[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 03 December 2014

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2014 14:15:47 -0600

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 03 December 2014

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

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Welcome to Handiham World.

Cartoon world with radio tower

Vintage radio gear?  What does vintage even mean?

Retired Handiham volunteer K0CJ with a Collins station in the old W0ZSW
shack at Courage Center.
CJ Robinson, K0CJ, is posing with a Collins station in this old photo of the
W0ZSW station when it was still located at Courage Center. CJ was one of our
long time volunteers at the Handiham repair shop.  I said hi to him this
morning via Echolink.  It is an example of old tech vs. new tech.  How times
have changed!

Yesterday I talked with a fellow who is interested in getting old equipment
on the air.  I chalk this up to a complex mixture of nostalgia, the fun of
doing restoration work on old radio equipment, the fellowship offered by
participation in on-the-air groups of operators who share your passion for
vintage radios, and the good feeling one gets from tackling a challenge and
meeting it head on. These days, using old tube gear seldom is a choice made
simply to save money.  I guess we'll let the vintage radio enthusiasts
define what is "vintage", since we are not experts!

Thinking it through:

I have to admit that I like the idea of vintage gear and vintage operating,
but I know myself well enough to realize that I don't have enough time and
space to put into that facet of Amateur Radio.  To do it right, I would have
to reconfigure my ham shack - as you might expect, since the vintage gear
tends to be big and needs adequate ventilation and uses more power.  My ham
shack is sandwiched between the basement stairs and the utility room wall,
so it can't be expanded.  That would mean tearing everything out and
building tiered shelves while still trying to keep everything in reach.
Furthermore, I'm already pretty well maxed out on AC circuits.  To do it
right, I'd need to run another 15 amp circuit, and that would mean
contacting an electrician.  You don't plug this power-hungry vacuum tube
stuff into some cheesy power strip!  This is starting to look like a real

Hey, there's more!

But wait, folks - that's only part of what you have to do when you embrace
vintage gear.  The ham shack is the place where the old gear shines - it's
on display and that's where you will put it on the air.  But what about
making it ready after you first bring it home from the hamfest?  You will
need a serious workbench to go through the old gear.  It will need adequate
power, good lighting, and several essential test instruments and tools.  A
good multimeter, an oscilloscope, a dummy antenna load, plenty of hand tools
like screwdrivers, nut drivers, wrenches, pliers, a soldering station, and
an isolation transformer are all going to come in handy.  These radios are
big, and they have vacuum tubes. They require high voltages from their power
supplies, along with several other voltages.  There will be lethal voltages
present when the radio is powered up, and large capacitors in the power
supply can store high voltages even when the radio and power supply are
turned off and unplugged.  You have to know what you are doing when you work
on this old gear!  There can be dangerous voltages where you don't expect
them, including on the chassis and metal cabinet, due to faults in the
circuit. An isolation transformer can help, but you have to learn a whole
new set of safety procedures to avoid getting a shock.  Even those of us who
grew up with this old gear cannot afford to be complacent around it.  After
all, we are used to working with 12 VDC power these days, and remembering
everything about vintage gear with its hundreds of volts on vacuum tube
plates is not always easy!  Things like discharging electrolytic capacitors
in the power supply and assuming that you could get a shock by touching the
radio's metal cabinet are not things that we think about quite so much with
newer gear, but they are vital to keep in mind when working with vintage
equipment.  You also have to be careful when handling the old gear, just
because of its bulk and mass.  Heavy radios may even call for a two man
lift.  Seriously, you can injure your back while trying to heft some of the
old stuff!  

The payoff:

We now know that we need well-equipped shop space and a reconfigured ham
shack.  If you are still eager to "go vintage" at this point, I think you
might be a true vintage radio enthusiast.  The rewards are there for you:
The fun of finding and restoring a vintage treasure, the excitement of
giving it a place of honor in your ham shack, and the satisfaction of
actually using it on the air.   

Avery, K0HLA, with the Collins station.

Pictured:  Avery, K0HLA, posed with the complete Collins station at the old
Handiham office in Courage Center. 

(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)

Don't forget our nets...

Morse Code Practice Net Ends

We say goodbye this week to the Morse Code Practice Net. Avery, K0HLA, had
been conducting the net on the Echolink and IRLP-enabled network.  Thank
you, Avery!
Avery, K0HLA, sends Morse code.

Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who
cares to check in at 11:00 hours CST (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as
well as Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 19:00 hours CST (7 PM).  Doug,
N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half hour, so check in early if
you want to take a guess.   Note that nets may or may not be on the air
during and around special holidays like Christmas and New Year's Day.  If
the net does not materialize, please feel free to start a round table

Operating tips for any net:  

Listen carefully to the net control station.  He or she will have directions
for you as to when to check in and how the net is conducted. 

Learn the net processes by listening for a while before checking in.  In an
Echolink-enabled net, you will quickly learn that timing is critical and
that keying up too quickly can result in not being heard at all.  Talking
too long will certainly time out some of the connected repeaters.  The
cadence of the net is something you will only learn by participation, so
don't be discouraged if things don't always go perfectly.  Be patient with
yourself and with others and all of us will have more fun!

A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to our Handiham Club
Net Manager, Michael, VE6UE. 

Speaking of getting on the air...

The OMISS Net can be heard on multiple frequencies and bands.  OMISS stands
for "Old Man International Sideband Society", but you don't have to be "old"
or a "man" to belong.  Nets are on 160 through 10 meters, so there is a way
for almost anyone with an HF station to check in.  Frequencies, dates, and
times, including the holiday schedule, are all listed on the OMISS website.
<http://www.omiss.net/>   One thing that is unique about OMISS is that you
have to contact two OMISS members on the OMISS net before you can even apply
to be a member of the Society.  Anyone may check into any of the nets. 

Both W0ZSW and W0EQO can easily be used to surf the HF bands.  You can
listen via either station by using Echolink for receive control.  The
stations to look for in Echolink are W0ZSW-L and W0EQO-L.  Echolink always
yields to a control operator logging into either station with the rig
control software, though. You cannot connect except through a computer or
smartphone using the Echolink app.  To change the receive frequency, just
put the frequency into the text box and press <Enter>.  To change the mode,
type in U for upper sideband, L for lower sideband, A for AM, and so on.
Press <Enter> and the mode you typed in will be selected.  The text box will
alert you if a control operator is already running the station, in which
case you may still listen via Echolink to whatever the control op is
listening to.  The sound will, of course, be muted if the control op
transmits.  When the rig returns to receive, you will hear sound again via

Software need not break the bank!

Audacity screenshot

I am a fan of open-source solutions. That way our Handiham members can
install the software on their computers without the financial burden of
expensive commercial products. The only down side is that the commercial
products do usually have phone support, at least for some time following the
purchase. Open-source has online help discussion boards. 

NVDA may be substituted for expensive screenreading software for most users.
It is free, open-source and easily learned by blind users who already know
other popular screenreaders. Also, it is under active development and will
continue to evolve, just like the expensive commercial software. (Platform:


AMIS is useful for reading DAISY books. It is self-voicing and while reading
the book it also highlights the text, reinforcing the text to sound
connection for those with reading disabilities. (Platform: Windows) 


Audacity is free open-source audio recording and editing software. I use it
every week and have not found any need for a commercial substitute, even for
sophisticated editing features. (Cross-platform: Windows, Mac, Linux)

"Save as DAISY" for Microsoft Word converts a Word document to spoken word
DAISY in a navigable DAISY book. It is free and open-source. (Platform:
Windows + Word)  


DAISY players are available to people with qualifying disabilities free
through the Library of Congress BARD system, which may be contacted on line
or through one's local public library. This allows users to get talking
books compatible with their DAISY players. (Remember, this is not only for
blind users - there are other qualifying disabilities.)

https://nlsbard.loc.gov/login//NLS <https://nlsbard.loc.gov/login/NLS>   

Taking stock:

Let's find out what's going on.  

Get a job!  

Recently our Courage Kenny Assistive Technology Department found a link to a
job-seeking tool for people who are blind or have vision impairments.  This
AFB website provides guidance through a free on line resource. If you are
looking for work, give it a try.

New look for your E-Letter:

We are cleaning up the HTML code for your weekly e-letter so that it will
display better, both on the website and on mobile devices as an email
message and on mobile browsers.  Please feel free to let us know if
something does not display correctly.  We also welcome comments on
accessibility problems if you are using an assistive technology device to
access your Handiham services. 

HF remote development project:

No further progress has been made due to last week's Thanksgiving holiday.
We will resume testing as soon as time is available. 

When W0ZSW is not available, users of the W4MQ software will see an "In use
by Local" message when W0ZSW is selected from the pull down menu. This means
that the station is not available for use by the public.  

New Handiham HF remotes will continue to be a free member service.  We want
you to get on the air and make use of that license you worked so hard to

In the meantime, both existing TS-480 Handiham HF remote base internet
stations are up and running:  W0EQO at Camp Courage North and W0ZSW in the
Twin Cities East Metro.   

Handiham office hours: 

We are open Monday through Thursday this week.  Mornings are the best time
to contact us. 

Our website will be available 24/7 as always, and if there is an emergency
notification or remote base outage, the website will be updated accordingly
no matter what day it is.  

The two HF remote base stations are also available every day for your use. 

Our schedule will vary around the Christmas and New Year's holidays.  Please
visit Handiham.org during the holiday season for updates and schedule
changes.  We will likely be closed on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24
through Sunday, December 28, reopening Monday December 29 through Wednesday
December 31.  We will be closed on New Year's Day, January 1, 2015.  We
reopen on Monday, January 5. 

Equipment Program hibernates!  

Due to the unexpectedly early arrival of winter I now have less access to
the offsite equipment storage. It is really cold here and I have to shovel
the snow away from the door to get in.  That puts the equipment program in
slow motion, so it is going into hibernation.

New audio:  If you are a Handiham member and want a weekly reminder about
our new audio, let us know. (If you are already getting the Friday reminder,
don't do anything - It will come earlier in the week.) 

October CQ digest is in production by Jim, KJ3P.  This is the latest print
copy we have received to date.

Jim has also completed the QCWA Journal for December.  Please find it in the
new audio section of the Handiham member website or on the QCWA website
<http://qcwa.org/> . 

Also in the members section: Magazine Digest for December 2014 by Bob Zeida,
N1BLF - 25 MB DAISY zip file download.

Also in the members section: The December Doctor is in column has been
recorded by Ken Padgitt, W9MJY.

Thanks to our volunteer readers:

Bob, N1BLF 

Jim, KJ3P

Ken, W9MJY 

Still open!  Be a NASA Summer Intern:  Ken, KB3LLA, sends out a call to
students who are interested in STEM careers.

Radio Camp News:  We will once again be at the Woodland campus, Camp

Tentative dates are Tuesday, August 18 (arrival) through Monday, August 24
(departure),  We think this will allow campers who travel by air to get
cheaper tickets.  Please note that camp planning is in its early stages and
we have not set the exact timing yet.   Please let Nancy know if you wish to
receive a 2015 Radio Camp Application.

Great room in cabin two.
Photo:  A Radio Camp cabin. 

.         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.

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    It is almost year-end, and we hope you will remember us in your 2014
giving plans.  
Begging cartoon doggie

o    This weekly letter and podcast was produced with Microsoft Expression
Web <http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36179>  and the
open-source audio editor Audacity
<http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/> .  

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
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, 03 December 2014 - Patrick.Tice