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: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this podcast in iTunes: <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> http://0345ed7.netsolhost.com/images/itunes_button_sm.jpg http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406 RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software: http://feeds.feedBurner.com/handiham _____ 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 _____ Bulletins 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 <http://www.howtogeek.com/173291/goodbye-microsoft-security-essentials-micro 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 Store. 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) www.codefactory.es <http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=2164707&msgid=253430&act=985S&c=1 030778&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.codefactory.es> 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, either! 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: <http://www.handiham.org/nets> http://www.handiham.org/nets _____ 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 Digests * 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 http://handiham.org/remotebase/station-status/. * 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: http://www.handiham.org/audio/remotebase/W4MQ_status_JAWS.mp3 * Read the tutorial in accessible HTML: http://handiham.org/remotebase/2013/03/05/check-station-status-with-jaws-13- or-14/ 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. Look for these DAISY materials in the members section. <http://handiham.org/drupal2/user> 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: $2.50 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> 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: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Kenny Handihams! Pat, WA0TDA Coordinator, Courage Kenny Handiham Program Reach me by email at: handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: 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 handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.