[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 09 April 2014

  • From: Pat Tice <Pat.Tice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 19:43:57 +0000

[Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health]
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the 
week of Wednesday, 09 April 2014

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Kenny Handiham 
System<http://handiham.org>. Our contact information is at the end, or simply 
email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> for changes 
in subscriptions or to comment. You can listen to this news online.

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Welcome to Handiham World.
Time's up!
[Guy shaking fist at dead computer]
Tuesday, April 8 was the day support ended for Windows XP.

It's no surprise by now, since the end of XP support has been in the news for 
months, and it's been discussed in ham radio magazines, internet groups, and 
even on the air.  It's been a topic on the Handiham nets, too.  Well, Tuesday 
came and went and the world didn't end for those of us who still have a few old 
XP machines around the house.

There have been articles and more articles about this, and most of them 
conclude by pushing the official line, which is that we are supposed to take 
advantage of the "opportunity" to "upgrade" to a brand-new computer system.  
While it is true that this is certainly a solution for some users, it darned 
sure isn't as easy as they make it out to be for many other users.  The 
advantages are that you will start out with brand-new hardware that is likely 
to perform better and be reliable for years to come, as well as a modern 
operating system that will have good support for security and other updates.

That sounds great, but virtually all of these articles downplay or don't even 
mention the headache of making the new computer and operating system do exactly 
what you want it to once you have unpacked the box and set it up.  None of your 
software will be on the new machine.  Everything you use for ham radio - 
Echolink, your logging software, rig control software - all of it will need to 
be reinstalled.  But downloading the installers and running them is only the 
beginning, because they will all need configuration.  You'll spend hours 
finding data files to import to the new machine, setting up the new firewall to 
allow your ham radio programs access to what they need on the internet, and on 
and on and on.

And that's just the ham radio software!

You may use other programs, like Adobe Photoshop Elements.  Sorry, the version 
that worked on your old computer won't play on Windows 8.  FrontPage?  Nope.  
And the web browser may not be the one you are used to, either.  Besides, it 
will not have your bookmarks.  Or saved logon information for about a bazillion 
websites.  Roll up your sleeves and have your credit card handy, because you 
are in for a lot of work downloading, configuring, and maybe buying new 
software programs to match your new operating system and hardware.

Speaking of hardware, there is another nasty surprise for you waiting in your 
peripherals.  That nice scanner you have connected to your XP machine?  Oh, oh 
- the manufacturer has not published drivers for it that will work with the new 
versions of Windows.  Printer?  USB drivers for all kinds of stuff you might 
connect like radios or cameras?  Who knows?

If you are under the impression that you will be able to easily migrate from XP 
to 7 or 8.1, you are quite possibly mistaken.  This is not possible even if 
your old XP machine is well-resourced and can run Windows 7 or 8.1, which most 
are not.  You cannot just pop in a CD or DVD and hit the "upgrade" button.  
There are such things as an "Upgrade 
 to help you decide.  I've upgraded lots of computers and I'm an enthusiastic 
Windows 8.1 user, but I also have installations of Windows XP, Vista, and 7.  
They are there for a reason:  They are still useful for some things that will 
not run on the newer versions of Windows.  One machine excels at running Chirp, 
the ham radio programming software.  Another runs Photoshop and FrontPage.  
Several have media files or documents that I want to save.

What I am hearing from around the web is that, yes, there is more of a security 
risk with XP when support ends.  On the other hand, you can install third-party 
security software like Malwarebytes<https://www.malwarebytes.org/> and be 
careful about web browsing and email usage on that particular machine.  You can 
make sure that your hardware firewall in your home router is set up and 
working. And you can use a newer, up to date machine for regular email, web 
surfing, and secure transactions.

So perhaps you will buy a new computer for those daily tasks and the peace of 
mind of having regular security updates.  You should definitely do so if you 
are prone to picking up malware or if the computer is used by everyone in the 
family.  But that does not mean that you should toss out that older XP box if 
it is running your ham radio software and other programs.  Take your time about 
moving them to a new machine and just be a little bit smarter about managing 
your own security on the old machine, and you'll do just fine. Ultimately, you 
may want to keep an old XP machine off the internet, which means it can be 
safely used for things like radio programming.  Do your web surfing and secure 
transactions on an up-to-date machine.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator


[Code Key]

Ken, KB3LLA, with new April antenna

[Ken poses with a tall cactus plant]

Ken, KB3LLA, writes to us and includes a photo of "his new antenna" - actually 
a tall cactus.  Well it is the month of April...  I just hope Ken does not have 
to climb that cactus to adjust the capacitive hat!

Flashcards on the big screen!

Have a Chromecast (~$35) and looking for an inexpensive way to display 
flashcards and sample exams on a TV or compatible display system?  Online Exam 
Prep Support System (OEPSS) was designed to be used with a Chromecast.  It 
generates flashcards covering topics within subelements or entire subelements.  
OEPSS also generates sample license exams.  At the end of each sample exam, a 
table of correct answers and corresponding question numbers will be displayed.  
A printable answer sheet is included for grading exams. OEPSS can be used to 
supplement a license exam class or to conduct a license exam CRAM session.
online exam prep support 

(Thanks to NC4FB via Yahoo Groups Ham Instructor List)

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

The Equipment Program will be at Radio Camp.  Campers will be able to take home 
equipment, provided that the Equipment Program has it available.  Campers 
should let us know what they need to get on the air. Categories of equipment 
that can be made available for you to take home from camp are:

VHF/UHF radios

HF radios

Accessories like speakers and tuners

Morse code accessories

Other accessories - Please let me know what you need.

Putting out the welcome mat - West Palm shows us how:

[Cartoon stick family of different colors and abilities, all holding hands]

I expect most radio clubs would welcome Hams and potential members with special 
needs. But I have found that many clubs tend to be a little cliquish as far as 
their meetings and membership and activities.

That is not the case here in West Palm Beach, Florida. We have about a dozen 
local clubs and they all get along generally very well. Being a large county 
(1600 square miles) there are both "local" clubs and a centralized club. Our 
centralized club is the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group which meets at the 
South Florida Science Center and Aquarium and we have a club station there open 
every day of the week. We were the 2013 Hamvention Club of the Year and we are 
very accessible friendly and we fully welcome everyone.

We give ARRL VE Exams to blind and very low vision Hams by reading the 
questions and possible answers to them in a private session. We can also 
provide CCTV magnifiers for those who need them to study or prefer to take the 
exam that way. And of course we can accommodate those with more severe 
restrictions. Our licensing classes are very friendly with lots of audio and 
hands on. We also have Basic Electronics classes, Antenna classes, Digital mode 
workshops, and Morse Code classes. All of our club activities (meetings, 
picnics, Field Day, Public Service events, etc.) are held at facilities that 
are accessible and we welcome everyone's participation. No matter what 
someone's special needs are we have a role they can play.

We have Elmers and Mentors available for all Hams because we all need someone 
to ask questions of and get advice from as we progress through the world of Ham 

We would be happy to share our experiences and information with any other clubs 
you come across that need some guidance in dealing with their local Lighthouse, 
Braille Club, Local Special Needs Transportation (who never seem to be on time 
anywhere in the country), and other agencies.

You may have a list of local clubs to refer people to and if so please include 
us. If not, that may be an added service you can provide.

We do have a website, www.wpbarg.com<http://www.wpbarg.com>, but it is not as 
Bobby friendly as I would like. That we will be redoing this year so it is 
fully Section 508 compliant and working well with Window Eyes and Jaws.

Thanks and 73,

Tom Loughney, AJ4XM
Board Member, West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group<http://www.wpbarc.com/>

WPARG Contact Form<http://www.wpbarc.com/information/contact.php>

Dip in the pool dives into the Extra Class:

Today we are checking out a question about propagation, a specific type of 
propagation that might have a seasonal component for some of us.

E3C13 asks, "What type of polarization is best for ground-wave propagation?"

Possible choices are:

A. Vertical
B. Horizontal
C. Circular
D. Elliptical

The answer is A, Vertical.  Vertical polarization does work best for 
ground-wave propagation, and this can be heard clearly on bands like 160 and 75 
meters during the summertime when skywave propagation is not practical because 
of high absorption but when ground wave can still be useful.  Don't believe me? 
 Try an A-B test, switching between a vertical and a horizontal antenna, and 
you'll find out the vertical is best for ground wave because of its low angle 
of radiation.

It's not too early to think about Field Day:

  *   The 2014 field day packets and rules are available from ARRL.  Visit:

Practical Radio

[pliers and wire]

When should you fix your own gear?

That's a good question, and one that would be answered much differently - for 
me, anyway - when I first got started in ham radio.

In 1967, when I was a teenager, I was learning a lot about electronics by 
building my own projects.  Wiring was "point to point", which meant actual 
wires connected components on the bottom of a metal chassis.  Vacuum tubes were 
common parts back then, and they plugged into tube sockets, the bottoms of 
which had solder terminals.  It was easy to identify individual components and 
to troubleshoot a problem right down to the component level.  I would - and did 
- certainly try my hand at fixing a problem with my radio gear.

Today we have a different radio altogether.  Modular design is more common, and 
troubleshooting to the component level is difficult, not only because of the 
tiny solid-state integrated design, but because special test equipment is a 
must.  In many cases, repairs are done at an authorized service center, and the 
repair techs there have replacement modules available to simplify and speed 
diagnosis and repairs.

Some repairs can be undertaken by end users, but not many - and that goes for 
most of us.  We simply don't have the tools to manage, and our workbenches are 
not stocked with spare modules! That said, it may be possible to undertake 
minor repairs or modifications.  Online resources are available as guidance, 
depending on the mod.  If you can handle working with tools designed to match 
the tiny parts and confined spaces, and you can follow directions - and see 
well enough to manage, then go for it.  You'll have to mind protection against 
static discharge that can destroy the junctions in diodes, transistors, and 
integrated circuits. You may need a magnifier and anti-static tools. You will 
have to be patient and have steady hands.  You have to have problem-solving 
skills, since even detailed instructions cannot cover everything that might 
come up in a modification or repair project.

Generally speaking, I feel more confident working on a piece of gear like an 
antenna tuner than a transceiver.  I feel that I can dress a piece of coax and 
install a PL-259, then test it for continuity and shorts. I can build a wire 
antenna.  There are lots of projects in the ham radio magazines that seem 
within my ability.  Rather than get stressed out over whether I can fix a 
problem in a complicated radio, I work on stuff that I know I can manage.

Most of us are probably better off putting our efforts into learning how to 
connect and interface our equipment rather than how to open it up and fix it.  
There is a bigger payoff in knowing how to install and configure your gear, so 
that you don't need to ask for help when it is time to switch something out or 
get a radio ready for Field Day.

At one time, building and maintaining all of one's station equipment was 
considered the mark of a true amateur radio operator.  But those days are in 
the distant past, and it is necessary to be practical about what we can 
reasonably do, given the state of the radio art.  I don't feel embarrassed to 
send a radio in for repair if necessary.  On the other hand, I probably won't 
do the same with a manual antenna tuner!  You should do the same thing, which 
is what feels right for you.  If you want to learn more about troubleshooting, 
kit-building, and making your own projects, by all means do so.  There are lots 
of books, YouTube videos, websites, and other resources these days.  If your 
radio club offers technical project group activities, check them out.

This is practical radio - Know what to fix and what to take to the repair shop.

Handiham Nets are on the air daily.


Listen for The Handiham Wednesday evening net tonight and try to answer the 
trivia question (if there is one) 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!

We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time.  Since 
the nets remain true to Minnesota time, the difference between Minnesota 
Daylight Saving time and GMT is -5 hours and the net is on the air at 16:00 
hours GMT.

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

The official and most current net news may be found at:

This week @ HQ

[Cartoon robot with pencil]

Email changes coming April through May

We will be making some changes this Spring in our email systems.  Watch this 
newsletter and the Handiham website<https://handiham.org> for any changes in 
our contact information.

I'll be taking Fridays off for a while.  Our office will be closed Fridays.  
Our usual hours are 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM CDT, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM EDT.  Outside 
those hours, you may email us or leave a voice message.

Digests & Lectures

Reminder:  If you use the NLS cartridges, please return them to us by the first 
week in the month so we can include your cartridge in the next mailing. We have 
April audio available for our blind members, including the QST Doctor column, 
the new 2014-2018 Technician Question Pool in DAISY format, read by Jim, KJ3P, 
and another chapter on VoIP, read by me, WA0TDA.

CQ Plus April 2014 digest is in DAISY format.  Log in and check out the new CQ! 
 This will be included in this month's NLS cartridge.

QCWA Digest for April 2014 is available in MP3.

We have new CQ audio for our blind members submitted by Jim, KJ3P.  It is an 
interview with Jim Kutsch, KY2D, President and CEO of The Seeing Eye. This is 
from the January 2014 issue, and some additional audio submitted by Bob, N1BLF, 
from the March/April CQ Plus.  If you are a Handiham member and wish to be on 
our closed notification list for Friday audio, please contact Nancy Meydell in 
our main office.

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.

In the Extra Class audio lecture series we have completed the course, finishing 
up with safety. Everything is now on line and available either as a Daisy 
download in zip file format or as individual MP3 files.  The zip file is a half 
gig, so it is huge.  Please don't attempt it on a slow or flaky internet 

Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY do the volunteer 
digest recording.  Thanks, guys!

In Operating Skills: Joe Bogwist, N3AIN, opens his Radio in the Dark series 
with tutorials on how to use the new Kenwood TS-590S 160 - 6 m transceiver!

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.

Remote Base News

Both stations are operational.

[W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.]

[Kenwood TS-480HX transceiver with LDG autotuner]

Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line for 
your use 24/7.

  *   If you use Skype for audio, please connect and disconnect the Skype call 
to the remote base manually.  The automatic calling and hang up is no longer 
supported in Skype.
  *   200 watt operation is restored on 160, 80, and 40 meters for Extra and 
Advanced Class users on W0ZSW.

*         Outages: Outages are reported on 

Operating tip:  Find out how to tell if the remote base station is already in 
use if you are using JAWS:

  *   Listen to the tutorial:
  *   Read the tutorial in accessible HTML:

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]

Don't care to download Handiham materials via computer? The NLS digital 
cartridge and mailer can bring you Handiham audio digests each month, plus we 
have room to put the audio lecture series or equipment tutorials on them, too!

Want to log in?  Let's go:

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:

If you have trouble logging in, please let us know.

  *   All Daisy materials are in zip file format, so you simply download the 
zip file you need and unzip it so the Daisy book folder can be accessed or 
moved to your NLS or other Daisy player.
  *   Tip: When in the Daisy directory, it is easy to find the latest books by 
sorting the files by date. Be sure the latest date is at the top. The link to 
sort is called "Last Modified".
  *   You can also find what is on a web page by using CONTROL-F.  This brings 
up a search box and you can type a key word in, such as "September".  You may 
find more than one September, including 2012, but you will eventually come 
across what we have posted for September 2013.

Digital mailers are important: If you do mail a digital cartridge to us, please 
be sure that it is an approved free matter mailer. Otherwise it will quickly 
cost us several dollars to package and mail out, which is more than the cost of 
the mailer in the first place. We don't have a stock of cartridges or mailers 
and not including a mailer will result in a long delay getting your request 
back out to you.

DAISY audio digests are available for our blind members who do not have 
computers, playable in your Library of Congress digital player.  Handiham 
members who use these players and who would prefer to receive a copy of the 
monthly audio digests on the special Library of Congress digital cartridge 
should send a blank cartridge to us in a cartridge mailer (no envelopes, 
please), so that we can place the files on it and return it to you via free 
matter postal mail.  Your call sign should be on both the cartridge and the 
mailer so that we can make sure we know who it's from. Blank cartridges and 
mailers are available from APH, the American Printing House for the Blind, 

Digital Talking Book Cartridge, 4GB, Blank; Catalog Number: 1-02609-00, Price 

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price: $2.50

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital cartridges:

Get it all on line as an alternative:  Visit the DAISY section on the Handiham 
website after logging in.

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 
hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 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 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:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Courage Kenny Handiham Program<http://handiham.org>
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 
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>  for changes of 
address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.

Return to Handiham.org<http://handiham.org>

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 09 April 2014 - Pat Tice