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 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.
Get this podcast in iTunes:
<http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Subscribe to our audio podcast
RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version here.
Welcome to Handiham World.
In this edition:
. The joy of a simple station.
. CQ WWDX SSB this weekend.
. Request feedback - W0ZSW and W0EQO back on the air via Remotehams.
We have some "Gotchas".
. Check into our nets!
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question about logic from the Extra
. ...And more!
The joy of a simple station:
Page from 1968 summer Allied catalog showing beginner Knight Kit radios.
It may sound strange to start this discussion with a story about my first
motorcycle, but hang in there and I'll make sense of it.
College days are not usually the times in our lives when we have buckets of
spare cash. Between tuition and textbooks, fees for one thing and another,
living costs and the occasional splurge on buying lunch, there just isn't
much left to spend. It was early on in my freshman year that I acquired
cheap transportation: a Honda 90, a small 90 cc motorcycle that sipped gas
and cost almost nothing to insure. It got the job done, though. I could
get around town and to classes, and even take a short road trip once in a
while as long as going really fast wasn't absolutely necessary. I actually
enjoyed motorcycling and traded up and up and up over the years to large,
more expensive and more capable bikes. Of course that had to wait until I
was out of college and had a job, then a better job, then some savings,
and... Well, you get the idea. The Honda 90 may have been small and cheap,
but it did the job. Bigger, more powerful and more comfortable bikes were
nice, of course, but the essence of riding was still there with that first
Not surprisingly, ham radio is much the same as riding when it comes to the
essence of the experience. There is no more exciting time than that when
you make your first on the air contact with your first station, putting your
callsign out there for the time. However humble your station may be, it
does the job - getting you on the air, making contacts and having fun.
Although I no longer ride, I do observe who is riding and what kinds of
bikes are out there. It's pretty clear that the older riders - many
retirement age - can afford to spend plenty on elaborate motorcycles with
plenty of accessories. The small Japanese bikes are usually piloted by
young folks, probably students on a budget, or simply those who like a
lighter, less ponderous ride. I'll tell you what: The essence of riding is
not in all the accessories and glitz, it's being on the bike, moving through
time and space in a way that's just different from sitting in a car. The
same is true of Amateur Radio - it's getting on the air that thrills, not
having the most elaborate station with the biggest antenna farm. Newbies
starting out with modest stations, perhaps a used HF rig and a homemade wire
antenna strung up between the corner of the house and that tree in the back
yard... Well, what can I say? Many of us, including myself, started our
ham radio journeys that way. And many of us have built bigger, more
elaborate stations over the years as we were able to afford our own homes
with antenna real estate, or perhaps even vacation homes with even more
station possibilities. There may be more money in the budget for ham radio,
too. Multiple stations are not all that uncommon for many of us, and in
some ways we are like those older motorcycle enthusiasts who can finally
afford the big, tricked-out bikes.
Now, I'm a realist. I know that nostalgia is a thing, and we tend to
remember all the best stuff about the good old days and forget all the bad
stuff. It was exciting and fun to learn about radio, and in the
pre-internet days of the late 1960's, what we consider primitive technology
was pretty doggoned cool. It was fun to be a kid getting into a technical
hobby back then, and even though the equipment we could afford was really
pretty sketchy, the thrill of getting on the air made up for all of the
drifting receivers and chirpy transmitters.
You know what? I hope all of our readers and listeners still feel that same
way about radio. The essence is getting on the air and having fun. Maybe
it's building antennas or circuits, or coding some software. None of it
need be expensive. Be creative - do radio the way you like to!
Related: 100 Watts and a Wire podcast and Facebook page - Christian, K0STH
emphasizes ham radio fun with basic, simple stations and antennas.
Email me at <mailto:Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx> Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx with
your questions & comments.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
CQ Worldwide DX Contest:
Time does fly, doesn't it? It's already late October, and that means it's
time for the CQ Worldwide DX contest. If you are looking to add some DX
callsigns to your log, this is a great time to get a pot of coffee going and
fire up the radio. This coming weekend you'll find the bands hopping as the
SSB contest gets underway.
What: The 2015 CQ World-Wide DX Contest
When: SSB: October 24-25
How: Check out the dates, times, and rules for the CQ WWDX contests here.
Like CW? Then the CW CQ WWDX contest weekend is for you! You'll get a
whole month to recover from the SSB contest and brush up on your code
CW: November 28-29
Resource: Looking to get started in DX?
Jim, KJ3P, has recorded the DXer's Handbook Second Edition by Bryce, K7UA,
for our blind members. If you are a Handiham member you may enjoy the DAISY
download, which will play on your DAISY player.
. Please visit the K7UA website for the link to the second edition
PDF version complete with embedded blind-accessible text, available in
several languages, the link to the Kindle edition, and a link to the first
October 21 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. This week we have some
"gotchas" to report!
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.
Testing uncovers some "gotchas" - surprise problems that are completely
As we have been getting more users on the remote radios, a few problems that
we hadn't thought of have emerged. It turns out that when people use the
remote interface, they don't always know what they are doing. Ha, I'm still
learning about that, too, so it's kind of funny that I continue to be
surprised by what kinds of things can get messed up by fiddling with the
controls. I've been running my own station, the "100W WA0TDA IC-7200 Twin
Cities MN" radio that is listed in the Remotehams station list. It's
expected that things will get fiddled with - so it's a good way for me to
learn how to make the station both easier to use and harder to break.
One thing we have learned is that the controls visible to the remote users
on the software can be limited. When we first set up the host software, we
didn't know that, so users have adjusted controls that we didn't want
touched. Several of them get folks into trouble:
1. The audio gain slider on the radio interface adjusts the volume coming
out of the radio's speaker on my IC-7200, not the audio going out to the
internet. What happens is that a computer user tries to turn up the volume
but instead of using the volume slider at the top of the RCForb application
to adjust the computer volume, they crank up the volume of the actual radio
speaker sitting next to me in my ham shack and blow me away with the racket.
2. Last week I tried using the remote to check into a net, but got a
report of a very weak signal. After checking the radio's controls, I found
that the power level had been turned down to only a few watts, and the
compression had been turned off. That made the radio almost useless for a
75 meter net!
3. Although some radios have a built in antenna switch, the IC-7200
doesn't. Both TS-480 radios do, though. We have to be careful to use the
stations only on an active antenna, so a user who doesn't take care to
manage the antennas correctly could potentially choose an antenna port that
is not connected and try transmitting without an antenna. At this time
W0ZSW has a double extended zepp on antenna one and a dummy load on antenna
two. W0EQO is set up to go to the same antenna no matter which one is
4. This morning W0ZSW wasn't working right, and no wonder - someone had
turned the attenuator on and left it that way. At other times the radios
have been left in VFO "split" mode, a recipe for disaster when the next
person logs on. We frequently had this same problem with the old software.
The solution is in the hosting software: We have discovered that we can
limit the controls that are visible to users. Thus, it is possible to get
rid of controls that can get inexperienced users into trouble. This has the
added benefit of simplifying the interface, making the radio easier to
navigate. A simpler interface is not a complete answer, of course. It may,
for example, limit DX operation on a split frequency. We know that, and
will make adjustments accordingly. Perhaps we will have stations open to
"expert users", who will have more access because of their experience. This
is going to be a real learning experience for all of us, that's for sure!
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.
What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is
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 Extra Class
question pool, number E7A11. It asks:
"What is the name for logic which represents a logic "1" as a high voltage?"
Possible answers are:
A. Reverse Logic
B. Assertive Logic
C. Negative logic
D. Positive Logic
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's
recall that when we are talking about "logic", we are really talking about
switches that are turned on or off, which in these kinds of questions really
refers to a logic state of a "1" or a "0". Digital circuits may be able to
perform extremely complex tasks for us, but boiled down to their most basic
components, they really consist of switches - millions of them perhaps, but
still just switches.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer D,
Positive Logic, you got this one right. In this case we see that the high
voltage state of a switch is represented as a "1", while a low voltage is a
"0". This is your choice in digital: either a 1 or a 0. That's it! Get
enough of these logic states together on a chip, and the combinations they
form can do complex tasks for us.
By the way, in case you get a similar question, E7A12, which asks "What is
the name for logic which represents a logic "0" as a high voltage?", you
will of course choose answer C, Negative logic, from the same four choices:
A. Reverse Logic
B. Assertive Logic
C. Negative logic
D. Positive Logic
New audio: There is the October CQ Magazine in DAISY audio this week, which
should be available soon. 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.
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!
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.
Return to Handiham.org <http://handiham.org>