[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 04 June 2014

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2014 19:18:33 -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, 04 June 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.

A Tale of Two Antenna Books

Two ARRL Antenna Books side by side: 1982 version and 2014 version.

Now that it is June and the last of the glaciers have finally retreated here
in Minnesota, my thoughts are turning to antennas.  This is an annual
ritual. All winter long I think about survival - getting the dogs out,
keeping the driveway and sidewalks clear, making sure the heat stays on -
you know the drill if you've ever been through a winter in a place where it
gets really cold. Of course getting on the air is a popular winter activity
because you can do it without wearing a parka.  I like the idea of building
my own antennas whenever possible, and I'm always delighted when whatever
I've hung out in the backyard to harvest RF manages to stay up all winter.

When I was a newly-licensed ham radio operator back in my teenage years
there was a compelling reason to "roll my own" antennas.  Kids don't have
much money, and I had just gotten started in radio. I couldn't build all of
my equipment, but one thing I could do was learn about antennas so that I
could build them myself, thus allowing more of the budget to go for
essentials like the Heathkit HW-100 80 through 10 meter SSB transceiver.  

One local resource was the library at Minnesota State University in Mankato,
where I was a student.  The ARRL Handbook and Antenna Book were excellent
resources because they included basic antenna theory as well as practical
antenna designs.  Eventually I had to have my own copies of these two books
in my library at home because I was always referring to them for one project
or another.  In the late 1960's and through the 1970's the Handbook had an
appendix with vacuum tube base diagrams that proved useful for many
projects, one of which was a VFO (variable frequency oscillator) that I
built myself out of a bunch of parts I'd salvaged.  It drifted like a
rowboat in a hurricane, and I had to mount it on a piece of foam rubber to
prevent any vibration from causing microphonics or changing the frequency.  

Antenna projects, on the other hand, were more successful.  One thing I
realized early on was that I didn't really know anything about antennas.
That's why the books were so important; one has to start someplace.  I don't
have my really old first Antenna Book anymore, but I did manage to find what
had been my "new" book until recently.  I decided to photograph it next to
the latest 2014 ARRL Antenna Book, which I bought at Dayton this year.  My
old book is a well-worn copy of the ARRL Antenna Book from 1982!  It's so
old that the pages are actually taking on a yellowish patina.  The price on
the front cover is $8.00 and inside it says that it's the 14th edition.   

The new ARRL Antenna Book is the 22nd edition, and the cover price is
$49.95.  It's twice as thick, and included a compact disk version in an
envelope stitched into the back of the print book.  The CD version contains
searchable (embedded text) PDF of the entire book.  

So what's different?

Well, that would be a long list, but we can touch on some of the biggies.
Before we do that, I want to assure you that the laws of physics as related
to practical antennas have not undergone shocking changes in the past three
decades.  Dipoles are pretty much still going to be measured the same way
and will still work in inverted vee configuration.  I know how to build lots
of basic antennas, so I didn't expect to find many surprises to improve on
the oldies.  

But here's the thing:  Everything can now be seen through the lens of vastly
evolved technologies, and that includes the old designs.  Today we can model
antennas using software.  We can take measurements with equipment that
didn't exist 30+ years ago.  Affordable antenna analyzers make the lives of
the operators who want to design and build their own systems much, much
easier.  These topics are covered in the new book.  Math related to antennas
has always been around, but today we use computers.  The old book has some
conversion tables while the new book has tools right on the CD.
Furthermore, there is additional math instruction - and some of us may need
it - available both on the CD and on the ARRL website.  These additional
tools were simply not available in 1982, well before personal computers were
in our ham shacks.  

Some topics that didn't seem to merit mention in 1982 are important today.
One of them is RF Safety!  It's hard to imagine a discussion of antenna
design and installation without considering RF safety these days.  After
all, the FCC has seen fit to include RF exposure as a vital part of Amateur
Radio station compliance.  Of course the 2014 book covers RF Safety, and
does so in Chapter 20, which is where it most likely comes into play - with
"Stealth and Limited Space Antennas".  The topic of indoor antennas is
covered much, much better in the new book - perhaps because many of us have
to live in situations where outdoor antennas are restricted.  Thirty years
ago life in a suburban house might have allowed more choice in outdoor
antennas.  Today - not so much. 

Another "new" topic is that of refurbishing old aluminum antennas.  This
makes sense because there is a lot of old (shall we say "vintage" to be
kind?) antenna hardware out there.  Why not reclaim it for use today?  It's
the "green" thing to do, and it saves money in the bargain. 

We are taking radio everywhere these days.  The new book has a section
entitled "HF Antennas for Sail and Power Boats".  This section includes some
really helpful line drawings - and I'm highlighting it among many new
concepts because of the way it shows the new book as a highly practical
reference that will go farther in helping you to get antennas up anywhere
and everywhere.  

In 1982 antenna tuners weren't really a "thing" as such.  When they did make
their way into the typical ham shack, they were "transmatches".  Of course
they are described in the old book, but today most of us call them antenna
tuners and it's probably more typical today to "tune" by using an automatic
antenna tuner that either tunes when it senses RF or at the push of a
button.  It's still good to know what's going on under the hood, so to speak
- and ARRL has developed a software program to analyze antenna tuners.  It's
called "AAT" and is discussed extensively in chapter 24.  

What I like to call "general safety" as opposed to "RF safety" is also given
some serious press in the new book.  From the NEC - National Electrical Code
- to safety equipment and insurance are all discussed.  Do you know how to
guy a mast that supports one end of a wire antenna?  The answer is in the
book.  I'll save you the suspense and tell you that the guy wires should be
spaced at 120 degrees around the pole and that the wire antenna should be
directly opposite one of them.  Who knew?  Your old climbing gear might not
be adequate either.  Find out what's recommended to safely work on a tower.
Designing a tower system is detailed, and rotators are explained.  Practical
stuff like tying the right kind of knots is more important than you think.
Did you know that you can do 98% of your tower and antenna work with only
three kinds of knots?  Check it out in your copy of the 2014 ARRL Antenna
Book, which I enthusiastically recommend! 

To check out more about what's in the book and on the CD, go to the ARRL
website. <http://www.arrl.org/arrl-antenna-book>  

For a supplement to the ARRL Antenna Book, check out The ARRL Antenna Book
Supplement. <http://www.arrl.org/arrl-antenna-book-reference> 

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



2014 Radio Camp (Saturday, August 16 through Saturday August 23, 2014)

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. Categories of
equipment that can be made available for you to take home from camp are:

VHF/UHF radios

HF radios

Accessories like speakers and tuners

Morse code accessories

Other accessories - Please let me know what you need.

A dip in the pool

It's time for a dip in the Extra Class pool.  E6B01 asks, "What is the most
useful characteristic of a Zener diode?"

Possible answers are:

A. A constant current drop under conditions of varying voltage
B. A constant voltage drop under conditions of varying current
C. A negative resistance region
D. An internal capacitance that varies with the applied voltage

Did you pick  B; A constant voltage drop under conditions of varying
current?  That's the correct answer, because the circuit most often
referenced here is a "voltage regulator", which is a common usage for Zener
diodes.  When you want the voltage to stay as stable as possible, use a
voltage regulator circuit to prevent the voltage from dropping when there is
more current flow. 


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Practical Radio is on break.

Due to a busy phone day, I'll have to shorten this up a bit.  Hopefully we
can continue being practical next week.

This is practical radio - Let's be safe this summer! 


Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 


Summertime is a busy season for everyone, and that means our net control
volunteers as well.  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

Our phone system hardware and voice mail has changed.

We are now using new phone and voicemail systems.  I'm pleased to report
that we have almost figured them out!  Be patient with us if you can.   

Email has changed.

We have made changes in our email systems.  

Important!  Beginning May 9, our old email addresses that ended in either
"courage.org" or "couragecenter.org" no longer work.  Our new addresses are:

.         Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx

.         Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx

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. 

June 2014 production news: The June NLS cartridges are in the mail. I've
heard from several NLS cartridge users that our May digest had a "cartridge
error".  I'm still not sure of the cause, but will go back to version 3.0 of
our DAISY production tool OBI to see if that helps.  If anyone has insight
into this problem, please email me at Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx.  

June 2014 QST Digest in DAISY for our blind members has been completed by
Bob Zeida, N1BLF.  It is available in the members section as a downloadable
DAISY zip file.

Jim, KJ3P, has completed the May 2014 CQ digest this week for our blind
members.  This is the issue that has gone out with the June NLS cartridge.
Meanwhile, QCWA Digest for June 2014 is also now available. 

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

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.  There has been no
time to read for several weeks due to Dayton, Memorial Day, and the
telephone.  I hope to do more soon. 

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

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 04 June 2014 - Patrick.Tice