[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07 January 2015

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2015 14:02:56 -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, 07 January 2015

This is a free weekly news & information update from the
<http://handiham.org> Courage Kenny Handiham System, serving people with
disabilities in Amateur Radio since 1967.  

Our contact information is at the end. 

Listen here:

Get this podcast in iTunes:
 <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Subscribe to our audio podcast
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Welcome to Handiham World.


Will we see more emergency communications emphasis in 2015?

Maybe.  There was a surge in emergency services volunteerism and
communications following the 9/11 attacks.  Today we are waking up to what
looks like a horrific terror attack on a newspaper office in Paris.  Climate
reports are also just out following the analysis of 2014 data, and the news
isn't good there either since 2014 was the hottest on record according to
the Japanese Meteorological Agency, pointing to weather extremes that could
create more destructive storms and aggravate wildfires in 2015.  

What are we to make of these things?  Well, although we know what happened
in the past and can try to extrapolate into the future, we do have one big
problem with the future, and that is that it hasn't happened yet!  We have
seen extremist behavior related to terrorism and social upheaval in the
past, and we have certainly responded to and provided communications for
destructive storm events.  Our training always includes scenarios built on
these past events.  

The fact of the matter is that we usually act on our experience, using what
we have learned in the past.  The future, however, is under no obligation to
adhere to a script written by history.  This is a BIG problem, since - as
the old saying goes - we are prepared to fight the last war, not the newest
one.  Just because a weather event followed the script last time doesn't
mean that it will do so the next time.  On 9/11 emergency communications
systems were fragmented and incompatible with each other, because the
infrastructure and training were hopelessly behind the times.  What worked
for limited disaster events would not be able to cope with a hitherto
unthinkable disaster.  

The response was to analyze what had gone wrong and to form a plan to
correct it.  As a result, we have seen a revolution in both hardware and
training in the past decade.  Today we all know and accept the fact that our
training as emergency communicators must include knowledge of working within
an incident command structure.  We take many of the same training courses
that regular emergency personnel do.  In fact, amateur radio communicators
train side by side with law enforcement, EMS, and other professionals.  It
is now widely accepted that we must all be on the same page when it comes to
responding to a disaster no matter what it is or how widespread it is.  

But what about the problem posed by the future?  The big event that hasn't
happened yet and may be outside historically-based training?  What then?

We have to avoid the problem of only being prepared to work communications
emergencies that have happened in the past - fighting the last war, if you
will.  There is one important characteristic that is vital to survival in an
emergency - and to responding to one:  Flexibility.

Yes, flexibility.  It is a broad concept, but what it means is that we have
to be open-minded about everything related to a communications emergency.
This doesn't mean abandoning policies and procedures that we learn in
training, but it does mean that we all have to be aware of the possibility
that something completely new and unexpected may happen, something that has
not been covered in scenario preparation, something in a place or at a time
that was once thought to be most unlikely.  In this uncharted territory,
being flexible - open to observing conditions on the ground and responding
appropriately - will give us the best chance to be efficient communicators.

Look at it this way:  Today's training actually enhances flexibility because
it covers interoperability.  In effect, this gives communicators basic tools
that everyone should understand so as to work within an incident command
structure that is designed to work across a broad spectrum of scenarios.
That leaves us time to focus on what needs to be done in response to what is
actually happening on the communications front.  We can build flexibility
into our response by having multiple means to communicate, spare batteries,
a well-stocked go-kit, and clothing for changing conditions.  

Consider that the following may happen:

.         The incident may come "out of the blue", completely unexpected, at
a time and place that was never at risk before. 

.         You are assigned to a location where there is no access to
commercial power.

.         It is warm and dry when you first deploy, but the weather turns
cold and rainy. 

.         The communications shift to which you are assigned unexpectedly is
extended when help fails to show up.

.         Communicating back to your family may not be practical or possible
for an extended period.

You can build flexibility in ahead of time by packing that spare equipment
and having warm clothes in your go-kit.  If you have already discussed the
nature of emergency communications deployment with your family, there will
be a more realistic expectation of how frequently you can communicate with
them, and less worry if you cannot return at the time you were expecting.  

The biggest problem can be your mindset.  It is easy to say, "expect the
unexpected",  but it is hard in practice since sometimes we will not even
understand at first that this new incident is very much different than what
has happened in the past.  People and things that are out of place in space
and time can indeed be unsettling, but even if we are surprised we should be
able to recover.  That is something that is a bit harder to get our heads

Remember that history does not predict the future.  Just because something
has happened a certain way in the past, or has never happened at all before,
has no bearing on a new incident. 

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

Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!

Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who
wishes to participate 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 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.

Operating tips for any net:  

Because our nets are hosted across a wide range of platforms and
connectivity between them can vary depending on internet traffic and the
pathways that are established on any given day and hour, not everyone hears
the same thing at the same time.

Let me repeat that.

Not everyone hears everything at the same time.

The NCS (Net Control Station) may not hear you check in if there is a timing
difference that works against you and favors another station calling in at
almost the same time.  This makes checking into a VoIP net a much different
animal than your run-of-the-mill contact on a simplex frequency or an
unconnected repeater.  You should expect collisions when the NCS calls for
general check-ins.  Don't be flustered if you are not heard.  It may take
several tries, or a different strategy, such as waiting for the NCS to call
for specific types of check-ins, such as those from your callsign area or
only those from IRLP.  

It takes practice to get good at this, but even then there will be times
when it is difficult to get in.  Be patient; it is not possible for the NCS
to hear several signals at once. 

Please listen to the Net Control Station (NCS).  He or she will let you know
who is being called, how to check in, and how the net is to be conducted.
Most Net Control Station operators have broad discretion on how they will
accept stations checking in and will state their preference at the beginning
of the net and periodically through the session.  The NCS will also
understand that sometimes participants will make mistakes, possibly because
they also do not hear everything that is going on.  Sometimes "dead air" is
all that is heard by some listeners even though the NCS or another
participant may be talking.  This is caused by timing differences between
systems.  A good way to avoid these is to allow more key up time between
transmissions.  Again, practice is important and learning the cadence of a
VoIP net takes time.   

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

Accessible YouTube

Ken, KB3LLA, has discovered a website that provides a blind accessible
interface to YouTube.  As we know, there is a lot of useful information
related to ham radio on YouTube and blind users can also benefit from access
to these videos.  The problem is that the standard interface to the YouTube
site can be confusing to users who use screenreaders, so an alternate "front
end" website has been developed to simplify searching for videos by keyword.

Ken writes:  "It's a little buggy. Seems to work better in Firefox.
Sometimes it doesn't give any search results, even though I know they exist.
Sometimes the "click for next 10 results" link doesn't work in Firefox; this
link doesn't work at all in IE11. It is very accessible though. So, when it
works, it's great."

Check out "The Accessible Interface to YouTube" at:

Speaking of internet searches...

Check out the ARRL website for a Net Directory Search.  It can be hard to
know where to begin when you are looking for a regional net or a net with
some specific purpose, such as traffic handling or emergency communications.
The ARRL maintains the Net Directory Search
<http://www.arrl.org/arrl-net-directory-search>  as a tool to help you find
nets by specifying geographic area or type of net.  Looking only for nets on
a particular band?  No problem, since you can specify the band from a pull
down menu.  And if you only know part of the net's name?  You can still
search even with that limited information.
Give the ARRL Net Directory Search a try.  

Check out the N1YXU Events column for January:

It's being published a bit late due to the holiday, so Straight Key Night
and  RTTY Roundup are behind us, but you can still find info on January VHF,
"Winter Field Day", and more.   <http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/383> 
Read the entire column for January here. 

Both TS-480 Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running. 

Close up of TS-480HX keypad

No outages were reported last week in spite of subzero temperatures, snow,
and strong winds over all of Minnesota.  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 <https://handiham.org/remotebase/> .   

We are working to bring a third remote system online somewhere in the USA
Eastern Time Zone.  

I have been hearing more and more people operating through remote stations.
They are becoming popular among "snowbirds" - people who travel south for a
break from the worst of the cold winter months but who want to get on the
air with their main ham radio stations back at home.  They set up private
remotes, thus maintaining access to the main radios and antenna systems at
their home stations instead of having to fight a condo association about
dropping a piece of wire out a window.  In upcoming weeks we will explore
remote HF station operation in greater detail.  

Handiham office hours: 

We are open Monday through Thursday.  Mornings 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.   

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

Equipment Program:

If you have suggestions on how to make the equipment program work better,
email us a short paragraph.
(Please, no phone calls on this topic. I can sort and track the ideas by
email more easily.)

New audio: 

If you are a Handiham member and want a weekly reminder about our new audio,
let us know. 

The new 2015 through 2019 General Class Pool, machine-recorded in DAISY by
the Handiham Program; Beta 1 version in downloadable zip file format.

Jim, KJ3P, has completed the QCWA Journal for January 2015.  Please find it
in the new audio section of the Handiham member website or on the QCWA
website <http://qcwa.org/> . 

Any Handiham or QCWA member who cannot find the link to this month's QCWA
Journal may email us for assistance and a direct link. 

Also in the members section: Magazine Digest for January 2015 by Bob Zeida,
N1BLF - 25 MB DAISY zip file download.

Also in the members section: The January 2015 Doctor is in column has been
recorded by Ken Padgitt, W9MJY.

Thanks to our volunteer readers:

Bob, N1BLF 

Jim, KJ3P

Ken, W9MJY 

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

We have replaced the rotator on the tower at camp and plan to work DX with
the triband HF beam antenna.  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

Equipment Program at Camp:  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. 

If you want to get a first license or study for an upgrade, let us know.  

Camp dates are now published in the True Friends Camp Catalog.
<http://truefriends.org/camp/>   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.

Cabin 2, site of our ham radio stations and classes.
Photo:  A Woodland Cabin with screen porch, fireplace, kitchen, laundry, and
comfortable great room.  


.         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.  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
<http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/> .  

How to contact us 

There are several ways to contact us. 

Postal Mail: 

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
available to everyone free of charge. Please email Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx
for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address
and your new address.

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