[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 October 2013

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2013 14:19:46 -0500

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

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.

Remote Base Station Proves a Challenge to Manage This Month

W0ZSW remote base station equipment

The W0ZSW remote base gets regular use each day, and we're pleased with its
good record of on line availability.  Pictured here we see the TS-480HX rig,
twin Astron RS-20A power supplies, a new recently donated LDG AT-1000 Pro 2,
the backup LDG AT-200 Pro, the host computer, and on the wall a Radio Works
<http://www.radioworks.com/>  line isolator.  The instruction manuals are
nestled up against the side of the computer, always available for a quick
lookup if there is some kind of operations question. 

MFJ AutoTuner Extender

Hiding behind the power supplies is an MFJ AutoTuner Extender
<http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-914> T, model

So why are you whining about how hard the station was to manage this month?

I'm glad you asked.  The double-extended zepp antenna was extended to allow
it to tune correctly on 160 meters, and that process involved taking the
antenna down, adding extra wire on each end (after measuring and cutting, of
course), and then getting everything back up in the air.   To make a really
long story short, the first installation just didn't tune right, and a week
later we were back at the job, taking it all down and retuning it.  Dave
Glas, W0OXB, was able to help both times, so thanks, Dave!

Dave, W0OXB, in a tree, tying off antenna support rope.

Dave, W0OXB, is pictured up a tree, tying off the Dacron UV-resistant
antenna rope at W0ZSW.

The antenna work, all told, probably took the equivalent of one entire day
this month.  That's a chunk of time!  But that wasn't the only thing; we
also replaced the automatic antenna tuner with a recently-donated LDG
AT-1000 Pro 2, hoping to achieve easier tuning on the zepp across all the
bands.  Alas, although the LDG did its best, we needed to add two additional
antenna system components, a line isolator to keep RF out of the shack, and
an MFJ autotuner extender. After we found the correct settings, everything
tuned as expected and we have not had any RF getting into places it
shouldn't, like the computer systems and ground-fault interrupters! You
can't imagine what a headache it is when a remote user manages to trip a GFI
off, killing one of our household circuits.  These things are usually wired
to cover several outlets downstream, which is enough to cause lots of

Another thing that needed replacement was the mismatched power supplies.  I
had the perfect candidate - or so I thought - an Astron 50 amp metered
supply.  I picked it up from our storage area, hooked it all up, and only
then discovered that it did... Nothing!  There was no life at all, no
voltage at the output.  Yes, I know I should have checked it before I
installed it, but these things are so reliable that they virtually never
fail to work.  Closer inspection revealed a missing fuse, so I added one,
which promptly blew with no load as soon as power was applied. That meant
that the "almost never" actually happened:  this Astron had a problem!  And
since I had used a fuse from one of the other supplies, which should have
been more than adequate with no load, I was now down to only one supply, an
Astron RS-20A.  There was nothing to do but hook both of the TS-480HX's
power cables to the remaining Astron and then edit the host computer's
configuration file to make sure that the radio could not transmit at any
setting over 100 watts, since exceeding that power would draw more current
than the Astron could deliver.  Those of you familiar with this radio know
that it requires two "regular" power supplies, not just one, so it has two
sets of power cables.  If you use the typical supplies that most of us use
for 100 watt radios, you need two for the 200 watt TS-480HX.

It has been a very busy month, so problems with the remote base stations are
even less welcome than usual.  Nonetheless, we all know "Murphy's Law
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy's_law> ", and Murphy served up a
heaping helping with an announcement from Skype that the API would no longer
be supported after this December.  When the earlier, pre-portable device
version of Skype came out, an "API <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/API> ", or
application programming interface, specifies how some software components
should interact with each other, was built into the computer code. What that
means is that the existing W4MQ software that controls the stations will no
longer be able to automatically access Skype to dial calls.  Indeed, there
have been problems with this part of Skype, which is why it's going away.
But since this is coming out now it means a scramble to change configuration
files and write new instructions for our user base.  I wish I could say,
"I'll do this in my spare time", but there isn't any to spare.  

Anyway, the W0ZSW station sat  for a week, limping along on a single power
supply, and I'd been meaning to schedule a trip to our storage area for a
while, so I collected the enormously heavy 50 Amp Astron and boxed it up to
go into storage since I didn't have any way to diagnose or fix it at the
moment. I added the now-dead Astron RS-35A, which worked fine but was
missing a fuse.  These, with boxes of other gear, were delivered to storage
and then I dug for another Astron RS-20A and hit pay dirt; there was one
that I could reach!  I brought it back to the W0ZSW shack and cleaned it up,
checked that it had a fuse (it did), and powered it up.  There was voltage,
so I hooked it up and reconfigured the station wiring, bundling and tidying
all of the cabling to make sure that I didn't make any mistakes hooking
things back up. 

The station passed initial testing, so I took it back off the air and edited
the configuration file to allow 200 watt operation on several bands for
Extra and Advanced Class users.  

Although this month's remote base activities covered only W0ZSW so far,
W0EQO also needed some attention.  We think that several station software
failures were caused by the outmoded Skype API that we have already
described.  The configuration file on that station's host computer also
needed editing.  The station experienced several failures this month, all
caused by software becoming unresponsive and crashing.  

Now we have one week left to go in October. I have my fingers crossed! 

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



ARRL: FCC Turns Away Petition to Expand Technician 10 Meter Privileges.

In ARLB024 ARRL Says, "The FCC has dismissed a Petition for Rule Making that
sought to expand Technician privileges in the 10 meter band. The Toledo
Mobile Radio Association (TMRA) had asked the Commission last June to expand
the spectrum available to Technician licensees on 10 meters to include
operating privileges in the FM portion of the band, from 29.520 to 29.700
MHz. Novice and Technician licensees now may operate on 10 meters from
28.000 to 28.500 MHz."

*       Read more on ARRL.org.

A new release of Audacity has some nifty features:

AudacityR is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and
editing sounds. Version 2.0.5 is now available, and yours truly will be
downloading and installing it soon.  Your weekly eletter podcast is recorded
on Audacity. Audacity is available for WindowsR, MacR, GNU/LinuxR and other
operating systems. 

*       You can check out the latest version on the Sourceforge site.

The bands are hot!

10 meters is certainly on a roll.last week my little PropNet 10-watt PSK31
beacon was heard in Swaziland, all over EU and Russia, and way down at the
southern tip of South America. And this morning, all over EU, plus FR4PG on
Reunion Island, a tiny place to the east of Madagascar (10 watts and a
15,000 km path)! You really get a geography lesson with Ham Radio. 

73 - Jim, KJ3P

Library is back with new downloads:

The Library of Congress has reopened following the end of the US Government
shutdown. This means that the National Library Service for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped (NLS) will once again be updating materials on the
BARD site. As of this morning, the October QST was available for download.
There was no word on when digital cartridges would go out. 

*       The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically
Handicapped (NLS) page is at: http://www.loc.gov/nls/ 

Last week, Kitty, W8TDA, wondered...

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. 

Okay, so we asked our readers and listeners what they knew about this.
John, N1UMJ, wrote: 

*       I and many others who have tried FLDIGI find it totally inaccessible
for the blind and I can make most programs work that many can't. I have
talked to the program developer about it as has ARES leadership in my area
and basically we're all told "too bad". Now, in MARS, there is a lot of
digital and that is a very popular program for MT63, Olivia, and other modes
but I still cannot make it work. A program that is close in functionality,
not exactly the same, but close, multimode, is MixW. I have to route the
JAWS cursor to the bottom of the message then can read it with the PC
cursor, every mode change and adjustment can be done in the menus and I
don't have much problem with it, so that's a good option as well. There is a
registration fee and a fully functional demo available. I don't have the web
site handy but if you Google for MixW, it's not hard to find. I use it

Thanks to John for that excellent report and option. You can get MixW at: 

*       http://mixw.net/
*       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

Practical Radio is on a week's break.  It will return next week when it's
had time to nurse its sore back back to health.

In the meantime, Practical Radio advises, "The heavier the power supply is,
the more necessary it is to check to see if it has a fuse in it before you
schlep it to the ham shack."

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. 

Tie a string around your finger so that you remember what happens on Sunday,
November 3 - The USA returns to Standard Time.  

*        <http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/2013.html> Check the return to
Standard Time around the world at Timeanddate.com.

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
electromagnetic waves, which we have been studying lately in our Extra Class
audio course for Handiham members:

E8D07 asks, "What is an electromagnetic wave?"

Possible answers are: 

A. Alternating currents in the core of an electromagnet 

B. A wave consisting of two electric fields at right angles to each other 

C. A wave consisting of an electric field and a magnetic field oscillating
at right angles to each other 

D. A wave consisting of two magnetic fields at right angles to each other 

Sometimes we use terms like electromagnetic wave without really
understanding the principle behind them. An electromagnetic wave consists of
two components: an electric field and a magnetic field, but that's not the
whole picture because we also must know that they are oscillating at right
angles to each other. You can read more here:

*       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_radiation

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment. 


This week @ HQ

Cartoon robot with pencil


*       QST digest audio for November is now available in DAISY for our
Handiham members.
*       CQ for October is also available
*       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.  
*       Worldradio Online for October has been completed by Bob Zeida,
N1BLF.  Thanks, Bob!
*       Magazine digests are ready for our blind members in the members
section.  Digital NLS cartridges will be prepared soon.  

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

.         Outages: Outages are reported on

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


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



JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

GIF image

GIF image

JPEG image

Other related posts:

  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 October 2013 - Patrick Tice