[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 08 January 2014

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2014 14:35:18 -0600

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 08
January 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.  

MP3 audio: 

Get this podcast in iTunes:
 <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Subscribe to our audio podcast
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 <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedBurner.com/handiham


Welcome to Handiham World.

Here's a quick look at what's important this week:

.         Spaceweather.com has sent out an alert about sunspot AR1944.  If
you can see this group on the website solar image, it is truly awesome in
size - and it's rotated toward Earth.  

"One of the largest sunspots in years, AR1944, has turned toward  Earth and
it is crackling with strong flares.  So far on Jan. 7th, the active region
has produced M7- and X1-class eruptions, and more appear to be in the
offing.  As this alert is being issued, analysts are waiting for more data
from solar observatories to clarify the possibility of CME impacts and
geomagnetic storms in the days ahead."  

For updates, stay tuned to http://spaceweather.com.   

It is also worth noting that the solar weather widget from G4ILO on
Handiham.org predicts HF blackouts.  Be that as it may, a single sunspot
group's behavior does not determine the fate of the entire solar cycle.  We
have been reading grumpy downer articles about how lousy cycle 24 is, but
wait - there's a possibility that "24" will serve up a second peak thanks to
a solar flux high:  Read about it on the ARRL website.

.         The CQ and Worldradio Online magazines for January have been
released in digital format.  This follows the announcement by the CQ
Newsroom <http://cqnewsroom.blogspot.com/>  that there will be a realignment
of several CQ Communications, Inc. publications beginning in February.  At
this point the Handiham Program is still planning to produce DAISY digital
audio versions of both publications for our blind members.  CQ for December
in print has not yet arrived, so the latest DAISY version is November 2013. 

"Effective with the February 2014 issue of CQ," said CQ Publisher Dick Ross,
K2MGA, "content from  the magazine's three sister publications, Popular
Communications,  CQ VHF and WorldRadio Online, will be incorporated into
CQ's digital edition as a supplement to be called CQ Plus." 

Is there interest in Popular Communications as a DAISY offering among our
blind members?  As with the other publications, we would consider a "digest"
version that includes several articles of interest.  If the publication is
already offered in DAISY by the NLS, Library of Congress, we would not
duplicate their efforts.  

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



Cartoon rabbit running with mail

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.  

.         We are working on the camp application process this week.  Radio
Camp applications will be sent from True Friends <http://truefriends.org/> ,
the new nonprofit camping entity that operates Camp Courage, where we will
be enjoying the Radio Camp session this coming August.  

.         If you have already contacted our Handiham office for a camp
application, don't worry - we will make sure True Friends sends you an

.         We are pleased to have a full week of camp this year.  More time
for more fun!  

Screenshot of True Friends 2014 catalog with camper pictures on knotty pine
board background.

This is a photo of the new 2014 True Friends Summer catalog. Be watching for
it in your mailbox if you have camped with us before.  You will not receive
a separate Radio Camp application packet from Nancy this time - so be sure
to pay attention to the True Friends catalog and mailings!  We did hear from
one potential radio camper who threw the camp materials away because he
thought they were from someone else.  

.         If you are planning to attend Radio Camp and need radio equipment
to complete your station, please let us know when you send your camp
application in.  We will have equipment available for you to take home after
camp if it is available.   

.         As before, we also plan to send new Technicians home with two
meter radios.  

.         Some interesting facts about True Friends: 

o    True Friends had been called "Camps of Courage and Friendship" after
Courage Center and Friendship Ventures, both involved in camping for people
with disabilities, merged to form a brand-new nonprofit to carry on their
shared mission.

o    Some of your old familiar faces are still right there at camp,
including Tony Bown, and his mom Colleen, both of whom have worked many
Handiham Radio Camps in the past. Although Tom Fogarty, KB0FWQ, has retired,
his wife Mimi is on the board of True Friends. 

o    Both Camp Courage and Camp Courage North have retained their old names,
which they have had for many years.  

o    Handiham Remote Base station W0EQO is permanently located at Courage
North and is available for your use 24/7.

o    Handiham repeater W0EQO-R is at Camp Courage, where it runs 24/7,
always connected to the *HANDIHAM* Echolink conference. We will enjoy being
connected to the world while at camp this summer - all you need is a two
meter handheld radio!

o    True Friends operates three other camps besides the two Courage camps.
There are many opportunities for fun at camp, thanks to True Friends!

o    Contact information and addresses of all the camps are on the True
Friends website: 


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Water, water everywhere.  Make sure it's not in your coax. 

Pat holds up a box of rubber splicing tape.

Here I am holding up a box of 3M ScotchT 130C Linerless Rubber Splicing

I've been a ham radio operator a long time and over the years I've prepared
a lot of antenna and feedline connections for outdoor use.  As you might
expect, there have been some successes and failures in all that time.  The
worst of the failures would sometimes be corroded connecting hardware or
coaxial cable or control wiring (like rotor cable) that had water intrusion
between the outer jacket and the conductors.  I've seen coax that had such
bad water damage that the copper braid had turned to powder!  

Water is bad, bad, bad for feedlines.  It has a hard time getting into open
wire line except at exposed ends because the plastic coating is closely
bonded to the conductors, but coaxial cable is more likely to wick water
into the braid, where it will sit between the outer plastic jacket and the
dielectric - keeping the braid sopping wet.  It can even follow the length
of the coax and drip a puddle into your ham shack! It can wreak immediate
havoc on your SWR even if corrosion hasn't started as long as the water is
sitting there acting as part of the dielectric.  Eventually it will corrode
the conductors and joints so badly that they will fail.  Bad.  very bad.

Obviously you want to keep water out of feedlines and away from joints, like
the ones around your dipole's center insulator and any place there is a coax
connector outdoors.  I've tried lots of things, and some are more effective
than others. For a short term fix, regular electrical tape is better than
just leaving a coax connection out in the rain, but regular electrical tape
- the plastic kind - is not up to the job of providing long-term protection
against moisture.  You can try sealing the connection after wrapping it with
regular electrical tape. Silicone sealant will work, but may separate after
a period of time, especially if the joint flexes.  I don't recommend putting
silicone sealant directly onto the connectors in any case.  

There are flexible sealants sold in strips specifically to seal coax joints.
This is similar to sealants used on metal roofing projects and sold in much
larger rolls for that purpose. These work better than plain plastic
electrical tape for longer term use.  Follow the directions with the
product. I like to wrap the connectors with plastic electrical tape first,
then use the sealant.  This makes it easier to take the joint apart if you
ever need to.

Just last week someone asked me what I recommended for sealing connectors,
and I had something new in my bag of tricks:  3M ScotchT 130C Linerless
Rubber Splicing Tape.  I learned about it from a fellow amateur and antenna
enthusiast as we worked on an antenna project for a club member.  It's in a
roll like most tapes, but it is noticeably thicker.  It's tacky on one side,
and you apply it according to the directions with the tacky side up. You
stretch the tape - and it is very stretchy indeed - overlapping it so as to
make a tight fit free of voids.  Cover that layer with another layer of
regular electrical tape.  The rubber splicing tape really seals well,
keeping water out.  It forms and stretches across hardware, too.  I have
seen it used effectively on dipole center insulators.  It can withstand a
lot of heat and is even flame-retardant.  

You can choose from a variety of methods to keep water at bay, but why tempt
fate?  If you do seal a coax joint, try to position it in such a way as to
avoid having it end up underwater.  While your sealing job may hold, it is
still best to avoid constant exposure to water.  I like to keep sealed
joints above ground when possible so they won't be in constant contact with
wet soil.  Some antenna feedpoints are designed to provide a bit of
protection from above to keep rain out.  Take advantage of any mechanism you
can to avoid water!

When the stakes are high, the sealant must not fail.  If you have a coax
joint high up on a tower or at a difficult to access repeater site, you and
water are in a high stakes game.  You want a nice, dry, connection that will
not fail during a weather emergency or (as happens with Murphy's Law) at the
most inconvenient of times when it will be hard to service. Your adversary,
water, will be relentless and sneaky, trying to find a way into that
connection.  Your best bet is to put lots of care into carefully and
thoroughly sealing connections that are critical and hard to reach.  

Do it right and you'll be in business for years.

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


Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 

TMV71A transceiver

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


*       Lecture 55 in Extra Class is now available.
*       Our limited digest version of QST for January 2014 in DAISY is now
available in the members section.
*       Worldradio Online for December 2013 has been completed by Bob Zeida,
N1BLF.  Thanks, Bob!

  Find it in the DAISY section.

*       QCWA Digest for December 2013 is available in MP3 in the members
section and from  <http://www.QCWA.org> www.QCWA.org.  
*       NLS digital cartridges were mailed this week. 
*       CQ DAISY digest for November is now available after the print issue
arrived very late last month.  The December issue was released yesterday so
the reading for that DAISY book is also delayed.  
*       The National Library Service is back on schedule for the DAISY
*       Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY have
kindly done the volunteer recording.  

Remote Base News

W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.

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 to be Stocked at Handiham HQ in 2014:

A generous donor has afforded us seed money to stock a supply of NLS digital
cartridges and  mailers right at Handiham Headquarters.  That way we will be
able to more quickly serve members who want to get their Daisy book material
or our audio lectures on NLS cartridges for the Library of Congress players.
We will be stocking cartridges soon, and look forward to helping more of our
members get the audio that they need.

Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer 

Don't care to download Handiham materials via computer? This 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,

*       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. 

*       Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading
this month.   <http://handiham.org/drupal2/user> Look for these DAISY
materials in the members section. 

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
available to everyone free of charge. Please email
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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 08 January 2014 - Patrick Tice