[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 31 October 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2012 19:21:44 -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:

Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:

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RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
*Welcome to Handiham World.*Happy Halloween!

Halloween falls on e-letter day, so Jasper and I just have to wish you all
a happy Halloween!  We have moved our office from Camp Courage back to
Courage Center.  Moving day was yesterday, October 30.

[image: Pat, WA0TDA, holds Jasper the Corgi_Cocker Spaniel mix, who is
dressed up in his festive jester collar for Halloween.]

Of course the really big news is the storm damage on the East Coast.

I've noticed the same things happen every time there is a widespread
emergency like this one:

   1. There are always people in the general public who are not prepared,
   either because they do not hear the warnings or do not heed them.
   2. It still surprises people when public transportation and
   communications infrastructure cease to function.
   3. A core of dedicated amateur radio operators remains ready to provide
   alternate communications. This is sometimes a surprise to the general
   public and even to politicians who should know better.

In recent weeks we have reminded our readers and listeners about how
important it is to have the basics ready on short notice. I'm not going to
rehash that here and now, but I do want to be sure that all of us treat
every disaster like this one as a learning experience. As amateur radio
operators, we are far more likely than the general public to be paying
attention to the news and know of approaching weather, especially tropical
storms and large weather systems that may spawn flooding rainfalls,
blizzards, or tornados.  I hope that this storm has not caught you off
guard and that all of our Handiham friends stay safe and sound, high and

[image: York dock near the KN0S QTH with waves crashing agaist the piers.]

Photo courtesy Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, Wicomico, VA:   "I have turned the
beam off to the SW as the winds are now shifting.. Listen up at 14.325 on
the Hurricane net."  The York dock near the KN0S QTH is pictured here. The
photo was sent to me on Monday as Sandy was approaching Virginia, traveling
north through the Atlantic.

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
Longtime volunteer Tony Tretter, W0KVO, is a Silent Key

[image: Tony, left, poses at the W0ZSW ham shack with friend Jerry, N0VOE.]
Tony, W0KVO, left, visits with good friend Jerry, N0VOE, right, at Handiham
headquarters in Courage Center.

Tony Tretter, W0KVO, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on October
29, 2012 at his home in North St. Paul. Tony was one of our longest serving
volunteers, having joined in 1970, around the time Handihams became a
Courage Center program.

There are so many stories about Tony and his kindness that it is hard to
know where to begin.  He would be there to help, whether at radio camp
sessions or to put up an antenna or connect a radio. His real passion was
always education - teaching about radio and electronics was an avocation
after many years working for the U.S. Postal Service. He would really go
the extra mile to get you on the air if you needed help.  Yesterday two of
Tony's good friends, Diane, WD9DNQ, and Dennis, K0CCR, called us to share
this sad news.

One of the things I remember about Tony is that he was enthusiastic about
sharing his knowledge of amateur radio with our blind Handiham members and
would always make himself available to teach via audio cassette tapes.
Back in the day, Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, would send Tony's tapes to blind
Handiham members who needed some extra help with things like the math
problems in the amateur radio exams.  Tony's personable way of teaching
concepts like math was very much liked by everyone, and Tony enjoyed
repeating one story from radio camp.

"A young lady", Tony recalled, "Met me at radio camp for the first time.
She was so excited to meet the actual person whose voice she had heard on
those cassette tapes that she blurted out 'I have gone to sleep with you
every night!', and of course everyone had a good laugh about that because
she had really meant that she listened to the study tapes at bedtime."

Another thing about Tony was that he remained quite physically fit and
active well into his 80s. He was known as a vigorous (and tough) tennis
player! Tony quipped about being happy with his Advanced Class Amateur
Radio License, saying that if anyone could beat him at tennis he would take
the test and upgrade. No one dared to take him up on it because none of us
were ever going to be that good at tennis!  Even so, Tony knew all of the
licensing materials better than the publishers of the license manuals.  In
fact, each time a new license manual came out Tony would vet the math
sections and come up with several errors that the publisher had to fix in
the next edition. He could have passed his Extra Class any time he pleased
but was always modest about his knowledge and simply felt that Advanced was
where he wanted to be.

Tony's most recent radio club was the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association,
SARA, www.radioham.org. He taught his math and theory classes in person for
the club.  In this photo Tony teaches at Courage St. Croix in Stillwater,
MN about 10 years ago.

[image: Tony Tretter teaches math concepts with a flip chart. These are
some of Tony's triangles!]

73 to you, Tony - You have been a good friend to all of us at Handihams.

Tony's funeral service is at 2:30 PM Friday, November 2, 2012 with
visitation one hour prior to the service at South Shore Trinity Lutheran
Church, 2480 South Shore Blvd, White Bear Lake.
This coming weekend:  Split Rock Lighthouse to light up with RF

*Hopefully the weather is a lot calmer on Lake Superior. October can be a
stormy month on the Great Lakes, which is why the iron ore freighter Edmund
Fitzgerald sank in turbulent waters in 1975 with the loss of 29 crew
members. *

[image: cartoon lighthouse with seagull on top]

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
FCC Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Amateur Licensing Rules, Emission

According to ARRL, the FCC is now seeking comments on some changes to Part
97, which governs our amateur radio operations.

*Specifically, the Commission is proposing to modify the Amateur Radio
Service rules to grant examination credit for expired and
beyond-the-grace-period-for-renewal Amateur Radio operator licenses; to
shorten the grace period during which an expired amateur license may be
renewed; to revise the time a call sign is not available to the vanity call
sign system correspondingly, and to reduce the number of volunteer
examiners needed to administer an amateur license examination. The NPRM
also asks for comment on amending the rules to permit remote test
administration, and proposes to amend the Amateur Radio Service rules to
allow amateur stations to transmit certain additional emission types.*

*Comments must be filed on or before December 24, 2012 (60 days after
publication in the Federal Register); reply comments must be filed on or
before January 22, 2013 (90 days after publication in the Federal
Register). Instructions on how to file comments are listed beginning on
page 12 of the NPRM.*

The NPRM can be found on the web in PDF format at:

And in plain text at:


[image: cartoon robot with pencil]

*From Dr. Dave:  How about tactile teaching aids?*

[image: Coax sections with plugs displayed for tactile teaching on plywood
board] <http://handiham.org/images/PL259_Board.JPG>
<unsaved:///images/Tony_Tretters_PL259_Board.JPG>Click on the thumbnail for
a higher resolution image.

Today I received this photo from Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, who uses the
tactile teaching board pictured.  The board (a nicely made and finished
piece of plywood) was made to hold eleven samples of coaxial cable and
connectors commonly used in amateur radio stations. Each piece is carefully
labeled to assist the teacher in describing the cable.  It is prefect for
teaching blind or sighted students about cable and connectors.

Says Dr. Dave, "Here is Tony's famous training aide with all of his little
notes added. I did not have my camera handy when he was wearing his blue
tee shirt that had the following quote:  My Master was a Jewish Carpenter
and a picture of a Biblical Carpenter working with hand tools... It was
special.  I visited him up at his home where Tony also taught me how to
free up rusted parts like the hinge on his tower up in White Bear Lake
using cola. It really cuts through rust due to the high concentration of
H3PO4... phosphoric acid. Tony said that it is no wonder that it chews up
enamel on teeth!"

*From Avery Finn, K0HLA:*

Here is a list of hurricane frequencies (Amateur & Red Cross, Police, Fire,
FEMA, etc.) In case you want to listen or check into Ham nets to help out.


Avery, K0HLA

*Editor's note:  *We followed that link and found a huge list of nets and
resources.  It is definitely worth bookmarking!

*John, NU6P, followed a recent court decision affecting screen reading
software: Federal Circuit Court affirmed the US Patent Office Decision
invalidating Freedom Scientific's patent and eliminating their claims
against GW Micro.  *

   - You may listen to this final argument.  Go to
   then search for "Appeal 2012-1145" and listen to the MP3 file.

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

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

*Will we hear some stories about Hurricane Sandy and emergency
technology?  Building redundancy into our technology is a good idea,
because systems can fail. *

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 eight 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, but first we pose a troubleshooting

*Joe has a multiband all-mode radio on which he receives UHF and VHF
repeater traffic.  He also runs a separate Echolink node on a two meter
simplex frequency. Although he enjoys listening to the club repeaters on
two meters and 70 cm, he also likes his Echolink node, which he installed
only recently.  It seemed like the more he used his Echolink node, the less
traffic he heard on his local 2 meter repeater, though the 70 cm repeater
seemed to have about the usual amount of traffic.  Then one day Joe was
listening to a conversation on the club's 2 meter repeater and his Echolink
node also came to life with some traffic.  The conversation on the club
repeater stopped immediately in mid-sentence.  *

*What was going on here?*

This brings us to question E4D13 in the Extra Class pool, which asks:

*Which of the following can cause receiver desensitization?*

Possible answers are:

A. Audio gain adjusted too low
B. Strong adjacent-channel signals
C. Audio bias adjusted too high
D. Squelch gain misadjusted

By now you have figured out that Joe's problem is caused by the strong
signal being transmitted by his Echolink node station on the same band as
his club's repeater, making answer B, Strong adjacent-channel signals, the
correct choice. His all-mode radio, though it is well-designed, is not
capable of receiving the much weaker repeater signal on 2 meters while in
the presence of a very strong signal being transmitted by the Echolink node
station.  This is caused by the strong signal causing the gain of the
receiver to drop. Some hams call this phenomenon "desense".

In any case, Joe could try several things to fix it:

   - Turn off the Echolink node while he is using the other receiver.
   - Move the Echolink node antenna (or the entire node) to a location
   farther away from his other receiving antenna.
   - Be sure that the polarizations of the two antenna systems are
   different. (This will only help a little though, and not at all if the
   antennas are really close to each other.)
   - Turn the power way down on the Echolink node transmitter to see if it
   makes any difference.
   - Try a really sharp filter to exclude the Echolink node frequency from
   the all-band receiver.

I am a big fan of keeping things simple, so I would simply turn off the
Echolink node while using the all-mode receiver on 2 meters. If you were a
repeater owner and had to deal with multiple strong signals from other
users at the repeater site, you would have to use commercial-grade
equipment and try for as much antenna separation as possible.  Virtually
every repeater owner using a shared site runs into this problem sooner or

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
*Remote Base health report: W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is off line.

[image: Image of TS-480SAT courtesy Universal Radio]

We have an important announcement for all remote base users!

November 2012 marks the stewardship of a new non-profit organization that
combines the resources of Courage Camps and Friendship Ventures. Courage
Center and Friendship Ventures each have the same number of board members
on the new non-profit's board of directors.  The Handiham program, which
had been part of Courage Camps, is remaining with Courage Center and will
not be part of the new non-profit.. That is why we have moved our office
back to the Golden Valley location.  Our mailing address has always been
the same Golden Valley location so there are no changes there or in our
phone numbers or email addresses.  We are pleased to remain a Courage
Center program as we have been since the early 1970s.

*But there are some things for us to consider. *

The new camp non-profit company will be changing its internet provider and
there are also many staffing changes at the camps.  When I assessed the
W0ZSW station at Camp Courage yesterday, I noted that a tree had fallen on
the wire antenna, damaging it.  Given the staff changes and the internet
changes along with the location of the camp far from the Twin Cities, I
reluctantly made the decision to take W0ZSW off the air for now.  I hope to
get it back on line from the Twin Cities shortly. W0EQO may also be
affected by the internet service change.  It may or may not be reachable by
the internet, and if it becomes unreachable we will have to shut it down as

While this is not exactly the best timing, I do hope to get W0ZSW back on
line this week.  That way even if W0EQO becomes unavailable for a period of
time we will still have one active station available for our users. Please
feel free to use one of the alternate Echolink HF receive only stations,
such as K0LR-L and WA0TDA-L, which are both already available to the
greater amateur radio community. There may be others out there as well. You
cannot connect to this kind of HF station through an Echolink repeater, you
must use a computer or portable device such as a smartphone running the
Echolink app.

If problems show up, please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

Keyboard commands list updated:

*Solar Activity Forecast:* Solar activity is expected to be very low with a
chance for low level activity.

*Geophysical Activity Forecast:* The geomagnetic field is expected to be
mostly quiet on day 1 (31 October), increasing to a chance for active
levels with the arrival of the 27 and 28 October CMEs late in the day.
Unsettled to active with a chance for minor storm levels are expected on
day 2 (1 November) from CME effects. On day 3 (2 November) conditions are
expected to decline to quiet to unsettled with a chance for active as CME
effects subside.

Credit: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
This week @ HQ

On November 1, the Handiham System is no longer part of Courage Center
Camps.  Instead, we are now part of Courage Center's Community-Based


**In addition to inpatient and outpatient medical rehabilitation services,
Courage Center offers a number of services that support life in the
community for people with disabilities or complex health conditions. Some
of these services are actually provided in a community setting, others are
based at one or more of our locations.  The Handiham System is an example
of a service that crosses geographic boundaries and brings people together
through the art and technology of communications.

*We are late getting the November magazine digests out on digital cartridge
because of our office move and because I have not heard from Bob, N1BLF,
who may or may not have electrical power following Hurricane Sandy. Bob
does the Worldradio recordings for us. However, George, N0SBU, reports that
the tape version has been sent out on time (without the November digest
audio from CQ or WR.) *

*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.

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

*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, 31 October 2012 - Patrick Tice