[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 18 December 2013

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:38:58 -0600

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 18
December 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:
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Welcome to Handiham World.

A dip in the pool - first thing this week!

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.  

Last week we went to the Extra Class pool and examined a question about
VHF/UHF operating, which created some controversy:

E2C06 asked, "During a VHF/UHF contest, in which band segment would you
expect to find the highest level of activity?"

The correct answer was: C, "In the weak signal segment of the band, with
most of the activity near the calling frequency."

Two Handiham volunteer instructors disagreed with the question's wording.

Matt, KA0PQW: 

Hi Pat, Just a little bit on VHF contesting. While you are right most of the
contesting is in the weak signal part of the band there is an FM-only
category. It is also true that 146.52 is off limits, but they do use 146.55
and 146.58 and some other frequencies on two meters. On all of the rest of
the bands 6 meter FM, 1.25 meters, and 70 cm and higher you can use the FM
calling frequencies. Two meters is the only band that using the FM calling
frequency 146.52 is not allowed, so you can certainly contest on 52.525,
223.500, 446.000, and higher bands. Seems to me that question is not well
asked. I have seen a few other questions like this, some of which are more
opinion than fact. 

I hope this helps some. Thanks & 73,
 Matt,  KA0PQW 

Bill, K9BV:

I disagree with C (and probably the FCC!) because a contest would wipe out
any weak signal operation!!! Therefore, D is the best choice as most
contests seem to operate near calling frequency, especially if the contest
is lightly attended... 

Bill - K9BV 

Matt and Bill are both right, but of course the QPC (Question Pool
Committee) would probably point out that in any multiple choice exam one is
supposed to pick the "most correct" answer.  Even so, given the great
variability in contests and usage by band, I'll have to concede that this
isn't really that easy to answer.  

This gets me to thinking about the question pools and how some of the
questions can seem clear enough when they are first added to the pool, but
once feedback is received from the greater amateur radio community, such
deficiencies get called out.  In other cases, the technology changes faster
than the pool questions, and that can leave questions about legacy
technologies still sitting there in the examinations we place on the table
in front of the candidates.  

I thought about this last week when I was preparing my audio lecture on
television, specifically fast scan amateur television.  There are several -
actually more than several - questions related to cathode ray tubes (CRT's)
and the scanning technology that has become mostly irrelevant between the
time these questions were conceived and today, when LCD screens and digital
TV are the norm.  Most of us no longer have any devices with CRT's in them
anywhere around the house!

The point is that the QPC always has a challenge keeping the pools relevant
to today's technology while also producing clear, unambiguous questions.
This is most definitely NOT an easy job, so be sure to check out the
pre-release versions of the question pools as they are posted on the NCVEC
website.  Having good questions in the pools is important, and if you spot
something that is in error or not clear, you may have a chance to weigh in
to get it changed.  It is best to bounce your thoughts off a friend who is
familiar with the pools to find out if he or she concurs with your opinion
on the question. 

Finally, I think we should have a new question this week, and it comes from
the General Class pool:

G2B01 asks, "Which of the following is true concerning access to

Possible choices are: 

A. Nets always have priority 
B. QSO's in process always have priority 
C. No one has priority access to frequencies, common courtesy should be a
D. Contest operations must always yield to non-contest use of frequencies 

The correct answer is C, "No one has priority access to frequencies, common
courtesy should be a guide."  

Guess what?  This is another one of those questions where there is room for
interpretation!  In selecting the MOST CORRECT answer, you can often look
for qualifiers like the word "always" in the answer.  In this case, three of
the four answers have "always" in them, and that should set off the warning
alarm that those choices may not be correct.  The reason is that in the real
world, "always" covers too much territory.  Few things are "always" correct.
For example, if answer B had read "QSO's in process usually have priority"
instead of "QSO's in process always have priority", I would have to choose
that as the best answer, at least as correct as answer C.  Similarly, if
answer A had read "Nets sometimes have priority" instead of "Nets always
have priority", which could certainly be the case in a communications
emergency during a Skywarn activation, that one would be equally correct.  

Guy with his head in a book

Today's homework: Help keep wrong or ambiguous questions out of the final
release.  <http://ncvec.org/page.php?id=362> The newest Technician Pool for
July 1 2014 release is available for your inspection at the NCVEC website. 

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

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



Cartoon rabbit running with mail

NC4FB Question Pool Resource Lets You Compare Versions of Technician Pool -
Current Pool vs. 2014 Pool.

NC4FB posts: Within the next day or so, I will provide free downloadable
subelement PowerPoint slides sets and subelement audio (mp3) files. The
audio files are intended primarily for vision impaired license candidates
but can also be used by others to study while exercising or traveling. A
free downloadable exam preparation support system (EPSS) that can be used to
complement license exam classes or "CRAM" sessions will be made available as
soon as testing is complete. EPSS is portable and will run directly from a
USB flash drive. It is designed to work with a laptop and video projector.
Flashcards, subelement tests, and sample license exams are included with
EPSS. The links to these items will be displayed on the main page of my BLOG
<http://nc4fb.org> http://nc4fb.org when they are available.

NC4FB (Via Yahoo Groups)

*       Here is the NC4FB Tech Pool Comparison Page.
*       Here is the NC4FB self-study course link for the new Technician
coming on line July 1, 2014.

This coming weekend:  

.         ARRL Rookie Roundup on CW - Sunday December 22, 2013.
<http://www.arrl.org/rookie-roundup>   Dig out that J-38 code key. This is a
chance to do some mentoring and get a newbie fired up about CW operation.
Six hour event; info on ARRL.org. 

Don't forget about Handihams this year!

Horn of plenty with fruit and handheld radio

You value ham radio and know what it means to be able to get on the air.
From offering our accessible on line licensing classes and tutorials, radio
camps and equipment assistance, to our Internet HF remote base stations, the
Handiham program works hard to make the experience in amateur radio the best
it can be!  For forty-six years, our Handiham program has relied heavily on
philanthropic support to stay current and available to as many people as
possible. We need your help this winter to keep the program strong.  Will
you consider making a gift today? 

*       Giving is easy by clicking this link: 
 <http://www.couragecenter.org/GiveToday> www.couragecenter.org/GiveToday  
Be sure to use the pull-down to designate Handihams. 

To make a credit card gift call 763-520-0542. When giving online, make sure
to select the Handiham designation option to ensure your dollars support the
Thank for you supporting ham radio this holiday season. 

For your amusement this holiday season...

*        <http://www.eham.net/articles/31211> "A Christmas QSO" on eHam.net

What about computer reading?  Robot assistant of the future!

*       Ray Kurzweil on Big Think <http://youtu.be/rlzalmlYzmU> 

VoIP Hurricane Prep Net

How about checking into a VoIP net that helps to keep your net skills sharp
even when it is not hurricane season?  You have Echolink, or you might be
near an IRLP repeater, right?  Why not check this net out?  

.         VoIP Hurricane Prep Net <http://www.voipwx.net/> 


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Can I get by just plugging a mobile rig into my car's 12 VDC accessory

You notice that I didn't call this socket "the cigarette lighter", although
it does still have that same profile.  Lighters are a thing of the past and
these new 12 VDC accessory jacks are not meant to operate resistive element
lighters.  Not that many people smoke anymore, but everyone seems to need 12
VDC for one accessory or another in the car. Some newer vehicles have
multiple accessory outlets and even USB charging outlets. 

The accessory sockets that look like the old cigarette lighter sockets are
designed to operate low voltage DC devices and some are capable of a modest
current draw.  In general, you can get away with plugging in a mobile rig
like a VHF/UHF dualbander as long as you don't run the rig on the high power
setting.  Stick with low power and you can probably get by, but just to be
sure check the vehicle owner's manual for the current handling capacity of
the accessory outlet.  It is a serious downer to have to search for the
right fuse to replace in the fuse block. (If you can even find the fuse

But when I say "get away with" I am not making an enthusiastic endorsement
for this practice.  Make no mistake; it's best to wire a mobile rig on its
own fused leads through the firewall and to the car's battery terminals.
Fuses must be on the battery side of the firewall.  It's also best practice
to ground the radio with the shortest lead possible and to route the antenna
wire carefully.  These procedures will not only make for an installation
that can be used with higher power, but it will also go a long way toward
eliminating alternator whine.  That kind of noise can be a problem when you
just plug into an accessory plug for your power.

My two meter mobile rig gets switched from car to car, so unfortunately I
have to plug it in to the accessory jack.  A mag mount antenna follows the
rig from car to car.  Alternator whine can be a problem, especially if I try
to increase the power output to the mid-level range.  In one of my cars, a
Honda Civic Hybrid, the car's engine stops during the wait for red lights
and stop signs, and when that happens the voltage drops too much at the
accessory jack to support anything but low power.  I have decided that since
I have enough repeater choices available with low power, I can keep using
this system.  Is it the best way to install a radio in a vehicle?  No!  Does
it work well enough to get by?  Yes, if you are careful not to exceed the
current handling capacity of the accessory circuit.  

There is no question that a more traditional permanently-wired system would
be quieter and better overall.

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


Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 

Matt, KA0PQW, operates at Radio Camp 2013

We plan to run the Handiham net at least a couple of times from Radio Camp
in Minnesota, which will be August 16 - 23 2014.  In this 2013 photo, Matt
Arthur, KA0PQW, operates one of the HF stations at Radio Camp.  

Should 2014 be the year we start a new HF net?  

But back to the present!  If there is no net control station during any
scheduled net time, just go right ahead and start a round table discussion. 

Year-end holiday schedule (Changed from last week.)

The holiday season is upon us!  Family plans take priority over scheduled
ham radio activities.  We don't ask our net control volunteers to show up to
run the net on these special days, but we do realize that our Handiham nets
do tie us all together in another kind of family - a community of friends.
That means it can still be fun to get on the air and visit, and we can
easily do that at net time even if there is no formal net control station.
You or someone else can take the reins and act as NCS if you want, or you
can all be part of a round table discussion without a net control. Remember
to always keep things in perspective:  Family first!  

.         Christmas week:  This is a change from last week's schedule.  We
now plan to be closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday December 23 through 25
for the Christmas break. Then we will be open Thursday after Christmas and
closed Friday.

.         New Year's week:  We will be open on Monday and Tuesday December
30 and 31 and close for New Year's Day on Wednesday January 1 2014.  We will
reopen on Monday January 6, 2014. 

If this schedule changes, we will let you know on  <http://www.handiham.org>

There will be a shorter edition of the weekly e-letter released a day early
during both holiday weeks, time permitting.  Thank you for subscribing to
our weekly Handiham World!

And speaking of thanks...

Reaching for the stars - cartoon guy

...what would we do without our volunteers?  Net controls, readers, people
who maintain our stations, teachers of our classes - both on line and at
radio camps, those who help us with computers and software - we couldn't do
it without you!  Thank you so much to all of our wonderful volunteers!

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? 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 -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

Office closings 

.         Our office is closed on Fridays through the end of the year.  This
tends to be a low usage time for Handiham services because of the holidays,
and that makes it perfect for burning off some accumulated vacation time. 

End of the year data dump

.         Housecleaning time!  We are going to remove old audio files as
part of our website cleanup.  If you want to get any of the older files,
such as Handiham World podcasts, please download them now. To find old
podcasts, use iTunes or else feel free to use the direct URL referencing
each audio file.  Here is an example for today's podcast: 

.         To get another podcast, use the same URL but change the filename
to the correct date.  
Example: http://handiham.org/audio/handiham04DEC2013.mp3 
Note that the filename now reflects the date of that week's podcast.

.         PLEASE don't ask me for a list of filenames or special links to
the episode a year ago that contained the story about this or that, because
I don't have that information without doing a ton of digging, and as much as
I like to help there just is not enough time for this kind of research.
Also, I cannot provide tech support for downloading.  Depending on your
computer's operating system, your web browser, and your screen reader (if
you use one), downloading will be somewhat unique. This makes it hard to
figure out a solution from a distance here in Minnesota.  Plus, it is hard
to type on the keyboard with my mittens on since it is so cold. 

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 ARRL Public Service Handbook First Edition
<http://www.arrl.org/shop/Amateur-Radio-Public-Service-Handbook> .  It is
available from your favorite ham radio dealer or directly from ARRL.  Blind
Handiham members should contact us for the DAISY version. 


*       Our limited digest version of QST for December 2013 in DAISY is now
available in the members section and NLS cartridges are in the mail. 
*       ARRL has released the January 2014 QST, available to ARRL members
through the ARRL website or the QST smartphone app. Our limited DAISY
version should be ready for blind users sometime later this month. 
*       QCWA Digest for December 2013 is available in MP3 in the members
section and from www.QCWA.org.  
*       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.  
*       ARRL has published the December QST on line for ARRL members. The
National Library Service is back on schedule for the DAISY version. 
*       Worldradio Online for November has been completed by Bob Zeida,
N1BLF.  Thanks, Bob!

  The December issue was released yesterday so the reading for that DAISY
book is also delayed. 

*       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.  The stations will be available throughout the holidays.  

Many ham radio topics are discussed in on line groups.  What do you think of
starting a Yahoo Group for the Remote Bases?  Or do you know of an existing
remote base group that would be appropriate?  Some of the best advice I have
gotten on technical topics has been through groups of this type.  

*       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: 


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

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, 18 December 2013 - Patrick Tice