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 May 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:
. Blind-friendly radios? Wheelchair ramps? What do you need to make
a ham radio venue accessible?
. The week's question: Are you going to be at Dayton this month?
. Check into our daily nets.
. The Remote Base HF report: W0ZSW scheduling and summer storms. A
Skype glitch on the TS-590S host, too.
. May audio is in production and NLS cartridges mail this week. (We
. There is a website checking tool available from Google, and your
radio club may want to use it.
. ...And more!
But first, how do you make a ham radio venue accessible?
Lyle, K0LR, poses next to an audio beacon that he made to help blind hams
navigate at radio camp sessions.
Photo: Lyle Koehler, K0LR, poses next to one of the outdoor audio beacons
that he designed to help blind hams navigate the pathway system at Handiham
Radio Camp sessions. The beacons "transmit" Morse code characters in the
audio range, with specific letters matched to known waypoints or
destinations, such as "W" for waterfront or "D" for dining hall. The audio
beacons are an example of an accessibility feature that can make it easier
for people to be independent.
Is it really necessary to add accessibility features to your ham radio
venue? And if so, how much will it cost? What kinds of adaptations should
These are all typical questions that come up when considering how to welcome
everyone, including people with disabilities or sensory impairments, to your
special event, retail establishment, club meeting, VE session - you name it.
I got to thinking about this lately because I'd heard from a fellow who uses
a motorized wheelchair, and he mentioned that he had to travel quite a
distance to a ham radio store because the one closest to his home had narrow
aisles and wasn't wheelchair-accessible as a result. Yes, there was
accessible parking by the store. Yes, there was a wheelchair-friendly
entrance. But neither of those things really did any good when it was
impossible to get around the store!
This being the month of May, we are planning for Hamvention
<http://hamvention.org/> R at HARA Arena in Dayton, Ohio. I always like to
check the Hamvention website for the latest news and information, and I was
curious about parking. There is, as you would expect, accessible parking
available, but the website advised that it is limited and the demand is
high. Think about why that might be, and you'll probably come to the same
conclusion that I have: Ham radio is a popular activity among Baby Boomers
like me, and most of us are - or already have - reached retirement age. And
with age comes disability for some of us. There are a LOT of Baby Boomers,
and more and more of them will eventually need some kind of accommodation
because they will not be able to walk as far (or at all), their eyesight may
decline, or they may have other physical limitations that make mobility
difficult. Not, mind you, that anyone of any age is immune from disability.
Far from it. Technology like motorized wheelchairs and mobility scooters
make it easier for people to get out and about. Can we really afford to
ignore them? Fortunately, HARA Arena is mostly accessible and there is
scooter rental available. If you stop by the Handiham booth at #330 in the
Silver Arena you will find that we have pushed the table to the back of the
booth space so there will be room to get your wheelchair, scooter, or
service dog out of the main aisle while we visit. This is an example of an
easy accommodation that doesn't cost anything!
Field Day and special event stations may not be quite so easy, and in some
cases they may be in places where it is not possible to accommodate
wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters. Uneven terrain and distance from paved
roads or parking may simply be a part of a temporary station setup, and
there may be no way to have the same operating experience any other way. We
have all seen photos and videos of some of the more exotic, far-flung
However, other temporary stations are set up to be accessible and inclusive
- you just have to find them! Some radio clubs emphasize publicity and ease
of access for the general public at their Field Day sites. In general,
these kinds of Field Day operations will be much easier to get to and may be
entirely wheelchair accessible. The trick for you if you have a disability
is to know in advance where to spend your Field Day, and this will take a
bit of research and planning on your part.
If you belong to a local radio club - and I hope you do - you will have a
chance to steer the club toward accessibility by providing input during
Field Day planning meetings. My own local club, SARA, the Stillwater, MN
Amateur Radio Association <http://www.radioham.org/> , has several members
who would have trouble getting to a site that is not wheelchair accessible.
We have found that SARA can set up an excellent Field Day event at a small
local city park that features accessible parking and restrooms, a large
shelter with a concrete floor, and electrical outlets for wheelchair
chargers. Of course the ease of access for club members with disabilities
also means easy access for interested members of the general public who may
become amateur radio operators in the future. The point is that
accessibility can sometimes actually add to the event's success in other
ways aside from being welcoming to people who use wheelchairs or scooters.
If you are looking for an accessible Field Day event, you might start doing
your research now so that you will have time to plan your transportation and
confirm with the organizers that you will be able to operate. Take
advantage of the ARRL Field Day Locator on ARRL.org
<http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator> to locate Field Day sites near you.
Then go to the detailed information to learn about who is sponsoring each
event so that you can check out the feasibility of being part of any given
event. When I checked for my club's Field Day, I quickly found the address
of the park where the event will be held, the callsign of the station to be
used during the event, whether there is a GOTA (Get On The Air) station at
the event for beginners, and contact information for a club representative.
If I knew nothing about the site and whether it is accessible, I could then
contact the representative by email or phone to find out. If I were blind
and wanted to know about the availability of radios with speech frequency
announcements at the event, I could ask that question. Oh, what the heck -
I'll just answer it now. Yes, we will have blind-accessible radios at our
Field Day event!
There are other activities that may or may not lend themselves to
participation by people with disabilities. One of them is public service
communications. It can be frustrating if you have a disability but are an
experienced communicator and would like to be part of public service
communications activities, only to be told that you are not needed. This is
a topic we will be exploring in upcoming months because we have heard from
amateur radio operators whose experience and skills would otherwise qualify
them to be active in these events but whose disabilities seem to keep them
sidelined. Are there ways to include them and still make sure everyone
works well together and all are safe? Can every public service
communications activity include them or only some of these activities? And
what about served agencies in communications emergencies? These are all
things to consider, so let's put on our thinking caps and get a discussion
Local hamfests and flea markets are popular, and making them accessible is
just plain common sense and good business. It's really pretty easy, too.
Just allow for aisles wide enough to accommodate motorized wheelchairs and
scooters, service animals, and people using canes and walkers. Have event
volunteers available to help guide people as they arrive. If portable
toilets are set up, make sure that some of them are the larger ones to
accommodate users with disabilities.
If you operate a retail electronics business, some of the same things apply.
You will want aisles that are wide enough to allow wheelchair users to get
through, accessible parking and wheelchair ramps, and staff who are trained
in the basics of working with customers who have disabilities. One of the
most basic rules here is really easy: Make sure that staff know that they
should ask how they can help the person who is blind or uses a wheelchair.
The customer may need help reaching something on a shelf or might need to
have something described if they cannot see it. Sales staff should know
about accessibility options on radios, such as whether speech frequency
announcements are built in or available as an option.
One thing that can make life easier is to know more about working with
people who have disabilities. Today's internet resources give all of us
lots of leverage as we seek to learn more about how ham radio operators with
disabilities get on the air.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Drawing of a computer
Last week's question was: Can you help teach a merit badge class in the
Braille book atop transceiver
Rick, W0IS, wrote that he been asked to volunteer as a Boy Scout merit badge
counselor for the new "Signs, Signals, and Codes" merit badge. The merit
badge requirements are at this link.
We do have a Braille reader who will be giving Rick a call. Thanks to all
of you who contributed other links and resources.
This week we are asking about HamventionR. Are you planning to be there?
And what is your top goal to reach if you do attend? If you plan to be in
Dayton, let us know your goals.
On the air this week:
The sun misbehaves yet again... Space Weather News for May 6, 2015 reports:
X-FLARE: Emerging sunspot AR2339 unleashed an intense X2-class solar flare
on May 5th at approximately 22:11 UT. Radiation from the flare caused strong
radio blackouts on the Pacific side of Earth, interfering with
communications at frequencies below ~20 MHz. The blast also hurled a CME
into space, but not toward Earth. This event could herald a sustained period
of high solar activity, as AR2339 appears to be large and explosive. Check
<http://spaceweather.com> http://spaceweather.com for more information and
PICONET is on 3.925 MHz. It is on daily except Sundays, and you will find
HF-savvy Handiham members checking in.
. You can find out more about PICONET on the PICONET website,
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
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.
One operating note: The IRLP reflector 9008 is no longer connected, so the
net is not available via IRLP repeaters or micronodes. We will have the
W0EQO repeater active on Echolink during Radio Camp at Camp Courage in
mid-August, and we hope to be active on the air whenever possible via the
*HANDIHAM* conference and Echolink repeaters worldwide.
This week's go-to website:
The Atlantic Monthly magazine is one of my favorites. I'm a long-time
subscriber, but one of the best features, The Atlantic's CITYLAB website,
doesn't even require a subscription. One article that caught my attention
in the past week was about how intersections could be designed with
technology to help people with disabilities navigate on foot. Give it a read
and see if it doesn't get you thinking!
294/> Of course I still recommend packing your handheld radio whenever you
head out and about. As nice as internet-connected new technologies are, they
all do have dependencies that can make them brittle and subject to failure.
Your handheld radio is a lot more robust in that regard - but keep the
Google Mobile-Friendly Test website:
While we're talking websites, I have been following the news about Google
and how the popular search engine will be penalizing websites that are not
mobile-friendly. Our websites Handiham.org and the remote base website at
Handiham.org/remotebase are both mobile-friendly, having passed the Google
website check via their free on line check tool. You may want to check your
radio club's website for mobile compliance.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is taking the month of May off. If you are studying for
your General, our recommendation is that you shift into high gear and plan
to take your exam under the old pool, testing on or before June 30, 2015. If
that is not possible, begin studying now with the new pool. It will be some
time before we can make a new set of audio lectures as time is limited. Be
sure your study materials, especially practice exam websites, are up to date
and you have chosen the correct practice exam pool for whenever you plan to
take the real test.
I'm happy to report that we had an excellent local VE session last week. It
was so successful that we had to bring in extra tables and chairs! Most of
the examinees did pass at least one element, and some even more. The
session concluded with 12 new Techs, 4 new Generals and 1 new Extra.
Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running.
. The W0ZSW remote base station is now operated part time with W4MQ
software controlling the IC-7200 (no speech frequency announcements via the
internet) and the ARCP-590 software controlling the TS-590S (speech
frequency announcements available via the internet.)
. If you are a registered user, check the station's schedule for
which rig is in use at the remote base website
<http://handiham.org/remotebase/> and in the W0ZSW Skype status.
. We have run into a problem with Skype crashing on the TS-590S host
computer. We are still trying to figure out what is causing the failure.
. W0EQO is available as an alternative to registered users and does
feature a Kenwood TS-480SAT with speech frequency readout.
* Our two stations are W0EQO at Camp Courage North and W0ZSW in the
Twin Cities East Metro. Please visit the remote base website for more
information on the status of the stations, the W4MQ software downloads, and
installation instructions. Details at Remote Base website
* Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Handiham Remote Base
station, either here in the Twin Cities or anywhere else in the USA!
. If you are an experienced TS-590S and ARCP-590 user and are
interested in participating in these tests, please let me know.
Thunderstorm season is underway! We did shut down W0ZSW several times in the
We can expect thunderstorms in southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities Metro
area any time now that warm, humid southern air collides with cool Canadian
air over the Upper Midwest. W0ZSW will be off line during thunderstorms and
remain offline until the danger is well past. Better safe than sorry!
When there are storms or when the TS-590S station is using the W0ZSW
antenna, the W4MQ software will show up as off line. Refer to the Remote
Base website <http://handiham.org/remotebase/> or send an email message if
you have any questions
W0EQO is not expected to be offline unless there is an internet or power
Handiham office hours:
Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us. Please
visit Handiham.org for updates and schedule changes. 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. We are always closed Friday through Sunday. Pat, WA0TDA, is
taking some time off here and there over the summer. "The nicer the
weather, the more likely I'll be playing hooky!"
May QST DAISY digest audio has been recorded by Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken
Padgitt, W9MJY, and is available to our blind members.
May QCWA Journal has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P, and is available in
streaming MP3 from a link at QCWA.org <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php> or
listen here <https://handiham.org/audio/QCWA/QCWA-2015-May.mp3> .
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: Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version
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 will be 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.
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:
Radio Camp News: We will once again be at the Woodland campus, Camp
Cabin 2, site of our ham radio stations and classes.
Photo: A Woodland Cabin with screen porch, fireplace, kitchen, laundry, and
comfortable great room.
Plan to work DX with the triband HF beam antenna. In addition, we will be
installing several wire antennas fed with 450 ohm ladder line for
high-efficiency operation on multiple bands. We will be able to check in to
the popular PICONET HF net on 3.925 MHz. Radios you can try at camp include
the remote base stations running the Kenwood TS-480, and get your hands on a
Kenwood TS-590S or TS-2000, both of which will be set up to operate. If you
have a special request for gear you would like to check out at camp, please
let us know.
Other activities at camp:
. New! We have acquired an Icom IC-7200 to try out at camp. These
excellent rigs come with built in speech.
. Campers needing radio equipment or accessories to take home and
complete their stations should let us know what they need. Equipment will
be distributed at camp.
. We will have a Handiham Radio Club meeting that will include
election of club officers and planning for the upcoming year.
. The Icom IC-718 will once again be pressed into service on the
camp pontoon boat for HF operation from Cedar Lake. All aboard! QRMers
will walk the plank if caught.
. We'll have time for several operating skills discussions.
. Anyone interested in a hidden transmitter hunt on VHF?
If you want to get a first license or study for an upgrade, let us know.
<http://truefriends.org/camp/> Camp dates are now published in the True
Friends Camp Catalog. They are Tuesday, August 18 (arrival) through Monday,
August 24 (departure),
Please let Nancy know if you wish to receive a 2015 Radio Camp Application.
. 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.
MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
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 We hope you will remember us in your 2015 giving plans. The Courage
Kenny Handiham program needs your help. Our small staff works with
volunteers, members, and donors to share the fun of Amateur Radio with
people who have disabilities or sensory impairments. We've been doing this
work since 1967, steadily adapting to the times and new technologies, but
the mission is still one of getting people on the air and helping them to be
part of the ham radio community. Confidence-building, lifelong learning,
making friends - it's all part of ham radio and the Handiham Program.
Begging cartoon doggie
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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