[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 October 2013

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 15:02:32 -0500

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30
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.

Don't miss it this weekend: The "Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald" Special

Split Rock Lighthouse - November 2 & 3, 2013

Split Rock Lighthouse (WA0TDA photo)

 The Stillwater Amateur Radio Association (SARA) , a Handiham affiliated
club, will be operating to commemorate the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Using the club's call sign, W0JH, twenty SARA members will operate from
Split Rock Lighthouse (ARLHS USA 783) in Lake County, Minnesota. This year
marks the 38th anniversary of the ship's mysterious sinking.  

"This is the ninth year we've participated in this special event from the
shores of Gitche Gumee (Lake Superior)," according to SARA activities &
events chair, Dave Glas (W0OXB). "For our operators and more than a thousand
hams around the world, it's been a popular event that pays tribute to all
hands lost on the famous iron ore carrier."

W0JH Operating Schedule - also see the Special Events listing on ARRL.org
and in November QST:

Saturday, November 2 and Sunday November 3 2013

*       10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Central Standard Time
*       3.860, 7.260, 14.260, 21.360, 28.360 MHz, plus or minus QRM

Join us in Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald and her crew by making contact
with W0JH! 

The 2012 SARA crew at Split Rock - group photo.Don't forget to request an
electronic QSL certificate.

Send request to: SplitRock2013@xxxxxxxxxxxx. 

Be sure to include all standard QSL info: Callsign, Date, Time (UTC),
Band/Frequency, Mode and Report (RST).

QSL requests will only be fulfilled via e-mail (PDF) file. 

Visit SARA web site: www.radioham.org.


Amateur Radio supplier Radio City, Inc. is sponsoring this SARA event along
with the Courage Kenny Handiham Program. The major radio equipment used (HF
transceivers, antenna tuners and power supplies) is provided gratis. 

Radio City is promoting the event at their Mounds View, MN store and on
their website. <http://www.radioinc.com> 

Handiham Website gets a tune-up

Handiham members only website block diagram 

This is a block diagram of the members only section of Handiham.org.  It's
page-heavy on the right-hand side, where the audio lecture link pages are
shown in the rightmost column.  There are 50 separate pages for the Extra
Class alone, making the website cumbersome to for us to maintain and for
users to navigate.  We have decided to eliminate all of the superfluous
pages leading to audio lectures and replace them with the already successful
alternative "direct links" pages that we have set up for Technician,
General, and Extra Class courses. All of the unnecessary pages will be moved
out by November 2013, allowing for a simpler navigational structure.  In
case you're wondering, the site's main "index" page is on the far left along
with a few standalone pages.  From the index page, which is the entry point,
pages branch out through the navigational structure as you move to the right
of the diagram. 

The so-call "direct links" pages were a result of comments that we had
gotten from some screenreader users, who found the existing links pages
difficult to locate and use.  I hit on the idea of combining all the links
for any given course into a single page, and the change was well-received.
It was immediately easier for screenreader users to simply bookmark the page
they wanted and keep going back to it.  After a period of about a half-year
maintaining the two systems in parallel, it is time to eliminate the old,
complicated structure and slim down the site.  To help with the transition,
we are posting this short notice: 

Special Notice for Audio Lecture users:  The individual audio lecture pages
are going away as part of our process to simplify the website and make it
easier to find what you want.  Instead of each audio lecture having its own
web page, all audio lectures for a given license class will be listed on a
single page.  There will be a separate page for Technician, another for
General, and a third one for Extra.  We expect the changes to be complete by
November.  All of the audio lectures themselves will be available, and will
not change except for the addition of new lectures for Extra Class.  

The Extra Class course reached a milestone 50th lecture this week, and I'm
expecting at least 10 more!  That's a lot of lectures, but it makes sense to
break them into shorter topic areas that are easier to digest than to try to
cover multiple different topics in each single lecture.  Still, that is a
lot of lectures, so I'm pressing to get them done to complete the series as
soon as I can.  By this Friday we will be adding three more lectures since
the previous Friday. Then we will tackle the digital modes, TV, receivers,
antennas, propagation...  Heck, I feel worn out just thinking about it, but
we would like to be done by early winter.  With Extra Class out of the way,
I'll be able to concentrate on some operating skills lectures. 

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



CQ Newsroom reports that there is another "Last Man Standing" ham radio
episode coming up in November:

*       That story and others are reported in the "CQ-Newsroom" email.  Read
it on line on CQ's blog.

WA0CAF likes a story on diagnosing and fixing computer overheating problems:

*       HowToGeek website

KB3LLA notes that Freedom Scientific has released JAWSR 15:

.         JAWS
<http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/jaws-product-page.asp> R page
with links to demo versions

Comcast Secure Backup & Share will be discontinued:

*       Lots of us have Comcast high-speed cable internet service.  I've
been delighted with it, but mostly because of its speed and reliability, not
the free secure backup service - which I never used. Apparently not many
others did either, because Comcast has decided to discontinue Secure Backup
& Share effective December 1, 2013. The Comcast website declares that "Files
on Secure Backup & Share will be deleted and no longer available as of
December 1, 2013."  If you are a Comcast <http://www.comcast.com/>  customer
and have used this backup service, you should retrieve your files now, not
wait until the last minute. I don't know how it is for you, but once we hit
November, the time seems to fly until after New Year's Day. It would be easy
to get busy and forget to retrieve those files!

New name for Camps of Courage & Friendship: 

*       Our Handiham Radio Camp sessions have been held for decades at
Courage Camps.  In 2013 Courage Camps partnered with Friendship Ventures,
another non-profit organization serving people with disabilities. That new
organization was then temporarily named "Camps of Courage and Friendship"
until a new name could be decided upon.  That time has come, and the new
name is "True Friends". Some of you will wonder what will become of Camp
Courage and Camp Courage North, but don't worry - those camps and their
names are still right where they have always been, same as ever. It is only
the name of the parent organization that has changed.  And do you know what?
I like the new name!  True Friends really says it all about the friends we
make at camp. Handiham Radio Camp 2013 will be at Camp Courage in
mid-August, so think about it now: Seven days of summer camp fun, with even
more emphasis on getting on the air!
*       Visit True Friends on the web. <http://truefriends.org/> 

NEW QST App for Android Devices:

ARRL members using Android tablets and phones can now download a dedicated
app to access the digital edition of QST. The app gives ARRL members access
to read QST online or choose to download individual issues of the journal
for offline reading. The QST app is free in the Google Play Store. Members
must have a valid ARRL website login to access digital editions of QST. 

Visit ARRL.org for details.

Need more help? Contact ARRL Member Services by telephone 860-594-0200 or
888-277-5289 (US only) or email circulation@xxxxxxxx. 

We hope you'll enjoy this NEW ARRL membership benefit!


Steve Ford, WB8IMY
QST Editor

NPR reminds us that it's the 75th anniversary of the original 1938 "War of
the Worlds" broadcast on AM radio:

Old cathedral radio

*       Check out the NPR story in streaming audio: 75 Years Ago, 'War Of
The Worlds' Started A Panic. Or Did It?
*       I also recommend the RadioLab story about War of the Worlds, which I
thoroughly enjoyed earlier this week.


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

AM broadcast radio - It's not as popular these days. Is it done for?

We have been hearing about the demise of AM broadcasting for some time, but
it's too early to slam the door closed on good old AM just yet.  There are
some well-regarded stations out there and AM broadcasting still has a
following.  That said, there is no doubt whatever that fewer of us - myself
included - listen regularly to AM broadcast radio.

Why is that?

The obvious answer is that there is just too much other stuff available.
Streaming audio, podcasts, satellite radio, and good old FM broadcast.  Even
if AM had no deficiencies whatever, it would still face stiff competition
for our ear-time!  But it does have deficiencies, among them lower frequency
response that can make music sound dull, susceptibility to static crashes
and diurnal propagation changes, and a definite requirement for a decent
antenna.  On the other hand, it can provide coverage where line-of-sight VHF
cannot, and can have a very wide footprint, which is useful in
sparsely-populated places.  Anyone who has taken a car trip through the
less-populated parts of the USA can tell you that there is little to be had
on the FM broadcast band. If you don't have Sirius/XM satellite radio, you
probably have no other choice for live radio than AM broadcast.  At night
the band opens up to long-distance skip, as any over the road truck driver
can tell you. 

Sony 4-band direction finder radio

Taking a quick inventory of my various radios, I find that our cars all have
AM-capable radios and a couple of older stereo receivers - those component
style receivers - have an AM band. But there is one definite standout:  my
Sony Air Band FET Direction Finder, model TFM-8600W.  

This 4-band receiver ROCKS when it comes to AM reception, and the reason is
that it was made in the early 1970s when AM was popular and consumers
expected radios to actually perform.  Sadly, AM radios - such as they are
these days - do not stack up.  They have lousy gain, poor selectivity, and
tiny, inadequate antennas.  Even car radios have such compromised antennas
that they barely function, at least compared to the car radios of old!  The
antennas are sometimes embedded in the windshield glass, a poor choice
because the antenna will not work well unless it is up and in the clear, not
running close by and parallel with the metal car frame. Other radios, when
they include the AM band, do so as an afterthought rather than as a main
function.  No wonder AM radio gets a bad rap - the receivers available today
are awful! <http://www.matthewsworkbench.com/the-slow-decline-of-am-radio/>

I bought the Sony brand-new around 1970 or 71.  It was expensive, but boy,
oh boy - did it ever work great!  Today I keep it on my basement workbench,
where it pulls in Minnesota Public Radio on the FM band without even
extending the telescoping VHF antenna.  The AM band is simply amazing.  Like
many others, I had not listened much to AM broadcast in recent years.  When
I checked it out, the Sony pulled in stations clearly - even in the
basement!  I had to admit that I'd forgotten what a really well-designed
receiver could do.

The reason the Sony is on the workbench is that it always has been a tool as
well as a radio.  I've often used it to chase down interference that causes
problems on the lower frequency HF bands, and because it has a long, really
substantial ferrite rod antenna, it can produce a sharp null when you rotate
it 90 degrees to a signal.  "Direction Finder" isn't in the name for
nothing!  And the Sony runs on battery power - four D cells.  That makes it
portable, which is essential in a direction-finding tool. It even has a
tripod hole in the bottom so that it can be mounted on a photographic
tripod, allowing it to be panned carefully to find nulls. 

Close-up of tuning window and analog tuning meter

The Sony includes an analog meter, which you can use to more closely define
a null when rotating the radio.  

The way it's done is that you tune in the signal on the AM band, then listen
as you rotate the radio to find a null.  The null will be off the ends of
the ferrite bar antenna, making it easy to define the direction off the ends
of the radio. Since the signal could thus be either of two directions, you
triangulate by moving to another location and finding the null again, then
looking for where the lines cross on a map.  The meter can sharply dip in a
null, so the visual reinforcement to the aural null can be helpful. 

Back panel of the Sony shows frequency ranges covered, power requirement,
and proclaims number of transistors in the circuits!

The back panel of the Sony has information proclaiming that there is an FET
and 18 transistors for reception, plus another 4 transistors for "auxiliary

The band coverage is clearly stated, as are the power requirements.  Also
visible is the 6 VDC power jack for the external power cube (which contains
a real transformer - none of that cheesy, noisy switching stuff.)  There is
even a 3.5 mm recording out jack. Across the bottom is a calibrated ruler.
The units are centimeters.   

The Sony has earned a place in my workshop as a noise tracker.  It redeems
AM radio, too - making it worth listening again. The lesson to be learned:
A good receiver makes all the difference. Pay attention to the specs in
those QST reviews available from the Technical Information Service page
<http://www.arrl.org/technical-information-service> , and CQ reviews. Check
out eHam reviews for reviews from users <http://www.eham.net/reviews/> . 

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. 

Time for our annual confusion-fest: 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? He's been throwing us some softballs lately.
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 until November 3.  The net is on the air at 16:00
hours GMT.   

On Sunday morning, November 3, the United States returns to Standard Time.
Like magic on Sunday morning at 2:00 AM Minnesota time, the difference
between Minneapolis and GMT becomes 6 hours instead of 5.  That means our
daily net is on the air at 17:00 GMT.  The two evening sessions are at 01:00
GMT Thursday and Friday.  Here in Minnesota that still translates to 11:00
AM daily and 7:00 PM Wednesday and Thursday.  

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

E4E10 asks, "What is a common characteristic of interference caused by a
touch controlled electrical device?" 

Possible answers are:

A. The interfering signal sounds like AC hum on an AM receiver or a carrier
modulated by 60 Hz hum on a SSB or CW receiver 

B. The interfering signal may drift slowly across the HF spectrum 

C. The interfering signal can be several kHz in width and usually repeats at
regular intervals across a HF band 

D. All of these choices are correct 

I'll never forget the day my wife brought home several new touch lamps. They
were an aggravating source of interference for decades, until we finally got
rid of the last of them. They did all of the above (answer D), and not only
that, they were also prone to turn on and off whenever the HF transmitter
was keyed.  They quickly ended up on separate switched outlets, which sort
of negated their touch feature, but whatcha gonna do? 

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 later this week.  

Remote Base News

W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.

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

*       200 watt operation is restored on 160, 80, and 40 meters for Extra
and Advanced Class users on W0ZSW. 

.         Outages: Outages are reported on

*       Band conditions: As of this writing, conditions on HF are poor with
blackouts predicted.  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.

Visit Handiham.org <http://handiham.org> 


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



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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 October 2013 - Patrick Tice