[handiham-world] Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 13 August 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 14:53:18 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center's
Handiham System <http://handiham.org/> . Please do not reply to this
message. Use the contact information at the end, or simply email

Listen in MP3 audio:


Get this issue as an audio podcast:
 <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham


Welcome to Handiham World!

 K0LR makes a radio contact from the boat dock at Courage North
<http://handiham.org/images/camptour/DSCN3026.jpg> Photo: Lyle, K0LR, makes
a radio contact from the pontoon boat as it is docked on Lake George. 

I hope you will cut me some slack as I get ready for Radio Camp. As I
mention later on in Headquarters News, we are really pushing the limits of
time and energy as we prepare for camp. I apologize in advance to those of
you who need tech support on the website. We will help you as soon as we

Some of you want to contact us by radio during camp week. The same question
usually comes up each year, namely, "What frequencies will you be using?"

I've tried suggesting HF frequencies in past years, but experience tells me
that every operator at camp will have a unique idea about which frequency to
use - and every time I've listed frequencies, the stations were on somewhere
else! I can tell you that we will use W0EQO and W0ZSW as callsigns for sure,
and that we do plan to be on the daily EchoLink net, including a special net
on Sunday at 11:00 hours Central Time (16:00 GMT). There will be a camp
EchoLink node, so campers can be contacted anytime via that node, which will
transmit on a two meter frequency around camp. That means that we won't have
to be tied down to a computer to stay in touch! You might even have a chance
to talk with campers who are out on the lake, all thanks to our EchoLink

We wish you could join us deep in the pines of Northern Minnesota's lake
country, but if you can't, do the next best thing - contact us on the radio!

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


Now, back to our vintage QSL card series.

 Hamm's Beer QSL Card <http://handiham.org/images/hamms.jpg> 

This is a most unusual card, which I picked this week as a reminder that we
will be in the lake country of northern Minnesota at Courage North for Radio
Camp. It was produced as a marketing piece for a regional beer company here
in Minnesota.  You can guess the interest in a ham radio QSL card when you
know the name of the beer: Hamm's! These full color cards show a view of a
sky-blue Minnesota lake. "Hamm's Sky Blue Waters" was an oft-heard phrase in
radio and television ads in the 1960's. I remember having some of these
giveaway cards myself back in 1968 or so. There was a rectangle in the upper
right of the card so that you could put in your callsign, and the back of
the card was pre-printed with the usual QSO information.

We will bet that you have vintage QSL cards, too. If you can send a scan or
photo of your vintage QSL cards, we will feature them here. What the heck -
the HF bands are still pretty poor, so we might as well keep ourselves busy
with vintage cards! Please send the images to wa0tda@xxxxxxxx along with a
few words, if you wish, explaining the card or perhaps recalling those days
when you were sending lots of these out. We will also feature your comments
and callsign in the story.



Avery's QTH: Building a tower from the top down.

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

How is the QSL Card contest going? Remember we have until the end of the
year so there is still plenty of time left, but it can creep up on you very

Too many years ago for me to want to mention, I used to work for an
electronics company that sold specialized parts and retail consumer
electronics equipment as well as wholesale. It was during a period of time
when the local professional (Viking) football games were not allowed to be
televised in the Twin City area. Many people and businesses, especially
restaurants, put up towers with very large TV antennas to attempt to get the
very weak TV signals from either Iowa or Wisconsin and watch the games that

Well, we sold towers - a very good brand name - which is still in use today.
Our building was not very big, at least not big enough to store a lot of
tower sections and since we just happened to be in the same Metro area with
the warehouse, it didn't really matter too much as we could just run over to
the warehouse and pick up the towers as we needed them.

One day we had a customer come in and order one so I called the warehouse,
and yes! They had one, or so they thought. So the next day we sent our truck
over to pick it up. In due course the truck came back and unloaded the
tower, so we called the customer. As we started to load the tower on to the
customer's vehicle, we discovered that the bottom section (the mounting
base) was missing. In a panic we called the warehouse to find out what

The answer came back, "Well, we were missing that section but we thought we
would send you the rest of the tower so you could get started on it."

"OK! So, how does the customer build it from the top down?" was our reply.

Lucky for us the customer thought it was funny.

So, until next time,

73 es DX de K0HLA, Avery


Media Hits

 Media Hits <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/news.jpg> 

BBC: Morse still popular despite mobile phone!

Check out this video story from the BBC, in which Morse code on amateur
radio is front and center for some operators:



Remembering Earl Chiswell, W0IAK

 Remembering Earl Chiswell, W0IAK

The dedication and expertise of our ham radio friends never ceases to amaze!
Recently we received a wonderful letter from Molly Chiswell, complete with
the tribute I am including here. It is about her husband, Earl Chiswell,
W0IAK. Before we get to the tribute, which details Earl's extraordinary life
in ham radio and electronics, I want to share a few words from Molly:

"Earl, my husband, was a ham from a very early age. His interest and love of
ham radio continued throughout his life. He admired and was supportive of
your efforts at the Courage Center and expressed his wish that any tributes
be sent to you."

Our thanks to Molly and the friends of the Chiswells, who donated to support
the ongoing work of Courage Center to enrich the lives of people with
disabilities. The tribute follows my signature - it's really interesting and

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Manager, Courage Center Handiham System

Tribute To Earl Chiswell

Earl Chiswell, 86, beloved husband, father, brother and friend, passed away
peacefully on July 2,2008 at Bigfork Valley Hospital, MN, due to
complications of a severe stroke last October.

Born December 18, 1921 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, Earl grew up near
Ottawa, where his father built aircraft and was the Ottawa Air Club's
mechanic on weekends. Earl had his first flight when he was about 10,
propped up by cushions so he could see out the rear cockpit. When he was
given the stick to control the plane, his love of flying took off.

He served with the Royal Canadian Air Force in both theaters of WWII, as a
pilot and Flying Officer. A skilled aviator, Earl is credited with saving
many crewmen and aircraft under his command.

After the war, Earl graduated from the University of Toronto, in Electrical
Engineering, and the University of Minnesota in Aeronautical Engineering. He
became a research scientist at the U of M in Rosemount, MN, at Martin
Marietta in Boston, MD, and in Tullahoma, TN, working with the Von Braun
team developing and testing the first rocket engines for the space effort.

Founder/owner of EC Electronic Sales in Bloomington, MN, Earl combined work
and flying by piloting his own private plane for cross-country business
trips. Earl's daughter, Carrie, was his co-pilot on flights during family
vacations. A summer resident of Owen Lake, MN since 1958, Earl enjoyed
fishing, hunting and all the beauties of the Minnesota north land. He and
his wife Molly retired to Owen Lake permanently in 1989.

Earl's life long hobby was amateur radio. His FCC licenses were VE3VO and
VE3AYE in Canada, and W0IAK in the U.S. A very active DX'er, he worked over
350 different countries during his ham career, and in 1993 was elected to
the First Class C.W. Operators' Club, which is limited to 500 active members
worldwide. The Quarter Century Wireless Association recognized him in 2003
for 65 years on the air.

Earl was a loyal friend, and liberally gave of his time and talents to help
and encourage others. He will be remembered and missed by many.


Orca Screenreader for Linux

 Orca Screenreader for Linux

Are there any Orca users out there?

If so, we would like to hear from you. Orca is the open-source screenreader
for Linux, an alternative to the expensive commercial operating systems and
screenreaders. Orca is a flexible, extensible, and powerful assistive
technology for people with visual impairments. Using various combinations of
speech synthesis, Braille, and magnification, Orca helps provide access to
applications and toolkits that support the AT-SPI (e.g., the GNOME desktop
in Linux).

I was discussing accessibility with Tom Fowle, WA6IVG, of the
Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, when the subject came up. Tom
mentioned that there is even a British voice for Orca, something that I
thought would make listening fun! If any of our readers or podcast listeners
have experience with Orca, I would like to share it in your weekly Handiham
World. You can find Orca online at:

 <http://www.gnome.org/projects/orca/> http://www.gnome.org/projects/orca/

Know something about Orca? Let me know, too, so I can share.
Patrick Tice


Now, here is a worthy cause if ever there was one:

The Coast Guard has a volunteer program where anyone can be in uniform.
There are NO concerns as to whether a person has a disability or not. The
program is called "Coast Guard Auxiliary". The web page is
http://www.cgaux.org <http://www.cgaux.org/> . Anyone interested can contact
KB5UJM at his "callbook" address or email at:  <mailto:kb5ujm@xxxxxxxx> 


Elmer: A flagpole you can afford

 cartoon elmer with toolkit <http://handiham.org/images/bd06227_.gif> 
While at a Convention & Hamfest last weekend, I saw a really neat flagpole
antenna. It was a "Force 12" 15 and a half foot tall vertical made from
really solid-looking aluminum of a diameter that made it look like a real
flagpole. Heck, it is a flagpole! You can hoist a flag up on this thing and
it would take the wind without folding over. It looked darned good, too -
nice, shiny aluminum, not some cheesy plastic pipe with a conductor hidden
inside. The base insulator was some solid material, but it looked sturdy

Now, here's the interesting thing: I looked up residential grade commercial
flagpoles and found they run just under $400 for a 15-footer!

So the Force 12 flagpole antenna is a deal, even if you only want a
flagpole. I thought I would let you know that this antenna is out there on
the market for a list price of $229. I don't know which dealers sell the
Force 12 brand, but it might be worth your while looking at this particular
antenna if you are in a situation where conventional HF antennas are not
allowed. Most developments will allow flagpoles of this height.



A volunteer retrospective

We have some really great volunteers at Courage Center's many programs and
locations. Of course I don't always know the volunteers who have helped out
in other programs than Handihams, or at other locations, like Camp Courage.
Volunteers also come and go, volunteering as long as they can, then retiring
due to health concerns or when they can no longer drive. Sometimes I only
find out about a volunteer after the fact. This happened when I got the
June-July issue of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting newsletter late last
month. Thumbing through it, I noticed a tribute article about Nell B. Coil,
W0MSW, who became a silent key on June 18, 2008 at the age of 97! She first
became a ham in 1933, 75 years ago. What caught my attention was the
statement she made about how she and her husband Bert volunteered at Camp

"After Bert's retirement, we enjoyed our work with Camp Courage, where we
met so many lovely people. What a great experience it was."

Nell recalls how she was first licensed and became one of the first lady
hams in Minnesota. It's worth listening to, so I have read the short article
for you, and you can listen here:



What's your TM-271A doing? Here's a way to find out if you can't see the

 What's your TM-271A doing? Here's a way to find out if you can't see the
display. <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/tm271a.jpg> 

This is Martin, WB5AGZ. I don't know if you keep a knowledge base on various
tricks for knowing what one's rig is doing, but I did find a way to tell
what frequency that Kenwood TM-271A is on. It is useful when managing the
channel memories. I would call this very limited use, but it might help

It took me a while, but I finally figured out what the first IF of the
Kenwood is. It is 49.95 MHz, high side injection so the LO (Local
Oscillator) is always 49.95 MHz above the frequency one wishes to receive.
This means your receiver must tune between 185.5 and 223.5.

The LO signal is very low which is a good thing, but it means you need to
put the antenna of the other receiver right next to the case of the Kenwood
to hear it. I am lucky enough to own an IC-R7000, which I have had for
almost 22 years, so it will tune those frequencies just fine. Some of the
other scanners out there will also tune those frequencies, so you could tell
someone to track the LO.

It's certainly not as convenient as being able to read the frequency
directly, but I used this trick a couple of days ago to copy some channels
from one bank to the other.

If the channel has the CTCSS set, copying it means you don't have to set it

1. Get a calculator and add 49.95 to the frequency in question.

2. Use your second receiver to find the LO by tuning to the result of your

3. Turn the selector knob on the Kenwood until you hear the LO in the second

4. Press Function on the Kenwood and find Channel 0 and then count until you
reach the channel you want to copy to.

5. Hit Memory and you will hear the beep as you release it.

One other little thing about that rig to remember is that the special scan
limit and weather alert channels are after the highest-numbered channel and
before 0 so you count 9 clicks between the highest channel and 0. The
highest channel is either 99 if you use the alphanumeric tags or 199 if you

I don't see how the alpha tags would help a ham who is totally blind. The
rig comes defaulted to the tag setting so you have to set the no-tags mode
to get 200 channels.

The only thing I haven't done yet is figure out how to use the computer
cable under Linux. It looks like all you can do is store and retrieve a
memory image of the transceiver. I sure wish all those menus and functions
could be manipulated through the computer, but the mike plug and computer
port use the same jack so you can't operate the rig and be connected to the
computer at the same time, at least as far as I know. Bummer!

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ Stillwater, OK
Systems Engineer
OSU Information Technology Department Telecommunications Services Group


This week at Headquarters

We are now in "Radio Camp" mode! Jerry, N0VOE, is out of the office until
after Radio Camp. Avery, K0HLA, is in the office the rest of this week and
next Monday morning, after which he will be at camp as well. Pat, WA0TDA, is
in the office Thursday morning, then will not return to the office until
September 8. Radio Camp is a pretty work-intensive experience for staff,
since preparation, travel, and being away at camp all take many hours away
from the usual office routine, as well as from simply being able to take
care of one's own personal things at home. Please bear with us while we take
the time to make sure our radio campers have the best possible experience
during Radio Camp week. Nancy will be in the office, but other staff will be
busy with camp and not able to answer phone calls or emails. There will
probably be no e-letter or audio lectures next week, due to the work at


The August WORLDRADIO audio digest is available for our members. Login to
the member  <http://handiham.org/user> section of the Handiham website and
find the magazine digests in the Library. The September QST and Worldradio
magazines have been printed, so Bob, N1BLF, will soon be reading from them.
We also hope to add CQ Magazine digest in the September audio for our
members who do not use regular print.

We have added an "audio this week" link at the top of the member page once
you log in. This is a good place to find out what audio is new on our
website each week, including magazine digests and audio lectures. 


 Courage North dining hall, where tests are given

VE Session at Courage North - Take your exam to get a license or upgrade.

*       What: VE Exams at Handiham Radio Camp
*       When: 9:00 AM, August 26, 2008
*       Where: Camp Courage North, Lake George, Minnesota. Map and
*       Cost: The 2008 VE fee is $14.00.
*       What to bring: All candidates must provide a photocopy of the
original license. The original license is not required. If we have
questions, we will look up the candidate on the Internet. Any CSCE's
presented for upgrade credit must be the original - The VE team will also
need a photocopy of the CSCE for their files.


Avery's schedule changes: Avery is now out of the office on Tuesdays. This
helps save transportation costs and energy!



Stay in touch!  Be sure to send Nancy your change 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@xxxxxxxxxxx or call her
toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact us. 


 plugged-in robot <http://www.handiham.org/images/bd05047_.gif> 

RekkyTec Links

Found by KB3LLA: 

i.d. mate OMNI is a portable "all-in-one" talking bar code scanner. It
allows an individual to identify items using the product's bar code or 
UPC:  <http://www.envisionamerica.com/idmate/> 

ScripTalk Talking Prescriptions:

W4MQ Internet Remote Base:  <http://www.w4mq.com/> 

W7DXX remote base audio (listen only):  <http://www.w7dxx.com:8000/> 

W7DXX remote base main page: 


 Cartoon guy with toolkit <http://handiham.org/images/bd06227_.gif> 



Elmer has started a blog! You can find it at:

You can write to Elmer with your questions: <mailto:elmer@xxxxxxxxxxxx> 


 Huge alligator grabbing Pat, WA0TDA
<http://handiham.org/images/alligator.jpg> Reminder:  Handiham renewals are
now on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we need you to keep our
program strong!

Image: Meet our new dues collection agent! A huge alligator grabs Pat,
WA0TDA.  "Sure wish I'd renewed my Handiham dues sooner." 

For years Handiham membership renewals were done each July. This year, we
are going to a monthly system.  If you renew in March, your membership goes
until the following March, for example. You will have several choices when
you renew:

*       Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year.
*       Join for three years at $30.
*       Lifetime membership is $100.
*       If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for the
*       Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our
*       Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. There is a postage paid
envelope provided, and you won't get a visit from you-know-who.

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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

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


1-866-426-3442 toll-free Help us get new hams on the air.

FREE! 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
<http://www.handiham.org/> .  
Email us to subscribe:  <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at
www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> :

. Beginner 
. General 
. Extra 
. Operating Skills


That's it for this week. 
73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!

Manager, Courage Handi-ham System
Reach me by email at:  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

*       Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx

*       Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxx

*       Avery, K0HLA, Educational Coordinator: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx 

*       Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxx

*       Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxx


 ARRL </p>
<p>diamond logo <http://www.handiham.org/images/arrllogo.gif> 

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.

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 13 August 2008