[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05 March 2014

  • From: Pat Tice <Pat.Tice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2014 20:51:35 +0000

[Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health]
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the 
week of Wednesday, 05 March 2014

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Kenny Handiham 
System<http://handiham.org>. Our contact information is at the end, or simply 
email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> for changes 
in subscriptions or to comment. You can listen to this news online.

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RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:

Welcome to Handiham World.
Early morning HF conditions bring opportunities on 75 meters

[Icom IC-7200 tuned to 3.925 MHz]

If you have an opportunity, check the 75 meter band before sunrise any day this 
week.  We are nearing the Spring Equinox, and conditions for making contacts 
far and wide on 75 will never be better.  This morning Radio Nikkei 
1<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Nikkei>, a 50 kW shortwave broadcast 
station, was booming into Minnesota on 3.925 MHz, all the way from Japan. I 
asked my son Will, KC0LJL, to confirm that what I was hearing was Japanese, and 
he was able to do so.  Will has lived in Japan and speaks Japanese.

Why does a signal travel halfway around the world on a band that usually only 
serves up regional contacts within a few hundred miles?

That is a good question!  Knowing how the HF bands behave is essential to 
knowing how to form your strategy toward working DX or snagging all 50 states 
on 75 meters.  Here is how the 75 meter band works:

In the daytime, the sun energizes the ionosphere, which is great for F-layer 
propagation.  The HF bands can be used to bounce signals off the F-layer, which 
is high enough to allow for reflections to travel great distances. However, the 
lower (closer to the surface of the Earth) layers of the ionosphere, like the 
D-layer, also become more energized, containing free ions. Let's go to a 
definitive source, The Little Pistol's Guide to HF Propagation by Bob Brown, 
NM7M, now a silent key.  Bob was a long-time supporter of Handihams and a true 
expert on HF operation. On page 35, he talks about the D-layer:

Here, the matter is that of signals'
absorption in the D-region of the ionosphere.
That region was mentioned early in the discus-
sion and the fact is its electron density was the
lowest of the ionospheric regions. In addition,
it was pointed out the D-region is present only
when the atmosphere is illuminated around the
60-90-km level and then with at most 1,000 elec-
trons per cubic centimeter.

That electron density is too low to give rise
to any refraction of HF signals passing through
the D-region. However, in the daytime, it can
weaken signals, low frequencies more than
higher ones. Essentially, the D-region electrons
are excited into oscillatory motions by passing
RF but at those depths, the D-region electrons
collide with atmospheric constituents and
transfer energy to them. That means the atmo-
sphere is heated by a beam of RF passing
through and, given the conservation energy,
that results in the loss of signal strength.

What that means in a practical sense is that the more D-layer a 75 meter signal 
passes through in the daytime, the more of the signal will be lost to heat.  Of 
course this happens in both directions - on transmit as well as received 
signals.  The reason we hear signals in a regional zone of a few hundred miles 
is that the signals arrive at our receivers at a high angle, and thus travel 
through less of the D-layer than a signal transmitted at a low takeoff angle, 
which would be ideal for DX as we try to bounce it off the much higher F-layer. 
 The way to think about this is to imagine a long, straight city street.  (For 
now, we are going to disregard the law that says we must cross in a crosswalk.) 
You are on one side of the street in the middle of the block and a long row of 
stores is on the other side of the street. If the rule is that you can only go 
in a straight line to the store on the other side that you want to visit, you 
can easily get to the store directly across the street by crossing at a 90 
degree angle. This is the shortest possible distance across the street.  If 
there were traffic along the street, it would be least likely to interfere with 
your crossing if you walked directly across.  In fact, in mid-day when there is 
likely to be a lot of traffic, it might even be impossible to cross the street 
except by this shortest possible route.  But let's say you want to visit a 
store at the far end of the block.  The rule we have made for this example is 
that we can only cross in a straight line.  That means that we will have to 
cross the street at a shallow angle, say 30 degrees or so, in order to go 
straight to the store at the far end of the block.  Thus, we will be spending 
more time in the street, crossing lots more pavement.  We might only be able to 
do so at night, when there is almost no traffic.  The D-layer is like this 
street.  In the daytime it is ionized (busy with traffic and hard to cross 
except straight across in a crosswalk.)  At night, the D-layer is not energized 
and it is easy to cross, even at an angle, much like a street with no traffic.  
A 75 meter signal can travel at that shallow angle through the D-layer on its 
way to the F-layer, where it can be reflected to a far distant location, but 
only if the D-layer "street" is not blocked up with traffic (energized.)  
During the day when the D-layer is energized, it is still possible for our 75 
meter signal to travel across, but only directly in a short path.  This means 
that signals going straight upwards (or nearly so), will get through and bounce 
back down to Earth at relatively close by locations, while signals at shallow 
angles will be absorbed in the D-layer.

The conclusion?  Get on 75 meters during the hours of low absorption, which are 
night time hours, if you want to work long distances.  If you want to check 
into a local or regional net on 75 meters, do so during the daytime, usually 
during morning hours and less so toward noon, when the sun is high in the sky 
and energizing the D-layer.

Another benefit of night and early morning operation on 75 m is the lower noise 
level from thunderstorms.  Since weather is driven by the sun and thunderstorms 
are caused by convection, they are worse during the day and subside at night.  
This year's heavy snow cover may even help to tamp down thunderstorm activity a 
bit further into Spring.

Give 75 meters a try.  Listen early, mid-day, and late.  You will be surprised 
how this band behaves at different times of the day and different times of the 
year!  Oh, and always cross at the crosswalk when you cross a real street.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator


  *   What happens when emergency warning tones go out over the air during 
programming that is not a real emergency?  The FCC is not pleased, that's what. 
 Download the ruling in plain text from the FCC: 

The digital speed limit needs to go - ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About 
Digital Modes

  *   At the January 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting, a resolution was 
passed which asked for member feedback and input pertaining to the increasing 
popularity of data modes. The information gathered by this investigation is to 
be used by the HF Band Planning Committee of the Board as a means to suggest 
ways to use our spectrum efficiently so that these data modes may "compatibly 
coexist with each other."  As per the resolution, the ARRL Board of Directors 
is now reaching out to the membership and requesting cogent input and 
thoughtful feedback on matters specific to digital mode operation on the HF 
bands.   The feedback may include, but is not limited to, the recent proposal 
the ARRL made to the FCC, RM 11708, regarding the elimination of the symbol 
rate restrictions currently in effect.  A FAQ on RM 11708 can be found on the 
web at:
http://www.arrl.org/rm-11708-faq .

The Board of Directors believes that member input in the decision making 
process is both valuable and important as well as fostering a more transparent 
organization.  It is to this end that we open this dialogue.   Comments must be 
received no later than March 31, 2014 to be included in the Committee's report 
to the Board at the July 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting.   Please e-mail 
your comments to:

Concerned members may also contact their Division Director by mail, telephone 
or in person with any relevant information.

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

*         Operating Skills participants will have a chance to try out the 
Elecraft K3 transceiver!

*         The new Technician Pool will be in effect!

*         The Camp Courage 2 meter repeater will be on the air, and connected 
to the *HANDIHAM* Echolink conference.

*         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.

*         Our study guide for 2014 Handiham Radio Camp Operating Skills will be 
the ARRL Public Service Handbook First 
Edition<http://www.arrl.org/shop/Amateur-Radio-Public-Service-Handbook>.  It is 
available from your favorite ham radio dealer or directly from ARRL.  Blind 
Handiham members should contact us for the DAISY version.  We will be happy to 
place it on your NLS DAISY cartridge for you.

*         We will be operating HF and VHF from the camp pontoon boat on Cedar 
Lake. Last camp we worked DX on 20 meters.  Can we do that again this year?

*         Elvis the horse will be giving kisses at the Camp Courage Farm.  Just 
pet him if you are shy.

Dip in the pool dives into the Extra Class:

*         Today we are going to dip our toes into the Extra pool.

E7H01 asks, "What are three oscillator circuits used in Amateur Radio 

Possible answers are:

A. Taft, Pierce and negative feedback
B. Pierce, Fenner and Beane
C. Taft, Hartley and Pierce
D. Colpitts, Hartley and Pierce

The correct answer is D: Colpitts, Hartley and Pierce.  The best advice I can 
give here is "just memorize those names."  There are some related questions in 
the pool about how feedback is achieved in each oscillator circuit.  There have 
been similar questions on these basic oscillator designs since I got licensed, 
and you used to have to either draw the circuit or at least recognize it from a 
diagram.  Ah, those were the days!  Electrical engineers have an inelegant name 
for the Colpitts circuit, which I shall not repeat here, but it did help them 
remember the right answer.

Coming soon!  Extra Class lecture series will be available in DAISY format.

  *   Our biggest single audio project, the Extra Class lecture series, is 
nearing completion.  The entire series will then be produced as a DAISY book, 
available in a zip file download or on NLS digital cartridge.  The projected 
date of availability is mid-March.  Before the book is produced, we welcome 
your feedback as to whether we should continue production in DAISY 2.02.  Our 
production tool is Obi, and Obi can produce digital talking books conforming to 
DAISY 3 and DAISY 2.02 standards. Since I personally do not own a DAISY player 
and only use AMIS for testing, perhaps our members can give me some advice on 
any advantage DAISY 3 has over 2.02.

March Events by N1YXU are posted

  *   I had really hoped that the predictions from Groundhog Day would not 
prove to be true! But, it is certainly still pretty cold here in North 
Carolina. Keep the faith - Spring is on its way. Take a look through the events 
that are posted for this month. I'm confident something will catch your 
attention and inspire you to turn on your radio and participate. Until next 
Regards, Laurie Meier, N1YXU n1yxu@xxxxxxxx<mailto:n1yxu@xxxxxxxx>
  *   Read the March Events column here.<https://handiham.org/drupal2/node/301>

Practical Radio

[pliers and wire]

Keeping time

How do you keep time in the ham shack?  It turns out that ham radio operators 
are not all on the same page when it comes to keeping time, and that little 
issue comes up again as we head into Daylight Time here in the United States. 
Even Daylight Time has not always been the same.  If you don't believe me, 
check out the U.S. Naval Observatory's 

When Daylight Time begins next week, we will be even more confused.  Local time 
remains as before in some states that do not observe DST, but not in others 
where the clock is shifted ahead one hour at 02:00 Sunday morning. And then 
there is the changing relationship with GMT.  Since GMT does not change, we 
shift our time relative to GMT by one hour if we live in a State that observes 

But that's not all!  Other countries have their own timetable for Daylight 
Time, with some using it and others not. While this is no big deal to the 
average person who lives pretty much on the local clock's time, it is a REALLY 
big deal for those of us in Amateur Radio who communicate across states, 
countries, and around the entire planet, northern and southern hemispheres.

That's why I'd like to make a case for GMT in the ham shack, even if you only 
use if for logging and making schedules.  Go ahead and have lunch at noon local 
time, but when it comes to logging that contact you made with a DX station, 
please use GMT.  Besides knowing the correct hour of the contact, that way you 
will also both agree on the date of the contact.  It is up to you if you wish 
to use 12 or 24 hour notation, but to me 24 is easier to interpret for logging 

Find GMT using 

This practical radio.  Use GMT.

Handiham Nets are on the air daily.


Listen for Doug, N6NFF, tonight and try to answer the 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.

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 time 
and GMT is -6 hours until 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 9th when Daylight Time goes 
into effect and the difference becomes -5 hours and the net is on the air at 
16:00 hours GMT.

The two evening sessions THIS WEEK are at 01:00 GMT Thursday and Friday.  Here 
in Minnesota that translates to 7:00 PM Wednesday and Thursday.  Remember that 
NEXT WEEK this will also change.

The official and most current net news may be found at:

This week @ HQ

[Cartoon robot with pencil]

Phone & email changes coming March through May

We will be making some changes this Spring in our email and phone systems.  
Watch this newsletter and the Handiham website<https://handiham.org> for any 
changes in our contact information.

Digests & Lectures

*         Reminder:  If you use the NLS cartridges, please return them to us by 
the first week in the month so we can include your cartridge in the March 

In the Extra Class audio lecture series we are coming up of safety.  Our latest 
lecture number is 61, in which we take a look at VHF propagation.

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

March 2014 QST Digest in Daisy format is available.

CQ Magazine & CQ Plus February 2014 digests in DAISY format.  Log in and check 
out the new CQ!

QCWA Digest for March 2014 is available in MP3.

In Operating Skills: Joe Bogwist, N3AIN, opens his Radio in the Dark series 
with tutorials on how to use the new Kenwood TS-590S 160 - 6 m transceiver!

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:
Remote Base News

Both stations are operational.

[W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.]

[Kenwood TS-480HX transceiver with LDG autotuner]

Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line for 
your use 24/7.

  *   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 

Operating tip:  Find out how to tell if the remote base station is already in 
use if you are using JAWS:

  *   Listen to the tutorial:
  *   Read the tutorial in accessible HTML:

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]

Don't care to download Handiham materials via computer? The NLS digital 
cartridge and mailer can bring you Handiham audio digests each month, plus we 
have room to put the audio lecture series or equipment tutorials on them, too!

Want to log in?  Let's go:

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:

If you have trouble logging in, please let us know.

  *   All Daisy materials are in zip file format, so you simply download the 
zip file you need and unzip it so the Daisy book folder can be accessed or 
moved to your NLS or other Daisy player.
  *   Tip: When in the Daisy directory, it is easy to find the latest books by 
sorting the files by date. Be sure the latest date is at the top. The link to 
sort is called "Last Modified".
  *   You can also find what is on a web page by using CONTROL-F.  This brings 
up a search box and you can type a key word in, such as "September".  You may 
find more than one September, including 2012, but you will eventually come 
across what we have posted for September 2013.

Digital mailers are important: If you do mail a digital cartridge to us, please 
be sure that it is an approved free matter mailer. Otherwise it will quickly 
cost us several dollars to package and mail out, which is more than the cost of 
the mailer in the first place. We don't have a stock of cartridges or mailers 
and not including a mailer will result in a long delay getting your request 
back out to you.

DAISY audio digests are available for our blind members who do not have 
computers, playable in your Library of Congress digital player.  Handiham 
members who use these players and who would prefer to receive a copy of the 
monthly audio digests on the special Library of Congress digital cartridge 
should send a blank cartridge to us in a cartridge mailer (no envelopes, 
please), so that we can place the files on it and return it to you via free 
matter postal mail.  Your call sign should be on both the cartridge and the 
mailer so that we can make sure we know who it's from. Blank cartridges and 
mailers are available from APH, the American Printing House for the Blind, 

Digital Talking Book Cartridge, 4GB, Blank; Catalog Number: 1-02609-00, Price 

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price: $2.50

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital cartridges:

Get it all on line as an alternative:  Visit the DAISY section on the Handiham 
website after logging in.

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 
hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> or call her at 
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442.

Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at 
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> or by phone at 

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 Handiham Weekly E-Letter in MP3 
Email us to subscribe:

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:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Courage Kenny Handiham Program<http://handiham.org>
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

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

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

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05 March 2014 - Pat Tice