[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 21 January 2015

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:51:29 -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, 21 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:
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Welcome to Handiham World.

In this edition:  

.         Time to hit the books as new General is released.

.         Fix those old headphones with new ear pads.

.         Check into our daily nets!

.         A call for help with our slow speed CW net.

.         Take a dip in the pool.

.         Check out a new DX Handbook - Free!

.         What's happening with Amateur Radio Newsline?

.         The Remote Base HF report.

.         ...And more!

Pat holding several ARRL license manuals

It's that time again...  Time to hit the books.

The NCVEC has released the latest question pool, and this time it is the
General Class that will be changing on July 1, 2015.  That may seem like a
date that is comfortably distant, but it really isn't - at least not for all
of us.  

For example, at my last local radio club meeting, we discussed who will be
teaching the licensing classes for Technician and General in 2015.  As you
know, 2014 was the year the Technician Pool changed.  Since our club teaches
the Tech course in the Spring, the last course we taught used the old
license manual in early 2014 before the change.  And since we teach the
General course in the Fall of 2015, the current pool will be expired by then
and the new one in effect.  That means as instructors we will be teaching
from two new pools in a single year!  Instructors do their planning early.
The new questions need to be checked out and lesson plans need to be
modified or redone altogether.  We need to go over the new teaching
materials and plan on any teaching aids or supplemental materials that may
be needed.

My local radio club isn't my only teaching job.  In the case of Handiham on
line lectures for our blind members, I have to begin very early indeed
because the work is labor-intensive.  Thankfully our volunteers do help us
with recordings of the question pools and I am pleased to say that Bob
Zeida, N1BLF, will be recording the upcoming General Pool as soon as any
corrections that might be needed are made.  We try to wait at least a few
weeks after the initial release so that people have a chance to go over the
new pool.  The question pool is usually the first audio to be posted on the
Handiham website, followed by the more detailed audio lectures.  I am
getting close to wrapping up the Technician lecture series, and everything
we have done so far is available for members to download and play on any
MP3-compatible device.  When the series is finally completed in the next few
weeks, it will be converted to a DAISY book for those who prefer that

Meanwhile, Bob will begin his recording of the General Pool.  We will make
that recording available in MP3 format as soon as it is ready and in DAISY
shortly afterwards.  The old General Pool will stay on the website since
some of our members will be using it to test before the end of the last day
of the pool's cycle, which is June 30.  Although there may be some
last-minute VE session on that day, the 30th is a Tuesday and it is more
realistic to find a VE session on the weekend before.  Remember that if you
have already invested any serious time in study for the current General
pool, it would be wise to test on or before June 30, 2015.  If you need an
adapted test, such as one that does not refer to diagrams, you should
contact your VE Team Leader as soon as possible so that the team can
accommodate you.  In any case, a few weeks lead time is not unreasonable.
Some VE Teams may stock or be able to prepare the proper exams, but please
do not count on it, since you have put a lot of time and effort into
studying and you will want to be sure the VE team has the accommodated exam
that you need.  Some VECs may be able to provide Braille exams while others
will provide a volunteer reader and a printed exam without references to
diagrams.  Whatever the accommodation, the exam will still have the same
number of questions on it as the exams taken by everyone else at the
session.  The only difference is that the accommodation will be that you are
not expected to look at a drawing of a graph or a circuit and identify a
value or component.  Instead, you will get a text-based question covering
the same material in that section of the question pool.  

Sometimes there is confusion about whether an accommodated exam will exempt
the test-taker from working with "figures", meaning formulas.  That is not
the case.  Every examinee is responsible for understanding and being able to
calculate values using mathematical formulas that are needed to answer
questions on the exam.  

If a volunteer reads the exam to a blind candidate, it will be necessary to
do this in a part of the exam room that will minimize the noise and
potential disturbance to others.  This may mean testing in a special room,
in which case more VEs may be needed, or the accommodated testing may need
to be done before or after the regular testing - it all depends on the space
available as well as the staffing.  We recommend that a member of the VE
team - one who is not needed to observe others - do the reading and marking
of the answer sheet at the blind candidate's direction.  When you think
about the logistics, you can understand why the VE team needs a few weeks to
plan things and to assure extra staffing.  The VE team wants to make sure
that every aspect of the exam is fair and well-presented for all exam
candidates.  As a volunteer examiner myself, I can tell you that all of us
on a VE team want to see every candidate succeed, but we are also dedicated
to professionally-run VE sessions that adhere to best practices.  The best
way for you to succeed is to study, study, study - Be ready to test when you
arrive, and by all means let us know in advance if you need accommodations
so that we can be ready.

Finally, I should say a few words about the space in which you - the VE team
- do the testing.  Most of us are used to public spaces being wheelchair
accessible these days, but there may still be difficulty getting space of
any kind for an exam or even a club meeting.  More venues expect a fee for
the space, and pickings can get pretty slim if you don't have much of a
budget.  In general, people who use wheelchairs, canes, walkers, or scooters
will need ramps or elevators.  Even a single step up or down can be a huge,
impassible barrier for them. Doorways need to be wide enough to maneuver
through, and rest rooms need to be accessible and preferably on the same
level, or with an elevator nearby if not on the same level.  Our local radio
club has been fortunate to partner with an assisted living campus for
excellent accessible testing rooms with elevators nearby and accessible
parking spaces.   If you are teaching classes, consider your classroom's
accessibility as well.  Maybe the same venue can also serve for the VE

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


CQ Publishes 70th Anniversary Issue

Screen capture of small part of CQ cover showing 70'

The CQ Magazine released today celebrates 70 years of publication and
combines the January and February 2015 editions, bringing the release
schedule back on time.  Although the "CQ Plus" feature has been
discontinued, there is a final edition of that publication in this latest
release.  Although that brings our regular Handiham column to an end after a
long run as "With the Handihams" in Worldradio Magazine followed by "Ham
Radio Challenges" in CQ Plus, we will still continue to show up in CQ from
time to time with articles of interest to hams with disabilities. 

In the features section of the latest CQ, we find Rich, W2VU, leading off
with "Seventy Years of Amateur Radio and CQ Part 1: 1945 to 1980".  The
first CQ appeared in January 1945 and the magazine has been in continual
publication since.  Back then, in wartime, there was a concern about enough
paper being available to complete a print run.  I'm looking forward to
settling in with this very special edition of CQ and learning more!
Volunteer readers Jim Perry, KJ3P, and Bob Zeida, N1BLF, will continue to
help us record key articles from CQ for our blind members. 

Our best wishes to CQ and CQ staff for a great 71st year in 2015.


Fix those old headphones - don't throw them out.

Close up of torn earpiece foam cover on headset

When I record the Handiham weekly e-letter and audio lectures, as well as
operate remote base HF stations, I prefer my trusty - but old - Plantronics
USB stereo headset with adjustable boom microphone.  I'd probably had these
things close to ten years, and they still worked great but the foam ear
cushions were worn right through, making them uncomfortable and downright
ugly-looking.  These days one is tempted to just chuck the old and buy new,
but doggone it, that seems wasteful to me - even though the price of new USB
headsets has dropped over the years.  

New foam ear cushions before installation.

The alternative was to fix them, which didn't look like it would be hard to
do as long as I could find replacement foam ear cushions.  That turned out
to be pretty easy;  Amazon came through with exactly the right ones.

Slipping the new ear cushion on one earpiece.

All I had to do was pull the old ear cushions off, then put the new ones on,
slipping the formed edge of each cushion over the outside circumference of
the hard plastic headset speakers.  No tools were required - always a plus!

One new cushion on, with other side bare and waiting for new cushion.

The left side speaker cushion went on easily, and all that was needed to
complete the job was to get the second cushion onto the right speaker.  You
may wonder if this procedure is blind-friendly.  I would say that it could
easily be completed by a blind ham.  If you have difficulty with fine motor
skills in your fingers, you might need some help.  The foam is first hooked
over the edge of the plastic speaker, then stretched as you work the edge of
the foam around the outside of the speaker. When you examine the earpieces,
you'll find that the process is completely intuitive.

The completed headset project poses with the IC-7200!

The project is complete!  The Plantronics headset is as good as new - and a
lot more comfortable with new foam ear cushions.  My total cost?  Only $4.50
- well worth a bit of effort on my part to order the new cushions and do the
simple repair.  Knowing when to fix something and when to replace it isn't
always as easy as this, but we really should at least get into the habit of
considering repair rather than simply throwing things away.

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, who takes the Thursday evening Technical Net

Can you help Paul with our slow-speed CW net on 40 meters?

Paul, W8IRT, writes:

The 40M slow cw Handiham Corner is still active Friday 9AM to Noon EST.  We
get people trying to learn code. There is no net procedure, and each caller
gets as much time as needed because few are aware of CW protocol. In the
early years I used to give a HH# to those who held out for 1/2 hour.  I
stopped when a hard drive crash wiped out all data in late 2011.  If anyone
has a suggestion for a practical additional time, we'll gladly consider.
Please let me know. Also would be nice to find a volunteer to help. I'm 88,
and it would be nice to have some help with the net.

73, W8IRT

Can you get on 40 meter CW and give Paul some help?  Contact Pat, WA0TDA,
and we will get the information to Paul.

A dip in the pool

circuit board

It's time to take a dip in the pool - the NCVEC Amateur Radio 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!

G2E09 asks, How do you join a contact between two stations using the PACTOR

Possible answers are:

A. Send broadcast packets containing your call sign while in MONITOR mode
B. Transmit a steady carrier until the PACTOR protocol times out and
C. Joining an existing contact is not possible, PACTOR connections are
limited to two stations
D. Send a NAK response continuously so that the sending station has to

The correct answer may surprise you if you are not familiar with PACTOR.  In
fact, you cannot join an existing contact because PACTOR contacts are
limited to only two stations, so answer B is the correct one.  You can
monitor PACTOR conversations between two stations that are connected by
putting the PACTOR modem or controller in a mode that allows monitoring
without a connection. (This is actually covered in another new question,
G2E02.)   The new questions were likely included because of the growing
popularity of WINLINK  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winlink> using PACTOR
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PACTOR>  in the National Traffic System
<http://www.arrl.org/nts> . 

Related news:  The ARRL ARES E-Letter has been released today and includes a
story on Winlink: "Winlink Used for Support of Utah 100k Back Country
Event".  The ARRL ARES E-letter is available at ARRL.org and also includes
an audio version! <http://www.arrl.org/ares-e-letter> 


We have been informed that there is an error in the spoken word version of
the Handiham current General Class Pool: 

G1A02 states: On which of the following bands is phone operation prohibited?

A. 100 meters 
B. 30 meters 
C. 17 meters 
D. 12 meters   

The narrator states,  "On which of the following bands is phone operation
permitted? The answer is B. 30 meters."   

However, according to the frequency chart neither phone nor image are
permitted. The narrator said "permitted" instead of "prohibited".   Remember
that on 30 meters you can use only CW, RTTY, and data and you must hold at
least a General Class license to use 30 meters.  

This question, which is carried over into the 2015 pool, will be corrected
in the new recording. 

"The New DXer's Handbook" - Second Edition

The New DXer's Handbook is a free publication from Bryce, K7UA.  If you are
new to the world of DX, you will get an engaging discussion of what it is
all about.  If you are an experienced operator, it will help you improve
your strategy and work more stations.  Check out this free publication in
blind-accessible PDF with embedded text at K7UA.com.

Where is Amateur Radio NEWSLINE?

If you have been missing Amateur Radio Newsline, you may not have heard that
Bill, WA6ITF, has been under the weather.  Here's a bit of news from Bill:

Not much new to report. I had hoped to be home by now but my doctors say
otherwise. The two ribs are healing nicely, but as long as I am here they
want me to do a few weeks of cardio rehab before they sign me clear, but I
have no idea as to how long this will take. (For those not aware I been a
sufferer of Coronary Artery Disease since about 1983 and went through an
outpatient cardio rehab program back then.) For now, the full length
ARNewsline newscast remains down. I am looking to find a volunteer with a
background in Broadcast Journalism / Radio News Production and who can
devote about a day a week to come aboard as a co-producer with me. I can
easily write stories and scripts from here, but doing the editing, post
production, etc. would be all but impossible from this environment. In the
meantime, a compact (about 6 minute) audio/video version will continue to be
produced by Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, and will be posted to several locations
including  <https://www.facebook.com/groups/ARNewsline/> our Facebook page,
our website  <http://www.arnewsline.org> www.arnewsline.org and included on
<http://twit.tv/show/ham-nation> the weekly show Ham Nation.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The full length Amateur Radio Newsline newscast may be
back by the end of the week. Skeeter Nash, N5ASH, is assuming the role of
producer and anchor and hopes to have newscast 1949 posted at
www.arnewsline.org at its scheduled time of 00:00 AM EST this Friday
morning. We will let you know for certain within the next 24 hours or so.

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.

In the Technician Lecture Series, we just posted the working DX and
satellites section. 

 <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, 21 January 2015 - Patrick.Tice