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 July 2015
This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny
Handiham Program <https://handiham.org> , serving people with disabilities
in Amateur Radio since 1967.
Our contact information is at the end.
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Welcome to Handiham World.
In this edition:
. If your club doesn't do this, it may be doomed.
. Check out this no fly zone!
. ...and then check into our nets!
. This week's website features free flood prediction software.
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question from the Extra Class pool
that explains the benefits (and disadvantages) of top-loading vertical
. The Remote Base HF report: W0ZSW is back on the air after minor
. July audio is ready.
. ...And more!
If your club doesn't do this, it may be doomed.
Taking a peek at the new ARRL General Class License Manual, Eighth Edition.
Sometimes it comes as a letter in the mail. Other times it is an email.
Rarely is it a phone call these days, but sometimes that happens, too. I
might even hear about it on the air or read about it in a social media post.
What is it?
It's news of a radio club's dissolution, that's what. Bad news. No one
wants to hear that an organization like a radio club has disbanded, but it
does happen. What causes a club to go under?
Of course demographics do play a role in a community's civic groups. Ham
radio clubs are no exception. If the overall community - the city or town -
is in decline, there are going to be few people to participate in clubs and
service organizations. But that is not what I'm talking about here. I have
seen clubs that should have quite a fertile base from which to draw still
fade away in spite of the obvious opportunities. Think about it. Every
organization needs new blood. These new members will pick up the slack as
members move away, become silent keys, get too busy at work to participate,
and so on.
Radio clubs that eventually dissolve have one thing in common. They are
clubs with no educational outreach. Healthy radio clubs have a subgroup of
dedicated volunteer instructors who teach introductory and upgrade courses
in Amateur Radio at least annually. They may even partner with the local
schools to draw students from the science classes. Sometimes the Technician
course follows right on the heels of a Skywarn class, engaging newbies from
the community whose interest begins with public service.
The thing that successful clubs do is to offer Amateur Radio classes on a
regular basis. Nothing else even comes close as a recruiting tool for your
club! If you offer classes, you create the new hams who will join the club,
participate in on the air activities, bolster your public service
communications and even one day teach classes themselves. Since we have a
tiered licensing system, clubs need to promote license upgrade options, too.
Some may offer a Technician beginner course in the Spring just after Skywarn
classes wrap up and an upgrade to General course in the Autumn when people
begin to put aside summer activities to prepare for the long winter ahead.
Usually the Extra Class license is an independent study goal, but some clubs
may offer mentoring groups. In any case, your club needs new members, and
your educational outreach can create them.
That's why I'm a volunteer instructor. I like to help others learn about
the art and science of radio, and I'll bet if you threw your hat in the ring
as an instructor, you would like it too! It's no secret that I teach
classes on line for our blind Handiham members, but I also consider it an
honor and yes, a duty, to teach classes locally for my radio club. Don't be
afraid to try teaching. Talk to the person in your radio club who does
educational outreach, if there is such a person. If not, bring up the
subject at your next club meeting. Find out if you can be an assistant
instructor, working with an experienced teacher during the Technician
classes. That will give you an opportunity to learn about how the course is
conducted and what teaching techniques work the best. Visit the ARRL
Volunteer Instructors and Mentors page on line.
<http://www.arrl.org/volunteer-instructors-mentors> There are lots of good
resources there to launch your new career as an Amateur Radio instructor,
and to help you keep your radio club well-stocked with new members!
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
Sign of the times:
Picture of presidents at Mount Rushmore with "No Drones" sign in the
Here's a photo of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In the
foreground is a sign warning us that no unmanned aircraft are permitted -
AKA, "No Drones Allowed!" I can well imagine that drones buzzing around a
national memorial, launched by novice pilots hoping to get some unique
photographs, would not only be incredibly annoying but also downright
dangerous to anyone or anything that they happen to fly into, like other
tourists or the licensed sightseeing helicopters. As aggravating as selfie
sticks are for photographs in crowded places, they don't hold a candle to
drones for the sheer chutzpah of their owners. As with any technology,
deploy drones (or selfie sticks) correctly and carefully in the right
circumstances and you'll be okay.
Yes, yes, I know that it's hard to check into nets in the summertime. I've
been away from the nets for a while due to my summer schedule and travel.
This past week I've been touring the Black Hills of South Dakota. Although
I didn't get on the air, I did notice that there was usually repeater
coverage in many areas where there was no cellular signal. I didn't want to
have roaming data charges on the smartphone, so I pretty much stayed off
Echolink. It's nice to be back home. As the old saying should go, "Home is
where the heart is and also the high-speed internet access!"
How to find the Handiham Net:
1. The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492. Connect via your iPhone,
Android phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your
2. WIRES-2 system number 1427
3. WIRES-X digital number 11165
The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control
station on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air
Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one wheelchair user
Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who
wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CDT (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific),
as well as Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 19:00 hours CDT (7 PM). If
you calculate GMT, the time difference is that GMT is five hours ahead of
Minnesota time during the summer.
Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday
evening session, so check in early if you want to take a guess. The answer
to the trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark.
A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to our Handiham Club
Net Manager, Michael, VE7KI.
This week's website: Science at NASA tells us about new flood prediction
software that you can use for free.
Science at NASA reports that "...A computer tool known as the Global Flood
Monitoring System, or "GFMS," which maps flood conditions worldwide, is now
available online. Users anywhere in the world can use the system to
determine when flood water might engulf their communities."
I don't need to remind you that we might be called to assist in emergency
communications following natural disasters like flooding. The problem with
these sorts of events is that they happen in the most inconvenient ways,
sometimes catching us off guard with little or no warning. Here in
Minnesota we are used to Spring flooding following the snow melt, and know
that this sort of natural disaster doesn't happen overnight. We know that
the snow is going to melt, we know where the packed snow is deepest, and we
know a few days in advance what weather systems will be making their ways
through the State. We also know what areas are lowest and most prone to
flooding and have built dikes to minimize the Spring flooding damage. River
crests are monitored and recorded. Years of data collection have added to
the accuracy of our science. This is not the kind of flood that is difficult
to predict, right?
Wrong! Spring flooding still manages to surprise us. And other kinds of
flooding are even harder to predict. The collapse of a bridge on Interstate
highway 10 connecting California and Arizona last Sunday caught everyone off
guard. It happened after heavy rains caused unprecedented flooding that
washed away the bridge supports. This, mind you, is in July - a very dry
month in that part of the country, a time when rainfall should be at a
Now there is a tool that anyone - including ham radio operators - can use to
help assess the risk of flooding in their areas in order to be better
prepared. The Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS) at the University of
Maryland is a web-based application used to assess flood risk in your area
and to help you figure out short-term forecasts. It looks like it wouldn't
be blind accessible because of the graphical map interface, but perhaps some
of our readers and listeners who use screenreaders can let me know. There
are fields to input latitude and longitude.
Listen to the story on the Science at NASA page.
(Although it is a video, everything you need is in the audio track.)
Go to the Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS) at the University of
Maryland website. <http://flood.umd.edu/>
Listen to the I-10 collapse story at the USA Today website.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the Extra Class
question pool, number E9D09. It asks:
"What is an advantage of using top loading in a shortened HF vertical
Possible answers are:
A. Lower Q
B. Greater structural strength
C. Higher losses
D. Improved radiation efficiency
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's
consider why you might want to use a vertical antenna. Let's say you live
in an area where real estate is limited. You don't have room for wire
antennas that can cover bands like 40 and 80 meters. Or perhaps you want to
work DX and have read that vertical antennas with their low angle of
radiation are potentially good DX antennas. Maybe there are no trees or
supporting structures for wire antennas, or you just want something with
less visual impact so that you don't draw complaints about interference or
unsightly antennas. Whatever the reason, as you research antenna options
you will find out that vertical antennas can be physically shortened by
adding inductance to maintain a much longer electrical length. This will
enable you to use the antenna on bands like 40 and 80 meters even though it
might be much shorter than a physical quarter-wave on those bands.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer D,
Improved radiation efficiency, you got this one right. Since we are trying
to get a shortened vertical antenna to tune on bands like 40 and 80 meters,
that means that we need to add a coil - inductance - somewhere in the length
of the antenna. But where in the antenna? Does it even matter?
Well, it turns out that it does matter. If you use a base loading coil
right at the feedpoint of the antenna you will be using something like an
air-wound coil that you can easily reach to do some tuning. This kind of
coil will be constructed with a good-sized conductor that can handle plenty
of current. It will not need a lot of turns because inductance added near
the base of the antenna is very effective at adding electrical length with
just a few turns of coil. A problem with base loading is that you are
putting the coil right at the point of highest current flow in the antenna.
That is not so great for antenna efficiency because the high current part of
the antenna is the place where most of the RF energy is sent out and
received. If you put a coil there, the antenna will not be as effective
even though it will tune nicely. A solution is to top-load the antenna so
that the high current flow will not travel through the coil but instead
through the vertical radiator where you want it. A top loading coil has
disadvantages, though. It does not have to handle high current so you can
make it out of thin wire. That's good, because a coil placed near the top
of the antenna needs a LOT of windings to add the necessary inductance.
Since there are so many windings and since they must be insulated in some
way to handle the higher voltage near the top of the antenna, top loading
coils are heavy. That can make for mechanical issues in vertical antenna
design. Some people compromise by placing the coil in the center of the
antenna for better structural stability.
In the final analysis, it depends on what you want from your antenna. If
you need easy access to a base tuning coil, mount it near the bottom. For
better radiation efficiency on a single band, consider a top-loaded
Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running today.
What is the verdict on working DXCC via remote base HF stations? Check out
this article by Steve, VE7SL, on the Amateurradio.com website.
Handiham remote base station
. W0ZSW has returned to service after minor storm damage on Sunday.
It is operational part-time only and may go offline with no notice if
thunderstorms approach. W0ZSW via the W4MQ software will be offline during
station maintenance much of the latter half of July. We will be moving the
station to ARCP-590 software and putting the TS-590S back in service. July
is a traditional low-usage time for the stations.
. Good news! The W0ZSW TS-480HX has been repaired and may be able
to return to service in the near future. Thanks to Radio City in Mounds
View, MN for their help. <http://www.radioinc.com/>
. W0EQO is operational 24/7 via the legacy W4MQ software, but please
be sure to let us know when something isn't working.
There is absolutely no doubt that we need new rig control software.
So far we have learned that some blind users are enjoying the RCFORB
software from Remotehams.com, a free service.
Please consider testing the Remotehams.com system and letting me know what
you think about it.
New audio: There is no new audio since last week. QST for August in digital
has been released to ARRL members, so audio production will soon be underway
at BARD and Handihams.
July 2015 QST has been released in digital print format, available to ARRL
members. The Doctor is In column, recorded for our blind members by W9MJY,
is now available.
Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the July DAISY audio digest including QST
articles of interest to our blind members. It is now available as a DAISY
download. Thanks, Bob!
July QCWA Journal has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P, and is available in
streaming MP3 from a link at <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php> QCWA.org or on
June CQ Magazine audio digest has been recorded for our blind members by Jim
Perry, KJ3P. We are waiting for the July audio of the magazine to be
Podcast: If you would like to receive this audio newsletter as a podcast in
software other than iTunes, the RSS feed for the audio podcast is:
Email version: <http://www.freelists.org/list/handiham-world> Subscribe or
change your subscription to the E-mail version here.
Weekly audio reminder: If you are a Handiham member and want a weekly
reminder about our new audio, let us know. Watch for new audio Thursday
afternoons. (Some audio is available only to members.)
Beginner course DAISY download available for our blind members: We now have
the DAISY version of the entire Technician Class lecture series on line for
Some of you have asked about the 2015 General Lecture Series. The new
General pool will be used for exams beginning on July 1, 2015. If you are
planning to study for General at Radio Camp in August, you will take your
exam based on the new General question pool. Jim, KJ3P, will be helping us
with recordings from the new 2015 ARRL General License Manual.
But you can start studying using the new pool right now! Bob Zeida, N1BLF,
has finished the recording of the new 2015 General Class Question Pool and
it is in the General Class section in the Members part of the website.
Jim, KJ3P, has recorded the DXer's Handbook Second Edition by Bryce, K7UA,
for our blind members. If you are a Handiham member and need a link to the
DAISY download, please let me know.
Thanks to our volunteer readers:
. You can pay your Handiham dues and certain other program fees on
line. Simply follow the link to our secure payment site, then enter your
information and submit the payment. It's easy and secure!
o Handiham annual membership dues are $12.00. The lifetime membership
rate is $120.00.
MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
o If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation
website. The instructions are at the following link:
DONATION LINK <http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/8>
o We hope you will remember us in your 2015 giving plans. The Courage
Kenny Handiham program needs your help. Our small staff works with
volunteers, members, and donors to share the fun of Amateur Radio with
people who have disabilities or sensory impairments. We've been doing this
work since 1967, steadily adapting to the times and new technologies, but
the mission is still one of getting people on the air and helping them to be
part of the ham radio community. Confidence-building, lifelong learning,
making friends - it's all part of ham radio and the Handiham Program.
Begging cartoon doggie
o The weekly audio podcast <https://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> was
produced with the open-source audio editor Audacity
How to contact us
There are several ways to contact us.
Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
E-Mail: <mailto:Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx> Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx
Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291
Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)
Note: Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM United States
Central Time are the best times to contact us.
You may also call Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, at:
FAX: 612-262-6718 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! We look
forward to hearing from you soon.
73, and I hope to hear you on the air soon!
For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.
ARRL is the premier organization supporting Amateur Radio worldwide. Please
contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you
fill out the paperwork!
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