[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 22 April 2015

  • From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:06:52 -0500

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 22 April 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.

Listen here:

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Welcome to Handiham World.

In this edition:

. Daylight changes the bands. Is that good or bad?

. The week's question answered: Do you take an HT along with you

. Check into our daily nets.

. Take a dip in the pool: We look at statistics.

. The Remote Base HF report: W0ZSW scheduling comes up.

. May audio is in production and April audio is on line.

. There's some stuff on our radar screen this week, including a
privacy issue the FCC is asking about.

. ...And more!


But first, we are really starting to notice the longer hours of daylight
here in North America. How does that affect our on the air activity?

Cartoon sun

It seems like just yesterday it was dark when I woke up in the morning and
dark right after our evening meal. Believe me, I pay attention to this
because I have two dogs to walk. Anyone who has a dog knows that they need
to go out when they wake up in the morning, throughout the day at
strategically planned times, and finally for an evening stroll. You tend to
notice when it is dark outside because you may need to take a light to see
and be seen while walking along the park paths or in the street. During the
winter, when the nights are really long and there are few hours of daylight,
you have no choice but to hitch up the dogs and head out into the dark.
Doggies cannot wait extra hours for daylight.

Anyway, that pretty much assures that I know that there is more than enough
night to go around all winter long. Nights in the winter are primo for
great, reliable skywave communication on bands like 160, 80, and 40 meters.

But once we cross the line into the Spring equinox, the change begins.
Subtle at first, you notice a few extra minutes of daylight creeping in,
mostly at the edges. According to a really interesting article on the
unequal equinoxes on the Time and Date website, refraction in the Earth's
atmosphere adds about six minutes of
<http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/equinox-not-equal.html> "extra"
daylight to the day-night equation, effectively making the "day" longer than
the "night". It isn't long before the doggies and I are enjoying our
evening stroll in the daylight. Here we are only a month and two days
post-equinox and we have lovely evening light. Today the sun rose at 6:16
AM here in the Twin Cities and it will set at 8:07 PM.

That additional daylight comes at a price for HF operation on 160 through 40
meters. As the Earth's ionosphere <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere>
is energized by that additional sunlight, the D layer
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere#D_layer> "damps", or absorbs, HF
radio signals on those wavelengths and makes long-distance skywave
communication difficult or impossible during the middle of the day. As if
that weren't bad enough, all that sunlight hitting the ground heats up the
air above it and the rising air creates instability and drives
thunderstorms. The radio frequency spectrum is awash with the crashes and
crackles from lightning discharges. Again, the longer wavelengths are most
affected. It's not much fun to try to make contacts on 160 or 80 meters in
the middle of a summer day, that's for sure.

But in high summer the sun is beating down and the dogs and I like staying
cool. The basement ham shack beckons, but some of my favorite bands are out
to lunch until at least Autumn, when the days start getting shorter and
conditions improve. What's to be done?

There are always the higher frequency, shorter wavelength bands like 20, 17,
15, 12, 10, and 6 meters. These are also available on the typical modern HF
rig, and if you haven't explored them, you have some serious fun ahead. The
6 meter band can behave in surprising ways when summer band conditions
change to allow long-distance contacts, especially during the month of June.
If you haven't already done so, check out the KA0PQW 6 meter lecture series
in the Handiham.org Members Section under Operating Skills. The handy on
line "Amateur Dipole Antenna Calculator
<http://www.csgnetwork.com/antennaedcalc.html> " tells us that a 6 meter
dipole tuned to 50.125 MHz is only 9 feet and 4-1/16 inches long (2.846
meters). That is an antenna you can make yourself and fit in just about any
space in a small yard.

The 20 meter band stays open year-round and throughout the 11 year solar
cycle, making it one of our most valuable resources. It is also very
crowded! If you would like to try a band with similar characteristics but
with a bit more elbow room, consider the 17 meter band this summer. A
dipole centered on 18.144 MHz checks out as 25 feet 9 and 17/32 inches from
tip to tip, fed in the center. That's not terribly large, and it's also
going to fit in most back yards quite easily.

The 15 and 12 meter bands each have shorter antenna lengths still, at 21
feet 11 inches and 18 feet 9 inches respectively. These bands are less
likely to be open during sunspot minimum, but when they are open they are
often really open for great contacts, especially north-south.

The 10 meter band is also easy to match with a dipole length of only 16 feet
six inches. It's like 15 and 12 meters in that it's open most often during
sunspot maximum and only catch-as-catch-can at other times. 10 meter
signals can travel long distances when reflected off the F2 layer of the
ionosphere during daylight hours.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10-meter_band> Technician and Novice Class
operators have 200 watt SSB privileges between 28.300 and 28.500 MHz, and
that has created some fine opportunities for phone contacts in that segment
of the 10 meter band.

To find out if the 10 meter band is open, listen for beacon stations. There
is an excellent, very well maintained list of 10 meter beacon stations on
line at QSL.net. <http://www.qsl.net/wj5o/bcn.htm> I suggest that you
commit several beacon frequencies to your radio's memories so that you can
do quick checks of band conditions by simply clicking through them.

In short, don't give up on HF operation during the coming summer months.
There is plenty of fun to be had on the bands, and if you and your doggies
are escaping to the ham shack during the high summer heat of the day, give
20 through 6 meters a try.

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


Drawing of a computer

Last week's question was: Do you take an HT along with you regularly (or
have a mobile rig in your car) now that smartphones are so readily

KA0PQW writes: "Yes I always take an HT with me everywhere I go, even just
running around town. When traveling, I usually have at least two of them.
One is always in my backpack. A couple times I have been really glad I had a
radio with me. Once in South Dakota a friend and I were broke down in a
place where cell phones didn't work, but the radio worked and we were able
to get someone to call AAA to get a tow truck. So I think it's always a good
idea to have both a radio and cell phone with wherever you are."

W1MWB writes: "Although I have an iPhone and iPad both with Echolink
installed, I still bring my UV5R with me when I travel. I like checking out
different repeaters and chatting with the locals as well as using the
Echolink/IRLP service if available. I also have a mobile D-Star rig but have
not installed that in my friend's vehicle yet. Maybe next time we go to PA."

I have to confess that I carry my HT less than I should, but there are a
couple of reasons why that is so. The first is that I cannot hear any
Echolink-enabled repeater that would provide connectivity to the HANDIHAM
Conference. The second is that my local repeater, although easy to hear,
beacons an identification every 10 minutes and that interrupts my listening
on Minnesota Public Radio, even when there is no repeater traffic. When
traveling, I do like to take an HT along. I keep a copy of the ARRL
Repeater app on my smartphone in case I have to look up repeaters. I've
found that a mobile VHF/UHF FM radio is nearly useless if you don't have a
repeater directory along, and now that smartphone apps are available for
repeater lookup, they are great accessories whether you are mobile with a
mobile rig or with a handheld radio.

Next week's question: How does your ham radio operating change in the

<mailto:Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx?subject=The%20weekly%20question> Think you
have an answer? Email me and let me know. Also tell me if it's okay to
mention your callsign in the e-letter and podcast.


On the air this week:

If you are interested in working DX, check out the DX News website:

. http://dxnews.com/

PICONET on 3.925 MHz. It is on daily except Sundays, and you will find
HF-savvy Handiham members checking in.

. You can find out more about PICONET on the PICONET website,

Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!

Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one wheelchair user
among them.

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.

One operating note: The IRLP reflector 9008 is not connected at this time.


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 take a look at changes in the Question Pool,
comparing the new pool to the old one.

To do this, we visit the excellent Hamstudy.org website and follow the link
comparing the pool released in 2011 to the new 2015 pool
<https://hamstudy.org/diff/E3_2011/E3_2015> . We find the following
interesting statistics:

. 39 questions that are in the old pool have been removed from the
new one.

. The new pool has 44 new questions.

. The total number of questions in the new pool is thus increased to
462 over the old pool's 456.

. We always expect some tweaking in Subelement G1, Commission's
Rules. In that section, 4 questions have been removed and there are 6 new
questions as well as 6 updated ones. The total is 60, and this is one
Subelement that you really need to pay attention to if you are studying for
your General ticket. Be sure, even if you use our current audio lecture
series, that you accompany it with the updated Question Pool audio if you
are planning to test after June 30, 2015.

. Subelement G2 covers Operating Procedures. Five questions have
been removed, 11 added, and 7 updated for a total of 59 questions.

. Subelement G3 covers Radio Wave Propagation. There is less change
in this section, with only 1 question removed, 1 new, and 8 updated, with a
total 41.

. Subelement G4 is a large section and covers Amateur Radio
Practices. However, only 2 questions have been removed and two new added,
with 9 updated for a total of 65.

. Subelement G5 is often the most challenging for our students. It
covers Electrical Principles and has seen the removal of 3 old questions,
the addition of 5 new ones, 5 question updates, and a total of 44 questions.

. Subelement G6 covers Circuit Components. 11 old questions have
been taken out, 2 new added, and 3 updated for a total of 37.

. Subelement G7 is about Practical Circuits. This section has
almost no changes, with only 2 updated questions, none eliminated and none
added. There are 38 total.

. Subelement G8 is the section about Signals and Emissions. 4
questions are removed, 8 added, and 4 updated for a total of 33.

. Subelement G9 covers antennas and is also found to be a difficult
one for some of our students. 7 questions have been cut, 8 new ones added,
and 6 updated for a total of 58.

. Subelement G0 completes the pool with Electrical and RF Safety. It
has few changes this time with only 2 questions removed, 1 new one added,
and 3 updated for a total of 27.

If you are studying for your General, our recommendation is that you shift
into high gear and plan to take your exam under the old pool, testing on or
before June 30, 2015. If that is not possible, begin studying now with the
new pool. It will be some time before we can make a new set of audio
lectures as time is limited. Be sure your study materials, especially
practice exam websites, are up to date and you have chosen the correct
practice exam pool for whenever you plan to take the real test.


Also on our radar screen this week:

The FCC seeks comments on an NPRM proposing to make past Amateur Radio
address information private. This would affect only past, not current,
address information. Read the story on ARRL.org.

Norway is going to ditch FM broadcasting completely in a switch to digital
radio. NPR has the story about it
rst-country-to-eliminate-fm-radio> , as do a number of other news sources.
I think it is intriguing to us as Amateur Radio operators to follow
technology stories like this one. There is an active forum discussion about
it on the QRZ website.

NASA Science News for April 21, 2015 reports that "When NASA's New Horizons
spacecraft flies by Pluto this July, the spacecraft's high-resolution
cameras will spot many new landforms on the dwarf planet's unexplored
surface. They are all going to need names-and NASA wants you to help." Find
the complete story at NASA.gov.

Happy Earth Day! NASA Science News also reminds us that today, April 22nd,
at the end of a day devoted to Earth, people can look to the heavens for a
beautiful shower of Lyrid meteors

. If you work meteor scatter VHF, you might have some luck bouncing
signals off Lyrid burns
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_burst_communications> .


Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running.

. The W0ZSW remote base station has begun beta testing the Kenwood
TS-590S and is only open to beta testers. The Kenwood TS-590S is now in
place at W0ZSW. The Kenwood ARCP-590 software really opens up the radio for
all sorts of customization by the users. We already have some supporting
material on our remote base website for the W4MQ software, but nothing for
the Kenwood software - so far.

. We would like to hear from users about a suggested schedule for
running the W4MQ software at W0ZSW. We could then have days when W4MQ
software is scheduled to run W0ZSW and others when the ARCP-590 software
would run.

. W0EQO is available as an alternative to registered users and does
feature a Kenwood TS-480SAT with speech frequency readout.

* 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 will eventually schedule "up time"
for the old W4MQ software at W0ZSW so that current users can access the
station from time to time. The schedule will be posted as it is developed.
* Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Handiham Remote Base
station, either here in the Twin Cities or anywhere else in the USA!

. If you are an experienced TS-590S and ARCP-590 user and are
interested in participating in these tests, please let me know.

Thunderstorm season is underway!


We can expect thunderstorms in southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities Metro
area any time now that warm, humid southern air collides with cool Canadian
air over the Upper Midwest. W0ZSW will be off line during thunderstorms and
remain offline until the danger is well past. In 2014 we had significant
lightning damage, something we don't want to experience this season!

When there are storms or when the TS-590S station is using the W0ZSW
antenna, the W4MQ software will show up as off line. PLEASE do not call to
let us know that the station is off line. Instead, refer to the Remote Base
website <http://handiham.org/remotebase/> or send an email message to let
us know about the problem
<mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx?subject=Remote%20Base%20Problem> .

W0EQO is not expected to be offline unless there is an internet or power


Handiham office hours:

Mornings Monday through Thursday 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.


New audio:

May QST DAISY digest audio has been recorded by Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and will
be available to our blind members soon. The DAISY book is in process.

April magazines are out and our volunteers have recorded audio for our blind
members. The DAISY books are ready for download this week for our blind
members. The April Doctor column has been recorded for our blind members by
Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, and is now available for listening, and will be on the
DAISY cartridge as well. Jim Perry, KJ3P, has recorded CQ Magazine digests
for March and April, and both are available as DAISY book downloads for our
blind members. Jim has also completed the QCWA Journal for April, and it is
available in the Handiham members section as well as through the link on
QCWA.org. Follow the "Journal on MP3" link. NLS cartridges should be in the
mail by Thursday afternoon and will include all of these audio books.

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:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedBurner.com/handiham

Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version here.

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.)

New DAISY download available for our blind members: We now have the DAISY
version of the entire Technician Class lecture series on line for download.

Some of you have asked about the 2015 General Lecture Series. The new
General Class License Manual has not been released yet. Usually this is
ready in print by HamventionR time in mid-May. 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.

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:

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:

. New! We have acquired an Icom IC-7200 to try out at camp. These
excellent rigs come with built in speech.

. 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.

. 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 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
<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, 22 April 2015 - Patrick.Tice