[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 02 July 2014

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2014 12:41:56 -0500

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 02 July 2014

This is a free weekly news & information update from  <http://handiham.org>
Courage Kenny Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end. 

Listen here:

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Welcome to Handiham World.

Lightning woes

Approaching thunderstorm clouds with WA0TDA SUV parked in foreground.

We were sitting down to dinner Saturday evening, when there was a flash of
lightning and a crash of thunder.  

Notice that I didn't say, "followed by a crash of thunder", right?


That is never a good sign.  Since light travels at 300,000,000 meters per
second and sound at only about 340 meters per second in air, we know that
light from a lightning discharge will arrive at our location much more
quickly than the sound of thunder.  That is why we usually see a flash of
lightning and then wait several seconds for the inevitable clap of thunder
caused by the discharge.  When the two are simultaneous, that means the
lightning discharge is very close by.  This one was nearly simultaneous, so
it was very nearby.  

But the power stayed on and we finished dinner.  It was only later on that I
noticed things were not quite right with my computer network.  And only one
of my two computer monitors was working.  I made the rounds and found only
one of the two Astron RS-20A supplies feeding the W0ZSW remote base station
was running, making the station unusable except for receive.  But it was
offline anyway, thanks to the computer network issue.  The lightning strike
was close, not direct, but it still caused plenty of damage.  The computer
network was protected by surge protection, but the LAN (wired) network was
broken.  Wireless still worked, so I had to make an emergency router
replacement to restore our VoIP telephone service and get things more or
less working for the time being.  

.         Tip:  Keep a spare router around the house and have it
pre-configured to the same settings like wireless identification and
firewall permissions so that it's easy to swap out.  

The spare router was only intended to bridge the gap in an emergency, so it
was off to Best Buy to scoop up another Netgear router to replace the broken
one.  Luckily, I did a web search and found a model slightly newer, but
still very similar, to the model I had.

.         Tip:  Back up your router configuration file onto a hard drive or
thumb drive.  If you ever have to restore all the settings, you can do so
from the router's web interface.  

The reason I looked for the same kind of router was because I had backed up
my configuration file.  That meant I wouldn't have to set up everything from
scratch again, assuming the routers were close enough relatives to accept
the same file - and they were!  You remember how hard it is to figure out
all that port forwarding and firewall stuff, not to mention setting up the
wireless identification for everything from smartphones and tablets to smart
TV sets, Roku boxes, and Chromecasts.  You might even have a smart
thermostat and Wi-Fi radios.  If you can restore the configuration settings
of the router, you won't have to go back to all the individual devices and
reset everything.  

That went smoothly, and the network was back so I could turn my attention to
the remote base station.  With the TS-480HX, two matching power supplies are
required to handle the 200 Watt transmit capability.  Since the rig would
receive but not transmit, I immediately suspected that one of the Astron
RS-20A supplies was not working.  Out came the multimeter, which confirmed
that there was no voltage on one of the supplies.  When I pulled the fuse,
it was blown, and it immediately blew a replacement.  That meant that the
regulator was probably shorted, but any further diagnosis and repair would
have to wait.  I had a spare supply, so I put it in place and got the
station back on the air.

Finally, I still have to figure out why my main computer that I use for
audio recording and web development would not boot yesterday morning.  I do
know that it is likely damaged since the video card is not working right.
I'm struggling by with a Windows 7 partition that does work on it but it's
really inconvenient.  It may be time to consider a whole-house surge
protection system!   

.         Tip:  Save important often-used files to a cloud service.  That
way, even if you have to use a different computer or partition to complete
your work (like the weekly e-letter), your files will be safe in the cloud
and you can get to them from another computer if you have to.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



New 30 minute First Responder Training Video Teaches Personnel How to Help
People Who Use Service Animals:

Kitty Hevener, W8TDA, writes:

I am a member of the Ohio Trauma committee and chair its functional needs
work group. This group is comprised of many emergency responders such as
fire chiefs, medics, etc. After getting input from service dog users and
talking with many responders, our group has developed a service animal video
as a tool to help responders provide equitable service to service animal
teams. I am wondering if you would feel comfortable publishing the link to
this free video in the newsletter. I realize it is not directly related to
ham radio, but thought it might be of value to handiham members who are
service dog users. They can share it with their local medic groups. In some
areas, people are able to offer their staff continuing education credit.
That will depend on the laws for continued credits in various locales. 

Video on YouTube:  http://youtu.be/B9C8yQifCus 

ARRL Headquarters is Closed on Independence Day, July 4 

ARRL Headquarters will be closed on Independence Day, Friday, July 4, and
there will be no W1AW bulletins or code practice on those days. ARRL Audio
News will return July 11. (ARRL) 

Deadline is coming - 2014 Radio Camp (Saturday, August 16 through Saturday
August 23, 2014)

Deadline for Minnesota Radio Camp is approaching! If you have a camp
application and have not yet sent it in, please do so quickly so that we can
complete our planning for the camp session.  

Thanks to ARRL for the donation of several ARRL books to the Radio Camp
session.  Phil, K9HI, will be bringing them along to camp. 

The Equipment Program will be at Radio Camp.  Campers will be able to take
home equipment, provided that the Equipment Program has it available.
Campers should let us know what they need to get on the air. 

July 21 is the day for Part 97 changes: Get an expired license back.

This month will see some significant changes for those who hope to get back
long-expired ham licenses. I recently had a conversation with a fellow who
would now be able to get back General status even though he had let the
license lapse beyond two years.  Those seeking to restore their license
status must pass the Technician Class exam and then provide proof of their
previous license. There is no provision to restore old callsigns, which of
course may have been reassigned. 

ARRL reminds us that the FCC's recently announced revisions to the Part 97
Amateur Radio rules governing exam credit to former licensees, test
administration, and emission types will go into effect on Monday, July 21.
The new rules were published in The Federal Register on June 20.  

Read the entire story on ARRL.org.

A device made of nothing - the vacuum transistor

Solving the problem of getting active electronic devices to work at higher
and higher frequencies has always been an engineering challenge.
Traditional silicon transistors can max out around 40 GHz, but what about
higher frequencies?  My friend Ron, K0FTB, wrote, suggesting the link to the
story of a new technology:

If you have not previously seen this, it is a very interesting article about
an amazing invention and about 14 screens in length but well worth the read
if one is into electronics. It has some pretty mind blowing applications.  

Read the article on the IEEE Spectrum website.

Hey, bonehead!

No, really - you can use your head bone for conducting audio. WA0CAF likes a
link to wireless bone-conduction headphones
e-conduction-headphones/> .


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Echolink audio level management 

Have you ever checked into an Echolink net and noticed the widely varying
audio levels from the different stations?

Of course you have!  We all have.  Sometimes we struggle to hear one station
and the next one blasts us out of the water with a signal so loud that it's
clipped into distortion and may even be difficult to understand. Why do
signals vary so widely on these VoIP-enabled nets?  Is there anything we can
do to make sure our own signals are reasonably audible but not driven to

Let's get to the "why" first.  Echolink offers three main ways to access the

.         Via RF using a radio to access an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES enabled
repeater system or micronode.

.         Through a computer, by using the Echolink application or a similar
app if you use a Mac.

.         With a smartphone or tablet, using the Echolink app for Android or

If you are accessing the network through an RF link, It is up to you to make
sure that you are not overdriving your transmitter to the point of
distortion.  Hold a handheld radio slightly off to the side instead of
directly in front of your mouth.  This will also help to prevent "puff"
sounds as you speak.  There is no need to shout, and you should be able to
position the radio within about 4 inches of your face.  The idea is not to
be too close since you will get popping or puffing noises when you speak,
nor too far, in which case background noise will start to intrude as the
radio's automatic gain attempts to crank up the volume. If everyone using a
particular system is experiencing bad audio reports, pass the information on
to the node owner or repeater operator.  Something may be wrong with a
setting or component.

If you are using a computer, be sure to set up and test the audio settings
before getting on the net.  You can do this with the Echolink Test Server.

Echolink test server screenshot

You will find the test server by going to the Station Menu, and it will be
one of the expanded menu options. You can save the test server in your
favorites.  If you wish to access the test server from a radio's numeric
touch pad, type in 9999, the Echotest node number when using an
Echolink-enabled repeater system.

The test server allows you to make a test transmission, then when you toggle
back to receive, it will play back your audio.  If you don't hear anything,
check your computer's recording settings to make sure the correct device
(microphone) is connected and has its levels set.  If you hear distortion,
back down the level.  

.         Tip:  Remember to check your audio settings after using other apps
that make use of the sound card, such as voice dictation software, since it
can automatically readjust recording input settings. 

.         Tip:  If you use an external microphone, be sure it is not muted.
Some of them have a mute button.

Finally, let's look at smartphones and tablets.  Whether you are using
Android or iOS, the Echolink app is available and very easy to use.  The
best part is that it supports "relay" through wireless connections,
bypassing firewalls and making things easy.  You should still connect to the
Echolink test server, though - especially if you are setting up the
application for the first time.  You will want to make some test
transmissions to make sure that you are holding the phone or tablet in a way
that allows for good audio input.  The time to test is when you are using
the test server, but if you need additional help deciding if your signal is
okay, you can always ask on the air. 

.         Tip: If you can't hear other stations when you use your
smartphone, check the little speaker icon in the upper right corner of the
Echolink app.  It allows you to toggle between the device's speaker and
earphone settings in some cases.

.         Tip:  If you get a bad audio report from other users, take it
seriously.  Back off the mic or speak up, as the case may be. 

This is practical radio - Learn to use Echolink to your best advantage!


Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 


Announcement from the Handiham Radio Club

We are pleased to announce the appointment of our new Handiham Net Manager!
His name is Michael Beaveridge VE6UE. You have probably heard him on the
nets and even running some nets over the past few weeks. He comes to us with
lots of experience and a love of the ham radio hobby. Anyone who is
interested in being a regular net control station or even just trying it
out, feel free to contact Michael. His email address is ve6ue@xxxxxxx 


Matt KA0PQW Handiham Net Advisor
Lucinda AB8WF Handiham Club President

Happy belated Canada Day to our Canadian friends (it was yesterday), and
happy Independence Day to our USA friends (it's on Friday.)  

Although a Friday net is scheduled, we know that you may be busy that day
with family events, so if there is no formal net please feel free to start a

Similarly, if we cannot fill a net control position this summer, please feel
free to just start a roundtable conversation.  Listen for the Handiham
Wednesday evening net tonight and try to answer the N6NFF trivia question
during the first half hour.  Check in later just to get in the log and say
hello.  The trivia question answer is revealed shortly after the first half
hour.  If you are up to a challenge, see if you can correctly answer this
week's question.

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!  

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
Daylight Saving time and GMT is -5 hours and the net is on the air at 16:00
hours GMT.   

The two evening sessions are at 00:00 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

We are closed on Friday, July 4, for the USA Independence Day holiday.
There will be no Friday email notification about new audio. Pat will be out
of the office Thursday through Monday, returning Tuesday, July 8.  We wish
you a wonderful, safe weekend!

IRB station W0ZSW is back on the air. <http://handiham.org/remotebase/>
W0EQO remains restricted due to firewall issues. 

Reading online? You'll find the weekly e-letter online to be mobile-friendly
if you use the following link:


Email has changed.

Our new addresses are:

.         Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx

.         Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx

Toll-Free number is working:

We do ask that you call 612-775-2291 instead of the toll-free, which is
866-426-3442, if you possibly can, since we do have to pay charges on the
toll-free calls. 

Digests & Lectures

A reminder:  You may hear the old contact information, including email
addresses and phone numbers, in previously recorded audio lectures or
digests.  Please disregard old contact information and use our new email
addresses and phone numbers.  Similarly, old audio podcasts and HTML
e-letters will have outdated information.  Disregard it and use the latest
email addresses and phone numbers. 

July 2014 production news: 

QCWA Journal for July is in the works.  Check the Handiham and QCWA websites
for the latest. 

The July 2014 QST Daisy digest by Bob, N1BLF, is ready for our members to
play on their NLS or other DAISY players. Jim, KJ3P, has completed the June
2014 CQ digest this week for our blind members, and Ken W9MJY, has completed
the Doctor column recording. 

The new Technician 2014 - 2018 Question Pool with only correct answers has
been read by Jim Perry, KJ3P.  Remember that this new pool is for all
Technician Class testing on or after July 1, 2014.  

I will begin the new Technician Lecture Series after the Independence Day

We have some new recordings available this week. I have started a recording
project for Operating Skills, based on the ARRL book, "Internet Linking for
Radio Amateurs" by K1RFD. The goal is to make more information on VoIP
available to our blind members.  

Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY do the volunteer
digest recording.  Thanks, guys!

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:  

.         We ask that you please log in securely if you are using any kind
of a public network or unsecured wireless.  

.         To the best of our knowledge, the Handiham website was not
compromised by the Heartbleed bug.

.         Test your own or other websites for Heartbleed at this website.

.         I also use a Chrome extension called Chromebleed to detect visited
sites that may be compromised.

Remote Base News

I would like to hear from blind Ham Radio Deluxe users!  If you are blind or
have another disability such as a motor impairment  and use HRD, I'd like to
hear how it is working for you.  We may consider HRD as a replacement for
the W4MQ software, so internet remote trials will eventually be scheduled if
we find interested testers. If you know how to use HRD and want to be a
tester, please drop me a line at Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx.

You can download the latest free version of Ham Radio Deluxe 5.2 on the
IW5EDI website.
<http://www.iw5edi.com/software/ham-radio-deluxe-5-download-links>   Thanks
to Ken, KB3LLA, for reminding me to post the link.  By the way, Ken also
reports that so far as his initial tests go the menu system in HRD version 5
is JAWS-accessible. 

W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.

Handiham Remote Base internet station W0ZSW is on line for your use 24/7.
W0EQO has an internet firewall issue and can only be operated by
administrators at this time.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

*       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

Digital Cartridges now Stocked at Handiham HQ:

Nancy now has the NLS 4GB digital cartridges and mailers available at our
cost.  She says: 

We now have a supply of digital Talking Book cartridges and mailers
available for purchase for our Handiham members.  The total cost for a set
is $15.50.  We will download any digital study materials from the Members
Only section of our website onto your cartridge at no additional cost.
Minnesota residents please add $1.13 MN Sales Tax.  

Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer 

Want to log in instead?  Let's go:

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login: 


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 Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx or call her at
612-775-2291. If you need to use the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442.

Nancy Meydell, Handiham Secretary: 612-775-2291 (General information about
the Handiham program, membership renewals)

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA: 612-775-2290 (Program Coordinator, technical
questions, remote base requests, questions about licensing)

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:Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx> Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx

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:Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx> Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:
 <mailto:Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx> Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx

 <http://handiham.org> Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422
 <mailto:Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx> Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx

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
<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx  for changes of
address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new

 <http://handiham.org> Return to Handiham.org



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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 02 July 2014 - Patrick Tice