[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 19 March 2014

  • From: Pat Tice <Pat.Tice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 19:30:50 +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, 19 March 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.

MP3 audio:

Get this podcast in iTunes:
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RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:

Welcome to Handiham World.
Don't look now, but something we depend upon is an endangered (technological) 

[Panasonic phone with electromechanical touch tone pad]
I use a Panasonic touch tone phone in the WA0TDA ham shack. It's got a real 
electromechanical tactile numeric pad laid out in the standard configuration. 
While I can see the keypad to dial, it really isn't necessary since I can also 
feel the keys, 10 digits and the star and pound keys, arranged in a known 
pattern. Like most keypads of this type, the number 5 key has a raised tactile 
bump so that you can find that starting point in complete darkness, or if you 
are blind.  My Icom IC-7200's keypad is arranged in the same way and also has 
the raised tactile on the 5 key.

Touch Tone pad goes away:

While doing a web search for an entirely unrelated item I ran across a really 
interesting blog post from 2009 entitled "Farewell to the touch tone pad on 
 which I found applied to a recent experience I had. The gist of the article is 
that the touch tone pad is going away.  Those of us with smartphones already 
know that the venerable "physical" electromechanical touchpad has most 
definitely gone away in favor of a virtual touchpad graphical interface on the 
screen of the smartphone.  For blind users who depended for years on the 
tactile feel of the standard arrangement of buttons, this was beyond 
frustrating, at least for a while.  Then smartphones got smart enough to voice 
dial reliably and even give speech feedback mapped to the screen.  The screen 
itself is a piece of super-hard glass with no tactile features.  But today's 
devices also have haptic 
feedback<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haptic_technology> for some functions 
along with speech, depending on the phone and its operating system. Anyway, my 
experience was an upgrade of my Nexus 4 phone to the Android Kit Kat(tm) 
operating system.  I couldn't find the virtual keypad that I was used to!  It 
was disconcerting, but after thinking about it for a while I came to the 
conclusion that people must no longer use the virtual touch tone pad that much 
anymore.  Of course it was still there once I figured out how to bring it up, 
but it no longer needed to be "front and center" on the phone.  The same is 
true for VoIP applications that allow phone calls like Skype, which does not 
default to a virtual keypad.  In a way, this change in technology sneaked up on 
me.  Our house still has traditional "land-line" style phones with physical 
keypads, even though I have long ago converted all the phone systems here at 
the WA0TDA QTH to be VoIP.  The point is that they still look like the old 

Where else are these traditional telephone-style keypads used?  Yes, that's 
right - on amateur radio equipment.  Handheld radios and HF radios alike have 
direct frequency entry pads with telephone-style layouts.  Will these be 
universally known and recognized in the future?  Well, if they are, it 
certainly won't be because people have learned it on their phones!

Here's a thought:  Without a keypad, you still can't access some phone 
services, such as *67 to block caller ID or to confirm some information on 
automated phone systems.

You also need a keypad to access internet resources like IRLP and Echolink from 
a touchpad microphone on your radio. I'm not sure I'm ready for voice commands 
like "Connect me to the HANDIHAM node", but perhaps that will be the next thing 
to come down the road!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator


[Code Key]

W8TDA gets on the air as W1AW/8:

*         Kitty Hevener, W8TDA, writes us about her experience running W1AW/8 
as the celebration of 100 years of ARRL continues:

"I worked 40 cw on Saturday from 1900 to 2300 z and 15 cw Sunday from 1700 to 
1900 z.  The latter was a shift I volunteered for after working the first 
shift.  I used a Kenwood TS-480SAT with 40 meter dipole antenna up about 30 
feet.  Originally I had a person who was going to do my logging so I could 
focus on operating only.  Well, he bailed.  So, I had to do my own logging as 
well as operating.  I thought I had figured out how to program my keyer so that 
a push of a button would send the basic CQ de w1aw/8.  No such luck!  I had to 
send everything manually.  As unsettling as those issues were, little did I 
know the worst was yet to come.

Shortly before I was to begin operating, my power supply gave up the ghost.  My 
attempts at power supply CPR proved unsuccessful.  Fortunately, a fellow club 
member who lives nearby saved the day. Imagine having your CQ answered by the 
so called "hunted." And, add to that, the "hunted" taking time to engage you in 
a short QSO as opposed to just giving the traditional exchange of signal report 
and state.  Well, that's exactly what some operators on 40 experienced.  On 15 
meters I worked Spain, Italy, Sweden and Germany as well as a few California 

Band conditions on 40 were absolutely horrible, with lots of noise and 
considerable fading.  When I found w1aw/8 operating on 15 before my shift 
yesterday, I was excited to see that he had a steady stream of stations 
responding.  I was confident I was going to have a great run of contacts. But, 
when he turned the controls over to me, all those stations magically 

Where did everyone go?

What was I doing wrong?

I later found out that he was using a kilowatt along with a 4 element 15 meter 
monobander up about 95 feet.  With all that, he even admitted to having a hard 
time copying because of the poor band conditions.  So, compared to the "big 
guns" this "little gun" had a good showing.  Smile!   In summation, while I did 
not make as many contacts as I had hoped, I had a blast and appreciate the 
opportunity afforded me to operate in this once in a lifetime event.  I applaud 
n8bjq, coordinator, for not letting my blindness get in the way of giving me a 
chance, I learned many lessons along the way as well.

1.   Be open to learning new ways of doing old things.  Logs had to be 
submitted as "ADIF" files.  That meant learning how to log electronically and 
export that log as an "ADIF file".

2.   Always have contingency plans.  My backup for the logger not making it was 
to do my own logging.  Similarly, since I did not master the art of programming 
my keyer, I had to do it all manually.

3.   Be resourceful.  When my power supply failed, I reached out to club 
members to see if I could borrow one.  It worked!"

TYT help is available on WP4OVS blog:

*         Earlier this year I bought the TYT Electronics UVF-1 handheld radio, 
which is a dual-band unit that cost less than $100.00. The interesting thing is 
that it has voice prompt for most of the menus, and the ones that don't could 
still be accessed by using some techniques that I developed and detailed in my 
personal blog.  Although my blog normally is in Spanish, I wrote the article 
about this radio in English.  You can read it at:
73,   Carlos, wp4ovs

Handiham Volunteer N0SBU puts new repeater on the air

*         The N0SBU/R (443.050 MHz) is now on the air thanks to Terry, N0GOI. 
He came up here today and installed a Motorola 1225 repeater and it went on the 
air around 9:45AM.   We figure the coverage is limited as the antenna is at 
20'.  73 - George, N0SBU.

o    Editor's note:  The N0SBU repeater is scheduled for an antenna upgrade to 
40 feet this summer.  It is located at the N0SBU QTH in Hugo, MN, which is in 
northern Washington County.  It is not on Echolink or IRLP, but should be 
reachable by radio from heavily-travelled nearby Interstate Highway 35.

Bluetooth adds flexibility
*         If you use a laptop, netbook, or desktop computer, you may be missing 
the convenience of wireless accessories like headsets, mice, and keyboards.  It 
was on sort of a quest for easier Echolink operation without a tangle of wires 
that I happened on a variety of 
Bluetooth<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth> devices.  My smartphone was 
already Bluetooth-enabled, so it was a matter of finding some wireless 
headphones that would match.  I ended up buying two headsets, one a pair of 
lightweight ear buds that had a built-in microphone, and the other a headset 
with more traditional ear pads that also had a built-in mic.
*         But although those devices worked with the smartphone, they would not 
mate with my Toshiba laptop computer.  That sent me on a quest for a USB 
Bluetooth "dongle" that would enable the Toshiba to use the wireless headsets 
and other devices.  I found one on Amazon for  $1.58, and the other day it 
arrived in a padded envelope all the way from China, postage paid. I'll let you 
know how it works once I get over my amazement over how it could be so cheap 
and include shipping. In a preliminary test running Windows 8.1, it did provide 
Bluetooth capability to the Toshiba.
2014 Radio Camp (Saturday, August 16 through Saturday August 23, 2014)

*         Operating Skills participants will have a chance to try out the 
Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver!  Matt, KA0PQW, will be the station master at the 
TS-2000 position.

*         The new Technician Pool will be in effect as of July 1, 2014.  If you 
are studying for your first license, you may continue to use our on line 
Technician audio lectures prior to the camp session, but you will want to 
download a copy of the 2014-2018 Technician Question 
Pool<http://ncvec.org/downloads/2014-2018%20Tech%20Pool.txt> for reference, 
since that pool is the one from which the questions on your exam will be drawn.

*         We recommend the NC4FB website for a study guide to the 2014-2018 
Technician Question Pool<http://www.nc4fb.org/wordpress/new-items/>.

*         The NCVEC website has a status page for the 2014-2018 Technician 
Question Pool.<http://ncvec.org/page.php?id=362>

*         The 2014-2018 Technician Pool may be downloaded as a plain text 

*         The Camp Courage 2 meter repeater will be on the air, and connected 
to the *HANDIHAM* Echolink conference.

*         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:

o    VHF/UHF radios

o    HF radios

o    Accessories like speakers and tuners

o    Morse code accessories

o    Other accessories - Please let me know what you need.

*         Our study guide for 2014 Handiham Radio Camp Operating Skills will be 
the ARRL Public Service Handbook First 
Edition<http://www.arrl.org/shop/Amateur-Radio-Public-Service-Handbook>.  It is 
available from your favorite ham radio dealer or directly from ARRL.  Blind 
Handiham members should contact us for the DAISY version.  We will be happy to 
place it on your NLS DAISY cartridge for you.

*         We will be operating HF and VHF from the camp pontoon boat on Cedar 
Lake. Last camp we worked DX on 20 meters.  Can we do that again this year?

*         The outdoor shelter with picnic tables will be available for outside 
operations every day during net time 11:00 AM CDT and between 1:00 and 3:00 PM 

Radio club politics can do damage - eHam discussion hits a nerve

  *   A recent post (about a month old) on the eHam.net website escaped my 
notice until now, but still seems to be garnering a few comments and is well 
worth the read.  A quick summary is that politics (the local, radio-related 
kind) can splinter the ham radio community and cause real harm.  Check it out 
when you have about a half hour to read through it and all the comments. 

Dip in the pool dives into the General Class:

*         Today we are going to dip our toes into the General pool.

Question G2D07 asks, "Which of the following is required by the FCC rules when 
operating in the 60 meter band?"

Possible answers are:

A. If you are using other than a dipole antenna, you must keep a record of the 
gain of your antenna

B. You must keep a log of the date, time, frequency, power level and stations 

C. You must keep a log of all third party traffic

D. You must keep a log of the manufacturer of your equipment and the antenna 

The correct answer is A:  If you are using other than a dipole antenna, you 
must keep a record of the gain of the antenna. Remember that the 60 meter band 
is one that has different rules than the ones we are used to on the other 
bands. Some of the differences are:

*         It is a channelized band.

*         Power level limitations are specified as "maximum effective radiated 
power of 100 watts PEP".  This is the reason the type of antenna, which 
contributes to "effective radiated power" by definition, must be considered.  
The gain of the antenna as compared to a dipole can increase ERP.  On other 
bands the power level is simply given in watts without regard to the antenna 

*         Modes are restricted on 60 m. If you use SSB on one of the five 
channels, you must use upper sideband only (USB).  And add to that the 
limitation on signal bandwidth of 2.8 kHz, centered on specified channel 
frequencies.  Several other modes are now allowed.
See the ARRL Frequency Chart for details. 
For a non-graphical alternative, check 

*         Finally, only one signal at a time is allowed on a given channel.

[HRD screenshot showing 5.330.50 USB]
5.330.5 MHz channel USB screenshot from Ham Radio Deluxe as it controls an Icom 
IC-7200 transceiver.

[Close up of IC-7200 display tuned to 5.330.50 USB]
5.330.50 MHz USB displayed on the IC-7200 radio itself.

Extra Class lecture series now available in DAISY format.

  *   Our biggest single audio project, the Extra Class lecture series, has 
finally reached completion.  The entire series has been produced as a DAISY 
book, available in a zip file download or on NLS digital cartridge.  A link is 
on the new audio page referenced in each Friday's notification of new materials 
in audio format.

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]

Resistance is futile!

I'll bet you've heard that phrase if you've watched any old science fiction 
movies.  While we don't have any alien space invaders to resist these days, we 
do have to take the old warning to heart when it comes to antenna efficiency.

Too many operators chase the holy grail of low SWR readings when choosing, 
designing, or installing ham radio antennas.  A low voltage standing wave ratio 
is desirable because it indicates a matched system where maximum transfer of RF 
energy can take place.  The feedpoint impedance of the antenna should match the 
impedance of the feedline, which should match the output impedance of the 

The problem is that low SWR readings do not guarantee efficiency in an antenna 
system.  An efficient antenna will radiate most of the RF energy on transmit 
and receive just as well. Since the matching of the antenna system can include 
resistance as a component as well as inductive and capacitive reactances, it is 
possible to run your transmitter into a resistor!  Think about a dummy load 
that consists of resistance designed to dissipate RF energy during transmitter 
testing.  The RF is turned into heat energy and is not radiated.

Naturally you would never choose a dummy load as an antenna.  Sure, it would 
have a near-perfect SWR of almost 1:1 if you measured it, but since it is 
turning RF energy into heat you will never work all states or make DXCC with 
it.  Instead, you will use an antenna system that radiates RF energy and has as 
little loss of energy to heat as possible.

At least you THINK you are choosing such an antenna system. What if you don't 
know much about antennas and pick one that promises low SWR readings and broad 
bandwidth on many different bands and does it all without much tuning?  That 
would be too good to be true, wouldn't it?  You can make lossy antennas that 
incorporate resistance but that present you with a nice low SWR.  The problem 
is that RF energy gets turned into heat by the resistance in the circuit, so 
the antenna is not very effective. Antennas that are purposely lossy are to be 

There are other tried and true antenna designs that can have hidden resistance. 
 One is the vertical antenna, ground-mounted in the back yard.  It might be a 
trap vertical, that is a quarter-wave long electrically but physically 
shortened by the coils in the traps.  A low feedpoint impedance is normal with 
such an antenna, so if you plant it in the ground without any ground radial 
system, it may actually present you with a LOWER SWR than if you did the job 
right and installed it over an extensive ground radio system.

Why is that?

The answer is that resistance in the soil is adding to the overall impedance 
match at the feedpoint.  The loaded shortened vertical has an impedance less 
than the optimal 50 ohms, which causes it to register a higher SWR, let's say 
2:1.  But if you add resistive loss of 25-30 ohms in the ground to that low 
input impedance of maybe 20 ohms of existing impedance at the feedpoint, you 
get pretty close to the ideal 50 ohm match and get a nice low SWR, but under 
the ground you are losing RF energy as heat in the resistance of the soil!  You 
would be better off running a higher SWR by cutting the loss in the ground with 
a dozen ground radials that cut ground resistance.  Even better, the impedance 
mismatch can be handled with a transformer circuit (balun or similar) to bring 
the impedances into line while still allowing for a radial system to cut loss.

This is practical radio.  Remember that you don't get something for nothing, 
and a low SWR does not mean that the antenna is efficient!

Handiham Nets are on the air daily.


Listen for Doug, N6NFF, tonight and try to answer the trivia question 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.  Last 
week's trivia question was hard!  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]

Phone & email changes coming March through May

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

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 

In the Extra Class audio lecture series we have completed the course, finishing 
up last week 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!

March 2014 QST Digest in Daisy format is available.

CQ Magazine & CQ Plus February 2014 digests in DAISY format.  Log in and check 
out the new CQ!

QCWA Digest for March 2014 is available in MP3.

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 
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442.

Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at 
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> or by phone at 

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>

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, Part of Allina Health
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, 19 March 2014 - Pat Tice