Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 12 August 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:
. Radio Camp begins next week!
. Windows 10 headaches surface with upgrades.
. Check into our nets! Listen for Radio Camp.
. This week's website features the Blind-Hams Mailing List.
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question from the Technician Class
pool about checking voltages.
. August audio is available.
. ...And more!
Radio Camp begins next week!
The triband beam antenna, hidden by trees.
Can you find our triband beam antenna in this photo? We're part way down a
hill looking up through trees, so it's hard to spot, but it is in a clearing
atop the hill.
Yes, it's almost here - the summer 2015 Handiham Radio Camp session begins
on Tuesday, August 18. Several of us will do antenna and station setup on
Monday, August 17, so needless to say I'll be pretty busy all week with camp
activities. As usual, we do not publish an eletter or record a podcast
during camp week.
Windows 10 upgrade woes & wins:
This week I received the Windows 10 upgrade to my existing Windows 8.1
operating system. It was delivered via Windows update, so all I really
needed to do was to accept the upgrade invitation and then wait. Eventually
the rollout reached my machine, so I let it do its thing. There were a few
easy permission popups to accept, and the whole process probably took around
3 hours or so. So far, so good - but be warned that if you expect to get
any work done on the computer being upgraded, you may be disappointed.
Knowing this from past upgrades, I did mine late in the week, when the
computer wouldn't absolutely be needed.
The upgrade finished and there were some setup screens. The first, most
obvious problem was that only one of my two LCD screens now worked, and the
resolution was terrible. When I went to the Control Panel to adjust the
resolution, only one LCD panel had been detected. This eventually cleared
itself up, although I ended up wasting considerable time on it. There must
have been additional drivers downloaded in the background, so after half a
day or so, it magically worked again on about the umpteenth reboot.
This brings up the subject of hardware drivers. I hate being burned by
operating system changes that cause existing drivers to stop working, often
bricking a piece of hardware. This happened on a Toshiba laptop that also
received the upgrade, rendering the built in video camera useless. Will it
eventually receive an upgraded driver? Who knows? Will the driver come
from the computer manufacturer, the manufacturer of the camera hardware, or
from Windows? Who knows? This is a real annoyance and a potential
deal-killer if the piece of hardware is vital to the user. Who wants a
computer that is less functional after an upgrade? The audio system,
essential to ham radio VoIP applications, did work fine and since I seldom
used the video anyway, I guess I'll keep the Toshiba's Windows 10 upgrade.
If the hardware failures don't make your head spin, the software failures
just might. Now, every time I start the Toshiba, there is a message warning
me that the NVDA screenreader is not entirely compatible
<http://www.nvaccess.org/win10/> . Meanwhile, on my main PC, I was required
to uninstall Window-Eyes before proceeding with the upgrade. If you are a
screenreader user, you should be careful about upgrading due to the
potential problems with one or more screenreaders. The GW Micro website
does state that there is Windows 10 compatibility, but the related website
offering Window-Eyes for Office <http://www.windoweyesforoffice.com/> users
Another software failure was the RCForb remote base HF system - both the
host and client versions. Brandon, KG6YPI, was on top of the problem
immediately and a fix was released in updated links available here.
this problem took the WA0TDA HF Remote off the air for a couple of days. My
son Will, KC0LJL, upgraded his PC and found that Audacity wouldn't work. He
solved the problem temporarily by going back to - believe it or not - a much
older version of Audacity. Meanwhile, back at my own PC, my existing
installation of Audacity worked okay once I fiddled with the levels and
audio devices. What gets tanked on one machine may work on another, since
they all have different hardware and different drivers. Another example is
that the RCForb HF remote client worked without a hitch on the Toshiba
laptop even though it wouldn't work at all on my main PC. These kinds of
problems are inevitable when changing operating systems because there are so
many combinations of hardware and software out there in the user base that
every potential problem cannot possibly be predicted.
Our blind members using NVDA and other screenreaders may want to use caution
when upgrading to Windows 10. The replacement web browser, Microsoft Edge,
falls short on accessibility, according to the NVDA assessment.
<http://www.nvaccess.org/win10/> One glaring example, according to NVDA, is
that if you do an upgrade and allow Edge to become the default PDF reader,
you will find that the PDF is entirely inaccessible. However, Adobe Reader
will still read embedded text via screenreader. This is exactly the sort of
thing to watch for as you manage an OS upgrade, since it can take
considerable time to put your system back together when bits and pieces
don't work as expected.
Overall, the Windows 10 interface is clean and better than the Windows 8
screen. The performance is good, and the built-in security works well
behind the scenes. I've not decided where I stand with the Edge browser,
but I'm trying it a couple of times a day. Remember, though, I can see the
screen and am not depending on a screenreader to access the browser content.
Screenshot of ease of access window
Windows 10 does retain the existing accessibility tools available through
the Control Panel in the "Ease of Access Center". Users of these features
will immediately recognize the familiar choices like Narrator and Magnifier.
Checking into other ham radio related software, I experienced only minor
audio issues with Echolink. I had to fiddle with the input and output
devices, and after a few tries I was successfully working the test server. I
did not have to re-allow Echolink through the Windows firewall, so the
firewall settings must have been retained from Windows 8.1. Ham Radio
Deluxe version 6.2X also retained its settings and permissions, working
perfectly right off the bat. Lately I've been doing my logging through
QRZ.com, and that also works just fine. I have not tested a Logbook of the
World upload, though.
So here we are with some choices to make. Windows 10 is the latest version
and ultimately the future of Windows. It performs well, and the interface
is improved over Windows 8.1. The security system works well behind the
scenes. Microsoft has done a great job on this latest OS upgrade. On the
other hand, accessibility falls short, at least for now, if you are a
screenreader user and you are a bit tentative about making somewhat advanced
changes to your computer system. It may be wiser to wait just a bit before
jumping on the upgrade bandwagon, since hardware drivers and software
upgrades need some time to catch up. That will give you time to read about
the experiences that other users are having with their systems, arming you
with more ideas and insights for the time when you say yes to the upgrade.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
Remember that Handiham Radio Camp begins next week on Tuesday, August 18
when campers arrive. Look for the camp on the air beginning later in the
day on the 18th and through the camp session, which ends on August 24, our
return travel day. We hope to be on the daily net as often as possible, as
well as on the HF bands using multiple stations. Look for updates on
Handiham.org. Please do not ask me for a schedule, since I cannot predict
the exact times we will be on the air, given the dynamic of our operating
skills group and HF band conditions. Of course we all know about the
regularly scheduled daily Echolink net, don't we? That is a good place to
begin if you are looking for Radio Camp on the air.
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 website: The Blind-Hams Mailing List.
The Blind-Hams mailing list is the go-to place to get your questions about
amateur radio equipment and software answered. You can post questions and
help others by sharing your knowledge. The list is extremely active, so you
will get a lot of emails. You may wish to filter your mail, adding the
output of the list to a special folder in your email software.
To subscribe, send mail to <mailto:LISTSERV@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
LISTSERV@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the command (paste it!):
Alternatively, to simply search the Blind-Hams archive, go to:
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the Technician
Class question pool, number T7D02. It asks:
"What is the correct way to connect a voltmeter to a circuit?"
Possible answers are:
A. In series with the circuit
B. In parallel with the circuit
C. In quadrature with the circuit
D. In phase with the circuit
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's
remind ourselves that it helps to have test instruments around when you are
an active ham radio operator. There will be times when you want to check
continuity with an ohmmeter, current with an ammeter, and voltage with a
voltmeter. Most of us have instruments called "multimeters" that combine
all three of these functions.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer B, in
parallel with the circuit, you got this one right. Perhaps you have already
familiarized yourself with how to use a multimeter. If so, you knew that
the voltage is measured across the power leads, say at the positive and
negative terminals of a power supply. The voltmeter circuit is high
impedance, and even connected directly across the two power supply
terminals, it will draw only negligible current. However, if you connected
an ammeter (or the multimeter in the amps configuration) across those same
power supply terminals, you would see sparks and possibly smell smoke if the
fuse didn't blow first. The same would happen with the ohmmeter.
Learning about basic test instruments is vital to being able to diagnose
common electrical problems. Ask for help in learning these skills through
your local radio club. Perhaps a group session on multimeters for newbies
would be just the thing. Always remember to double check your multimeter
settings to be sure you have the right function selected! One question we
get is whether there is a talking multimeter that can be used by our blind
members. The answer is that none is in production at this time, but there
are possibly some available on the used market. You may want to pose this
question to the Blind-Hams mailing list.
New audio: There is new audio since last week.
* The Doctor is In column for September is completed. Check in the
members section later this week.
* QST for August in digital has been recorded by Bob, N1BLF, and is
ready. We have it in DAISY for our blind members.
* ARRL General Class License Manual: Jim Perry, KJ3P, has finished the
first three chapters of the new ARRL General Class License manual, recorded
for our blind members. The audio is processed into DAISY for our General
* QCWA Journal for August has also been recorded by Jim, KJ3P. It is
released when the official Journal for August is posted at QCWA.org, which
has been done, so it is now available at QCWA.org.
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 is 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, is 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:
. 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
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.
Return to Handiham.org <http://handiham.org>