This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center's Handiham <http://handiham.org/> System. Please do not reply to this message. Use the contact information at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxx Listen in MP3 audio: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham080608.mp3> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham080608.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! Photo: Pat, WA0TDA, with headset microphone Pat with headset microphone <http://www.handiham.org/images/patmike.jpg> Here we are, a day late with your weekly edition of Handiham World. Yesterday in the very early morning hours we experienced a real fireworks show in the sky over Courage North: a lightning storm that dropped buckets of rain. When I awakened and wandered over to the computer, I quickly discovered that the Internet connection was not working. That, of course, meant that I could not produce your weekly e-letter as usual. It turned out that our T1 line had failed and that a representative from the service provider had to make repairs. By the time the repairs were completed in the afternoon, I had already gotten on the road and my only window for producing the content had closed. Nonetheless, I did want to say a few words about the week at Handiham Radio Camp. Overall, we had a very successful week. In typical Minnesota fashion, I would describe the few problems we ran into as, "could be worse". Several days were rather windy, limiting our waterfront activities. When the wind died down, we were able to get two pontoon boats out onto the lake for maritime mobile operation. One of the boats was equipped with an ICOM IC-718 station, which was operated on 75 and 20 m. Both boats also operated on our 2 m simplex Echolink node frequency, allowing campers to connect to virtually anywhere through the worldwide network of connected stations. Another project was the handiham remote base HF station. This went even better than I expected, with Lyle Koehler, K0LR, doing the engineering work to set up a Lenovo computer with the Kenwood software necessary to host the remote base and to connect and set up the Kenwood TS-480 radio and all associated pieces of equipment. We even managed to do a "dry run" of the system in our Extra Class Seminar, where campers were able to check it out and test the accessibility features of both the Kenwood radio and the software. Although I intend to write more about the wonderful TS-480 in some future edition, I do have to say that we are thrilled with Kenwood's attention to accessibility features. Likewise, the control software that users will run on their home computers to access the remote base is very accessible with screen reading programs like JAWS. Once the campers had a chance to do some hands-on with the station, Lyle and I transferred it to its permanent location in an attic room above Courage North's dining hall. The reason for this location is that it puts the radio in close proximity with the necessary computer networking equipment and also allows us to keep the antenna a bit further away from other antennas that are installed at Courage North. Bill, N0CIC, helped Lyle and I get the antenna into the air in flattop configuration. Bill is truly an expert with a wrist rocket slingshot that he has modified for wire antenna installations! The antenna is a G5RV that will tune 80 through 10 m. As with other G5RV installations, we found that we had to add additional coaxial cable to make the antenna tune in the phone band on 75. We have decided not to use the internal tuner on the Kenwood radio. Instead, we have installed an LDG auto tuner designed to tune instantly as soon as its senses RF. This removes one complication for users, who won't have to bother tuning an antenna. The remote base station now enters what we are calling a "beta one test phase". A few tech-savvy users will operate the station and provide us with feedback about any problems they run into. In mid--September, Lyle and I will return to the station location to iron out hardware problems, should any crop up. We also plan to put the computer on an uninterruptible power supply and a surge protector at that time. Based on what we discover during beta testing, I will write a user manual. Of course all of this will take some time, but we will give you frequent updates in your Weekly Handiham World. One interesting aspect of radio camp is simply hearing from campers whether or not they enjoyed the week. Spontaneous comments are always more accurate because they come from the heart -- at least that's my theory! I heard over and over again that people were having fun and they were wondering when the next camp would be. Several commented about the transportation to and from Camp, which we have to admit was not the best this year. Unbeknownst to us, the bus company that serves the nearby town of Bemidji, Minnesota, changed their schedule. That meant that we did not have a bus service that would serve campers on Wednesday. The alternative, airline transportation from the Twin Cities, nearly doubled in price from the previous year. Clearly we have to figure out some better options for 2009. Of course airline transportation is getting expensive no matter where you go or what your airline of choice happens to be simply because fuel costs are being passed on to the traveling public. I suspect that the high cost of diesel fuel also was behind the change in the commercial bus schedule. Fuel and travel costs are likely to have an impact on other amateur radio activities like ham fests and conventions. Amateur radio operators are problem solvers by their very nature, so it will be interesting to see how hams solve this problem! Anyway, we are looking at a somewhat different camp schedule in 2009, and we will have more information at a later date. When you get a large number of amateur radio operators together in one place and ask them to program their radios, you find out pretty quickly how many of us need a little bit of help. Radio camp always involves things like hidden transmitter hunts, operating on unusual simplex frequencies, and then returning radios to their former state so that campers can use them as usual when they get back home. It sure is easy to forget how to run a radio when you don't change the settings all that often. I have fond memories of an emergency training exercise conducted at my local radio club where almost none of us could program every function on our portable radios that was needed for the exercise. It certainly reminds me that I need to pick up my radio from time to time and go through at least a few of the basic procedures. Well, I am supposed to be on vacation, so I am going to make this a rather short newsletter. Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx Handiham Manager _____ <http://handiham.org/images/avery_paper.jpg> Avery is taking the rest of the week off. There is no QTH column. _____ Blind website accessibility lawsuit settles You know the drill about making a website accessible if you simply follow some basics, such as having a relatively uncluttered design, providing alternative text labeling, making website forms accessible by describing form fields and buttons, and so on. Of course all modern website creation software includes accessibility functions, but someone designing a website from scratch may be unfamiliar with these design basics. Even if they are using a website creation tool, they may not always know how to use the accessibility options within the program. The result can be a frustratingly difficult experience for someone who is surfing the web using a screen reading computer, voice dictation computing, or other accessibility feature. Typically, the user encounters many unlabeled graphics that are essential to understanding the content of the website. It was back in 2006 when a major retailing corporation was taken to task over website access in "National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation". I won't go into the details of the lawsuit, which are old news by now, but you can read a Wikipedia article that will provide some historical context: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Federation_of_the_Blind_v._Target_... <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Federation_of_the_Blind_v._Target_Cor poration> Now, in an Associated Press article that I saw in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper entitled "Target settles suit with Nat'l Federation of Blind", you can find out how the National Federation of the Blind and Target settled the lawsuit: http://www.startribune.com/local/27532174.html?elr=KArksUUUU Hopefully more website designers will pay attention to accessibility standards that are part of overall web design standards. W3C standards provide guidance and are readily available at: http://www.w3.org/ It may be a mystery to some web designers as to how a person with a disability might access a website or use a computer at all. For those designers, there is a very basic article on how people with disabilities use the World Wide Web: http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/PWD-Use-Web/ Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ This week at Headquarters Courage Center will be closed on Monday, September 1 for the United States Labor Day holiday. The Handiham office will reopen on Tuesday, September 2. Several staff will be on vacation until the second week in September. Nancy is the only person in our office August 28 and 29th. Avery, Jerry, and Pat are all taking vacation days after the long radio camp week. We apologize for any delay in answering e-mail and telephone calls. *** The September WORLDRADIO and QST audio digests are available for our members. Login to <http://handiham.org/user> the member section of the Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The September QST and Worldradio magazine digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF. 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. *** 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. _____ Cartoon guy with toolkit <http://handiham.org/images/bd06227_.gif> Elmer has started a blog! You can find it at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/123> http://www.handiham.org/node/123 You can write to Elmer with your questions: <mailto:elmer@xxxxxxxxxxxx> 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 year. * Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities. * 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> 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 toll-free. DONATE USED HAM GEAR 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> 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! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handi-ham System Reach me by email at: <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxx> 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 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.