[handiham-world] Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 28 August 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 15:32:17 -0500

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:


Get this issue as an audio podcast:


Welcome to Handiham World!

Photo: Pat, WA0TDA, with headset microphone Pat with headset microphone

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

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

Well, I am supposed to be on vacation, so I am going to make this a rather
short newsletter.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager



 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:

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:

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:

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:

Patrick Tice


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:

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 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 28 August 2008