[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 06 August 2014

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2014 13:54:39 -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, 06 August 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.

Ham Radio Memories

IC-7200 tuned to 3.925 MHz and LDG AT-200Pro tuner

It's summer and time to daydream a little.

Last week I reminisced about my short-wave listening days and how I wanted
to learn more about radio.  

There were lots of distractions during high school.  The homework, the
social activities, the extracurricular activities - all of it took a lot of
time, so there was plenty to compete with radio and electronics.  I'd say
that camera club won out.  I spent a lot of time learning how to take
pictures, develop the film, and print black and white photos using chemicals
in the darkroom.  I even built my own home darkroom and got quite good at
photography. I joined the staff on the high school newspaper.  One good
thing about photography was that it had sort of a built-in balance to it.  I
didn't spend all my time cooped up in the darkroom because I loved to get
out and take pictures.  That meant lots of hiking and biking.  Although I
always kept up my short-wave listening, it wasn't until I started university
that I started to think more seriously about ham radio and participating in
actually being on the air instead of only listening.  

"Let's get our ham radio licenses", I suggested to my long-time childhood
buddy Alan.  

But Alan was interested in other things, so I struck out on my own to learn
more.  ARRL had a study guide, and I found a local ham - the father of one
of my high school friends - who would administer the Novice exam.  I bought
a code course on an LP record - the technology of the day.  I wish I still
had it!  Anyway, the less structured college schedule allowed me more time
to spend studying the Morse code so that I would be able to pass the 5 word
per minute exam.  I started out by learning the easy letters and numbers and
just added a letter or punctuation character regularly as I continued my
studies.  When I knew all of the necessary characters, I worked on actual
words and groups of letters and numbers, and then short sentences.  The
problem with the LP record code course was that it was easy to guess what
was coming next.  You can only get so much on an LP, and it wasn't enough
material to prevent you from memorizing it after you heard the same thing
over and over.

Nonetheless, I finally got good enough to take the exam, which I passed on
the first try.  My Elmer, the fellow who had administered the exam, loaned
me something much better for code study:  an Instructograph
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructograph> .  This mechanical device  had
an electric motor to move a paper tape from one reel to another across a
head that allowed contacts to be closed and a sound produced when a hole on
the paper tape passed through.  It looked a little like a reel to reel tape
recorder.  I considered myself pretty lucky to have the Instructograph,
since it was obviously an expensive, highly specialized learning tool.  It
came with several paper tapes, which pretty much took care of the
memorization problem I had with the LP record.  You could adjust the speed,
beginning slowly enough to copy, then challenging yourself by upping the
speed to the point where you had to concentrate and really work to pull out
the characters, words, and numbers. It was perfect for pushing my code speed
up to the requisite 13 words per minute that I would need for General.

Back then - in 1967 - it was necessary to study your code and do so
diligently.  The Novice license was good for only one year.  It was never
intended to be anything but a "learner's permit" on the way to the regular
license, which was the General Class.  The Instructograph worked great, and
because it had headphones I didn't disturb other family members.  The
license with my assigned callsign WN0TDA, came in the mail and I was ready
to get on the air. 

I should mention that I went to college locally so I was able to live at
home, and my parents were supportive of my ham radio hobby.  I had lots of
room on our city lot for antennas and could easily get wire antennas up for
80 through 10 meters.  Not only that, but there was a local radio club and
the university had its own radio club.  Before I was even licensed, I'd
found a brand-new Lafayette Radio short-wave receiver.  It did cover the ham
bands, so I hunted up a used Knight-Kit T-60 transmitter to pair up with it
to make a station.  The code key was a straight key that I had been also
using for code practice.  One thing that new hams seldom think about today
is how you will switch the antenna between the receiver and the transmitter.
Almost all of us have "transceivers" that incorporate the transmitter and
receiver functions in one unit.  Transceivers have automatic antenna
switching, so when you key the transmit function by sending code, the
antenna is switched to the transmit side of the transceiver and the receive
function is muted.  But back then, almost everyone had separate transmitters
and receivers and you needed some way to switch the antenna between them.
If you had the money, you could buy a Dow-Key relay to add to the feedline,
and it would switch automatically between the transmitter and receiver.  I
was a poor college student and couldn't afford extravagances like an antenna
relay.  Off to the hardware store I went, and the closest one was Sears.  I
still remember the startled and worried look the nice lady clerk gave me
when I asked for a "knife switch" in the electrical department.  

"I think those are illegal", she said, eyeing me like I was a young hoodlum
in the making instead of the skinny bespectacled nerd that I was. 

Obviously she thought I wanted to buy a switchblade knife.  But another
clerk knew what I needed, and I went home with a double pole double throw
knife switch <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knife_switch> , which was perfect
for manually switching the antenna feedline from the receiver to the

To be continued...

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator



August Events by N1YXU

cartoon calendar

The calendar may say August, but the weather here in North Carolina
certainly does not. We have had a very mild summer so far. I know that is
not the case for many parts of the country with severe droughts, fires, and
other weather related issues. For those of you in those stricken areas,
please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Regardless of the weather, hopefully, you have been able to get on the air
and enjoy amateur radio activities. 

Take a few minutes to read through the events for August to see what catches
your attention. <http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/348> 

Until next month - 


Laurie Meier, N1YXU

August CQ is on line

The August 2014 edition of CQ is out for digital subscribers.  They also
have a free preview for non-subscribers.  More at: 

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

Minnesota Radio Camp is only 10 days away!  We look forward to making
contacts from Camp Courage, so listen for Radio Camp on the air. 

Camp Courage repeater W0EQO-R is at our Radio Camp and is on 145.47 FM,
negative offset with a tone of 114.8 Hz (Camp Courage, Maple Lake MN).  If
you are coming to camp, let me know what you want to do for camp activities
<mailto:Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx?subject=Activities%20at%20Camp> , and if you
are in need of equipment, let us know that too
<mailto:Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx?subject=Equipment%20at%20Camp> . 

The annual Radio Camp emergency communications exercise planned by ARRL EMA
Section Manager Phil Temples, K9HI, will take place at Camp Courage on
Wednesday, August 20.  We will participate in a simulation exercise that
will sharpen our communications skills, but the nature of the exercise is a
closely guarded secret.  It's like real life, since we never know what will
happen in spite of our best efforts at planning.  The way we handle this as
volunteer emergency communicators is to practice and be prepared so that
when the unexpected happens we will be ready to help. If the camp repeater
is used for the exercise, it will be disconnected from the Echolink system.

Operating Skills at Radio Camp has a textbook.  It is the ARRL Amateur Radio
Public Service Handbook.  Our blind campers should read this book on NLS
cartridge in DAISY format.  Others may order the book from ARRL.

The PSH is now available to our blind members for download.  Check the audio
page to find the zip file of the DAISY book, which is played on your NLS


Dave, W0OXB, came up with that easy reminder for Radio Camp.  No, it is not
"bring your own bottle", since we are not having a party.  It is "bring your
own badge", a reminder to pack your VE badge if you are a volunteer examiner
and will be attending camp.  It doesn't matter which VEC issued the badge as
long as it is current.  You will have a chance to participate in a VE
session so that you can get credit for that, and you will get experience
helping others to get their first license or an upgrade.  Dave's advice goes
for other events, too.  Think of the hamfests you have attended.  Most of
them offer VE testing, and sometimes the VE team leader is looking for help.
If you BYOB, you are ready to sign the session log and help out.  Get in the
habit of bringing your badge.

Heads up:

Spaceweather.com is a good source of sunspot and meteor shower news, but did
you know they also have a table of near Earth asteroids?  As of today,
August 6, there are 1,498 potentially hazardous asteroids that are larger
than 100 meters and can come within 0.05 AU (Astronomical Unit)
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomical_unit>  to Earth.  One AU is
approximately the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
<http://spaceweather.com/>  Check out the table for yourself at

Another good way to learn about Morse code:  Your Handiham membership
qualifies you for membership in the FISTS CW Club.

Thanks to our good friends at the FISTS CW Club <http://fistsna.org/> , you
can use your Handiham membership certificate to join FISTS at no extra
charge.  Morse is a long-standing tradition in Amateur Radio, but it is also
a robust mode of operation with a large following, and remains the best tool
in your toolkit to collect DX contacts.  

We are pleased to announce that Handiham members are welcome in the FISTS CW
Club.  Simply provide the FISTS Club with proof of your Handiham membership,
which must be up to date, and you will be eligible to join FISTS without any
additional dues.  Handiham members receive a membership certificate when
they join Handihams or renew their memberships, so if you are a current
Handiham member, you may provide a copy of your membership certificate to
the FISTS club and join to enjoy the benefits and fellowship of FISTS and
CW.  Please note that we do not contact FISTS on your behalf due to privacy
regulations.  Please contact FISTS yourself with your Handiham membership

Contact information for FISTS North America is at
http://fistsna.org/contact.html.  You may go to the contact page and locate
club president Karl, KB1DSB. 

Via KE4LAM - On the air this weekend:

There's going to be a net on the W3WAN repeater system on Saturday, August 9
at 7:00PM Eastern time.  It will be a technical net targeted toward visually
impaired hams.  I'm not running the net, but I think the plan is to discuss
accessible digital modes and the screen readers that work best with them.  I
mention this in case you want to post it on the Handiham website.  If you go
to www.wanrepeater.net, you can find a list of repeaters and also
information about how to connect with the system through AllStar via the web
transceiver.  So anyone with Internet access could access the net even if
they're not near any of the repeaters.  The WAN system is an amazing linked
repeater system that has vast coverage in PA, Maryland, Delaware, West
Virginia, and some coverage in Florida and Texas as well.  And anyone with
an AllStar account can connect via the web.  Feel free to pass on the info. 


Practical Radio

pliers and wire

Practical radio takes the week off.

This is practical radio - Take some time off and enjoy the summer.  Take an
HT with you. 


Handiham Nets are on the air daily. 


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!  

The two evening sessions are at 00:00 GMT Thursday and Friday.  Here in
Minnesota that translates to 7:00 PM Wednesday and Thursday.  


This week @ HQ

Cartoon robot with pencil

IRB station W0ZSW is on the air. <http://handiham.org/remotebase/>   W0EQO
remains restricted due to firewall issues.   We are contemplating a TS-590S
station to replace one of the TS-480 radios.  

Update:  I successfully got a TS-590S to work over the internet last week.
Now it's getting packed up for Radio Camp. 

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

July/August 2014 production news: 

The August NLS cartridge will be late to accommodate as much new material as
we can.  Some of it was released late this month, which puts us behind in
our production schedule. 

The new Technician Lecture Series is well underway and we are up to eight
lectures. I'll be at a camp planning session on Friday morning, then out of
the office on Friday afternoon.  (Hey, it's summer!)  Log in to members only
to take the Technician classes. Check the new audio page in the member
section often to find the latest lectures. 

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.  It is also available in
the members section. 

QCWA Journal for August is available, recorded by Jim, KJ3P.  Check the
Handiham and QCWA websites for the latest. 

The August 2014 QST Daisy digest by Bob, N1BLF, is ready for our members to
play on their NLS or other DAISY players. 

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.  Time has not
permitted updates on this for several weeks. 

Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY (August Doctor is
in column) 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.  

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 


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  <mailto:Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx>
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:

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:

 <http://handiham.org> Courage Kenny Handiham Program
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
<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, 06 August 2014 - Patrick.Tice