[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05 February 2014

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 09:27:03 -0600

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05
February 2014

This is a free weekly news & information update from  <http://handiham.org>
Courage Kenny 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.  

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Welcome to Handiham World.

Ice on 450 Ohm ladderline

February mid-winter sanity check!

I see from the DX Cluster that the bands are in good shape.  Some of my
friends are working the ARRL Centennial QSO Party
<http://www.arrl.org/centennial-qso-party>  stations and the rare DX like
Amsterdam Island <http://www.amsterdamdx.org/> .  Hopefully you are able to
use your radios to have fun on the air as we continue to slog and trudge
through winter.  Aside from keeping ice off the ladderline, there isn't much
one can do up here on the frozen tundra with outdoor ham radio activities,
but fortunately there is plenty to do indoors when the HF bands are this

Are you an HF newbie?  If so, you'll want to learn which bands are open and
when.  Why not start by paying a visit to the Hamuniverse.com "What to
expect from the HF bands <http://www.hamuniverse.com/hfbands.html> " page?
It gives a concise band by band explanation of what to expect. Learn about
HF nets by participating in them.  The way to begin is by listening.  Tune
across the bands and find nets that way, which can add to the fun of
discovery.  Remember that some bands are most active in the hours of
darkness while others are likely to be open by day.  

Some HF nets have supporting websites that share information about net
hours, frequencies, net control stations, and net purpose or mission.  One
of my favorite nets is the PICONET <http://www.piconet3925.com/> , which is
a 75 meter semi-formal net that is mostly just a social net but that also
occasionally handles formal NTS message traffic.  Because it is on 3.925
MHz, it is considered a "regional" net.  You need to be in the vicinity of
Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas to reliably participate.
Fortunately you can do so via the two Handiham remote base HF stations if
you have station control op credentials. 

You might also check out the long-running YL System Net
<http://www.ylsystem.org/> . The net is on 14.332 MHz and operates 365 days
a year beginning with The Sunrise Portion of the YL System at 1300Z (1200Z
during daylight savings time in US.)  This 20 meter net can be heard far and
wide, thanks to the good conditions on 14 MHz and multiple sessions during
the day.  Just check in with the NCS, and if you are looking for someone in
particular, let the NCS know.  

If you want to check out a DX Cluster, try the QRZ.com list from DXWATCH.com
<http://www.qrz.com/dxcluster>  or just Google "DX Cluster".  I use the
HB9DRV cluster in Ham Radio Deluxe.  If any of our blind readers and
listeners can recommend a good accessible DX Cluster to me, I would like to
have that information to share with others.  I do read the Blind-Hams list
occasionally and note that as late as a couple of years ago HRD was still
not blind-friendly, but I have not had a report since the software became a
commercial venture.  I am using version 5, which is free, but would welcome
any information on whether version 6 has improved accessibility.  

One thing about working DX is that it is usually easier if you use CW
instead of SSB.  One fellow was telling me this morning that he was able to
make a good CW DX contact on 80 meters earlier this week.  As with other
activities about which you need to learn, please begin by listening and
doing some reading about "how-to".  The reason for this is that working DX
is not necessarily like making other HF contacts.  The DX station may be
calling on one frequency and using another to listen.  What that happens,
you will make everyone else trying to work the DX station really unhappy by
calling on the wrong frequency if you do not understand how to use the
"split" function on your transceiver.  Check out "Delving into DX-ing
<http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/delving-into-dxing.html> " by H. Ward
Silver, N0AX.  It's an excerpt from the "Ham Radio for Dummies" book.  

How about just making random contacts on HF?  You can call CQ and maybe
someone will come back to you.  It can be a fun way to make new friends, and
it is a leisurely way to operate - free of any pressure to make lots of
contacts or work a special DX entity.  Pay a visit to
<http://www.arrl.org/making-your-first-contact> "Making your first contact"
on the ARRL website for some tips on some operating basics.  

Hey, I just worked W1AW/5 in Texas, the Centennial Station.  It was easy to
locate it after looking at the spot in the DX Cluster.  Be sure to put these
tools to work for you! 

Tip:  Check out the ARRL Centennial QSO Party!

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



Cartoon rabbit running with mail

Radio in the Dark:  The Kenwood TS-590S audio tutorial series by Joe, N3AIN

.         Check out the excellent Kenwood TS-590S radio, taught by Joe
Bogwist, N3AIN, is a series of six audio lectures that take you through the
layout and hookup of the radio, operation, control via a computer, and more.
You'll find it in DAISY or MP3 download.  Members who get the monthly NLS
cartridge digest will find the DAISY version in the February mailing, which
will go out later this week. 

The Coldest Spot in the Known Universe:  No, it's not Minnesota, hard as
that is to believe.

.         NASA Science News for Jan. 30, 2014 reports that:  "NASA
researchers are planning to create the coldest spot in the known
Universe--inside the International Space Station. Their atomic refrigerator,
known as the "Cold Atom Lab," could lead to the discovery of new forms of
matter and novel quantum phenomena."   

o    Full NASA story here.

o    Video on YouTube here. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9_LmSTtpkI> 

2014 Radio Camp Operating Skills (Saturday, August 16 through Saturday
August 23, 2014)

.         Our study guide for 2014 Handiham Radio Camp Operating Skills will
be the  <http://www.arrl.org/shop/Amateur-Radio-Public-Service-Handbook>
ARRL Public Service Handbook First Edition.  It is available from your
favorite ham radio dealer or directly from ARRL.  Blind Handiham members
should contact us for the DAISY version.  We will be happy to place it on
your NLS DAISY cartridge for you.  Update:  NLS DAISY cartridges have
arrived at Handiham HQ. 

Dip in the pool dives into the new Tech pool

.         Today we are going to dip our toes into the new Technician
question pool that comes into effect on July 1, 2014.  Before we do that,
let's take a look at the NC4FB website's excellent Technician comparison
page to find out what is new and different from the current pool.
8-v-technician-2010-2014/>   We find that there are more questions in the
pool but that fewer refer to figures. The new pool has 426 questions while
the current pool has 394.  Only 12 questions in the new pool refer to
figures, as opposed to 16 in the old pool.  Nonetheless, blind candidates
will still want to be sure to request a diagram-free examination so that
they will not have to answer questions that refer to figures.  

.         T1A13 asks: "What is the FCC Part 97 definition of telecommand?"

Possible answers are:

o    A. An instruction bulletin issued by the FCC 

o    B. A one-way radio transmission of measurements at a distance from the
measuring instrument 

o    C. A one-way transmission to initiate, modify or terminate functions of
a device at a distance 

o    D. An instruction from a VEC 

.         For the correct answer, we turn to Jim Perry, KJ3P, who is
recording the new Technician Pool for us.  Jim gives the correct answer as
C: A one-way transmission to initiate, modify or terminate functions of a
device at a distance.  We look forward to having the Technician Pool
available this Spring, around the same time that we will begin our new
Technician Audio Lecture Series.

ARRL Winter Newsletter for Instructors

*       Check out the just-released ARRL Instructor News, "Radio Waves" for
Winter, 2014.  To find it, visit the
<http://www.arrl.org/announcements-news-briefs-newsletters> ARRL Newsletter
page and follow the link to "Winter 2014".  The publication is PDF, but it
contains accessible embedded text.

Secure web connections are now available for your member section web

.         This means that you can type in "https" instead of "http" if you
want to view the pages over a secure connection. 

.         Example:  https://handiham.org 


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Circuit board intermittents

If you do any circuit building or have done any hands-on electronic repair,
you are probably familiar with one of the banes of any bench tech: the

Most of us don't delve into the cramped circuitry of our late-model radios,
but there are plenty of vintage rigs out there that use more or less
discrete components soldered onto a circuit board.  Circuit boards have
conductive traces that supply voltages, carry signals, and connect the
different components, both active and passive, together to form the entire
circuitry of the radio.  Nothing is more aggravating than a circuit that
starts to malfunction, then mysteriously "fixes" itself only to fail again
an hour or a day or a week after we put the radio back into its cabinet.  

Older circuit boards (and even new ones) do have some possible failure
points that can cause this kind of intermittent behavior.  Since the
circuitry can be very complicated, it requires lots of traces.  Rather than
waste space on a circuit board, engineers design double-sided boards.  That
means there must be connections between the traces on the top to the traces
on the bottom.  You could do it with wire looped around from the top to the
bottom, but the usual method is to use "feedthroughs", which are short
conducting connections that pierce the board, thus connecting both sides at
that point.  There will be many of these in a typical circuit.  Solder at
the feedthroughs can either be nonexistent because of a failure in
manufacturing or because of a hairline break around the feedthrough. Similar
hairline cracks in the solder can occur at the base of soldered-in
components.    Poor soldering at assembly can sometimes show up years after
the radio has been sold and put into use. Other times the cycle of heat and
cold during use or vibration, accidental drops, or rough handling can cause
breaks over time.  The bad joint may work fine until the unit heats up in
use and then the intermittent may occur.  Or it may happen only on cold days
and not warm ones.  Tapping (or whacking the unit on its side) may restore
operation temporarily.

Thankfully newer radios do not suffer these intermittent failures nearly as
much as vintage ones.  I've fixed quite a number of these over the years and
done it by carefully probing the circuit board with a plastic stick,
exerting light pressure on the board and various components to see if I can
trigger the intermittent.  Once a suspect area on the board is identified, a
close visual examination with a magnifier can reveal the failure point.
After that it is a matter of resoldering the bad spot and allowing the radio
to operate for a good long time to make sure the problem has really been

One of the worst intermittent problems I have seen was in an old Johnson
transmitter at our college radio club station.  A fellow club member - one
of the most careful troubleshooters I have met - located a break inside a
wire, concealed from view because the wire was insulated. 

Be patient and work logically and methodically to locate intermittents.  Old
equipment can use dangerous voltages. Be aware of shock hazards and follow
all safety rules!   

This is practical radio, so use what works for you.


Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 

Listen for Doug, N6NFF, tonight and try to answer the trivia question during
the first half hour.  Check in later just to get in the log and say hello.
The trivia question answer is revealed shortly after the first half hour. 

We are scheduled to be on the air daily at 11:00 USA Central Time, plus
Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 19:00 USA Central Time.  A big THANK YOU to
all of our net control stations!  

We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time.  Since
the nets remain true to Minnesota time, the difference between Minnesota
time and GMT is -6 hours.  The net is on the air at 17:00 hours GMT.   

The two evening sessions are at 01:00 GMT Thursday and Friday.  Here in
Minnesota that translates to 7:00 PM Wednesday and Thursday.  

The official and most current net news may be found at:


This week @ HQ

Cartoon robot with pencil

Digests & Lectures

Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY do the volunteer
recording.  Thanks, guys!

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:  

New this week: QCWA Digest for February 2014 is available in MP3. 

New in Operating Skills: Joe Bogwist, N3AIN, opens his Radio in the Dark
series with tutorials on how to use the new Kenwood TS-590S 160 - 6 m

In our 58th Extra Class audio lecture we continue our series on antennas by
learning how to match feedlines to antennas, figuring out feedline loss, and
more.  (24 MB - 1 hour and 24 minutes) 

Lecture 57, the second of our in-depth discussion of antennas in Extra Class
is still available.  This one is an impressive hour and a half long by the
time we go through the questions.  

Our limited digest version of QST for January 2014 in DAISY is available in
the members section.

Worldradio Online for January 2014 has been completed by Bob Zeida, N1BLF.
Thanks, Bob!

  This is the FINAL edition of Worldradio as a standalone publication, due
to the upcoming consolidation of several CQ publications. 

Remember that secure web connections are now available for your member
section web surfing.  This means that you can type in "https" instead of
"http" if you want to view the pages over a secure connection. 

Remote Base News

W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.

Kenwood TS-480HX transceiver with LDG autotuner

Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line for
your use 24/7.  

*       If you use Skype for audio, please connect and disconnect the Skype
call to the remote base manually.  The automatic calling and hang up is no
longer supported in Skype. 
*       200 watt operation is restored on 160, 80, and 40 meters for Extra
and Advanced Class users on W0ZSW. 

.         Outages: Outages are reported on

Operating tip:  Find out how to tell if the remote base station is already
in use if you are using JAWS: 

*       Listen to the tutorial:
*       Read the tutorial in accessible HTML: 

Digital Cartridges now Stocked at Handiham HQ:

Nancy now has the NLS 4GB digital cartridges and mailers available at our
cost.  She says: 

We now have a supply of digital Talking Book cartridges and mailers
available for purchase for our Handiham members.  The total cost for a set
is $15.50.  We will download any digital study materials from the Members
Only section of our website onto your cartridge at no additional cost.  

Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer 

Don't care to download Handiham materials via computer? The NLS digital
cartridge and mailer can bring you Handiham audio digests each month, plus
we have room to put the audio lecture series or equipment tutorials on them,

Want to log in?  Let's go:

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login: 

If you have trouble logging in, please let us know.  

*       All Daisy materials are in zip file format, so you simply download
the zip file you need and unzip it so the Daisy book folder can be accessed
or moved to your NLS or other Daisy player.
*       Tip: When in the Daisy directory, it is easy to find the latest
books by sorting the files by date. Be sure the latest date is at the top.
The link to sort is called "Last Modified".  
*       You can also find what is on a web page by using CONTROL-F.  This
brings up a search box and you can type a key word in, such as "September".
You may find more than one September, including 2012, but you will
eventually come across what we have posted for September 2013. 

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 call sign 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  <http://www.aph.org> APH, the American Printing
House for the Blind, Inc. 

Digital Talking Book Cartridge, 4GB, Blank; Catalog Number: 1-02609-00,
Price $13.00

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
cartridges:  <http://www.loc.gov/nls/cartridges/index.html> 

Get it all on line as an alternative:  Visit the DAISY section on the
Handiham website after logging in. 


Stay in touch

Cartoon robot with cordless phone

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  <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or call her at 763-520-0512.  If you need to use
the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442.  

Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at
<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone
at 763-520-0511.  

Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us. 

The Courage Kenny Handiham Program 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. 

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
<http://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> Handiham Weekly E-Letter in MP3
Email us to subscribe:
 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Kenny Handihams!
Coordinator, Courage Kenny Handiham Program
Reach me by email at:
 <mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:
 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 <http://handiham.org> Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422
 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

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!

ARRL diamond-shaped logo

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is
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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05 February 2014 - Patrick Tice