Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 01 July 2015
This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny
Handiham Program <https://handiham.org> , serving people with disabilities
in Amateur Radio since 1967.
Our contact information is at the end.
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Welcome to Handiham World.
In this edition:
. Musing about the good old days, part 3
. Firing up a linear.
. Check into our nets!
. This week's website features an old DX-40 and Hallicrafters
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question from the General Class
pool that is in effect starting today.
. The Remote Base HF report: Why we are considering new software,
and how your help is needed!
. July audio is ready.
. ...And more!
The good old days: We visit a vintage Avery's QTH and sniff out the ozone.
Avery, K0HLA, at a Collins station
Avery's QTH: Ozone & Arcing ZAP! ZAP! ZAP!
"Uffda. What's that strong stinking stuff?" is what one of our members said
to me when a switch in his antenna tuner arced over.
Then a short time later someone else returned an antenna tuner that had been
out on loan because it had arced over, shorted out, and wasn't working
anymore. K0CJ, one of our shop volunteers, found a bad insulator washer used
in the fastening of a variable condenser to the front panel so by replacing
it with a newer better quality one he fixed the problem. Then I went to
check into the Handiham slow speed CW net and happened to notice that our
MFJ-1026 noise canceling device was emitting a light from inside even though
it was not turned on and that same strong pungent ozone smell was exiting
through the antenna port on the top of the case. Three strikes and you're
out, as any baseball person will tell you, so I thought perhaps talking
about this subject would bring these ozone affairs to an end at least for a
That OZONE has a very strong pungent smell that you will never forget. Most
often you smell it when something arcs over. In older ham rigs that have
high voltage transformers in them it was quite common to have a transformer
winding short out and arc over and of course give off that ozone smell.
Older TV's too have that same thing with high voltage transformers. Those
Jacob's ladders that were so popular in old time science fiction movies gave
off that same smell as the spark would rise and fall on the two rods. Yep! I
know that smell very well. It will stick around for a while too. Some of
those antique 10 KW Shipboard rotary spark gap transmitters gave off that
same smell as the operator was sending Morse code with a telegraph key that
had a very big insulating disk just below the knob. Because of the very high
voltages across the contacts on the key, it was necessary to prevent the
operator from accidentally coming in contact with the metal parts of the
key. You would hear ZAP, ZAP. and smell the ozone at the same time as the
Morse code was being sent. In a thunderstorm a flash of lightning brings not
only a large boom of thunder but also causes a bunch of ozone to appear and
it is nature's way of cleaning the air. Page 26-13 of the 1993 ARRL's
Handbook for Radio Amateur's says, "Although the sound and smell of arcs may
conjure up nostalgic memories of the days when radios were made of wood, and
operators of steel, it is a sign of trouble in modern gear. Arc sites are
usually easy to find because an arc that generates visible light or
noticeable sound also pits and discolors conductors. Arcing is often caused
by dampness, dirt or lead dress. If the dampness is temporary, dry the area
and resume operation. Dirt may be cleaned from the chassis with a
residue-free cleaner. Arrange leads so high voltage conductors are isolated.
Keep them away from sharp corners and screw points. Operating practice
occasionally causes some arcing in control components. Arcing occurs in
capacitors when the working voltage is exceeded. Air-dielectric variable
capacitors can sustain occasional arcs without damage, but arcing indicates
operation beyond circuit limits. Transmatches working beyond their ability
may suffer from arcing." So for now, 73 es DX de K0HLA Avery
Thanks, Avery. I wonder if anyone smelled smoke or ozone during Field Day
I'm thinking about a time I fired up a linear.
As I consider my own experiences with smoking radio equipment, one memory I
have is that of a home-brew sweep tube linear amplifier that I built when I
was about 20 years old and didn't have the budget for even a Heathkit
amplifier. My ham shack was in my attic bedroom in my parents' house, where
I lived while going to college. The amplifier used four TV 6LQ6 sweep tubes
mounted around a ceramic form holding a enameled wire choke coil. The high
voltage from an old TV transformer supplied the plate voltage to each of the
four tubes through that inductor. The plate cap of each tube was connected
between a carbon resistor with a high value that served as a coil form for
an additional series inductor meant to limit parasitic frequencies and the
aforementioned high voltage choke coil. The final amplifier coil was an
"air-wound" style coil with four acrylic plastic spacers to act as a coil
form. There was a small fan mounted near the tubes to provide a continuous
air flow, since I didn't want to push the tubes into overheating. These
tubes would actually melt if they got too hot! The whole amplifier was built
on an old surplus chassis with a matching cabinet. The chassis was sort of
long and narrow, not exactly the layout I wanted, but I did manage to
squeeze everything in.
Pleased with myself, I decided to fire it up and get on the air with my big
signal. Well, "fire it up" was what I did when the high voltage arced
across one of the final amplifier coil windings to a nearby plate cap feed.
It is surprising how arcing can cause acrylic plastic to generate black ash
and even more surprising how a cooling fan can quickly send that ash flying
all over the room.
I quickly shut the power off and the arcing stopped, allowing me to clear
out the ash by putting a big box fan in one of my bedroom windows and
pulling air through the room from an open window on the other side of the
room. My folks never learned about that little incident! A bit of
reengineering allowed me to safely use the home-brew amplifier for years
after that. You can bet I paid more attention to component placement,
especially in cramped spaces.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Call for public service and Field Day 2015 stories.
If you are a person with a disability or sensory impairment and have a
public service communications or Field Day 2015 story to tell, won't you
please consider sharing it with us? Field Day was June 27-28.
We all know that public service communication is an important aspect of
Amateur Radio. Many ham radio operators have participated in some form of
public service communications, whether it be support for events like bike
races, marathons, and parades, or emergency communications in response to
threatening weather and natural or man-made disasters. But what is perhaps
less known is that Amateur Radio operators with disabilities can participate
in these activities and do an excellent job. They can take the courses, be
there for practice exercises, staff a station at a checkpoint during a
scheduled event, and yes - be ready and able to answer the call during a
If you have a public service experience to share, please email us. We'd
love to hear from you!
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
How to find the Handiham Net:
1. The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492. Connect via your iPhone,
Android phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your
2. WIRES-2 system number 1427
3. WIRES-X digital number 11165
The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control
station on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air
Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one wheelchair user
Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who
wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CDT (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific),
as well as Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 19:00 hours CDT (7 PM). If
you calculate GMT, the time difference is that GMT is five hours ahead of
Minnesota time during the summer.
Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday
evening session, so check in early if you want to take a guess. The answer
to the trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark.
A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to our Handiham Club
Net Manager, Michael, VE7KI.
This week's website: YouTube video "Old-time ham radio going back 50 years".
As long we are lost in our memories during the summer doldrums, here is a 10
minute video about the old equipment that we talked about a few weeks ago.
Remember how I described all the fiddling around one had to when tuning and
using separate receivers and transmitters? Well, here you can listen to
Burt, K1OIK, as he shows us how to tune his Hallicrafters receiver and a
DX-40 transmitter. <https://youtu.be/GddwlOaGeCQ> He also compares this
setup to a Flex 5000-A! You'll be surprised at the sounds you hear since we
are all used to the new digital gear.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the NEW General
Class question pool, number G7B14. It asks:
Which of the following describes a linear amplifier?
Possible answers are:
A. Any RF power amplifier used in conjunction with an amateur transceiver
B. An amplifier in which the output preserves the input waveform
C. A Class C high efficiency amplifier
D. An amplifier used as a frequency multiplier
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's think
about what kind of amplification we might need. Sometimes we are after high
efficiency, getting the most amplification out of a circuit that we can
while tolerating some distortion. Other times we may be interested in
reproducing a waveform as closely and accurately as possible, amplifying it
so that the bigger copy is an exact reproduction of the smaller waveform.
Different modes of operation may call for different amplifier circuits.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer B, An
amplifier in which the output preserves the input waveform, you got this one
right. Since we are trying to reproduce a speech waveform without
distortion so that it is a pretty good copy of the original but just
amplified, we bias the amplifier circuit to operate over the "linear", or
mostly straight, part of the amplifier curve. This kind of amplifier is
called a <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_amplifier> "linear
amplifier', or sometimes "just "linear". Amplifiers are designated by
classes, depending on whether they are going to be used for amplifying a
waveform accurately or whether accuracy will be sacrificed for efficiency.
Wikipedia has a good explanation of different classes of amplifiers.
Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running today.
. W0ZSW is operational. It may go offline with no notice if
. W0EQO is operational, but frequent Skype crashes have been
occurring at both remote hosts, especially W0EQO, making for more time spent
in fixing things. Be sure to let us know when something isn't working. We
generally check the stations early in the morning, but then we may not have
time to check later in the day when something might break, so we depend on
you to let us know.
. The W0ZSW TS-590S test with ARCP-590 software will resume sometime
. If you are a registered user, check the station's schedule for
which rig is in use at the <http://handiham.org/remotebase/> remote base
website and in the W0ZSW Skype status.
Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Handiham Remote Base station,
either here in the Twin Cities or anywhere else in the USA!
<mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx?subject=Participate%20in%20TS-590S%20Testing> If you
are an experienced TS-590S and ARCP-590 user and are interested in
participating in beta tests, please let me know.
<http://www.remotehams.com/> Remotehams.com rig control software:
W4MQ software will be replaced!
We are considering a switch to this software to operate the Handiham Remote
Base HF stations, so if you are a remote base user, please pay attention.
This software offers considerable benefits over our existing software, and
it is available free. There is also no need to depend on Skype for audio.
An Android app is also available, as is a physical control device, both at a
reasonable cost. The entire system is free to use via PC. A benefit for
those who host stations (like us) is that the administration of users is
more straightforward and consistent - and much less time consuming. The
Remotehams.com website also has an active user forum that can answer
questions, which is a good way to avoid lots of tech support. We would like
to sunset the existing station software in the near future to help make the
user experience better and to streamline station management. Please, if you
are a screenreader user and can help, consider trying the RCFORB software
from Remotehams.com and letting us know what you think. Here is a synopsis
of my experience so far controlling the WA0TDA IC-7200 via Remotehams:
Icom IC-7200 RCFORB screenshot showing virtual radio interface
The <http://www.remotehams.com/> Remotehams.com RCFORB client is in use at
the <http://tice.us/wa0tda/> WA0TDA HF remote base. We think that this
client is screenreader accessible and would like to hear feedback from blind
users. So far I have been delighted with this method of controlling remote
base HF radios around the world. The software does speak the frequency
readout and control settings for blind users, a feature available in the
settings. The nifty thing is that once you set up your preferences in the
settings, it applies across all of the radios available around the world.
For example, if I want to ask my IC-7200 what frequency it is on, all I have
to do is the keystroke combo ALT-SHIFT-F. Later that day I decide to listen
on a Flex radio in Alabama. I use the same keystroke to ask the Flex to
tell me the frequency. This is really nice because once I learn the RCFORB
software, the commands are pretty much universal across radios, subject to
the radio's features. Remember that the radio does not need to have a
special speech chip installed because the voice frequency announcements are
done in the RCFORB software, not the radio's hardware.
The procedure for getting the RCFORB software set up is a bit different than
what you are used to with remote base operation. Your first step is to go
to the website <http://www.remotehams.com/> Remotehams.com and read about
the system, which provides access to many stations around the world as a
volunteer effort. The RCFORB software is free and works on Windows
computers. You can support the project with a donation if you wish. You
should set up a free account. Uploading a copy of your license is highly
recommended if you expect to request transmit privileges on any of the
The Remotehams system has several key advantages over our existing W4MQ
1. It appears to be more blind accessible.
2. It is under current development.
3. It supports physical hardware devices on the client side, like K3
transceivers and a neat little hardware box into which you can plug a
microphone and key, though it can also be operated from a computer or
Windows tablet without these extra devices.
4. There is a great Android app that allows you to control radios from
your smartphone. It's under $10 and works well for me, though I have not
tested it with the Android screenreader.
5. You don't need a third-party audio application like Skype since it has
its own built in audio.
6. Multiple users can listen at the same time without resorting to
Echolink. The RCFORB client allows for a number of listeners with one
control op at a time.
7. From an administration standpoint, the host software for this system is
much easier to manage. If someone wants to use my station, all I need to do
is check my list for transmit requests and check the uploaded licenses for
verification. I can then add the user to the list of those who have
transmit permission. Although I did have to open several ports on my router
to the host computer, this is not necessary for the actual users of the
station, so the client software is very easy to set up. No fiddling with
your router's ports!
8. Finally, once you set up the RCFORB software there is access to many
stations. You don't have to worry about setting a special IP address for
each station as you do with the W4MQ software. This makes it much easier to
use many different stations, a definite advantage as band conditions change
from one geographic area to another.
On the hosting side, those of us who set up the stations for others are
usually already very busy with our own projects, our jobs and families, and
everything else that needs doing around the house. Maintenance of W0ZSW and
W0EQO as it is now with the existing software is really, really
time-consuming. There is a lot that needs to be done by the system
administrators. Nothing is automated and each host computer needs separate
maintenance, including for simple things like requested password changes.
Software crashes are getting more common. It is time for a reliable,
updated rig control system. That is why we need to get your feedback!
Please consider testing the Remotehams.com system and letting me know what
you think about it.
July 2015 QST has been released in digital print format, available to ARRL
members. The Doctor is In column, recorded for our blind members by W9MJY,
is now available.
Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the July DAISY audio digest including QST
articles of interest to our blind members. It is now available as a DAISY
download. Thanks, Bob!
July QCWA Journal has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P, and is available in
streaming MP3 from a link at <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php> QCWA.org or
listen here <https://handiham.org/audio/QCWA/QCWA-2015-July.mp3> .
June CQ Magazine audio digest has been recorded for our blind members by Jim
Perry, KJ3P. We are waiting for the July release of the magazine so that we
can begin recording.
Podcast: If you would like to receive this audio newsletter as a podcast in
software other than iTunes, the RSS feed for the audio podcast is:
Email version: <http://www.freelists.org/list/handiham-world> Subscribe or
change your subscription to the E-mail version here.
Weekly audio reminder: If you are a Handiham member and want a weekly
reminder about our new audio, let us know. Watch for new audio Thursday
afternoons. (Some audio is available only to members.)
Beginner course DAISY download available for our blind members: We now have
the DAISY version of the entire Technician Class lecture series on line for
Some of you have asked about the 2015 General Lecture Series. The new
General pool will be used for exams beginning on July 1, 2015. If you are
planning to study for General at Radio Camp in August, you will take your
exam based on the new General question pool.
But you can start studying using the new pool right now! Bob Zeida, N1BLF,
has finished the recording of the new 2015 General Class Question Pool and
it is in the General Class section in the Members part of the website.
Jim, KJ3P, has recorded the DXer's Handbook Second Edition by Bryce, K7UA,
for our blind members. If you are a Handiham member and need a link to the
DAISY download, please let me know.
Thanks to our volunteer readers:
Radio Camp News: We will once again be at the Woodland campus, Camp
Good heavens - it's July! If you have been sitting on that camp application,
time to fill it out and send it in. If you have equipment needs and wish to
get equipment to take home from our collection of donated gear when you come
to camp, let us know.
Cabin 2, site of our ham radio stations and classes.
Photo: A Woodland Cabin with screen porch, fireplace, kitchen, laundry, and
comfortable great room.
<http://truefriends.org/camp/> Camp dates are now published in the True
Friends Camp Catalog. They are Tuesday, August 18 (arrival) through Monday,
August 24 (departure),
Please let Nancy know if you wish to receive a 2015 Radio Camp Application.
. You can pay your Handiham dues and certain other program fees on
line. Simply follow the link to our secure payment site, then enter your
information and submit the payment. It's easy and secure!
o Handiham annual membership dues are $12.00. The lifetime membership
rate is $120.00.
MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
o If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation
website. The instructions are at the following link:
DONATION LINK <http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/8>
o We hope you will remember us in your 2015 giving plans. The Courage
Kenny Handiham program needs your help. Our small staff works with
volunteers, members, and donors to share the fun of Amateur Radio with
people who have disabilities or sensory impairments. We've been doing this
work since 1967, steadily adapting to the times and new technologies, but
the mission is still one of getting people on the air and helping them to be
part of the ham radio community. Confidence-building, lifelong learning,
making friends - it's all part of ham radio and the Handiham Program.
Begging cartoon doggie
o The weekly audio podcast <https://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> was
produced with the open-source audio editor Audacity
How to contact us
There are several ways to contact us.
Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
E-Mail: <mailto:Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx> Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx
Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291
Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)
Note: Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM United States
Central Time are the best times to contact us.
You may also call Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, at:
FAX: 612-262-6718 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! We look
forward to hearing from you soon.
73, and I hope to hear you on the air soon!
For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.
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!
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