[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 January 2013

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 13:45:19 -0600

*Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday,
16 January 2013*

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
Handiham System <http://handiham.org/>. 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.* Noise abatement

[image: NiMH barttery charger with 4 AAA cells]

Last week's topic was radio frequency interference from Part 15 devices.
That struck a chord with Joe, N3AIN, who searched for and solved a
persistent interference problem that had plagued his station. Joe explains:

*Just read the lead story on part 15. It was really well written, and could
have been written for me. As you know, living in the city, I have RFI from
time to time from neighbors. Most of the time, I find it and they cooperate
with me in getting it stopped. Unfortunately, this was not the case last
month and after trying unsuccessfully for four months to get things solved
with a belligerent neighbor on my own I had to turn it over to Laura Smith
from ARRL and the FCC. I used to think Laura Smith didn't do much in the
way of enforcement since she seems to have a lower profile than Riley
Hollingsworth did when he had the job. Well, that wasn't the case, at least
not for me. The FCC certainly got things taken care of and the noise is now

The noise was coming from one of the usual culprits - a power adapter. Our
podcast listeners can hear a sample that Joe sent along to

Joe approached the problem in exactly the right way.  He used a portable
receiver to ascertain that there was an interfering signal and that it
could be tracked.  Usually portable receivers capable of AM and short-wave
reception have directional ferrite bar loop antennas that produce nice
sharp nulls in the direction of the noise source.  He tracked the noise to
a neighbor's house, politely informed them of the problem, and found the
neighbor to be uncooperative. Joe then escalated the issue to the FCC and
got results.  This short paragraph cannot really convey the time and effort
it took to deal with a noisy power adapter.  As you might guess, the
process is much more deliberate and must unfold in a logical, consistent
fashion from start to finish.  You must be knowledgeable about noise
hunting, be patient and persistent, have a diplomat's manner when dealing
with the owner of the noise source, and finally be willing to call in help
from the FCC if necessary.

How obnoxious are these little consumer devices?  Plenty!  Let's listen to
a 4-cell battery charger that I use in my kitchen.
<http://handiham.org/audio/battery_charger_noise.mp3>The radio I am
using to receive is a Yaesu VX5R HT set to 1.895 MHz AM
mode. Since the Yaesu does not have a ferrite bar antenna, I have to place
the rubber duck antenna near the charger to pick up the noise.  The charger
has a circuit that blinks two LEDs on and off as the charger is active. The
LEDs show a solid green when the charge is complete.  Fortunately this
device is in my own home and thus completely under my control.  I can make
sure it is on a circuit well away from my radios and unplug it if it does
cause interference.

Interference problems are really common, so what do you think about
approaching this topic on our Thursday evening Tech Net sessions?  Each
interference problem is unique, but the methodology for solving them does
have some common practices.  Let's share what has worked for us!

PS: Don't forget to ask me how I eliminated SSB and CW signals from getting
into the audio of my TV set! Interference sometimes comes from ham radio
instead of the other way around.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]

From the ARRL ARES® E-letter:

The ARRL has added a new "FM Only" category to ARRL VHF contests, starting
with the January VHF Contest, which begins this Saturday, January 19. The
contest starts at 1900 UTC and runs until Sunday night at 0359 UTC. You'll
find lots of "weak signal" VHF operators using high power and sensitive
antennas working hard to work your station on FM. No special gear, no big
expense -- you can operate in this contest and possibly win a certificate
using just the radios you already own.

Editor's note:  If you are an ARRL member, one of their many excellent
services is this ARES letter by Rick Palm, K1CE.  Go to www.arrl.org and
after you log in, go to your own account page and you can choose which
newsletters to receive. I like this one because it is an easy way to stay
current on public service news and events. Another one on my must-have list
is the weekly ARRL Letter, which comes out on Thursdays.  In other notable
ARRL news, www.arrl.org is reporting that "2012 Marks All-Time High for
Amateur Radio Licenses".  It's true - according to the
http://www.ah0a.org/FCC/Graphs.html website, the USA license total in 2012
reached 709, 575. This includes all license classes.
From Rich, W2VU, (CQ Magazine <http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/>) who ran
across this press release:

Kelvin Marsh, M0AID is bringing together resources for disabled radio
amateurs in a new web site to be found at www.active-elements.org.  Working
with Quentin, GW3BV and Chris, G5VZ Kelvin is publishing accessibility
evaluations of amateur radio equipment, spoken word manuals and audio

Kelvin says, “Blind and partially sighted radio amateurs often use standard
equipment that might easily seem impossible to operate. They can be
incredibly resourceful but do need to be informed about what's available.
Amateurs with other disabilities also need to know if equipment is
accessible or whether adaptations are available to make it so. Active
Elements attempts to draw together experience and knowledge gained by
disabled operators from all over the world and make it available to anyone
with an interest.”

Kelvin's team began work on the site during last autumn, building a range
of evaluations, reviews and recordings plus links to resources available on
other sites. The site is fully accessible and combines an attractive visual
design with clear text while also being optimized for screen reader
software like Window-Eyes or NVDA. Development of the site continues and
the formal launch of Active Elements is planned for 1st March 2013. If you
would like more information on Active Elements or would like to arrange an
interview with Kelvin Marsh, please call Kelvin on +44(0)1823 412 087 or
email kelvin@xxxxxxxxxx
Ken, KB3LLA, likes a link to the accessible Insignia HD radio:

Insignia Narrator, a Talking HD Radio from Best Buy for $99.99 [Shipped]
BestBuy.com <http://www.bestbuy.com/> offers the Insignia Narrator, a
Talking HD Radio for $99.99 with free shipping. The Narrator is the first
IAAIS-certified HD Radio product, ergonomically designed for people who are
visually impaired, with audible voice prompts and a wealth of niche
programming, all in crisp CD-like digital sound. The Narrator eliminates
the need to see the display. Audible voice prompts tell the user which
button was pressed, and when the radio's functions are activated. Read more
at: http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=7940
The Spaceweather.com <http://spaceweather.com/> letter and website are
reporting a huge sunspot group now facing Earth:

One of the biggest sunspots of the current solar cycle, AR1654, is now
facing Earth. If there is a flare today, the blast would be Earth-directed.
Stay tuned to http://spaceweather.com/ for the latest.
Handiham Nets are on on the air!

[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.  *

*The official and most current net news may be found at:
http://www.handiham.org/nets *

*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 a Sunday roundtable
session 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
(offered by some Net Control Stations) 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

*EchoLink nodes:*

*Welcome to the NX0P repeater,  146.685 with a tone of 100Hz,  Echolink
node number 513917.  The NX0P machine is near Albert Lea in far southern
Minnesota, near the busy intersection of US Interstate highways 90 and 35. *

*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 General Class pool:*

G4C02 asks, "Which of the following could be a cause of interference
covering a wide range of frequencies?"

Possible answers are:

A. Not using a balun or line isolator to feed balanced antennas
B. Lack of rectification of the transmitter’s signal in power conductors
C. Arcing at a poor electrical connection
D. The use of horizontal rather than vertical antennas

The correct answer is C: Arcing at a poor electrical connection.
Interference like this can easily be distinguished by its broad range of
frequencies covered as well as its range, especially if it is on a power
pole outdoors.  The overhead distribution wires act as huge antennas,
radiating noise from the bad connection for long distances.  Tracking this
kind of interference might also be a good topic for the Thursday Tech net.

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQ

[image: Giant alligator grabs Pat, WA0TDA]
*All January DAISY files are available in the DAISY section of the website
following member login. Please let me know if you have trouble using the
DAISY files, because this is an important member service and we want you to
take advantage of it.  * *

*Another member service is the audio lectures for Technician, General, and
Extra.  *All courses are available on line for your use whenever you want
to study or review. Teaching is done with thoughtful attention to
descriptions for those who are blind, and we promote understanding concepts
rather than simply memorizing the question pool.  If you would like to use
this service but do not understand how, please contact us.  We can also put
the audio lectures on your DAISY digital NLS cartridge if you prefer that
method instead of downloading or streaming audio from the website. Our
latest audio lectures cover concepts like resonance from the Extra Class
course. Please join us in whatever course you need, and also please let us
know if you would like a specific topic covered in our Operating Skills
lecture series.

Don't forget that Courage Center is a registered non-profit and your gifts
to Handihams are tax deductible.  We appreciate your support!

*Net information and news: *The official and most current net news may be
found at:

*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@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. 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*

*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

[image: Cartoon robot with cordless phone]

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@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

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 Handiham Weekly E-Letter in MP3
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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:

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.
Return to Handiham.org <http://handiham.org/>*

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 January 2013 - Patrick Tice