[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 October 2013

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 14:21:35 -0500

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16
October 2013

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

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:


Welcome to Handiham World.

Simple antenna makes life easier

Multiple band inverted vee antenna on telescoping fiberglas mast.

HF antennas have a way of getting really complicated.  We would like them to
work every HF band, cost almost nothing to buy or build, be DX magnets, and
- for good measure - be invisible to the neighbors and homeowners'
association! This simple fan dipole antenna system is easy on the
pocketbook, works great, tunes well, and can't be seen from the street.  It
can be taken down in minutes by one person, but is sturdy enough to stay up
all winter here in Minnesota. 

Pat, WA0TDA, reads from the Basic Antennas book by Joel Hallas, W1ZR
Here I am, reading from the ARRL's
<http://www.arrl.org/shop/Basic-Antennas/> "Basic Antennas - Understanding
Practical Antennas and Design" by Joel R. Hallas, W1ZR. 

Let's face it - Some of us have "been there, done that" when it comes to
antennas. Big, complicated HF antenna systems have towers, rotators, and
beams - and require more maintenance than I want to provide.  For years I
felt that I really had to have a 50 foot tower with directional antennas.
I'd tried single band Yagis, multiband beams, multiband quads, and even a
homebuilt W8JK rotary array.  That last one was so big that it was nearly
the size of our house across - and it really stopped traffic as people
gawked.  It was mechanically deficient and never lasted long enough to get a
thorough test.  Yes, I loved experimenting with all kinds of antennas,
although my very first HF antenna was a simple aluminum vertical mounted on
the ground with a tuning coil featuring a mechanical tap to change bands at
its base.  That one was really simple, and at the time - I was a teenager
full of energy and dreams of DX - the vertical seemed woefully inadequate.
One of the contacts I made on it was with our neighbor lady who lived on the
next street and shared a back fence with us.  

One day I was out in the back yard and she asked me if I was a ham radio
operator.  I told her that I was, and she said that she heard me coming
through her AM table radio over WCCO!  Of course I apologized for that, but
she surprised me by saying that, no, it wasn't a problem at all and that SHE
was interested in getting a ham radio license herself!  After I connected
her with the local radio club, she did get her license and enjoyed amateur
radio the rest of her life!

That turned out to be a good contact made by the vertical, but after that it
was onward and upward.  I felt that I needed a tower, so I acquired one -
used, of course - and proceeded to test it and my dad's patience with every
manner of antenna you could imagine.  I was like a monkey - always in a tree
or on the tower or roof.  Rotating antennas installed on a tower require
maintenance, and there was plenty of that. Most of my antennas were either
the cheapest thing I could find on the commercial market, used, or homemade.
They would succumb to wind and ice, so it was up and down the tower for one
thing or another again and again.

Well, that was then and this is now. I am older and wiser to be sure; I
realize that tower climbing and antenna maintenance high above the ground is
inherently risky. In all my years of amateur radio antenna experimentation I
never had a serious accident or injury - even a minor one. I had a lineman's
belt for tower work and a hard hat. I was careful, but now when I think back
on those days I realize that I was also very lucky. That's why I am no
longer willing to take the risk of tower climbing as a regular part of my
amateur radio operations. Sure, those directional antennas do work well and
really pull in the DX stations, but since I discovered wire antennas I
really have shifted to a much more safe and simple antenna system. It seems
ironic that my original simple vertical antenna and a dipole or two might
actually be more appropriate for most of us these days.

The advantages of simple antennas are clear. They don't require an expensive
tower and rotator system that will also add maintenance and tower climbing
to your job list. They can be constructed to operate on multiple bands and
are simple enough to make so that you don't necessarily have to buy a
commercial version. You can choose strong but thin wire that is nearly
invisible to satisfy neighborhood aesthetics. By using existing trees or
other convenient supporting structures you can get wire antennas up and out
of the way in such a configuration that they will work very well and be all
but invisible. Telescoping poles can be used to provide a center support for
a multiple dipole inverted vee system that can be fed with 50 ohm coaxial
cable and operated without an antenna tuner. If you want, you can add an
automatic antenna tuner to broaden the frequency response of this kind of
antenna system.

Another simple antenna is a double-extended "zepp" dipole fed with 450 ohm
ladder line. Although this kind of antenna requires a balun and an antenna
tuner, the 450 ohm feedline ensures very low loss and the antenna can be
tuned across many bands. They are relatively simple to build and install and
have an advantage over the multiple inverted vee system in that you don't
have to have as many tie off points because you only have one dipole.  The
W0ZSW remote base antenna is a variation on this antenna and is called a
"W0OXB Special".  Dave, W0OXB, designed it and helped me to install it. Dave
is a long-time Handiham volunteer and supporter.

While we can't necessarily go into all of the details about getting wire
antennas up into the air, I can say that there are some tried and true
techniques that experienced Field Day operators use. One is the slingshot
antenna launcher. The basic idea is to launch a projectile, usually a golf
ball or lead weight attached to a thin fishing line, up across a high branch
in a tree. You retrieve the golf ball and fishing line and then tie a
stronger string to it and pull it back up over the tree. Then you switch to
a stouter rope, which you pull over the branch and then finally to the
antenna itself, which you can now easily pull up over the branch with your
strong antenna rope. If you choose black Dacron line it will be ultraviolet
resistant and you can tie the end of the antenna off with it on a lower part
of the tree that is still out of reach and out of sight for children or
snoopy adults. We will not go through the entire antenna raising process,
but if you are familiar with how things are done at Field Day set up, this
will all seem very familiar to you. In the entire process there is little or
no need for climbing. If you leave enough rope at the ends of the antenna,
one person can easily lower it for maintenance. Such antennas are nearly
invisible and work very well on the lower frequency bands like 160, 80, and
40 m. They can also be used to work DX on the higher bands like 20, 15, and
10 m. Directionality is what it is, and you can't change it the way you can
with a tower and beam. On the other hand, this kind of low-profile operation
can be lots of fun and can encourage you to operate with more patience and
develop more skill. Furthermore, bands like 80 and 75 m can really be a
blast during the winter months when they open up to long distance - even DX
- operation after sunset.

Sometimes simpler really is better.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



ARRL changes email forwarding service provider, and...

...I didn't notice a thing.  Which is good, of course.  Last Friday, I'd
received a brief email notification about the change, which was to take
place on October 15 at 20:00 EDT.  Everything must have gone swimmingly,
because it all just works fine this morning!  I depend on ARRL email
forwarding for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it is a more
or less universally understood way to get hold of an amateur radio operator.
If I change internet service providers myself, it's a snap to make a quick
change on the ARRL website after I log in, changing the forwarding to my new
email address.  Believe me, this is way easier than notifying a bazillion
friends and services about a new email address!

Thanks, ARRL, for another great service.  

Microsoft Security Essentials - Is it good enough?

WA0CAF shared a link to a story about how the free Microsoft security
software might not be as effective as some third-party alternatives
s> .  I read the story and decided that Microsoft Security Essentials is
good enough for me; I've recommended it in the past for its ease of
installation and operation as well as its lightweight operation that doesn't
drain system resources. But as with any security software, I consider myself
a partner in the whole security process.  That means that I have to use care
and not engage in risky behavior on line, such as opening every file
attachment that comes into my inbox.  When I changed to Windows 8, MS
Security Essentials went away, having been replaced by the built-in "Windows
Defender", but I still run Security Essentials on my other machines.  As the
story suggests, "If you are a geek, you can get away with MSE".  If you are
a bit shaky in your computing expertise or if your computer is a family one
that the kiddos or grandma uses, you might want to consider further
third-party security protection. 

Hey, that was a good net:

(This is from Friday, 27 September 2013, from NCS Mike, W1MWB.)

We had a good net today. Because N5OZG was connected to us and the *IRELAND*
server we got a lot of international stations checking in. I think the final
count was 30 stations. Although my schedule of late has made it so that I
can't depend on being free on Wednesday, I am glad to fill in when I can.

I mentioned on the net that there is a new BARD app so that anyone with an
iPhone or iPad (and maybe Android devices as well) can listen to their NLS
Talking Books on the go. I have the new app on my iPhone 4S and on my iPad.
The NLS cartridge machine is now on a shelf and may go back to the library.
I don't know how the app will work as far as playing things like the
Handiham digest, but for any books on the BARD system it works great. When
listening to a book, the buttons on the app work and appear like those on
the machine. I thought I'd pass that along so other blind and visually
impaired members can take advantage of this app. It is free from iTunes App

73 for now!

Mike W1MWB

Recommended by Ken, KB3LLA - Code Factory Enhances Blind and Visually
Impaired Accessibility for Windows Phone 8:

Code Factory, developers of software solutions for the blind and the
visually impaired, has announced today that their Mobile Accessibility suite
of apps will support Microsoft's Windows Phone 8. Mobile Accessibility for
Windows Phone 8 will be offered free of charge in the Windows Phone Store.
Blind and visually impaired users will be able to access and enjoy their
devices within a suite of accessible apps  for the most common wireless
tasks. Along with basic functionality of calling and contacts management,
users will have access to emails, web browsing and messaging. 

For more information, feel free to contact Code Factory S.L.:

Code Factory, S.L., C/ Major 19, 2-3, 08221 Terrassa (Barcelona)
Code Factory, S.L. - 2013 

Kitty, W8TDA, wonders...

Are you familiar with Fldigi? I received a forwarded message from ACB radio
amateurs group basically saying that some find the program inaccessible for
blind hams. 

*       How about it, readers and listeners?  Is Fldigi inaccessible with
screenreading software, partially accessible?  Accessible?  Let us know what
you have found out.  Fldigi may be downloaded here
<http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html> .
*       Alternatively, you could consider the older but simpler software
DigiPan by Skip Teller, KH6TY <http://www.digipan.net/> .


Practical radio

pliers and wire

Avery's QTH:  Get on the air options from a condo

Welcome once again to my humble QTH.  

Hidden away in a closet are a couple of ham rigs. You see, I just moved to a
condo and antennas are not allowed.  So, the problem is how do people in
similar situations get on the HF bands? 

Well, let's see. I drive and have a car close to the building so I could
mount antennas on my car and run a coax cable to them. Even better I can
mount all my ham gear in my car and operate from my car.   

Okay, but what about someone on the 7th floor? How about using loop antenna
place on an insulated chair near a window and operating QRP ? Works great as
my former neighbor will tell you. With 20 watts CW on 20 meters he has
worked the world.   

Sometimes you can talk to the "powers that be" and they just might make an
exception for you to actually put up an antenna.   

If all else fails there are, of course, the Handiham remote bases W0EQO and
W0ZSW.  (By the way, do you know the relationship between the two calls?) By
using them you have entered the digital age using computers to operate on
the HF bands via your computer. Guess what? No antennas are necessary,

So, until next time 73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery.

Isn't it nice to hear from Avery again? Thanks for your help this week.    

Remember, "Practical Radio" is 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?  I guess we'll just have to tune in and listen!
Tune in and see how you do with the question this week, or just check in to
say hello.  

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 -5 hours.  The net is on the air at 16:00 hours GMT.   

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 SSB:

E4C11 asks: "Which of the following is a desirable amount of selectivity for
an amateur SSB phone receiver?"

Possible answers are: 

A. 1 kHz
B. 2.4 kHz
C. 4.2 kHz
D. 4.8 kHz

You probably chose answer B, 2.4 kHz if you are familiar with SSB operation.
That bandwidth is sufficient for clear voice transmission on one sideband,
allowing us to use only the minimum space necessary.  This allows more users
to enjoy the band since more signals can fit into the available space.

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment. 


This week @ HQ

Cartoon robot with pencil


*       CQ for October is now available, having been added late last week -
Thanks to Jim, KJ3P, for his recording. 
*       QCWA Journal audio for October is in the members section, and is
also available from the QCWA website. 
*       QST for October: A special DAISY digest version is available this
month from Handihams because of the Library of Congress shutdown.  To allow
blind readers to bridge the gap in BARD service, Jim Perry, KJ3P, and Ken
Padgitt, W9MJY have kindly done the recording.  We will consider a November
edition if BARD services are not back up to speed soon. BARD is available,
but it has not been updated since the shutdown. 
*       Worldradio Online for October has been completed by Bob Zeida,
N1BLF.  Thanks, Bob!
*       October digests are ready for our blind members in the members
section.  Digital NLS cartridges are already out.  (Ours, not the Library of
Congress's since their services are shut down for now.)

Remote Base News

W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.

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

*       Update:  160 meter transmit has returned to W0ZSW following antenna
work.  Thanks to Dave, W0OXB, for his able assistance! 

.         Outages: Outages are reported on

*       Band conditions: As of this writing, conditions on HF are fair to
normal.  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,

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

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

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:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

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


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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 October 2013 - Patrick Tice