
huge clean up project when you have to move to a condo or apartment, or
after you become a silent key.  I have been thinking about this myself -
not that I plan to move or get hit by a bus anytime soon. It's just that
after seeing so many hams with formidable junk collections I am determined
NOT to be one of them.
Be Balanced.

[image: Cartoon guy climbing tower]

One of the tenets of "The Amateur's Code" written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA,
in 1928, is that a Radio Amateur is BALANCED.  This means that "Radio is an
avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or
community."  I think this is one of the things we have to keep in mind in
every aspect of our amateur radio hobby.  You cannot neglect your family
and disappear into the basement ham shack for weeks at a time.  You need to
make a living and raise your family. You need to be part of your community.
You need to have balance in your life.

There is nothing wrong with being an enthusiastic amateur radio operator
and building a fine station.  But you cannot call it balanced if you fill
your basement and garage with ham radio surplus gear and spend every waking
moment doing ham radio stuff. There is nothing wrong with putting up a
tower and beam, but you have to have a plan for it when it becomes clear
that you will have trouble maintaining it or when you will need to move
from your private single-family home to a condo or apartment.

The best way to approach balance in your ham radio life is to start with
balance from the very beginning.  Rather than collecting a huge raft of
spare parts, set aside a limited space on a shelf for only those things you
really need. Things that are not used for a set period of time (a year or
two, perhaps) should be sold or given away at the local ham club. That way
at least they have a chance of being worthwhile to someone rather than
sitting on a shelf and getting so out of date that they will never be used.
Antenna systems that you are likely not going to be able to maintain should
be downsized to something that you can take care of.  Years ago I felt
comfortable putting up and climbing towers. Now I install wire antennas
that I can manage more easily. Sure, I could afford a tower and beam, and
even do the climbing.  But I have made a conscious decision to enjoy ham
radio in a less intrusive way. The wire antennas do just fine, and a
ground-mounted vertical works for low angle signals and is easily accessed
for maintenance.  The secret of balance is to start early and keep at it -
never let things accumulate to the point that they become too overwhelming.

Perhaps you have already amassed a big junk collection.  The good news is
that if you are reading this, you are still on the green side of the grass
and can do something about it. Enlist the help of your local radio club,
but be ready for some expense if you need to hire professionals for those
jobs that cannot be handled by your friends.

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
Jose, KK4JZX, writes about last week's Tech Net:

Hello my friends,

Last night we had the weekly Handiham TechNet and, as promised, it was
exciting. Here are some highlights.

1. KK4QL - We discussed his question of how to customize Drupal so that
more information could be gathered when individuals sign up in his custom
page. We had some interesting discussions about the subject; well, it was a
technology net.

2. KK4JZX - I asked about how to use my new Wouxun radio effectively. I
have been reviewing Buddy Brannan's eyes free document for the radio and I
am learning. We had many suggestions that are really going to help me get
this radio up and running.

3. KD0ETQ - Had a question or two about the viability of Windows 8 with the
ham community. We reviewed this topic in some detail. As it appears, some
individuals will wait it out and others will definitely adopt.

4. WB4LBM - Wanted to know if there are other voices available for the NVDA
screen reader. Particularly, he wanted to know about free voices!

As promised, the Handiham TechNet is truly about technology. We continue to
make it a round table discussion on everything to do with technology. While
many topics have been related to RF, we do not limit it only to RF. In
fact, a few weeks ago we had a question about unlocking mobile phones. If
you are interested in downloading the latest TechNet and listening, go to
the following page:


If you missed prior weeks of our informational and engaging TechNet, then
visit the TechNet archive page at:


We hope you will continue to join us. In fact, we have missed a few of you
for the past couple of weeks. If your interest is piqued, then listen to us
every Thursday at 7 p.m. CST for the Handiham Radio Club Weekly TechNet.
Herb Fields, AE5YC, was net controller this week and I, KK4JZX, will
oversee net control duties on the next TechNet. Don't forget that this is a
net that you might either consider listening to or participating in. No one
knows what will be discussed, it is what makes the TechNet truly amazing
and dynamic. We will not force topic discussions in a fixed manner, we will
allow the group to dictate which direction the Net will take. Be prepared
to engage in as little or as much detail as you like. Be prepared to answer
questions directly and ask questions directly. While the net is directed,
we still allow individuals to share ideas and tips amongst one another. We
allow direct interaction and we allow it because we know that everyone
benefits. What the Tech Net will not do? The Tech Net will not force
particular subjects to be discussed in a structured and classroom-like
environment. The Tech Net is not interested in a one way discussion on
particular subject matters. The Tech Net does not have a schedule of topics
to discuss. What is the Tech Net? The Tech Net is a round table forum of
open discussion and interaction among the various Ham radio operators. The
Tech Net is a dynamic and open forum for all to enjoy and participate in.
The Tech Net encourages growth and interaction on any Technology-related

So, where is the TechNet? Ok here are the many places you might find us.

EchoLink node: *handiham*

EchoLink Node: 494492

IRLP node: 9008

*VAN-IRLP* on Echolink

For frequencies and additional IRLP node information, visit
http://www.handiham.org  and click on the Handiham Nets link. We hope you
will join us next week as we continue exploring the many facets of


Jose - KK4JZX
Handiham Nets

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

*We are on the air daily at 11:00 USA Central Time, plus Wednesday &
Thursday evenings at 19:00 USA Central Time.  A recent HANDIHAM conference
failure has caused us to shift traffic to other nodes. We suggest *VAN-IRLP*,
node 256919 until the problem can be corrected.*

*Join us on the Thursday evening Handiham Radio Club TechNet. * The
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
*VAN-IRLP*, node 256919
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
*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 Extra Class pool, and this time we are talking toroids.
Not donuts at the ham club meeting - the ones we use in circuits, and here
are three questions related to these very useful parts:

*E6D06 asks: What core material property determines the inductance of a
toroidal inductor? *

Possible answers are:

A. Thermal impedance

B. Resistance

C. Reactivity

D. Permeability

*E6D07 asks: What is the usable frequency range of inductors that use
toroidal cores, assuming a correct selection of core material for the
frequency being used? *

Possible answers are:

A. From a few kHz to no more than 30 MHz

B. From less than 20 Hz to approximately 300 MHz

C. From approximately 10 Hz to no more than 3000 kHz

D. From about 100 kHz to at least 1000 GHz

*E6D08 asks: What is one important reason for using powdered-iron toroids
rather than ferrite toroids in an inductor? *

Possible answers are:

A. Powdered-iron toroids generally have greater initial permeability

B. Powdered-iron toroids generally maintain their characteristics at higher

C. Powdered-iron toroids generally require fewer turns to produce a given
inductance value

D. Powdered-iron toroids have higher power handling capacity

*So did you get all the answers? * Toroids are used in lots of gear these
days - your ham shack almost certainly has equipment that uses one or more
of these handy devices. They are typically used for chokes or as
inductances in radios and tuners. If you need to get a lot of inductance is
a small space, you use a toroid instead of an air-wound coil. The coil is
wrapped around the toroid, and its material property determines the
inductance - this property is referred to as "permeability", which is
answer D.  But there are different kinds of toroids that serve different
purposes. Choosing the correct core material can make toroids work from
less than 20 Hz to approximately 300 MHz, answer B.  If you wanted to use a
toroid in a project like an automatic antenna tuner, you would choose a
powdered-iron core over ferrite because powdered-iron toroids generally
maintain their characteristics at higher currents, answer B. After all, the
antenna tuner will be handling a significant amount of current, and a
ferrite core would quickly become saturated. Another place you will find
powered-iron toroids is in antenna baluns, where high current is the norm.
Ferrite can be used where currents are very low, such as for RF chokes on
cables connected to a plasma TV set or a computer with a noisy power

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 on the remote base software.  Issues being addressed include
the slow response to some keyboard commands and some outdated station list

If problems show up, please email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Keyboard commands list updated:

*Solar Activity Forecast:* Solar activity is expected to be at moderate
levels on days one, two, and three (14 Nov, 15 Nov, 16 Nov).

Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to begin
at active levels early on day 1 (14 Nov) as CME effects subside. Quiet to
unsettled levels are expected on days 1 and 2 (14, 15 Nov) due to effects
from a negative polarity coronal hole high speed stream. On day 3 (16 Nov),
conditions are expected to return to mostly quiet levels. Protons have a
slight chance of reaching alert threshold on days one, two, and three (14
Nov, 15 Nov, 16 Nov).

Credit: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
This week @ HQ

Thanksgiving in the United States is November 22. The Handiham office is
closed on November 22 and 23 for a long Thanksgiving holiday. We also plan
limited office hours between Christmas and New Year's.

*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.

*Please remember that the cassette tape digest ceases following the mailing
at the end of November!  After that all audio is in DAISY digital format or
on line through the members only section of handiham.org. The Library of
Congress 4-track tape system will no longer be supported in any form after
2012. *

*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, 14 November 2012 - Patrick Tice