[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 08 October 2014

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 13:57:50 -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, 08 October 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.

Cartoon world with radio tower

Are you a multimode operator?

You could be.  All it takes is a willingness to try something new. 

The IC-7200 tuned to14.050 CW and the Bencher paddle.

Take a look at your HF transceiver.  Main tuning control, audio and RF gain,
noise reduction...  Oh, there it is: MODE.  If you never press the MODE
button, you don't know what you're missing.  Sure, we have our favorite
modes of operation, mine being SSB phone - typically lower sideband on 160
through 40 meters.  The problem is that we can get into a rut, stuck in the
same old places on the band and doing the same thing every day.  

That may be comfortable, but it really isn't going to stretch our operating
skills, is it?

This was brought home to me a few days ago when I decided to break the old
habit of sticking on the same old bands and mode and find out if there was
anything happening on 20 meters. Starting on the low end of the band, I
heard a fairly strong station sending CW, so I took the plunge, switched the
mode to CW and tuned W1AW/7 in.  Mind you, he was sending at over 20 words
per minute and because I'd been stuck on SSB for so long and out of
practice, I really had to listen up as he worked one station after another
from his portable location in Idaho.  It was one of the ARRL Centennial

Although other stations were calling on his frequency, it paid to listen
carefully since he was sending "1 up".  Hoo, boy - that meant I had to learn
split operation, something I wasn't versed in.  It's often used in DX
operation, but since I'd been stuck on casual SSB operation for so long, I
didn't know how to set up the IC-7200 for split operation.  Well, as long as
I was in this far, I pulled the instruction manual off the shelf and found
the section on split mode operation.  Then I found out that I had to set the
keying speed - another trip through the manual. The Bencher paddle?  I had a
bit of a problem with that because it was pretty sticky on the dashes.  A
bit of adjustment helped some, but it was at least somewhat usable.  

I waited for a CQ, then jumped in with my crummy sending on the sticky
Bencher and got a reply right away.  "5-9-9 MN" and I had W1AW/7 in the log!
It was lucky for me that W1AW/7 stuck around long enough for me to read the
rig manual and fix my code key!  

Trying  a CW QSO wasn't exactly new for me, since when I was first licensed
as a teenager I couldn't afford a SSB rig and pretty much had to be
satisfied with code operation.  The thing is, when you don't do something
for decades, it really is like something new.  I guess I can try PSK-31
again, too.  Our local radio club will bring its digital net back to life
this Fall, so it will be a perfect opportunity to regain some old skills
with a keyboard mode.  In fact, relearning some of the modes I'd tried in
the past and even learning some new ones will add tools to my ham radio
toolkit, so to speak.  It will make me a better operator, even a better
asset if a communication emergency arises.  Besides, who knows where one's
path of learning will lead?  It's good to try new modes of operation and
take a peek through that door to the future!

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

Don't forget our nets...

.         Is your code a little rusty?  Or even non-existent?  Avery, K0HLA,
conducts the Morse Code Practice Net immediately following the Thursday
evening Handiham Net on the Echolink and IRLP-enabled network.  Join Avery
as he covers the very basic beginner introduction to the Morse code.  The
code net begins at approximately 8:00 PM Central Time on *HANDIHAM*,
Echolink node 494492, and on IRLP 9008.  Check-ins are taken both in CW and
on phone!  

Avery, K0HLA, sends Morse code.

.         Autumn is here and our daily Echolink net continues to operate for
anyone and everyone who cares to check in 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).  Tonight N6NFF will pose a trivia question in the first
half hour, so check in early if you want to take a guess.

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

.         With 75 meters becoming more usable by the day, consider checking
into the PICONET on 3.925 MHz, which has a long Handiham affiliation. It's
on Monday through Saturday mornings from 9 AM to 11 AM and Monday through
Friday afternoons from 3 PM to 5 PM Central Time.  Details and schedules are

.         Don't forget about our remote base station, W0ZSW, which is
available for your use. You can easily use it to check into PICONET on 75
meters or MIDCARS on 7.258 MHz.  The YL System net is happy to get your
check-in on 14.332 MHz.  You can find the YL System Net website at: 

.         UPDATE:  Yes, W0EQO is still unreachable due to a firewall issue,
but we are on track to open up ports on the new network's firewall.  I
received confirmation of the plan this week!  Hopefully the station will be
in operation soon.

Taking stock:

Let's find out what's going on.  

.         From KB3LLA: NASA is looking to increase the number of students
with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
careers through our internship programs. Disability means both physical and
mental disabilities. NASA has a two-percent hiring goal for employment of
people with disabilities and internships are a good way to get experience.
Students can apply for Summer 2015 internships, starting on November 1,
2014.  Head to http://intern.nasa.gov/ and check it out or read the complete
announcement on the Handiham website
<http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/362> .

.         Depending on your location, we are now around three weeks until
the return to standard time.  It happens first in Europe when clocks go back
1 hour on Sunday, Oct 26, 2014. Here in the United States and Canada it
happens on Sunday, Nov 2, 2014.  As always, Handiham nets remain true to
Minnesota local time.  In the summer Minnesota is 5 hours behind GMT.  In
the winter Minnesota is 6 hours behind GMT.  Where do I get my date and time
information?  Check it out at http://www.timeanddate.com. 

.         Plan to work the Split Rock Lighthouse Event - October 31st -
November 2nd.  It is sponsored by SARA, the Stillwater (MN) Amateur Radio
Association <http://www.radioham.org/>  each year.  We'll have more about
this as we approach the end of October.  The event station callsign will be
W0JH, the callsign once held by Father George Metcalf, who served as
chaplain to General Patton
f-patton-chaplain>  and who was an enthusiastic, long-time supporter of the
Handiham program.  SARA, a Handiham-affiliated club, now holds his callsign.

Split Rock lighthouse, as seen from land against clear blue sky.
Image: Split Rock Lighthouse stands tall against the clear, blue Minnesota

.         Wondering what else is on the air?  Check out the October Events
by N1YXU <http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/361> .

.         Last week I mentioned that I have decided to replace an aging
laptop computer in my home with an ASUS Windows 8.1 tablet and that I would
let you know how that experience went.  I chose Windows because I want to
run programs like the W4MQ client <http://handiham.org/remotebase/>  and Ham
Radio Deluxe <http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/> , and I'm pleased to report
that both programs run great on the tablet.  I also installed Echolink
<http://www.echolink.org/> , which worked right off the bat, except for
slightly low record audio the first time.  That's why I appreciate the
Echolink Test Server - it allows us to test audio levels before an actual
contact.  It takes a bit of practice to learn a tablet computer because
there is no regular keyboard.  While the touch screen does work very well
for some functions like web browsing, reading books, and the like, it is not
that easy to use when you need to compose an email.  It only took me a week
of fiddling around with the on-screen virtual keyboard to give in and order
a matching physical keyboard that is also designed as part of a case to
protect the tablet.  Overall, I am pleased with the Windows tablet, and I'm
looking forward to using it when traveling so I don't have to lug a big
computer along.  

.         The day before yesterday my copy of the August CQ in print arrived
a bit late, but still welcome.  The online version is up to date on the
Zinio website with the October issue.   Jim, KJ3P, will record some of the
August articles for our blind members.  

.         Last Friday I took the time to present a program to a local radio
club about HF remote base operation.  If you have a specialty in ham radio,
you might consider putting a presentation together, first for your own radio
club to give it a test drive, then for other clubs.  Radio clubs are always
looking for program ideas, so you will be welcomed with open arms.   One
problem I have is that my time is really limited and I have to be careful
not to say "yes" to every request, lest I get in over my head and fall
behind in other areas.  Balance in life is the key:  know what you can do
and plan accordingly.  

.         Are the kiddos interested in ham radio?  Check out this story from
the Cleveland Daily Banner about two sisters who are among the youngest
General Class operators in the nation.

.         Do you log your contacts?  Most of us do so by computer if we do
it at all.  Don't let the cost of logging software keep you from keeping a
computer log.  Good old, tried-and-true XMLog by W1ECT is still available.
It's both free to use AND accessible, too.  Check it out at XMLog.com.
<http://xmlog.com/>   It works on the Windows operating system and
interfaces with many radios, including all Kenwood models, the Elecraft K2
and K3, a long list of Icoms & Yaesus, and many other radios. The entire
list is on the website, and while you're there check out the photo and text
tour of the W1ECT shack <http://www.xmlog.com/shack/> .  

.         WA0CAF likes the free tutorial on how to use Nemeth, which is a
Braille code for advanced math symbols and topics
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemeth_Braille> .  It's from APH.org, and is
still in beta, but will take Braille users from the numeric indicator
through to integrals and partial derivatives.  Check it out at:

.         While WA0CAF has our attention, he also sends a link to Vision
Australia and a links page that includes an audio tutorial entitled
"Learning to keyboard and touch type without looking
and-resources/computer-access> " that was carried over to MP3 format from
venerable cassette tapes. The page has quite a lot of links, so do a
Control-F once it loads and then search for "Learning to Keyboard" and you
should find it quickly. 

.         Do you use software that requires ports to be opened in your home
router's firewall?  Echolink is one good example of such a program.  The
process is usually to use your web browser to open an administration page on
your home router and go to the "port forwarding" page to open the route to
one specific computer on your home network, the one on which you run
Echolink. This is fine if you only run Echolink on one machine, but what if
you want to run it on the computer in your ham shack one day and then out on
the patio using a laptop through your WIFI network the next day?  If you
forwarded the ports to only the machine in your ham shack, you are out of
luck using the laptop unless you run Echolink through a hard to find and
inconvenient proxy option.  There is a better way!  Many home routers (like
my Netgear router) support "port triggering" as well as forwarding.  What I
have done is set up the Echolink ports to be "triggered" to go to whatever
computer I happen to run Echolink on at the time.  If it is the shack
computer, the ports are automatically opened there.  Later on, when I run
the laptop, the ports are automatically opened there, right when and where I
need them without going to the router and resetting everything.  Only one
machine can be running Echolink and actively calling for ports at a time,
but this port triggering arrangement makes it much more convenient to use
Echolink on more than one computer around your home.  Many popular routers
like Netgear and D-Link have this feature. Check out your router's
instruction manual and if it supports port triggering, give it a try!

 port triggering page on router

Image:  Screenshot of a D-Link port triggering page.  Ports triggered for
Echolink are 5198 and 5199 UDP and 5200 TCP. 

.         Got a Tech license and stuck on FM repeaters?  Hey, I heard a
European station working USA stations in the Tech segment of the 10 meter
band this afternoon.  I heard a local guy work DX with one of those 25 watt
Radio Shack SSB transceivers!  Why not give the HF bands a try?   A dipole
antenna for 10 meters is only 16-1/2 feet from tip to tip.  You can easily
make your own antenna and fit it in nearly anywhere.  A quarter-wave
vertical is only 8-1/4 feet tall.  No problem!  Want to buy a "stick"
vertical antenna pre-made?  The MFJ-1610T 10 meter vertical stick antenna
will set you back $14.95, less mount. I doubt that it will break your

Technician Class operators have HF privileges on several bands, but there is
a nice segment on the 10 meter band between 28.300 and 28.500 MHz.  Novice
and Tech licensees may use up to 200 watts on SSB phone in that band
segment.  Get on HF and work some DX or talk across the continent.  10
meters opens up for long-distance contacts during the daylight hours.  

.         I got up early this morning and saw the lunar eclipse, which was
awesome thanks to the clear Canadian air mass we have over Minnesota today.
Then, checking out the 75 meter band before sunrise, the net control station
on the Breakfast Club (3.973 MHz) <http://hamdata.com/bc.html>  was very
strong from Kansas.  A local station here in my town of Woodbury, MN checked
in and he was no stronger than the Kansas station!  The net gets underway at
4:00 AM Central time and runs until 8:00 AM.  If 4:00 AM is too late for
you, there is also a "Before Breakfast Club
<http://beforebreakfastclub.org/> " net on the same 3.973 MHz frequency. Now
is the time to give 75 meters a try, especially if you are thinking of
collecting your ARRL WAS - Worked All States - award
<http://www.arrl.org/was> .  If you have never heard AM on the HF bands,
check out the small group that gets on 3.730 MHz in the morning here in the
Upper Midwest. You will be surprised at how clear the audio is without that
SSB processing.  

.         For my final:  You absolutely, positively MUST catch the SPN
Special: 100 Years of Amateur Radio from SeroTalk
<http://serotalk.com/2014/10/03/spn-special-100-years-of-amateur-radio/> .
It's Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV, at the ARRL Centennial as he conducts some
excellent interviews.  Listen in stereo if you can - it's well worth your
time:  Here's the link, thanks to KC0HSB: 

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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