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. Member services planning gets underway for 2014 Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, tests TS-590 station set up with computer running NVDA\ In this photo Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, checks out the Kenwood TS-590S as 2013 Radio Camp gets underway last July. We had fun at camp, but now it's time to plan for Handiham member services in the upcoming year. After all, it's September already! Let's take a quick look at a few core Handiham services. Was Radio Camp was too short this year? We think so, and some of you do, too. We take surveys to find out what people think, and one thing that came to the fore this year after the July Radio Camp session was that although camp was fun and campers really enjoyed the competitive get-on-the-air contest, there was just not enough time to spend getting everything done. Some campers felt that the session needed to be longer to make travel from out of state worthwhile. With that in mind, we are already planning for the 2014 Handiham member services, and are looking at camp dates of August 16 to August 23, 2014. That is a Saturday arrival and Saturday departure, which is more in line with our traditional camp week. It is usually easiest to travel on a weekend, so we like either Saturdays or Sundays. The location was good, as Camp Courage allows campers to fly in at a major airport hub, MSP in the Twin Cities and then take inexpensive ground transportation. We liked the modern Woodland cabins and the remodeled dining hall. I thought the food was great this year, and I heard others express the same opinion. We'll keep you posted on camp planning as things develop. Remote Base HF stations - Do they need some updating? Stations W0EQO and W0ZSW have remained popular this year in spite of a few bumps in the road, the biggest of which was the move of 'ZSW back to the Twin Cities. The decision to move the station was based on several factors, the major one being the destruction of the antenna system by a fallen tree. W0ZSW is in place in its new location in grid square EN34mv, but the antenna needs to be improved after even more storm damage at the new location. It has been quite a run of bad weather, at least where antennas are concerned. At W0EQO, the problem is old age. The host computer at EQO has been running continuously and fairly reliably since 2009, and it's showing its age. For reasons that we have been unable to determine, the sound client IRB Sound produces choppy transmit audio, which means that the station depends on Skype for its audio. It is time to think about replacing the host computer and fixing that problem. For 2014 we would like a new antenna system at W0ZSW and a new computer at W0EQO. There is more to the Remote Base Project than the hardware. The software team is working on the next release of the W4MQ software, which we want to release for 2014. It will be much easier to set up for all users, but especially for screenreader users. The Remote Base website support pages also need a lot of revision. They have been written over the years as the project evolved, and they don't always flow logically for someone trying to set the station software up for the first time. We definitely need to put some time in on that in 2014. The audio lecture series - Could we make improvements there? Of course! There is - as the old saying goes - ALWAYS room for improvement. Although the MP3 audio lecture format does work well for most users, some have had problems finding their way on our website. The audio lectures have evolved like the Remote Base Project, and the website design grew in much the same way. It does need simplification and has to be intuitive. One change I have already made is to collect all the audio lectures for any given license class on a single page for that course. This has made it a lot easier to find your way to the correct audio lecture. In 2014 we will be bringing in the wrecking ball and getting rid of a lot of website pages that make the site overly complicated. Some of our audio lecture users have told me that the files they downloaded to their MP3 players did not play at all. We figured out the problem, which was that parts of our website - for the older audio lectures in the series - included two links for each lecture. The first was a "streaming" link and the second was a "download" link. If the streaming link's target file was downloaded by mistake, it would not work because it was just a small text file I had written to direct older media players to stream the audio as soon as there was enough in the buffer, without waiting for the entire file to load. New media players do this automatically, so we have been cleaning those old "streaming" links off the site wherever we find them. This leaves only the desired links that point directly to the MP3 files themselves. The website - Where are we? Our website, handiham.org, has gone through more than a few revisions. It could be better, of course. The goal in 2014 will be to make it simpler and easier to use. The manuals section might have outlived its usefulness, but you can weigh in on that and let us know. Most manufacturers provide PDF copies of their instruction manuals on their own websites. It hardly seems necessary to provide manuals when the embedded text in these PDF manuals can be searched for keywords and for the most part read by screenreading software. Furthermore, there are other sources for manuals, like the active-elements website <http://active-elements.org/> and the <http://www.icanworkthisthing.com/docs/amateur_radio/> "I can work this thing" website. In 2014 we will continue to improve the website function, and we will emphasize audio tutorials on equipment operation over the recording of audio manuals. Our thought is that what you really want to learn is how to run your radio, and if you can get some help doing that from an audio tutorial recorded by an actual user of that radio, you can save the PDF manual for reference only. DAISY books & cartridges - Good so far, but... We really have made a lot of progress with DAISY book offerings. Our magazine digests are done that way, making them more accessible than ever to our members who need technology to read print. Most everything is done in human voice spoken word audio as opposed to computerized text-to-speech. I've upgraded our DAISY authoring tool, Obi, in the past year and will learn to use it even better in 2014! Our DAISY production is all in DAISY format 2.02 for maximum compliance with the most devices. Some materials are downloadable from our website in zip file format. One thing I am always uneasy about is whether our users actually find this process easy enough to follow or whether they think it is too cumbersome. Sometimes I think people are too polite to tell me when something doesn't work for them - so please let me know! I need to know if there are mistakes or problems in any of our DAISY books or on the website. You will be doing me a favor to flag any problems. As far as the NLS digital cartridges go, we would like to have a stock of them available for members to purchase directly from us at our cost. We don't want to make money; we just want to get the materials you need to you faster! Nancy and I have talked about the digital cartridges and we agree that some people want materials via NLS cartridge but don't get around to ordering the necessary cartridge and mailer and then sending it to us. Our thinking is that if we can simplify the process in 2014 we will pick up more members who will use the NLS cartridge system. Ideally, users will ultimately be able to download the files directly from our website and place them on their NLS players themselves, thus eliminating the cartridges and mailers - but not everyone is computer-savvy or has high-speed internet service. ...and other services. Some of our other services are in need of freshening up, too. We still get equipment loan requests in spite of the fact that the old equipment loan program was terminated after Avery, K0HLA, who used to run it, retired and we moved to Camp Courage where we did not have a working repair shop. While we do still place equipment, most is to our radio campers who can take it home directly from camp - usually new HTs for just-licensed Technicians. Even so, I have gotten some gear out by mail to members who could not come to camp, a process that is really, really hard. I'll be working with several members and volunteers to see if we can figure out a better way to place equipment with members. My main stumbling block is time, since I don't have enough of it and dealing with equipment can be time-consuming. Support for on the air activities is a dynamic process. Our daily VHF/UHF/Echolink/IRLP nets have been going well, but we have very little presence on HF aside from the Friday CW net, and that doesn't even cover the entire USA. We could do better if someone out there would help us organize more HF activity. It wouldn't have to be a net; it could be an operating event, an award, or a contest! Let's face it - we are weak in the area of organized HF activity and we could do more - much more. If not now, when? The solar cycle is at its peak and that should give us some options. Wouldn't 2014 be a good year for more HF operation? Maybe a club could help if not an individual. Field Day and other local Twin Cities operating events are supported by clubs like SARA, the Stillwater, Minnesota Amateur Radio Association <http://www.radioham.org> . An Eagle Scout project is underway right now to help us organize our station equipment, making it safe to transport and deploy at Radio Camp, Field Day, the annual Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald event at Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior, and more. This project will make the equipment database we use much more functional by 2014. Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator _____ Bulletins - No encryption of Amateur Communications FCC round logo Remember the petition to the FCC to change Part 97 to permit encryption? Dismissed as noted in today's FCC email summary: Dismissed the Amateur Encryption Rulemaking Petition filed by Don Rolph, without prejudice. (Dkt No. RM-11699 ). Action by: Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Adopted: 09/17/2013 by ORDER. (DA No. 13-1918). WTB * Word doc <file:///C:\Users\Pat\Documents\My%20Webs\hhsmbrs\DON%20ROLPH.%20%20%20Dismi ssed%20the%20Amateur%20Encryption%20Rulemaking%20Petition%20filed%20by%20Don %20Rolph,%20without%20prejudice.%20(Dkt%20No.%20%20RM-11699%20).%20Action%20 by:%20%20Deputy%20Chief,%20Mobility%20Division,%20Wireless%20Telecommunicati ons%20Bureau.%20Adopted:%20%2009\17\2013%20by%20ORDER.%20(DA%20No.%2013-1918 ).%20%20WTB%20%20http:\hraunfoss.fcc.gov\edocs_public\attachmatch\DA-13-1918 A1.docx> * PDF <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-1918A1.pdf> * Plain text <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-1918A1.txt> _____ Practical radio pliers and wire Portable verticals to the rescue! The 1/4 wave vertical antenna that we talked about last week was a permanent installation, either ground-mounted with radial field installed or mounted above ground on a tower or roof but with tuned radials replacing the radial field. If you put up a single band model for the 20 meter band, it will be a little over 16 feet tall, or around 5 meters. Remember, we are talking about the 20 meter band, so naturally a quarter-wavelength antenna would be 1/4 of 20 meters, or 5 meters long. I have known quite a few amateur radio operators who have "gone mobile" with their HF verticals mounted on their cars or trucks. They often operate on the 20 meter band - very successfully, too - and they never seem to have antennas that are 16 feet tall mounted on their vehicles. That would be crazy, since a tall antenna would fold right over with the wind loading while the car was traveling down the road. A tall antenna would strike highway overpasses and service station canopies. And it would look pretty goofy, too. The vertical antennas used in HF mobile operation are much shorter and do not impede the normal use of the vehicle. They can withstand the wind loading even when the car is on the highway. Yet they are a quarter-wave on the desired band. How is this accomplished? The usual method is by adding inductance to increase the electrical length without increasing the physical length. You can increase inductance by adding a series coil to the circuit. You may have seen short mobile "stick" antennas that mount easily with a magnetic mounting base. These antennas are electrically a quarter wave, but physically short enough to be a practical antenna for mobile use. Of course a FULL quarter wave would work better since there is more "capture area", but if you cannot get a large antenna up, you can try a loaded shorter vertical. Another consideration with a shortened antenna is bandwidth. The bandwidth between 2 to 1 SWR points will be narrower on an inductively loaded vertical. That means it will work fine if you hang out on or near a single favorite frequency, but you may need an antenna tuner to broaden the tuning. Another problem can crop up with matching, as the feedpoint impedance can drop when you shorten an antenna. Like the full quarter wave, the loaded short vertical also needs an effective ground plane. In mobile use, the car body fills the bill. For shortened verticals used on bands like 75 and 40 meters, the car body is obviously far from being a quarter wave grounding radial in any direction, but capacitive coupling of the car's metal to the ground beneath will suffice to provide enough RF grounding at those wavelengths. The trouble usually starts when these shortened mobile antennas are mounted above ground, say on a deck or balcony. Like the full quarter wave vertical, the short vertical still expects to see a ground plane within a few centimeters of the feedpoint. You cannot get good results running a grounding wire down the side of a building to a ground rod. The antenna will not tune at all unless you have either a significant amount of horizontal metal (like a metal roof) to feed it against, or - of course - tuned radials. One way around the radial problem is to mount two of the same loaded stick antennas back-to-back in horizontal dipole configuration. There is hardware available to make this easy, usually found at bigger hamfests or from ham radio dealers. How much do these "stick" antennas cost? Glad you asked! I checked for the MFJ brand of 20 meter stick antenna, and it will set you back all of $15.95 from HRO. The model number is MFJ-1620T, and I'd expect most dealers to sell it for right around that price. Next week: We go from tiny vertical antennas to big, tall ones! What about those 43 foot verticals we've been hearing about? Remember that this column is about "practical radio", which is figuring out what works and making the most of it. 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? 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: E8D04 asks, "What is the PEP output of a transmitter that develops a peak voltage of 30 volts into a 50-ohm load?" Possible answers are: A. 4.5 watts B. 9 watts C. 16 watts D. 18 watts This is one of those questions that you will have trouble answering unless you know the formula for figuring PEP, or peak envelope power. That term is thrown around a lot in ham radio, but it's easier to say than understand! The formula is PEP equals (PEV times 0.707) quantity squared, and then the whole thing is divided by the load resistance R sub load. Thus, we plug in PEV, or peak envelope voltage which is given as 30 volts, into the numerator. 30 times 0.707 = 21.21. Then we square that quantity, which gives us 449.86. Now we divide that by 50 ohms, so 50 into 449.86 = 8.997. We can round that to 9 watts, which is answer B. We will be covering this material soon in the Extra Class audio lecture series in case you are a bit fuzzy on this concept. Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment. _____ This week @ HQ Cartoon robot with pencil Important: Take our on line survey <http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QZX6BN6> . Download a plain text copy if you have trouble with the Survey Monkey website <https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18891122/2013%20Handiham%20Survey.txt> . Help us to make the Handiham program as good as it can be. Take a short survey to let us know what you think. Follow the link below: . http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QZX6BN6 Remote Base News The remote base software team is gearing up again. Stay tuned! W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North. Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line. Outages: We are expecting minor outages on W0EQO today as we do updates. Outages are reported on http://handiham.org/remotebase/station-status/. Band conditions: As of this writing, conditions on HF are good. 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 Catalog Number: 1-02610-00, Price: $12.00 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.