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 September 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:
. September marks the new ham radio season!
. Forget about those FCC ULS callsign lookups for the next week.
. W0EQO refurb begins.
. SARA General course starts this month.
. Check into our nets!
. Try something new: QRP.
. This week's website features a way for blind computer users to
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question from the Extra Class pool
about the meaning of "ideal".
. New audio is available.
. Remembering a great teacher.
. ...And more!
What is it about September?
September sunrise with sunbeams
Photo: September sunrise (WA0TDA)
Ah, yes. September - the month of change. This is the month I begin taking
along a headlamp or flashlight when walking the dogs in the early morning.
By the end of the month the lamps will also be needed for the evening walk.
As the days get shorter, the nights grow longer, and the Autumnal equinox
will arrive on September 23. After that, the slide into darkness picks up
the pace like a roller coaster that tops a peak and races downhill. Those
longer nights mean better HF band conditions on 160, 80, and 40 meters for
sure. Less solar-driven absorption in the D layer of the ionosphere, fewer
thunderstorms with their disruptive lightning static, and longer skywave
propagation will make those bands come alive.
Your strategy to work 160 through 40 meters should be to get on the air
during the hours of darkness, perhaps extending that just a bit into the
early morning up to an hour or so after sunrise. Picking up DX on these
bands can be like going fishing - you have to go out with your fishing pole
when the fish are biting! The lazy fisherman dawdles until noon and has a
hamburger for lunch. The smart fisherman gets up before the sun and has
fresh fish for lunch. Making contacts on these bands is like that: Wake up
early, switch on the radio, and reel 'em in. Later on in the day, forget
about the lower frequencies and head to 20 meters if you must, but I prefer
the fun of longer wavelengths as autumn approaches.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
FCC ULS Database maintenance begins September 2, 2015
FCC round logo
The FCC databases are undergoing a significant upgrade and will be
unavailable for almost a week. This includes the FCC ULS database, which
contains the records of Amateur Radio licensees. The outage extends from
Wednesday 2 September through the low usage Labor Day weekend until Tuesday,
nsions-early-september> Read the FCC announcement here for detailed
You can still look up license information at the familiar callsign lookup
websites, but their databases will not have access to ULS updates for the
<http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/7> Check out the Handiham Lookup
W0EQO refurb begins:
The W0EQO station is on the workbench for testing.
Image: The Kenwood TS-480SAT is on the workbench. So far I have had no
success getting the computer to talk with the radio, thanks to the lack of
the correct serial port driver. Remember that W0EQO is down for maintenance
for an unspecified period. Time to order a new (updated) USB to DB-9 cable!
W0ZSW is back on the air part-time with the legacy W4MQ software, though we
are accepting no new users and have stopped distributing the software. We
are doing this to accommodate a few users who have no other way to get on
the air. PLEASE do not ask me for tech support on the station, as we have
ended all support.
The new software for our remotes will be the RCFORB client from
General Course - September 17th:
FREE General License Class Starts Thursday, September 17, 2015: SARA, the
Handiham-affiliated Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
<http://www.radioham.org/> , will once again conduct a fall General Class
licensing course beginning in just a few weeks. Technician level hams
looking to expand their HF operating capability are invited to join us for
eight instructor-led sessions. The classes are designed to help attendees
successfully pass the General exam. (Heck, it's also a great, easy way for
any ham to brush-up on basic theory!!) Classes will be held Thursday
evenings at the Stillwater MN Public Library <http://stillwaterlibrary.org/>
from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Although we encourage attendees to come to all class
sessions, a combination of class room and self-study has been successful for
many. An ARRL sponsored VE testing session will be held November 12. Do you
know anyone interested in upgrading to General?
According to Bob Jensen (W0GAF), SARA's Education and Training Director,
"Our instructors are well-versed and enjoy teaching Amateur Radio. I've
heard it said we can almost guarantee those who attend our sessions and
read/study a bit on their own, will pass the exam! I guess we can't make it
much easier than that."
(Note: Any- one interested in forming a study group for obtaining their
Extra Class license should contact Bob or one of SARA's officers.) Local
(Twin Cities area) Tech class licensees may contact WA0TDA by email for
The Stillwater Amateur Radio Association website has more details.
Try something new: QRP Contacts.
Morse code straight key
Matt, KA0PQW, recently acquired a 40 meter CW QRP rig.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QRP_operation> "QRP" is ham radio shorthand
for "low power" transmitting, usually 5 to10 watts or less on the HF bands.
He writes: "I have managed to work two countries on 40 meters with this QRP
rig, Mexico and Cuba. They weren't easy contacts, but it was fun to make
them. I don't think I have ever worked DX using QRP on 40 meters. My next
goal is to work is Europe."
Those of you who have never tried QRP operation might want to think about
the challenge and fun of something new this autumn. Even if you have a
typical 100 watt transceiver, you can easily adjust the power level down to
10 watts or less. Then the fun begins as you experiment with CW and even
SSB phone to try and pick up contacts. If you really want to work an
efficient low power mode, try something like PSK-31, which does quite well
at low power levels with modest antennas. QRP skills can be valuable if you
are ever forced to operate on emergency power, since QRP can make your
batteries last longer.
Here are more QRP resources from ARRL.
What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is
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: <http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/436> "Talking
Windows Preinstall Environment" - Blind users can now install Windows!
Cartoon plugged in robot.
New in Op Skills: Joe Bogwist, N3AIN, teaches us how to install Windows in a
Pre-Boot "TWPE" or "Talking Windows Preinstall Environment". Blind users can
now install Windows! Joe also addresses the restoration of a PC from a
previously-created image and says he will do a tutorial on that subject.
Listen to the N3AIN Tutorial on how to use the "Talking Windows Preinstall
Environment" - 8 MB MP3 file:
help.mp3> Installing Windows without sight
This procedure allows you to install Windows in a boot environment while
providing screenreader feedback, something that ordinarily would not be
possible. It is NOT for users who are computer newbies; in fact, it should
be attempted only by users who have a solid familiarity with making changes
to their computers.
Joe writes: "This is the page I used for the Windows talking install files.
There is also another version by Bryan Smart, but I used helpbird.com."
"Here's the other page:"
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the Extra Class
question pool, number E5D09. It asks:
"What happens to reactive power in an AC circuit that has both ideal
inductors and ideal capacitors?"
A. It is dissipated as heat in the circuit
B. It is repeatedly exchanged between the associated magnetic and electric
fields, but is not dissipated
C. It is dissipated as kinetic energy in the circuit
D. It is dissipated in the formation of inductive and capacitive fields
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's
remind ourselves that paying close attention to the wording of the question
can reveal clues about the correct answer, even if at first you are not
quite sure about which to choose. In this case, we focus on the word
"ideal". It is used twice, to describe inductors and capacitors. Clearly
it is a key word that means something special. When we recall the everyday
meaning of "ideal", we might come up with something like an ideal day. That
would be a day that is as close to perfect as possible for whatever our
plans might be. An ideal location is one that is just right for
convenience, services, enough sunlight to grow tomatoes, you name it.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer B, It
is repeatedly exchanged between the associated magnetic and electric fields,
but is not dissipated, you got this one right. All the possible answers
contain the word "dissipated", which means given off in some way, but ONLY
answer B says "not dissipated". Perhaps, you reason, something like an
inductor or capacitor might be "ideal" if energy is not dissipated - and you
would be right!
A big part of passing exams like these is to pay close attention to the
wording of the questions and answers. Sometimes key words point us to the
correct answers, and this process can add to our overall knowledge and
understanding of electrical concepts - as well as a passing score!
New audio: There is new audio since last week.
* QCWA Journal for September has been recorded by Jim, KJ3P. It is
released when the official Journal for September is posted at QCWA.org, so
watch for it at QCWA.org. <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php>
* The Doctor is In column from September QST has been recorded for our
blind members by Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, and is available in the members
* QST for September in digital has been recorded by Bob, N1BLF, and is
ready. We have it in DAISY for our blind members.
* ARRL General Class License Manual: Jim Perry, KJ3P, has finished the
first three chapters of the new ARRL General Class License manual, recorded
for our blind members. The audio is processed into DAISY for our General
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 is 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. Jim, KJ3P, is helping us with
recordings from the new 2015 ARRL General License Manual.
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:
W0KVO entry in 1970 QCWA Yearbook
...Tony Tretter, W0KVO? He was a long time Handiham volunteer, now a silent
key. Here's a fun fact about Tony: In 1970 - 45 years ago - Tony was
already an experienced Amateur Radio operator and qualified for QCWA
membership, meaning he had been licensed for 25 years. The screenshot
showing Tony's name and callsign is from the 1970 QCWA Yearbook, courtesy
QCWA.org. No wonder it always felt like Tony had forgotten more about
electronics than the rest of us ever knew! He was a long-time ham radio
operator who really knew electronics and operating from the ground up.
Tony the electronics teacher
Photo: Tony Tretter, W0KVO (SK) teaches a class at Courage St. Croix in
As we get ready to teach another class at SARA, I remember and am inspired
by Tony's passion for teaching classes and sharing Amateur Radio with
others. Tony was a great friend of all of us at Handihams and also a member
of SARA, my own radio club. We sure do miss him.
. 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.
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 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!
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
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