[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24 October 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 15:06:09 -0500

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

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:

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.*On the horizon: A resurgence of remote

[image: Pat, wa0tda, holds smartphone that controls radio in the background
of the photo.]

Remote base amateur radio operation has been around a long time, but it was
relegated to the esoteric world of experimenters and  those amateur radio
operators who simply had to locate their stations far away from their homes
due to antenna restrictions or because they simply lived in a location that
was terrible for operating.  Most of us were pretty well settled into the
comfortable "ham shack in the basement and antenna in the back yard" way of
thinking about amateur radio.  In fact, this notion has persisted and
actually kept some of us from staying active on the air once the time came
to downsize and move to a condo or apartment.  The scenario typically plays
out by making the decision to get rid of all the old HF gear and taking
down the antennas before selling the house.  Perhaps the VHF/UHF radios
will be packed for the move in the hope that one can at least stay on those
bands that would not require big antenna systems - in other words, repeater

Of course we have more options than ever before if a VoIP-enabled repeater
system happens to be available to us and we can reach it from the condo.
IRLP, EchoLink, WIRES - all provide options for getting on the air and
breaking free of the limitations of a local VHF signal. But HF operation
gets into your blood.  VHF, even VoIP-enabled, is just not the same. You
want to stay in touch with your friends who are still on the HF bands.  You
like to chase a little DX.  You miss those HF nets.  It would be great if
there were only a way to stay on HF without all the antenna headaches.

Well, you *do* have some options.

If you own a car, you can always try HF mobile operation or "HF portable"
operation.  You drive to a location where you can deploy a wire antenna,
operate portable for a period of time, and pack up and drive home. This is
not the best option, but it is a way to stay on the air if you have a car
and the time to drive it somewhere to set up a portable station.  Operating
with a mobile antenna on the car is also a possibility, but not always the
best choice when you have to pay attention to your driving. If fact, I
don't recommend it unless you have someone else doing the driving while you
operate the radio. In any case, mobile operation is not an option if you
don't own a car!

Another option - if you can call it that - is to put up an indoor or
stealth antenna.  I am not fond of this option because it can result in
lots of RFI problems - both receive and transmit - and you also have to be
aware of exposing yourself, your family, and your neighbors to RF. The
results on the air are less than stellar, to put it mildly.

For most of us, even those who do own cars, HF operation is much more
practical and convenient if we can get on the air right from home. When you
cannot put up an antenna, you have to consider remote base station
operation if you want to get on the HF bands from home.  There are a couple
of paths you can investigate.

   1. Operate your own remote base station.  This involves considerable
   research and careful planning because you will have to locate the station
   at a place where you will have access to do maintenance, where there is
   some means of communicating with the station, (such as a link radio, phone
   line, or internet), a good site where you can put up antennas, electrical
   power, and security.  The home of a relative or friend might work, or you
   may have the financial resources to acquire property and build the
   2. Use a public or shared remote.  This is a better option for most of
   us. Public remotes sometimes have a membership fee that is used for station
   expenses, but when you consider the cost of maintaining your own station,
   it is quite a bargain to be able to share those costs with other users. The
   down side is that the station may not always be available when you want to
   use it. The remote station may not be located in a place where HF
   conditions permit you to check into regional HF nets in your home location.

I was watching the internet program "Ham Nation" last week and they were
talking about remote base HF operation. In that video they showed an
Elecraft transceiver connected via the internet to a station in a different
and very good location. You could sit in front of a real radio and control
it as you would if it were connected to an antenna directly instead of to a
remote station. This was a solution that might appeal to a user who could
have their own private remote.  If you check the pages of the ham radio
publications you will find the occasional article about remote operation
and advertisements for various remoting solutions. Regular readers and
listeners know from this publication that the Handiham System is hosting
the W4MQ software and Jose, KK4JZX, and a group of beta testers are working
to update the software, which is free to any amateur radio operator, as the
original author Stan, W4MQ, intended.

But back to the original statement: On the horizon: A resurgence of remote
operation!  Why do I think remote base operation is about to cease being
the realm of alpha geeks and experimenters?

The answer lies in demographics.  Our greatest population age group is in
the Baby Boomer generation. While some of us (myself included) are still
working, many others have retired.  And those of us still working are
thinking about retirement. Our houses, once full of children and their
friends, are now quiet and almost empty.  There are probably a couple of
rooms we never even use.  The lawn is too big to take care of, and there
are lots of maintenance tasks looming around the house and the garage.
Maybe the driveway full of wintertime snow is becoming too challenging to
face for another year. If this sounds familiar to you, you might have
already downsized to a condo or smaller property and have had to face the
problem of how to remain active on the HF bands.

Of course people have always been retiring, and us boomers are not unique
to the problems associated with moving into smaller digs.

What is different with my generation is that there are so doggoned many of
us!  And in our numbers resides the bulk of the ham radio population.  With
more hams than ever facing downsizing and the potential loss of HF antenna
options, the market for remote base HF operation is only going to grow.
That is one reason for those ads you are seeing for remote base software
and hardware. It is time to begin learning more about remote base
operation, so we will be featuring some short articles on this topic in the
near future.

Just to tickle your fancy, imagine the following:

   - Bill has been an active HF operator but has found it much more
   difficult to navigate the stairs to the basement ham shack in recent years.
   Although he can get down there on occasion, he is more comfortable
   controlling his station from the recliner in the living room. You don't
   have to be miles and miles away from your remote base station - it could be
   just down the stairs!
   - Fred likes to travel, and while on a car trip with his wife, he lets
   her do the driving and uses a remote base station in his state to check
   into a regional HF net. He likes the wireless internet service that is
   available from his mobile carrier.
   - Mary travels for business and when she is at the hotel she uses the
   hotel internet and her laptop computer to operate a remote base and make
   some HF contacts.
   - Larry has an excellent HF station at home and enjoys his lake cabin,
   where he uses the private remote base that he set up at his main QTH.
   - Tom and Janet needed to simplify their lives and have moved into a
   condo.  Both enjoy HF operation via a shared remote base station where they
   pay a small fee for annual maintenance.

More to come - so stay tuned!

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
Split Rock Lighthouse to light up with RF

[image: cartoon lighthouse with seagull on top]

It's that time again - Time for the Handiham-affiliated Stillwater Amateur
Radio Association to put the Split Rock lighthouse on the air to
commemorate the sinking of the ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald.

The "Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald" special event (Split Rock
Lighthouse) is Nov 3-Nov 4, 1500Z-2345Z.  The station callsign is W0JH and
the sponsors are the Stillwater, MN. Stillwater (Minnesota) Amateur Radio
Association & Radio City, Inc.

Suggested frequencies are 21.360, 14.260, 7.260, 3.860.

Certificate: Shel Mann, 1618 West Pine St, Stillwater, MN 55082.
Requested W0JH QSL Certificates will ONLY be sent via e-mail in PDF.

W0JH will be operating from Split Rock Lighthouse (ARLHS: USA 783; Grid
Square: EN47).

The Stillwater Amateur Radio Association may be contacted  via
w0jh@xxxxxxxxxxx other club information may be found at

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]

*Christoph, DF9WM, writes:*

*It was great to run the net again on Monday. I had so much fun!  *

*I have just read information about a new screen reader called OptiGuide.
The person who sent this information via a mailing list also posted the
following link:
http://www.utechaccess.com/Products/OptiGuide/ *

*Maybe this is of interest to readers of the Handiham World newsletter, too.

*73 from the office,

*KB3LLA writes with a press release from GW Micro:*

*A new article has just been posted to the GW Micro Knowledgebase: Java and
OpenOffice Accessibility at:

*You can access this article by selecting the link above, pasting the URL
manually into your browser, or by entering GWKB2017 (or just 2017) into the
Knowledgebase Search form located on the GW Micro Knowledgebase page
http://gwmicro.com/Support/Knowledge_Base/. *

*Editor's note:  *GW Micro makes the Window-Eyes® screenreader and also
offers the free accessible version of Skype called "GW Connect".

*Ken, KB3LLA, also alerts us to the release of the latest version of the
JAWS screenreader, number 14: *

*New Flexible Web, Vocalizer, Support for Windows 8 - more about what's new
on the Freedom Scientific website:
http://www.freedomscientific.com/downloads/jaws/JAWS-whats-new.asp *

*Fred, NC4FB, writes via the Ham Instructor group on Yahoo:*

*In response to a number of requests from parents and others, I put
together a "Kid Friendly" license exam self-study program. Most young
license candidates are "computer savvy" but the current license exam study
material and in-person classes are often too much for them to fathom. The
candidate using the program should be monitored by an older person
(mentor). The program can be used to complement any study approach or
entirely by itself to prepare a candidate to take an exam.*

*The program can be accessed at the link below.*

*"Kid Friendly" license exam self-study program:
http://www.nc4fb.org/wordpress/?page_id=5362 *

Don't miss the new Tech Net! This week is session eight.

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

We have heard lots of positive comments about our new Handiham Tech Net, a
place to discuss technology related to amateur radio. The Tech Net is on
the air at 19:00 hours USA Central Time each Thursday. The regular Handiham
Radio Club Wednesday evening net is at the same 19:00 hours, just one day
earlier.  Daily nets are at 11:00 hours USA Central Time. Our audio archive
is updated each week, so if you missed the first seven sessions you can
find them here:

*Missed the weekly on the air Handiham Tech Net?  Listen to it

*Missed last week's Handiham Tech Net?  Go to the archive page.

<http://www.handiham.org/audio/technet/>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 node.)
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, where we think about wire and its

E5D02 asks, Why is the resistance of a conductor different for RF currents
than for direct currents?

Possible answers are:

A. Because the insulation conducts current at high frequencies

B. Because of the Heisenburg Effect

C. Because of skin effect

D. Because conductors are non-linear devices

Did you know that the correct answer is C, Because of skin effect?  The
interesting thing about resistance in wire is that it is not simply some
fixed value per a given length. When you start using alternating current at
radio frequencies, the phenomenon of "skin effect" must be considered.
Direct current can, in a sense, take advantage of the entire cross section
of a conductor.  That means that electrons find it as easy to flow through
the center of the wire conductor as along the outer edge. RF is different.
At RF, the flow of current migrates to the outer surface of the conductor -
its "skin", if you will.  A hollow aluminum tube is just as good a
conductor at RF as a solid one. But to get back to the original question,
skin effect does tend to increase resistance at RF because (after all) the
entire conducting cross section cannot be effectively used to carry current
as it can with DC.

Wikipedia has an easy to understand explanation of the concept:

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]

If problems show up, please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

New! Keyboard commands list updated:

*Solar Activity Forecast: *Solar activity is expected to be moderate to
high with occasional M-class events, and a slight chance for an isolated
X-class event for the next three days (24 - 26 Oct) with Region 1598 the
most likely source.

*Geophysical Activity Forecast:* The geomagnetic field is expected to be
quiet for the next three days (24 - 26 Oct).

Credit: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
This week @ HQ


*We are in the process of moving file storage back to our Golden Valley
location. *This is a time-intensive process and will affect my availability
for audio lectures and office hours through the end of October. Nancy is
available during her usual hours to take phone calls. I did pack more boxes
on Monday and expect to be done before the end of the month.

*Both remote base stations remain on the air for now.*

*Jose, KK4JZX, reports that he is getting close to the next beta version of
the remote base software.  *The beta software is available only to the
testing group, but progress toward a general release is good. The remote
base pages are 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@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.

*Equipment program temporarily suspended again:  *Due to our move, the
equipment program is suspended until further notice.

*The November QST has arrived last week, and reading volunteer Bob Zeida,
N1BLF, will assist with the recording.  Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, has completed
his recording of the "Doctor is In" column.  It was to be be available on
Friday in DAISY format for our blind members, but there is a production
delay for which we apologize. Thanks to Bob & Ken for their help with
reading during this busy time.*

*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, 24 October 2012 - Patrick Tice