[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 14 January 2015

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:27:22 -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, 14 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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RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
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Welcome to Handiham World.

Old cathedral radio

The new hybrid radios

Amateur Radio operators of a "certain age" (like me) grew up in the days of
vacuum tube equipment.  Transistors didn't come into widespread consumer use
until the second half of the 20th Century, and tube-type ham radio
transmitters, receivers, and transceivers ruled the roost for quite some
time, even into the early 1970's when transistors began to creep into
low-power signal circuits and audio stages.  Hybrid rigs showed up with tube
finals, and then finally high power solid state became reliable and cheap
and transistors and integrated circuits became the norm.  Today old radio
gear still has a certain cache and thus a following.  Some collectors like
to gather on bands like 75 meters and operate AM phone with the vintage
gear.  I enjoy listening to 3.730 MHz AM in the early morning hours as the
old gear gets a workout on the air.  

One of the memories that remains with me is the way old radios always had to
"warm up" before you could hear anything coming out of the speaker.  My
grandmother had an old cathedral radio - shaped like a stained glass
cathedral window, hence the name - and gave it to me when I was maybe 13 or
14.  I loved the way it looked and sounded, and if I looked through the
ventilation holes in the back I could see the tubes glowing red.  Radios
like this helped pique an interest in electronics because you could look in
the back and see the parts!  One characteristic of electronics back then was
that every device had to "warm up".  You turned on the power, which was
usually also the volume control (audio gain) and then you waited until the
tubes glowed red and the circuit came to life. 

One day the old cathedral radio quit working.  A peek in the back revealed
that one of the tubes no longer was glowing.  I turned the radio to get a
better look, jostling it a bit, and lo and behold, the "dead" tube came to
life.  It turned out to be intermittent.  This was another "aha" moment.
Tubes burned out like light bulbs.  They got hot - too hot to touch.  They
required high voltages and low voltages at the same time; high voltage on
the plate (anode) and low voltage to heat the cathode filament as well as to
bias the grid.  There was a lot to be learned about vacuum tubes and it
seemed like there were plenty of opportunities to learn while fixing
tube-type equipment, which was really unreliable by today's standards.  But
it was a good time to learn by hands-on projects because the components were
big and easy to work with.  

Don't get the idea that I think of tube gear as "the good old days".  Far
from it.  Dangerous voltages, inefficient heat-producing filaments, the long
wait while everything heated up to operating temperature, the horrible
reliability - all of it makes it more like "the bad old days".  It's still
fun to play with the old gear but it's not up to the quality and reliability
of today's electronics.

There was a period of evolution in consumer electronics when the warm up
period went away.  Tubes were gone; transistors and integrated circuits went
mainstream, and when you clicked the power button the radio came on right
away.  Interestingly enough, the warm up period seems to be returning.  Can
you guess why?

It's not because something is warming up.  There are no vacuum tubes with
cathodes to heat.  Instead, it's because something is booting up.  The new
electronics are controlled by software, and the software needs to load
before the device can accept user commands.  We are all familiar with
computers that need time to boot an operating system, but a TV set?  Yes,
even a TV set needs a boot routine before it can operate.  This will be the
norm; a meld of computer code and solid state hardware work together to
define the device.  

Vacuum tube technology had its weak points, but what about this new
hardware-software amalgam?  We might have crossed the peak of reliability in
solid state design and entered a less certain world in which new hardware -
surface mount components and ICs containing thousands of active devices -
provide awesome reliability and speed along with power saving efficiency,
but controlled by thousands of lines of computer code, sometimes buggy, and
almost always rushed out the door to consumers.  One of the aggravations of
modern life is turning out to be the endless parade of software updates
everything electronic seems to need.  Our TV set recently announced that it
had updated its firmware.  Swell, but it still takes its time booting up.
I've had my car in for a software update that controls something in the
timing so as to preserve the catalytic converter.  Our Handiham transceivers
have needed updates, and I'm not even sure what they fixed.  My ham shack
computer has had more updates than I can count.  

Problems associated with buggy software usually are fairly subtle.  The
device - whatever it is - usually still works but some function is not what
it should be.  Occasionally a failure is disabling to the device, but only
occurs when a certain combination of functions are present.  When we passed
the pinnacle of solid state design without software and began adding
computer code to control circuits, we started to introduce more potential
failure points.  Astoundingly complex software is almost certain to be less
than perfect, especially when it is in its first release:  the dreaded
version 1.0!  But we'd better get used to it; these new hybrids do not meld
transistors and vacuum tubes.  They combine transistors, integrated
circuits, and software.  And just like that old transistor-tube hybrid rig,
one side of the hybrid is more likely to fail than the other, and it's not
the solid-state hardware.  It's not that I'd want to avoid the new hybrids
with their software - but I do want us to keep in mind the new
vulnerabilities posed by this technology.  That is part of being a good,
well-prepared Amateur Radio operator. 

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


CQ announces end of CQ Plus feature

For the past year the CQ Plus feature was an online companion to CQ
Magazine. Our "Ham Radio Challenges" Handiham column appeared at intervals
in CQ Plus and before that as the "With the Handihams" column in Worldradio
for many years.  Last week CQ made an official announcement that included
this and other changes.  Here it is:

(Hicksville, NY, January 9, 2015) -- CQ magazine today announced that it
will be publishing a combined January/February 2015 issue and will be
ceasing publication of its "CQ Plus" digital edition supplement as of the
March 2015 issue. Both moves are intended to help restore the magazine's
normal schedule for its print edition and to strengthen its foundations
moving forward as it enters its eighth decade of publication, said Publisher
Dick Ross, K2MGA. "These decisions were not made lightly," he added, "but in
recognition of the realities of the publishing industry. It's a tough time
to be in the magazine business, and we appreciate the patience and loyalty
of both our readers and our advertisers."

CQ will continue to publish both print and digital editions, but the digital
edition will no longer contain the 50-60 additional pages each month that
constituted "CQ Plus." Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, noted that he hopes to
include some former CQ Plus content within the pages of CQ, but says ham
radio will remain the magazine's primary focus, as it has been for the past
seven decades. CQ is marking its 70th anniversary of publication as of its
January/February issue.

As a consequence of the changes, CQ Plus Editor Richard Fisher, KI6SN, will
be leaving the CQ staff after serving for many years as a columnist for, and
then as editor of, Popular Communications, WorldRadio Online and CQ Plus. He
was also CQ magazine's Emergency Communications Editor. "We will miss
Richard's many contributions to CQ's products," noted Moseson, "and thank
him for his many years of service to our readers."

Subscribers to both the print and digital editions of CQ will have their
subscriptions extended by one month due to the combined January/February

 <http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/> CQ is the world's leading independent
amateur radio magazine, serving the amateur radio community worldwide since
1945. It is published in three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese)
and in both print and digital formats.


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


How long does the net last?

That's a question we get from time to time.  The Handiham net may run as
long as the net control station deems necessary to handle whatever traffic
there might be.  In the case of an emergency where one or more repeaters may
be needed locally, the NCS may wish to terminate the net to clear the way
for emergency traffic.  If a single affected repeater can disconnect from
the conference to handle the emergency locally, that would be an alternate
solution to allow the net session to continue.  

Sometimes there is not enough traffic to maintain an active list of stations
checking in.  The NCS may elect to finish the net early, as he or she sees
fit.  There is no specific time slot that must be filled.  If there is so
little traffic that the NCS seems to be the only one there, it seems
sensible to just tie the ribbons on it and clear the frequency.  Sometimes
the NCS may have to leave early.  If the torch can be passed to an alternate
NCS, fine, but there is no obligation to continue the net to fill an entire


What topics are discussed on the Handiham net, and in what format?

That is a good question!  The net control station sets the net's format and
guides the flow of the net.  Although it is most common to call for
check-ins, make a list, and then call each station on the list in turn for
some short comments, there is no rule that says a net must be run that way,
especially an informal social net like our daily net.  If a NCS wishes to
begin a topical discussion and pass the conversation around to a list of
stations that have checked in, that is certainly fine.


Window-Eyes 9 is out!

Ken, KB3LLA, passed on a new release announcement about the popular
screenreading software Window-EyesR from GW Micro.  

Anyone using the English version of the retail version or the Window-Eyes
Offer for Users of Microsoft Office can download and use Window-Eyes 9. For
anyone who has a valid license of Microsoft Office 2010 or higher,
Window-Eyes can be downloaded for free at
<http://www.windoweyesforoffice.com> www.windoweyesforoffice.com. If you
haven't tried Window-Eyes in a while, give Window-Eyes 9 a try for free

Find out more about Window-Eyes 9.0 features.


HRD maintenance release is out:

Ham Radio Deluxe has just announced a maintenance release, version  

HRD maintenance release update installation

I like Ham Radio Deluxe and am pleased to be able to support the development
of this excellent software by purchasing the pay-for version at the 2014
Dayton HamventionT.  Although HRD is still available as a free version that
is no longer under active development, the newest version does have the
clear advantage of being kept up to date.
<http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/> There is even a free trial of the newest
version on the HRD website.  If you are blind and concerned that HRD is not
accessible to you, check out the excellent
<http://www.hamradioandvision.com/ham-radio-deluxe-screen-reader/> Ham Radio
and Vision article about using HRD with your screenreader.  If you want, you
can also try the
<http://www.iw5edi.com/software/ham-radio-deluxe-5-download-links> older
free version 5.X of HRD available on the IW5EDI website. 

Installation for existing registered users is simple - just download the
file and run the executable as a Windows administrator.  The software
installs pretty much without intervention aside from the usual user
agreement acceptance.  At the end of the process you are given the option to
run HRD.  I performed this update on my own main ham shack computer this
morning and it took under five minutes.  I had already downloaded the update
the previous day, and that actually took longer since the file size was
around 97 MB.  Upon completion, I chose to start HRD and watched for the
splash screen to confirm that the update had been successful.  It did indeed
show version number on the splash screen, and when the software
displayed the rig control screen all of my memories and settings had been
flawlessly migrated from the old version to the new.  The Icom IC-7200 was
running, and the Breakfast Club Net frequency of 3.973 MHz was displayed.  


A dip in the pool

circuit board

It's cold outdoors today, but we are going to take a dip in the pool anyway.
Fortunately, it is the Question Pool, not the swimming pool.  Looking
forward to the new 2015 General Pool that comes into effect on July 1, we
sample the following new question.  Let's see if you can get the answer!

G5C16 asks, "Why is the conductor of the primary winding of many voltage
step up transformers larger in diameter than the conductor of the secondary

Possible answers are:

A. To improve the coupling between the primary and secondary
B. To accommodate the higher current of the primary
C. To prevent parasitic oscillations due to resistive losses in the primary
D. To insure that the volume of the primary winding is equal to the volume
of the secondary winding

What do you think?  Did you pick answer B, To accommodate the higher current
of the primary?  If you did, you were correct.  There are a couple of things
to know.  One is that a current flows through a conductor much like water
flowing in a pipe.  However, the current flow through a small diameter pipe
will necessarily be rather low since the small diameter pipe cannot
accommodate lots of water.  Similarly, more electrical current can flow in a
larger diameter wire than in a thin wire.  But remember that power = amps x
volts when we calculate power.  That means that we can get more "power"
through a smaller diameter wire if we up the voltage!  And of course, what
does the transformer in this question do?  It is stepping up the voltage, of
course, since it is a "voltage step up transformer".  Let's multiply a
couple of numbers to remind ourselves how power works.  

If we have a 12 volt supply and we wish to power a 120 watt device, we would
necessarily need to draw 10 amps of current, right?  10 amps x 12 volts =
120 watts.

Remember now that our wire has a limited current handling capability!  Wire
sizes are listed by "gauge", with a lower gauge number meaning a thicker
wire.   <http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm> You can check out current
handling capabilities of different gauge wires in this on line table, along
with other wire characteristics.  Checking the chart to see what gauge of
wire will handle 10 amps, we find that we need at least 11 gauge, and 10
would be even better because we want to have some extra current handling

But now let's say on the transformer secondary we have a much higher
voltage, 120 volts.  Since the formula for power is the same, we multiply
120 volts by only 1 amp to get 120 watts out!  Now we can choose wire that
only needs to carry one amp of current instead of 10 to get the same power
of 120 watts.  Going back to the wire chart, we find that we can use much
thinner wire, such as 20 gauge.  

The thing to remember is that if you increase the voltage, a conductor can
handle more current.  If you decrease the voltage, you will need larger
cross-section wires to handle that same current.  This is important if you
are running 12 VDC cables to a transmitter, since the cable will have to
carry a lot of current for a given amount of wattage. 

power line 

Have you ever wondered why the power company runs really high voltages in
cross-country power lines, sometimes as much as 120 kV or more?   It's to
reduce losses over distance and to carry more power in a relatively small
cross section conductor.  Obviously the power company does not want to use
heavy, expensive wires and supports, so a strong, smaller diameter lighter
wire is preferable.

FCC Enforcement Actions:

There is one FCC enforcement action noted in today's FCC digest.  BRIAN
Imposed a penalty of $11,500 against Brian Crow for intentionally causing
interference to other amateur operators. Action by:  Regional Director,
Northeast Region, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted:  01/13/2015 by Forfeiture
Order. (DA No. 15-51).  

Recording your screen

Screenshot of Pat with HRD running in the background using Open Broadcaster

Suppose you want to prepare a presentation for your radio club and the topic
includes software setup or a demonstration of rig control from your ham
shack computer. It would sure be helpful if your presentation could include
a video showing the software setup as it happened or the rig being
controlled with the frequency and mode changes.  You can do this with
software that captures a video of what is visible on your computer screen as
it happens.  This screen capture video can then be placed into your
presentation, making it much easier for your audience to follow.  Dick,
WA0CAF, recommends an article on the Howtogeek.com website that explains
several different video capture procedures for different operating systems.


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. 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.  

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:

gram> 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.  Watch for new audio Thursday afternoons.

 <https://handiham.org/daisy/open/General_Pool_2015-19_DAISY_Beta.zip> 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

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

Plan to work DX with the triband HF beam antenna.  In addition, we will be
installing several wire antennas fed with 450 ohm ladder line for
high-efficiency operation on multiple bands.  We will be able to check in to
the popular PICONET HF net on 3.925 MHz. 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 know. 

Other activities 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. 

.         We will have a Handiham Radio Club meeting that will include
election of club officers and planning for the upcoming year.

.         The Icom IC-718 will once again be pressed into service on the
camp pontoon boat for HF operation from Cedar Lake.  All aboard!  QRMers
will walk the plank if caught. 

.         We'll have time for several operating skills discussions and an
EMCOMM exercise.

.         Anyone interested in a hidden transmitter hunt on VHF?  

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

 <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.

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.

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




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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 14 January 2015 - Patrick.Tice