Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 15 July 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:
. Your elevator pitch
. Novice license manual price revealed.
. Check into our nets!
. This week's websites feature The Amateur Radio Parity Act and
cleaning the ham shack.
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question from the Extra Class pool
that ponders antennas and harmonic radiation.
. The Remote Base HF report: W0ZSW goes part-time.
. July audio is ready.
. ...And more!
What's an "elevator pitch" and do you have one?
Stack of Icom IC-7200 radios
Maybe you've heard the term "elevator pitch
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_pitch> " before and wondered what it
was, or maybe it's a familiar tool you already know about and keep at the
ready, just in case you need it. The concept is this: Sometimes one needs
to explain something to a person who doesn't have a clue, but you don't have
a lot of time to talk about it. You need to make a point in a short speech
that can be given in the time it takes to make an elevator trip! Once those
elevator doors open at the designated floor, your audience is going to
split, and you have either succeeded at explaining your concept or you
Amateur Radio, or "Ham Radio", as it is more likely known in the general
parlance, is one of those terms about which people may have heard but about
which they understand very little. When the occasion arises, you may find
yourself in need of a short, effective "elevator pitch" to explain the
concept of ham radio to someone who simply needs basic information. An
example would be a family gathering - let's say during a holiday - when you
are catching up on news and events in the lives of your relatives. Job,
kids, travel, and hobbies are all likely topics. Aunt Tillie doesn't need
to know about which transceiver has the best passband filter, but she will
appreciate knowing about your interest in ham radio as a fun hobby activity
that lets you use two way radios to talk to your friends on the air and
learn about electronics, and perhaps help your community as a volunteer.
The idea is to be able to explain what ham radio is about in a minute or
two, sharing the most basic - but accurate - information with someone who
needs only that much information and no more.
On occasion ham radio will come up as a topic, and you will need to clarify
a misunderstanding of what it is about. For example, how often have you
heard, "Ham Radio? Isn't that like CB radio?"
That kind of misconception is pretty common and can take other forms:
"Ham Radio? Do they still do that now that we have the internet?"
"Aren't cell phones better?"
"I've heard that you need huge antennas."
"Don't those radios mess up TV reception?"
...and so on. You get the idea. When you hear those kinds of comments, you
know that you have to get the correct information out there while being
convincing in a short conversation. Let's think a bit about the message
that we want to convey:
. Ham Radio is a science and technology themed activity that is
available to licensed operators who pass an FCC exam.
. Ham Radio can be a competitive "radiosport" activity.
. Ham Radio is a current technology that incorporates computing and
. Ham Radio is an activity that can be enjoyed by anyone. There is
no age barrier - you can start as soon as you are able to pass the exam,
even while in elementary school, and be an active radio operator for a
. Technology changes, but Ham Radio incorporates new technologies
and is thus part of a lifetime learning process. Ham Radio satellites orbit
the Earth, built by "makers" in the Ham Radio community. Some of us also
write our own software and build the electronics in our stations.
. Ham Radio technology can work even when cell phones don't. It is
an important part of emergency communications. Ham Radio operators assist
in communications emergencies and Amateur Radio is considered a vital option
in planning for emergencies.
. Ham Radio offers many ways to get on the air, and you don't always
need big antennas or costly equipment. Interference to other equipment,
like TV sets, is not likely because of the new technologies in both radio
and digital television.
. Ham Radio is enjoyed by people with disabilities and sensory
impairments. You do not have to be able to see or hear to be a Ham Radio
You have some 'splainin' to do...
Now, I realize that this is quite a list of talking points. You won't be
using all of them for an "elevator pitch", but you can pick and choose among
them depending on the nature of the conversation. If you meet someone and
the topic comes up, a short explanation of how Ham Radio is a licensed hobby
activity that helps you learn science and technology while talking with
others on the air might be all you need.
If the other person looks surprised at that HT you are carrying and you
explain that it is a "ham radio", be ready for the oft-heard: "Ham Radio?
I didn't know they still did that."
Now you know you have to reach further down into your toolkit of responses
to explain that, "Yes, Ham Radio is still a big thing, and we have added
digital communications and internet connected radios to our worldwide
networks. In fact, we even have satellites orbiting the Earth and Ham Radio
is on the International Space Station."
The key is to be ready with a few sentences to explain just a few main
points at most. Ham Radio is current, fun for anyone, affordable, and
useful for learning as well as public service. The more you do this,
explaining what it's about, the better you will get at it. No one is
expecting you to be an expert, and you don't have to go into detail about
anything. If you are asked about something you can't answer, you can always
say that you will get back to them or you can refer them directly to ARRL.
Questions are a good thing because they can indicate interest in Amateur
Radio by a person who might want to join us in the world's best hobby.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Last week we asked if anyone could guess what an ARRL Novice License Manual
cost me in 1967.
Bob, K1KVV, was first with the correct answer of 50 cents, followed closely
by Bill, K9BV, who also had a good memory. $0.50 in 1967 had the same
buying power as $3.57 in 2015, so even accounting for inflation it still
seems like quite a bargain. Remember though - back then it was a "Novice"
license, a true entry-level ticket with relatively few electronics concepts
to study and mostly just basic rules. I remember the license manual being a
rather thin book, which also accounted for the cheap price. There was no
public question pool, so you didn't know exactly what the questions would
be. The book may have been thin, but it had to be read pretty thoroughly if
you expected to pass the written exam. Of course there was also a five word
per minute code test before you ever put a pencil to paper on the written
part of the exam. Code learning was usually done with a simple Morse code
"straight key" for sending, because there was both a sending and a receiving
test. Receiving was always the hardest, but once you knew all of the
letters, numbers, and prosigns you were in fact almost at five words per
minute anyway. All you needed was to memorize all of these characters and
then practice receiving a bit. If you had to buy a code key and buy or
build an oscillator, that was more of a cost than the 50 cent license
manual! If you really wanted to go whole-hog, you could buy an LP record of
code practice groups. The best way to learn was to have an experienced ham
radio operator send code for you to copy, working with you on the characters
that gave you the most trouble.
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
Yes, yes, I know that it's hard to check into nets in the summertime. I've
been away from the nets for a while due to my summer schedule and travel.
It's as much a matter of too many other things to do as it is to find a way
to check in.
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 websites: The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015; Cleaning the ham
What's the status of H.R.1301 and S 1685? What exactly IS the need to
accommodate Amateur Radio? You now have a go-to website for this important
legislation on ARRL.org, which has dedicated a special page to The Amateur
Radio Parity Act of 2015. <http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act>
Once there, you can read a current update on the legislation's status, learn
in plain language what each bill does, read the full text of the bills, how
to contact your Congressperson, and more. Hey, there's even an "elevator
pitch" of talking points! Scroll down the ARRL page for all of these
Also, you might want to check out the KB0H website called
<http://www.the-amateur-amateur.com/> "The Amateur Amateur". Gary, KB0H,
tells us about his experience cleaning the ham shack. If you read this and
don't have to admit it's mostly true about all of us and our attempts to
tidy up the ham shack, I think you are probably lying to yourself.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the Extra Class
question pool, number E9D07. It asks:
"What is a disadvantage of using a multiband trapped antenna?"
Possible answers are:
A. It might radiate harmonics
B. It radiates the harmonics and fundamental equally well
C. It is too sharply directional at lower frequencies
D. It must be neutralized
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's
consider why you might want a multiband antenna in the first place. Some of
us started in ham radio with a pretty modest budget, which for me as a
teenager was mostly my meager savings from paper routes and lawn mowing
jobs. That meant building antennas like half-wave dipoles, but the problem
is that that such antennas are cut for a single band. Given the cost of
feedline and antenna supporting structures, not to mention accessories like
antenna switches, wouldn't it make sense to build an antenna system that
tuned on more than one band? That's what I did; I put together a "fan
dipole" system that paralleled several half wave dipoles on a single 50 ohm
coaxial feedline. It wasn't a "trapped" multiband antenna, but it did have
the same potential disadvantage.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer A, It
might radiate harmonics, you got this one right. Since we are trying to get
a single antenna to tune on multiple bands, that means that if our
transmitter does not have good suppression of harmonics, these unwanted
signals can be transmitted on the multiband antenna. After all, the
multiband antenna is designed to radiate on those other bands, isn't it? A
single band antenna is at least not tuned to harmonic frequencies and would
suppress the unwanted signals somewhat.
Fortunately today's modern transceivers have good harmonic suppression and
are commonly used with multiband antennas. Harmonic suppression is one of
the details you can check in an ARRL QST Product Review at ARRL.org
<http://www.arrl.org/qst> . This is a member service available to ARRL
members only. After logging in, I checked the harmonic suppression for my
Icom IC-7200 in a 2009 product review. It is greater than 50 dB, which
means that I should have no problem using a trapped multiband antenna. For
our blind readers and listeners, I should note that the product review may
be downloaded in accessible PDF that includes embedded text to read with
your screenreading software. I checked a recent review of the Kenwood
TS-590SG and found it to also be in accessible PDF.
Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running today.
Icom IC-7200 and LDG automatic antenna tuner
. W0ZSW is operational part-time only. It may go offline with no
notice if thunderstorms approach. W0ZSW via the W4MQ software will be
offline during station maintenance much of the latter half of July. We will
be moving the station to ARCP-590 software and putting the TS-590S back in
service. July is a traditional low-usage time for the stations.
. W0EQO is operational 24/7 via the legacy W4MQ software, but
frequent Skype crashes have been occurring at both remote hosts, especially
W0EQO, making for more time spent in fixing things. Be sure to let us know
when something isn't working. We generally check the stations early in the
morning, but then we may not have time to check later in the day when
something might break, so we depend on you to let us know.
There is absolutely no doubt that we need new rig control software.
So far we have learned that some blind users are enjoying the RCFORB
software from Remotehams.com, a free service. Please consider testing the
Remotehams.com system and letting me know what you think about it.
New audio: There is no new audio since last week. QST for August in digital
has been released to ARRL members, so audio production will soon be underway
at BARD and Handihams.
July 2015 QST has been released in digital print format, available to ARRL
members. The Doctor is In column, recorded for our blind members by W9MJY,
is now available.
Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the July DAISY audio digest including QST
articles of interest to our blind members. It is now available as a DAISY
download. Thanks, Bob!
July QCWA Journal has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P, and is available in
streaming MP3 from a link at <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php> QCWA.org or on
June CQ Magazine audio digest has been recorded for our blind members by Jim
Perry, KJ3P. We are waiting for the July audio of the magazine to be
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 will be 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, will be 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:
Radio Camp News: We will once again be at the Woodland campus, Camp
Registration closes soon! - If you have been sitting on that camp
application, time to fill it out and send it in. If you have equipment
needs and wish to get equipment to take home from our collection of donated
gear when you come to camp, let us know.
Cabin 2, site of our ham radio stations and classes.
Photo: A Woodland Cabin with screen porch, fireplace, kitchen, laundry, and
comfortable great room.
<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.
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
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