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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 08 July 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:
. Musing about the good old days, part 4
. Does anyone have an old Novice license manual?
. Check into our nets!
. This week's websites feature Elmering and a new way to use the
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question from the Extra Class pool
that considers a trade-off in antenna design.
. The Remote Base HF report: W0ZSW needs a new home.
. July audio is ready.
. ...And more!
The good old days: We are reminded that newbies still face the same
As the July ham radio doldrums drag on, we find a cool spot to enjoy a glass
of lemonade and reminisce about the good old days. The sun seems to be
sending us a pretty regular series of solar WX blasts, so the bands haven't
been that reliable. Oh, well, might as well collect our thoughts and stay
The years fall away - decades, really - and I'm back in the late 1960's and
a teenager with an interest in technology. Back in those days, one had few
options for high-tech communications as a hobby activity other than Amateur
Radio, so that's where I was drawn. There were a few books in the local
library, but the real pay dirt was finding my first Elmer, the dad of one of
my high school friends. He showed me his Collins station, got me on the air
while he operated the radio, and gave me a tour of the antenna farm.
I was hooked! I learned that I needed to pass a 5 word per minute Morse
code exam and a multiple choice test to earn a beginner - "Novice" -
license. That license would be good for only one year, after which I would
have to pass a 13 WPM code exam and a stiffer written exam for General. The
good news was that the Novice exam could be given to me by my "Elmer" - my
mentor - and I would be able do some studying from an ARRL license manual.
Since he lived across town, I studied both the code and theory on my own. A
cheap code practice oscillator and a code course on an LP record helped. I
quickly passed my Novice tests and rushed back home to check the FCC ULS
website for my new ticket!
Ha, ha, of course I didn't do that, since there was no FCC ULS website and
no internet in 1967. Instead, I had to wait and wait and wait until my paper
license came in the mail. I checked the mailbox every day, and one day
there it was: WN0TDA. I could get on the air! Of course while I had been
waiting I got busy and put a station together. The antenna was a
quarter-wave vertical with a base loading coil that featured a manual tap.
I'd ground-mounted the vertical because it had to be easily accessible so
that I could change the tap on the coil to tune it to the right frequency. I
went to the lumber yard and bought a bunch of clear pine 1 by 2's to
construct a triangular fence around the base of the vertical. It would keep
pets and my two younger siblings away from it, I reasoned. One side of the
triangle was attached with hooks that allowed me to open it up to change the
coil tap when I wanted to change bands. I even took the time to carefully
paint the little fence to match our house.
One thing I didn't do was to install any ground radials. That should have
been a higher priority than the fence, but I was young and stupid and didn't
know that a vertical antenna wouldn't work worth a darn without a radial
system. I found out when I couldn't contact anyone! My operating procedure
was pretty bad, too. I called "CQ" many times without success. It wasn't
until I did some more reading on practical antennas and got some advice from
the local hams that I started having success making on the air contacts.
Today newcomers to ham radio still depend on mentors (Elmers) to give them
advice and answer questions. The way this is accomplished is way different,
though. People join Facebook groups related to ham radio and get almost
instant feedback when they have questions. One group, Amateur (Ham) Radio,
has almost over 14,600 members! The internet being what it is, you can get
answers that are very useful and others that are flat out wrong. Mind you,
even in the old days one could get plenty of bad advice, so in that sense
not much has changed. The big difference today is that you can get help
anytime and anywhere from a variety of different sources that include
websites and live mentors, typing out answers in almost real time. It's the
"crowdsourcing" of Elmering! I still see newbies asking the same questions
about vertical antennas and radials today - only the forum is different.
This is a good thing. Just as we no longer have to wait weeks and weeks for
a paper license to arrive in the mailbox, we no longer have to wait for
answers to our questions. Social media platforms and websites offer plenty
of resources when and mostly where we want them. It seems unlikely that I
would ever be satisfied with a return to the technology of the 1960's. How
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Can anyone guess what an ARRL Novice License Manual cost me in 1967?
Send your guesses here. <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
If you know of any on line source of text from an old license manual from
that era, send me a link. It would be fun to find out what that manual was
like and compare it to today's beginner study guide for the Technician
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
Yes, yes, I know that it's hard to check into nets in the summertime. I've
been away from the nets for a while due to my summer schedule and travel.
It's as much a matter of too many other things to do as it is to find a way
to check in.
How to find the Handiham Net:
1. The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492. Connect via your iPhone,
Android phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your
2. WIRES-2 system number 1427
3. WIRES-X digital number 11165
The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control
station on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air
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.
This week's websites: The Elmer Award and Remote control of NVDA computers.
Where did the term "Elmer" originate and what exactly does it mean?
Nominate someone for an "Elmer Award". You can learn and nominate at the
Elmer Award website on ARRL.org. <http://www.arrl.org/elmer-award>
Also, you might want to check out the NVDA open source screenreader website
<http://www.nvaccess.org/> . Ken, KB3LLA, alerted me to a new NVDA add-on,
too. It is on its own website at http://nvdaremote.com. As it states,
"NVDA Remote brings free remote access to the blind." The idea is to
remotely control any Windows computer running NVDA for free with this
open-source crowdfunded project.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the Extra Class
question pool, number E9D08. It asks:
"What happens to the bandwidth of an antenna as it is shortened through the
use of loading coils?"
Possible answers are:
A. It is increased
B. It is decreased
C. No change occurs
D. It becomes flat
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's think
about what might happen when you change a tried and true antenna design to
gain some sort of advantage. In this case, we want a shorter antenna - not
electrically shorter, but PHYSICALLY shorter. Do you have to give something
up when you change a design? How about other common objects? Do you give
anything up when you water down the soup? When your favorite airline puts
four seats in the place formerly occupied by three seats? Of course you do!
We expect that the old saying, "there's no free lunch" might just apply to
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer B, The
antenna's bandwidth is decreased, you got this one right. Since we are
trying to get by with a shorter antenna, we need to add inductance to
replace the lost physical length and still arrive at the correct electrical
length of a quarter-wave. In this way we can make a 16 foot tall vertical
antenna tune as if it were twice that tall on 40 meters. But remember that
there is no free lunch! Adding the extra inductance through a loading coil
may allow a near-perfect match, but it significantly decreases the
bandwidth. That means you may have only a few kHz to tune around in where
the SWR is below 1.5 to 1. If you want to go very far from the resonant
frequency, the inductance will have to be adjusted to the new center
frequency. Furthermore, the feedpoint impedance of a vertical can drop when
you add all of that loading. It can be hard to match the antenna to the
feedline if it drops too low.
Fortunately there is plenty of good advice on antenna design and
installation available in the ARRL Antenna Book
<http://www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Antenna-Book-22nd-Edition/> and through
other sources on line.
Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running today.
. W0ZSW is operational. It may go offline with no notice if
thunderstorms approach. W0ZSW was offline during the July 4th weekend and
part of the following week due to the thunderstorm risk and extremely low
. W0EQO is operational, but frequent Skype crashes have been
occurring at both remote hosts, especially W0EQO, making for more time spent
in fixing things. Be sure to let us know when something isn't working. We
generally check the stations early in the morning, but then we may not have
time to check later in the day when something might break, so we depend on
you to let us know.
Please consider testing the Remotehams.com system and letting me know what
you think about it.
I cannot host W0ZSW at my QTH forever! <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> We need a
Minnesota home for W0ZSW. We prefer southern Minnesota, since we already
have a northern Minnesota station. If you can host the station, let me
know. Radio clubs preferred!
July 2015 QST has been released in digital print format, available to ARRL
members. The Doctor is In column, recorded for our blind members by W9MJY,
is now available, as is the July QST digest recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P.
Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the July DAISY audio digest including QST
articles of interest to our blind members. It is now available as a DAISY
download. Thanks, Bob!
July QCWA Journal has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P, and is available in
streaming MP3 from a link at <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php> QCWA.org or
June CQ Magazine audio digest has been recorded for our blind members by Jim
Perry, KJ3P. We are waiting for the July release of the magazine so that we
can begin recording.
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: <http://www.freelists.org/list/handiham-world> Subscribe or
change your subscription to the E-mail version here.
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. Jim, KJ3P, will be helping us
with recordings from the new 2015 ARRL General License Manual.
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
LAST CALL FOR CAMP! - If you have been sitting on that camp application,
time to fill it out and send it in. If you have equipment needs and wish to
get equipment to take home from our collection of donated gear when you come
to camp, let us know.
Cabin 2, site of our ham radio stations and classes.
Photo: A Woodland Cabin with screen porch, fireplace, kitchen, laundry, and
comfortable great room.
<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!
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