[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 15 February 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 14:48:23 -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: Pat, WA0TDA, wearing orange hard hat, talking into microphone.]

Under construction!  That's the website, and in this photo I am pictured
with the bright orange hardhat that I use for antenna projects. I guess it
isn't really needed for website construction, but it makes for good show

But seriously, folks...  One thing the website move to the new server has
done is that it has forced me to take a new, fresh look at the member
pages, and more specifically the remote base instruction and installation
pages.  What a mess that part of our site is!  Taking a fresh look has put
me into the situation of a brand-new user, a person just getting started
with the remote base. It all seemed so logical when we first posted those
remote base pages, but as the remote base project grew to a second station
and then a hosting project for the W4MQ software itself, each new part of
the project had its own pages.  It started to get pretty confusing, but I
hadn't realized just how confusing until changing the hosting service made
me take a hard-nosed new look at the whole thing.

A new user must learn about what the remote base system is about.  The
software must be located on the website and downloaded.  After that, the
configuration process must be completed for both W0ZSW and W0EQO.  This
cannot be done until Lyle, K0LR, and I edit the configuration files on each
of the remote base station host computers.  When we do that, we also need
each user's Skype name.  That means that sometime early in the website
instructions we need to alert users to the fact that they will need to
download and install Skype if they do not already have a Skype account.  We
have to ask new users what password they would like to use for the W4MQ
software, so this is something that needs to be clarified in our
instruction pages.

The way I feel about it, users should not have to fight their way through
the setup process because of confusing instructions.  Heaven knows there
are enough products and services out there that test our patience every
day, but we don't want to be one of them!

For Handiham World, I'm...
Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx <WA0TDA@xxxxxxxx>
Handiham Manager

 And, I might add, welcome to the new handiham.org. 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@xxxxxxxx
.   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:

We will keep this link active for a while longer, but not indefinitely.
The reason?  Spammers and charlatans want access to the site, which (of
course) will not be allowed. As an example of how bad this problem can be,
within minutes of putting the site on line and giving the first users
access, the spammer account requests started piling up.  Late last night I
had all requests taken care of, and this morning I had only one legitimate
account request from a Handiham member and eight account requests from
imposters.  Obviously this creates extra work and will not be tolerated
forever, so I urge you, if you are signed up as a Handiham member with our
main office, please get your account request in soon.  After the link goes
away, you will need to email or call us directly for access.


[image: dog barking at cartoon mail carrier]

Don, N0BVE, sends us a photo of the 147.435 repeater antenna location in
Los Angeles:

[image: Multiple antennas of various types on a supporting structure]

This looks like a cubical supporting structure atop a short, squat cinder
block building.  The supporting structure literally bristles with antennas
- verticals, beams, you name it!  Of course the whole thing sits up on a
mountain, so no need for a tall tower.  N0BVE photo.

Tom, KD0HUG, likes a piece of software:

I found this article in the latest issue of QST. I thought it might be a
good find for people with low vision. I know it won't help the blind ham as
much but perhaps it could be helpful even for them. Go to

Editor's note:  This webcam software is easy to download and install, but
part of the interface is graphical.  I suppose it presumes users can see
everything, but that may not be the case.  Anyway, if you are in the market
for free webcam software that is cross-platform, you might try this one.
The photo at the beginning of this newsletter was taken with my webcam
using the Yawcam software.  And we didn't even read the instructions!  It
does have extra features allowing you to use it as a webcam that can be
accessed via the Internet.  It does state in the Read Me file that it is
for non-profit use only.

*If you were to guess...*

[image: Cartoon kid with book, pencil, and calculator]

Last week we reported that the volunteers at the NCVEC had completed the
revisions in the new Extra Class Question Pool, which will be effective on
1 July 2012.  In the process of working on a DAISY version of the pool, I
figured how many of the answers are A, how many are B, and so on.  Of
course this means that if the actual exams follow the same pattern, you
might be thinking that you could give yourself an advantage by knowing
which letter comes up the most often.  In other words, you get that
question you don't have a clue on, and all four possible answers look just
as good.  Which one do you pick?

Here is what I found:

Answer A is the most likely, followed by C, then B and finally D.

Are you wise to depend on this strategy?  Not really.  The advantage is
really pretty minimal.  Here are the numbers:

   - A shows up 188 times.
   - B shows up 172 times.
   - C shows up 174 times.
   - D shows up 168 times.

Remember that this is our modified DAISY pool version, so the total number
might not be exact if you add them all up.  However, with 188 appearances,
A is certainly better as a guess than D, with only 168!

Care to look at the original pool?  The NCVEC Extra Class page is at:

*Troubleshooting 101: Can't connect to HANDIHAM Echolink conference with

[image: Pat and giant alligator]

Sometimes you hear questions about how to solve problems when you are
listening on a net.  Earlier today a station posed a question about not
being able to consistently connect to the HANDIHAM conference server on
Echolink, but only with his Android phone.  His computer did connect okay.
Sometimes his Android would connect, but then not connect other times.  He
had tried multiple times but had gotten a "no route available" message.

The answer to this problem lies in the architecture of the Echolink
network.  We turn to the Echolink support pages, which have a section on

One of the questions posed on this page is, "Are there any special
limitations of the Relay networking option?"

The answer tells the tale of what is happening with our friend's own
Android:  "Because there are only a small number of relay servers, you
often cannot connect to the same conference or conference server that
another node using the Relay mode is already connected to. This means that
two Android or iPhone users that are using the Relay mode often cannot join
the same conference at the same time."

It suggests:  "If you are getting the message 'No route is available to the
station you selected', try connecting to a different station, try
connecting later, or try Public Proxy instead of Relay. If you still get a
similar message even via Proxy, the station you are trying to reach might
be an Android user behind a Relay, who will not be reachable."

We suggest connecting to one of the other stations that usually are found
in the station list:

   - KA0PQW-R
   - KA0PQW-L
   - N0BVE-R
   - N0BVE-L
   - W0EQO-R

...and others.

Here is a helpful QR code that you can scan with your Android phone to get
the Echolink application:

Finally, if you can connect to a popular net like the Handiham net via
IRLP, WIRES, AllStar Link Networks, or through a connected repeater system
on RF, you will save the available relay spots for users who need them.

Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager

*A dip in the pool*

[image: Guy studying license manual.]

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 General Class pool.

G3C12 asks,  *"Which ionospheric layer is the most absorbent of long skip
signals during daylight hours on frequencies below 10 MHz?"*

Possible answers are:

A. The F2 layer

B. The F1 layer

C. The E layer

D. The D layer

If you guessed D, the D layer, you are correct.  The D layer is close to
the Earth and appears during the high daylight hours when the sun has had a
chance to energize it.  Signals on bands like 75 meters are easily absorbed
by the D layer, keeping the effective communication distance to within 200
or 300 miles.  When the sun goes down and the D layer dissipates, the 75
meter band lengthens out and contacts of a thousand miles or more are

*Study Aids For Visually Impaired License Candidates by NC4FB*

These study aids are designed to assist mentors help visually impaired
candidates prepare for license exams. Fred has updated the study guides to
include the new Extra pool!  Find these excellent resources here:


*Remote Base Health Report for 15 February 2012*

[image: Kenwood TS-480 transceiver, used in both remote base stations.
(Universal Radio image)]


   *W0ZSW is off line.   There is an internet outage at camp. *

   *W0EQO is on line. *

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

   * The link to the daily status update pages has changed:

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

*This week @ HQ*

[image: Handiham headquarters at Camp Courage, Maple Lake Minnesota]

   - If you are a Handiham member and your member log in does not work on
   the new Handiham.org <http://handiham.org/>, please use the Create
   Account link and set up your new account. Your log in credentials should
   still work on the old site, which is now at www.handiham.net.

   - 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:
   - A new Handiham Radio Club Mailing List has been created:  The new
   Handiham Radio Club email reflector has been set up and populated.  A test
   message will be sent to the new list this afternoon. Ken, KB3LLA, and I are
   discussing what new information about the Handiham Radio Club to put out on
   a public website page. This was prompted by an inquiry from interested
   people who live nearby Camp Courage, and who had seen the club's
   information on the ARRL Club pages on the ARRL site.  Of course the club is
   for Handiham members, but this is not necessarily set in stone when it
   comes to locals taking part in things like the VE session at Camp Courage,
   for example.  Ken and I would also like to clarify our mission statement
   and what information should be included when a request to join is sent to
   Ken.  He has received many requests saying simply, "I want to join", but
   that makes it necessary to begin a series of email exchanges to get all of
   the necessary information. This creates extra work and takes more time than
   if all of the information had been included in the first place.

   - A new Handiham Volunteer Instructor Mailing List is under
   construction.  Stay tuned!  Still no progress due to many phone calls and
   no time.

   - Camp application packages will go out this month!  Dates for Radio
   Camp 2012 are Saturday, June 2 - Friday, June 8, 2012. This will be
   earlier than usual so that we can test for Extra under the existing
   question pool, which expires at the end of the last day of June.


   Tonight is EchoLink net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at
   19:30 United States Central time, which translates to 01:30 GMT Thursday

   EchoLink nodes:
   - KA0PQW-R, node 267582
      - N0BVE-R, node 89680
      - *HANDIHAM* conference server Node *494492* (Our preferred
      high-capacity node.)

      Other ways to connect:
      - IRLP node *9008* (Vancouver BC reflector)
      - WIRES system number *1427

   - 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 toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings 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 program.


   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

Reminder: 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 renew:


   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 disabilities.
Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free.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:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


[image: ARRL Diamond logo]

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 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, 15 February 2012 - Patrick Tice