[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 November 2013

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 14:45:40 -0600

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 
November 2013

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 in 

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
 <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedBurner.com/handiham


Welcome to Handiham World.

Failing the Technician 

A quick path to failure is to make an all too common mistake...

Cartoon guy carrying study books

Here's the scenario:  An eager young man shows up at a VE session, ready to 
take that first step into Amateur Radio by passing the Technician exam and 
getting a callsign. He has studied and feels prepared.  The exam is only 35 
multiple choice questions covering a subject he knows well from having read 
through the study guide several times. It won't be hard to get the required 75% 
passing grade, 26 questions or more correct.

Shortly after settling down at an exam table, he starts working his way through 
the test booklet.  It seems odd, but some of the questions seem to be out in 
left field - there are topics he doesn't recall from the book.  Other questions 
are worded differently than he remembers them, but he can take an educated 
guess at the answer.  When it's time to turn in the exam materials for grading, 
he doesn't feel quite so confident.

Waiting outside the testing room isn't easy.  Finally the door opens and a 
volunteer examiner approaches him.  There's no big smile on the examiner's face 
as he gets the bad news:  he's failed the Technician exam and will not join the 
ranks of ham radio operators, at least not today.

What went wrong?  He had studied, putting a lot of time and effort into the 
preparation for this examination. He'd taken plenty of other tests before and 
knew how to study.  

The volunteer examiner felt bad, too.  She asked him about his studies.  

Had he studied prior to the exam?  


Had he taken any on line practice exams? 

No, he didn't know about the websites that offered such a service.  His rural 
location had poor internet access and all of his computer time was spent at 
school or the public library, mostly for homework.

The volunteer examiner had an idea. "Did you bring your study guide along with 
you?", she asked.

Yes, he had the book along, and pulled it out of his backpack and handed it to 
the VE. 

As soon as she saw the book she recognized it - a popular study guide that was 
published in 2001.  No wonder this young man had gotten so many questions 
wrong.  There had been many rules and regulations changes in the past decade 
alone, and the question pool was completely different.  Even the questions on 
electronics were reworded, with many new ones chosen to replace older ones on 
any given topic of radio safety and theory. Since he didn't take any on line 
practice exams, he didn't find out that the questions in his book were long out 
of date.

Does this sound like a made-up story?  Well, I did make up this scenario, but I 
based it on a real-world incident that is being discussed right now on an 
Amateur Radio instructor forum. The young man and his disappointing mistake are 
real.  The discussion forum is parsing the reasons why such a thing could 
happen: Old books lingering on library shelves, books handed down from someone 
else and used past their expiration date, ignorance of on line practice exam 
resources, and more.  

There's a special reason I'm writing about this today.  Later on this evening 
I'll be part of my own club's VE team, the same team that fields exams at our 
Handiham Radio Camps. Like all of our team members, I'm eager to see new hams 
walk out of our test session, smiling as they carry their CSCE's and thinking 
ahead to how they will set up their stations.  Some will be there for upgrade 
exams, and they too will be thinking of new frequencies to use and perhaps 
which HF gear to consider to accommodate their new goals of DX operation or 
contesting. Believe me, no one wants to see newbies succeed more than the VE 
team members.  I love to give out good news when I step out of the exam room to 
see a candidate who is awaiting his or her results.  And it's really hard to 
give out bad news.  You can't help thinking about your own experience with 
studying and taking exams, and how you felt when you passed or failed, then 
finally passed and got your license.  

What advice do you give to a candidate who didn't make it?

Job one is to identify the problem and make helpful, positive suggestions on 
how to correct it.  You are there to help the candidate succeed.  It is best to 
avoid being judgmental, so instead of telling the candidate that he should have 
looked at the forward pages of the study guide to determine that it was out of 
date or that he should have known about practice exam sites, it is far better 
to simply suggest a current study guide and write down the web addresses for 
some good practice exam sites. 

The next thing to do is to assure the candidate that yes, an Amateur Radio 
license is well worth the effort and that they can - and will - pass the 
examination, given the right preparation.  This is a good time to have some 
practical information ready to hand out to the candidate:  A list of upcoming 
VE sessions, practice exam websites, and suggested study guides. If time 
allows, you might also make some suggestions about how to study, especially if 
the candidate indicates that certain concepts were really difficult to master. 

I hope that tonight's session is a good one.  I love to give out "good news", 
but I've done this long enough to know that some candidates might not pass.  If 
that happens, I'm ready. 

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



From K3ZK via Yahoogroups:

*       "Below is a link related to the voice chip which can be added to the 
Kenwood TS-590. This site explains in great detail the accessibility added by 
Kenwood to the TS-590. The new voice chip can be programmed to read just about 
every function on the transceiver including ALC levels, Compression levels, SWR 
reading and much, much more along with all basic settings. So if you are using 
the 590 it's well worth visiting this site to enhance your operating. If you're 
visually impaired you will be able to set up and program without sighted 


What happened to Mars?

*       NASA Science News for Nov. 12, 2013 reports that "Mars was once on 
track to become a thriving Earth-like planet, yet today it is an apparently 
lifeless wasteland. A NASA spacecraft named MAVEN will soon journey to Mars to 
find out what went wrong on the Red Planet." 
*       VIDEO:   <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etL2ZhqGNCs> 
*       FULL STORY:  

From Active-Elements:

·         Dave Marthouse, N2AAM, has done a review of the  
<http://www.rtsystemsinc.com/> RT Systems rig programming software on the 
Active Elements site. Go to http://active-elements.org/ and find the 
evaluations & reviews section, then go to software and the RT Systems 
programming software accessibility review. 

WA0CAF likes an article about why "ransom ware" is so dangerous and how to 
protect against it: 

·         Find it on the howtogeek.com website. 

Support Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute on November 14 for Give to the 
Max Day:  

Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000!   What's new?  
Courage Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute merged in June to form 
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.  Please visit  
<http://www.couragecenter.org/MAX> www.couragecenter.org/MAX on November 14 to 
participate in this philanthropic day.   Why Give on November 14?  Join in the 
excitement across the state on Minnesota's largest day of online giving!  Your 
donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000. 

Ham Radio on Facebook:

How many ham radio clubs, organizations, and publications have Facebook pages?  
Plenty!  Last week we directed you to the ARRL Facebook page.  We'll provide 
that link again, add the CQ Magazine page.  

*        <https://www.facebook.com/ARRL.org> https://www.facebook.com/ARRL.org 
*       https://www.facebook.com/CQMag

Be sure to pay a visit to the Worldradio Online Facebook page, where you'll be 
greeted with the cover photo of Handiham volunteer instructor Larry Huggins, 

*       Link to Worldradio Online FB Page 

Library of Congress MYLOC.gov website to be transitioned to LOC.gov

*       The myLOC.gov site will close and its assets will move to loc.gov on 
Nov. 19, 2013. On its loc.gov site and in social media settings, the Library of 
Congress is developing new technologies and using new strategies to better 
serve your needs and deliver our content to the public. Many links to myLOC.gov 
properties will expire after Nov. 19, and some will be redirected to pages on 
loc.gov. Current my LOC accounts and my Collection content will be removed. If 
you have any questions on this transition, please contact us here:  
http://www.loc.gov/help/ask-contactus.php Thanks for your patronage of the  
<http://www.myLOC.gov> www.myLOC.gov site, and visit our online exhibitions at  
<http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/> http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/. 

(Library of Congress) 


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Considering feedlines

I remember an old story about a TV repairman who was called to a customer's 
home to fix a TV set. The complaint was that the set didn't get any programs, 
only a snowy picture.  The repairman quickly identified the cause: the antenna 
feedline was disconnected, lying in back of the set.  After the feedline was 
connected, the set worked fine, bringing in several stations clearly. 

When the repairman asked the homeowner about the disconnected wire, the reply 
was, "I thought if the signal could get all the way from the TV station to my 
antenna, it wouldn't have any problem getting from the end of the wire into the 
TV set."

It seems funny to us, but perfectly logical to a consumer who didn't really 
understand how feedlines work.  Nonetheless, we cannot assume all amateur radio 
operators will necessarily understand feedline basics, either.  I'd say it's 
safe to assume that all of us understand that the feedline actually has be 
connected to work.  

But after that?  Well, it's not a sure bet.

For example, I've heard stories about operators who tried to save money by 
installing RG-58 coax (the thin stuff) and then regretted doing so after they 
fired up their linear amplifier and also fired up their coax, melting it.  
Others have used the lossy RG-58 for runs of over 100 feet, expecting it to be 
just peachy for use on the 70 cm band.  Too bad they were not aware that the 
loss in that kind of cable is almost 10 dB, severely attenuating the signal on 
both receive and transmit.  Others have some RG-11 lying around and use it to 
feed an inverted vee, blissfully unaware that the 75 ohm to 50 ohm mismatch 
guarantees a higher SWR than they expected. In extreme cases where long runs 
are combined with mismatched impedances, the loss can be staggering!

Generally speaking, you cannot go wrong buying low-loss feedline with the 
correct power handing capability if you do some research and don't cheap out on 
price.  One web resource to check out for coaxial cable types and their general 
characteristics is http://www.hamuniverse.com/coaxdata.html.  Another useful 
site is actually a loss calculator that allows you to choose the cable type 
from an extensive pull-down menu and then put in details of how you plan to use 
it: http://timesmicrowave.com/calculator/.  For example, I chose RG-58 cable 
with a run of 100 feet at the local repeater frequency of 444.65 MHz.  The 
attenuation is 9.9 dB.  Another excellent calculator site is at: 

This is not to say that you should never use RG-58.  It is thin and very 
flexible, making short runs between pieces of equipment practical.  The loss 
over a short run is negligible, and the convenience of having easy to route 
flexible hookup cables is much appreciated - as long as you don't run high 
power through a long piece of it! (A short run may handle high power but I 
don't recommend trying it.)

For really low loss, consider 450 ohm ladder line.  The trade-off is that it's 
harder to work with, cannot be secured to a metal tower leg without standoffs, 
and is prone to collecting ice and now in the winter as well as to whipping 
around in the wind.  It also requires impedance conversion at both ends and is 
difficult to bring into the house from outside unless you make the conversion 
to coaxial cable with a weatherproof balun outside and run through the wall 
with coax.  Using http://www.saarsham.net/coax.html I checked a run of 100 feet 
of ladderline at 14.2 MHz and found the loss to be only about a quarter of 1 
dB.  That means if I put 100 watts into the cable at the transmitter over 94 
watts will make it to the antenna. 

A final consideration is where the feedline will be used.  If you intend to 
bury it, you should consider cable designed for "direct bury" rather than using 
standard grade cable. 

Remember, choose the right feedline for the job and remember to connect it at 
both ends!

This is practical radio.  Use what works for you.


Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 

If there is no net control station during any scheduled net time, just go right 
ahead and start a round table discussion. 

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!  What will Doug, N6NFF, come up with for his 
trivia question tonight? Will it be a brain-buster or a softball?   Tune in and 
see how you do with the question this week, or just check in to say hello.  I 
won't be around since I have the VE session tonight and I'm counting on the 
rest of you to get Doug's check-in numbers way up there!

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:  


A dip in the pool

Pat shows off his new Plantronics USB headset!

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the Amateur Radio 
question pool, that is!  

Let's go to the Extra Class pool and examine a question about feedlines:

E9E10 asks, "Which of these choices is an effective way to match an antenna 
with a 100-ohm feed point impedance to a 50-ohm coaxial cable feed line?"

Possible answers are: 

A. Connect a 1⁄4-wavelength open stub of 300-ohm twin-lead in parallel with the 
coaxial feed line where it connects to the antenna

B. Insert a 1⁄2 wavelength piece of 300-ohm twin-lead in series between the 
antenna terminals and the 50-ohm feed cable

C. Insert a 1⁄4-wavelength piece of 75-ohm coaxial cable transmission line in 
series between the antenna terminals and the 50-ohm feed cable

D. Connect 1⁄2 wavelength shorted stub of 75-ohm cable in parallel with the 
50-ohm cable where it attaches to the antenna

The correct answer is C. Insert a 1⁄4-wavelength piece of 75-ohm coaxial cable 
transmission line in series between the antenna terminals and the 50-ohm feed 
cable. Did you know that you can use coax as an impedance transformer?  It's 
true!  The 75 ohm coax that comes packed with Butternut vertical antennas is 
1/4 wavelength long on 20 meters to provide just that kind of transformation. 
It's about 11 feet 4 inches long, which is a 1/4 wave allowing for velocity 
factor - but that's another chapter for another day.

Please e-mail  <mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
to comment. 


This week @ HQ

Cartoon robot with pencil

Office closed on Friday, 15 November 2013

·         Our office is closed on Fridays through the end of the year.  We are 
also going to be closed for a long Thanksgiving Day holiday 21-24 November. 


*       Worldradio Online for November has been completed by Bob Zeida, N1BLF.  
Thanks, Bob!
*       QCWA Journal audio for November is in the members section and also be 
available from the QCWA website.  
*       QST digest audio for November is now available in DAISY for our 
Handiham members.
*       CQ for October is also available.  There is a delay in the November 
*       Jim Perry, KJ3P, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY have kindly done the volunteer 
*       Magazine digests are ready for our blind members in the members 
section.  Digital NLS cartridges are already out.  

Remote Base News

W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.

Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line.  

*       200 watt operation is restored on 160, 80, and 40 meters for Extra and 
Advanced Class users on W0ZSW. 

·         Outages: Outages are reported on  

*       Band conditions: Check  
http://handiham.org/remotebase/station-status/ for a current HF conditions 
report from G4ILO. 

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: 


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, too!

*       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 

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price: $2.50

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital cartridges:  

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 

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 format
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

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  <mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include 
your old email address and your new address.


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


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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 November 2013 - Patrick Tice