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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 14 October 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:
. ARRL President's Award.
. Civil behavior revisited.
. Request feedback and problems - W0ZSW and W0EQO back on the air
. Current list of RCForb stuff to fix.
. Check into our nets - also a new blog for you to check out.
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question about inductors from the
NEW General Class pool.
. Awful HF conditions continue.
. ...And more!
ARRL President's Award:
The ARRL and Handihams - These are two great organizations helping people
with disabilities to learn science and technology, build communication
skills, create strong communities, and make our world a better place. It
was an honor and a wonderful surprise to receive the ARRL President's Award
during the Executive Committee meeting in the Twin Cities on October 3.
ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, presents the President's Award to Pat
Photo: ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, presents the award to Pat Tice,
WA0TDA, Handiham Program Director.
This was posted on the ARRL Facebook page:
"Congratulations to Handiham director Pat Tice, WA0TDA, for receiving the
ARRL President's Award. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, made the
presentation to Tice this weekend at the ARRL Executive Committee meeting in
Minneapolis. Tice has served the Handiham program for 25 years. Handiham is
well known, providing technology and service to people with disabilities.
The President's Award is presented to ARRL members who have shown long-term
dedication to the goals and objectives of ARRL and Amateur Radio, and whose
support of individual programs and/or goals has been above and beyond the
normal efforts of ARRL members. It is presented only to those whose truly
outstanding efforts have benefited ARRL and/or Amateur Radio operators in
the state, the region, or the nation."
My thanks to ARRL for their wonderful support of the Handiham Program over
the decades. As an ARRL member myself, I know that we need to stick
together and defend our spectrum, promote good operation, and support each
other in Amateur Radio by advancing the state of the art while building a
strong worldwide community of operators. I'm proud to be an ARRL member!
Email me at <mailto:Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx> Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx with
your questions & comments.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Department of here we go again...
This morning I had a message from a Handiham member who heard some
disturbing, even racist, chatter on the air. "Maybe", he mused, "It is time
for you to revisit how we should behave on the air."
Well, you can never go wrong by being civil to each other and following the
Golden Rule. With that in mind, here's what I said back in December 2014:
Yes, you can say it on the air. But should you?
Just last week I started teaching the "Communicating With Other Hams"
section from the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. Since this is the Technician
course, I never assume that my students will know how to start and conduct
an actual contact on the air. The contact has certain procedural
requirements, of course. You need to follow the rules for identification,
but aside from that FCC mandate, you do actually have very few restrictions
on either what you say or how you say it. A basic contact consists of
exchanging callsigns, signal reports, names, locations, and station
information. If you are in a contest, you'll do a quick exchange of the
required contest information and move on to the next contact. In a net, your
contact time may be extended over most of the time the net is in operation,
even though you may actually say very little unless you are called upon to
handle traffic or do whatever it is the net is all about. In a casual
conversation between stations or in a social net, the topic of conversation
can vary widely and can go in any direction. It's always safe to talk about
the weather, but maybe discussing photography or aviation may be your cup of
tea. Go for it!
This brings me to the section in the book entitled "Appropriate Topics". It
should go without saying, but indecent and obscene language is prohibited.
This is the sort of thing that isn't really defined and is hard to enforce,
but most of us generally have no trouble recognizing bad language when we
hear it. Then there is the fatal triad: sex, religion, and politics. These
three topics are deadly at the Thanksgiving day table because any one of
them - or any combination - is guaranteed to offend someone and start a
family feud. When I first started my ham radio career, one of the best
pieces of advice I received was to avoid talking about sex, religion, or
politics on the air. It was good advice then and is good advice now.
Just don't do it!
Yesterday I was listening to an early morning net on 75 meters, and some guy
decided to tell a joke about a priest hearing confession and an Obama
supporter. In a matter of a few seconds, he managed to offend a major
religious group and anyone who voted for the President. This is bad, bad
form. The venue - a popular, long-running net, should never have been the
forum for this kind of thing, which included two of the three "don'ts":
religion and politics.
What's the net control to do?
The introduction of topics in bad taste can put the Net Control Station in
an uncomfortable position. Put yourself in the unenviable role of the NCS.
You don't know whether to chastise the guy or just move on. It can be
tricky, because you have to tread a fine line between blowing the incident
out of proportion, thus calling even more attention to it and causing people
to start choosing sides, or just doing nothing - which is an implicit
acceptance of bad behavior on the net. Since every incident will be unique,
it's hard to be ready with the appropriate response.
I would not be afraid to say, "Please avoid topics involving sex, religion,
or politics on the (fill in the blank) net." This is a fairly benign
reminder to your net participants that you do not welcome certain topics.
How important is this advice?
Plenty. I have observed cases of true upset that involved politics. People
have left nets and even radio clubs over this sort of thing. But that's the
least of it. A person who has enjoyed the fun and challenge of ham radio
for years may hear discussions that are so insulting that they may decide to
simply give up on Amateur Radio and direct their energy elsewhere. It is
even more so for a newbie, who might quickly become disillusioned by on the
air activity that is annoying or inflammatory. Yes, I have heard from such
people, so I know it does happen.
Advising and Assisting - another important consideration.
This is another section in the chapter on basic communications. Radio and
antenna checks are covered, as well as how to respond to mistakes made on
the air and how to give accurate signal reports. Earlier this week I was
put in mind of this very thing when a station who had trouble checking into
a VoIP net took the Net Control Station to task - on the air - and tried to
tell him how to run the net. This initiated a measured response from the
NCS explaining the procedures, as you might expect. Please remember that
the NCS is in charge, so listen and follow his or her directions. After
that, there is no need to discuss anyone's mistakes any further, especially
in a judgmental manner. The telephone may be a better way to handle more
detailed conversations about operating behavior so that "dirty laundry" need
not be aired on the net where everyone can hear all about it.
"You're the idiot!"
Yes, I really heard some guy say that to someone else on 40 meters this
morning as I was writing this up. An out-and-out name-calling exchange
between two stations took place on 7.185 MHz this morning shortly after 8:00
AM Central Time. I happened to be listening on frequency after successfully
adding W1AW/9 to the logbook earlier in the day. This deteriorated into a
long rant over which someone else was saying "cuckoo, cuckoo" to cover up
the ranting monolog. Even worse, since W1AW/9 had been working a real pileup
earlier, the frequency was almost certainly listed in the DX Spots, which
meant that people were going to be checking out the frequency. What an
It's only a hobby...
That's a phrase I've heard before and there is something to be said for it.
Amateur Radio is such an enormously diverse collection of people and
interest groups that it can be easy to get caught up in one particular
aspect and fail to observe the big picture. Some people go "all in" and
have many thousands of dollars of equipment and antennas and spend a lot of
time on the air. One can slip into an alternate reality where ham radio
takes on more importance than anything else, resulting in strained relations
with family and friends - and even with other ham radio operators who don't
see things the way you do. It is important to have balance in life. Don't
take things too seriously. Live and let live. Enjoy your time on the air,
but give other activities some time and space in your life. Others will make
mistakes on and off the air, but be diplomatic about it and help them learn.
Be prudent and thoughtful in how you conduct yourself on the air. Remember
that what might be okay in an Internet forum is not okay on 75 meters. And
don't forget the Golden Rule.
October 14 Remote Base HF Update: W0ZSW and W0EQO both on line with
Remotehams.com RCForb software. We need your feedback as we identify issues
to post on the Remotehams discussion boards.
TS-480HX with RigBlaster Nomic and LDG tuner.
Image: The Kenwood TS-480HX station.
W0ZSW and W0EQO are both on the air today as our testing continues. With
both TS-480 stations operational in our testing phase, we need your feedback
on what does and doesn't work. This will help us make up our list of issues
to post on the Remotehams discussion boards.
Here are some issues we have identified to date:
. Fairly early on as we tested the keyboard command, we ran across a
problem with the command CTRL+M, which changes the mode. What happens is
that you toggle this combination repeatedly to step through the available
modes of operation. One would expect that you would be able to go around a
ring of modes as many times as you want, returning to where you started, but
instead what happens is that you end up stuck at whatever mode is last in
the list, such as RTTY or FM, with no way to return back to where you
started. Obviously this is a serious problem if you want to change modes by
keyboard commands instead of with a mouse.
. Another issue is that we can't figure out a way to locate the
memories tab in the RCForb client when using the keyboard. We had thought
this might be a workaround to allow a user to select a memory with a known
mode, say 3.925 MHz LSB, to return the mode function to a usable condition
if one got it stuck in RTTY or FM by mistake.
. The workaround that we did figure out with the TS-480 radios is
that they have an auto mode feature that allows the mode to be automatically
switched to the band plan mode for a given frequency. For example, if I
have the radio in USB on 20 meters, I can direct frequency enter 3.925 MHz
to go to 75 meter phone, and the radio automatically switches to LSB, as it
is the mode commonly used in that part of the band.
. When using the RCForb Android client, there is no transmit audio
on either of the TS-480 radios. This has been confirmed from different
smartphones with different radios. The transmit is toggled okay, but audio
is not transmitted. Receive audio is fine. This does not happen with the
Icom radios we have tested with the HF remotes. There seems to be some
reference to transmit audio in the help files, but we have not figured it
out yet. Transmit from the PC RCForb client works fine with the TS-480s, so
Current station status:
Station setup at the W0EQO station is in a temporary location in northern
Minnesota, where it is being prepared for setup at a Scout camp near its
former home, Camp Courage North. If you use the Remotehams.com RCForb
client, you can search for W0ZSW and W0EQO and listen to the stations. You
will hear the Kenwood TS-480HX at W0ZSW or the TS-480SAT at W0EQO and be
able to control the frequency if no one else is using the radios.
Station W0ZSW runs only during the daytime, generally from around 6:00 AM to
9:00 PM Central Time. It is located in grid square EN34mw. (The
Minneapolis St. Paul MN East Metro.)
Station W0EQO is currently available around the clock, but may go offline
without notice when its new antenna system is completed. We are waiting for
wire to arrive, and of course the weather must also cooperate to put up
antennas. Station W0EQO is located in grid square EN27mb. (Northern MN
near the headwaters of the Mississippi River.)
The new software for our remotes is the RCFORB client from Remotehams.com.
<http://www.remotehams.com> Did you know that with the new RCFORB
software, you can log on to and listen to stations as they both receive and
transmit? Furthermore, many of you can be logged in at once, since multiple
listeners are supported. This enables you to listen to an HF net and hear
everything, even when the station you are connected to transmits! There are
lots of potential uses for this feature, including helping newbies learn
about HF, listening on an emergency HF frequency during a practice or actual
emergency, and more!
Transmit access: You can use the Remotehams.com website to your advantage
by uploading a copy of your Amateur Radio license so that station owners can
check it if you request transmit privileges on their stations. The neat
thing about this procedure is that once you upload your license, the job is
done and you don't have to do it over and over for every new station you
want to use.
Tech support: The Remotehams.com website includes a robust user discussion
area divided into topics. There is also on line documentation. One thing
that can be frustrating about trying something new, such as remote HF
operation, is that there is a lot to learn about and new users might be
impatient about reading the forum posts and documentation. This is pretty
much true when we talk about VoIP enhanced systems like Echolink as well.
But hang in there and do some reading, then don't be afraid to try out the
software, learning by trial and error. "Learning by doing" is a time-tested,
proven way to learn and retain knowledge. Here are some useful links:
. Remotehams.com main page - (Start here.)
. Remotehams.com client software download page - (Be sure to
download the CLIENT software, not the host software.)
. Remotehams.com support forums page allows you to browse questions
by topic area. <http://www.remotehams.com/forums/>
. Remotehams.com RCForb rig control software manual
<http://www.remotehams.com/help.html> and other documentation page.
Only "Fair" band conditions today due to unsettled geomagnetic field:
Solar weather is not cooperating today, if working HF is your goal. The
N0NBH widget <http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html> on QRZ.com
<https://www.qrz.com/index.html> tells the story: Conditions are good on 20
and 30 meters, but fair or poor elsewhere.
Visit our favorite solar weather site, http://spaceweather.com, for more
information and updates.
What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is
New! Check out the KD0TLS ham radio experience blog for news about Twin
Cities ham radio repeater infrastructure. <http://kd0tls.blogspot.com/>
There's news about sources for listening to our Handiham net!
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
4. IRLP 9008
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 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. Note that we do not have a Thursday evening session at
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.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the General Class
question pool, number G6A13. It asks:
"What is an effect of inter-turn capacitance in an inductor?"
Possible answers are:
A. The magnetic field may become inverted
B. The inductor may become self-resonant at some frequencies
C. The permeability will increase
D. The voltage rating may be exceeded
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's
recall that capacitance exists between two nearby conductors. Usually we
think in terms of metal plates in a capacitor, especially if we are familiar
with the large ones we find in high power manual antenna tuners.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer B, The
inductor may become self-resonant at some frequencies, you got this one
right. In this case we see that the coil of wire making up the inductor
consists of turns of wire, perhaps wound in a spiral along a cylindrical
form made of some kind of insulating material. The turns of wire may be
close together in the spiral, but they don't touch. True, some coils have
fine wire that seems to be wrapped so tightly that the turns do touch, but
rest assured they don't, because a layer of enamel insulation keeps them
separated. Adjacent turns of the coil can then act as a capacitor, since
they effectively form two "plates". This means that an inductor has the
capability of being self-resonant at some frequencies, which of course are
determined by the combination of inductance and capacitance.
One practical use for this phenomenon is the design of a trap dipole antenna
that is shortened by two matched inductors, one in each leg of the dipole.
If you choose the coils correctly, you can make them self-resonant on a ham
band so that they also act as "traps", effectively presenting a high
impedance on one band while allowing current to flow on another band. This
results in a two band antenna!
New audio: There is no new audio this week. NLS cartridges for October are
in the mail. October QST has been published by ARRL and is available to
ARRL members as the online digital magazine and in print. Bob Zeida, N1BLF,
has recorded the Handiham digest version for our blind members, and it is
available as a compressed DAISY file for you to download and play on your
NLS or other DAISY book player. Find it in the Handiham members section.
. QCWA Journal for October has been recorded by Jim, KJ3P. QCWA
audio is released when the official Journal for the month is posted at
QCWA.org, so always watch for it at QCWA.org.
. CQ September 2015 has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P - 58 MB
DAISY zip file. Find it in the members section.
. Joe, N3AIN, tells us how to install Windows without sighted help
by using a blind-accessible tool.
help.mp3> Anyone may follow this link and listen to or download the MP3
Other audio posted earlier:
* The Doctor is In column from October QST has been recorded for our
blind members by Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, and is available in the members
* QST for September 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
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.
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 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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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
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