[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 April 2014

  • From: Pat Tice <Pat.Tice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:42:51 +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, 23 April 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.

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Welcome to Handiham World.
Charge your batteries!
[Gel Cell battery used on Field Day.]
This big UB12750 cell was used last year on Field Day.  It'll set you back 
around $150, and weighs around 50 pounds (22.7 kg), but its 12 V 75 Ah capacity 
makes it suitable for operating an HF rig off the grid, should you need to.
Are you ready for a power outage?  Be honest, now!

No?  Me, neither.

The thing is, the grid in my town has been really reliable in recent years.  
Even though I "nominally" have made some preparations for an emergency power 
supply, thanks to everything running smoothly for several years I have not 
found it necessary to update or even maintain my backup systems.  When I 
tripped a GFI with too much RF, I lost power to my main computer.  That 
shouldn't have happened, because the computer is protected with an 
uninterruptable power supply, UPS for short.  The battery in the UPS is 
supposed to supply instant power in the event of a power outage, but instead it 
let the computer die.  I pulled the UPS out of the circuit, put it on the 
bench, and extracted the obviously dead gel cell.  This battery is a lot 
smaller than the one we used on Field Day, but its chemistry is similar.  These 
batteries can fail - as this one obviously did - and as long as the AC power 
stays on, I would never know the difference.  Unfortunately, it took a power 
failure to alert me to the problem.

Nothing of note was lost, fortunately, but it could have been a real problem if 
I had been working on something that had not been saved.  And there is always 
the possibility of damage by voltage spikes, too. What could I have done to 
prevent this failure?

The answer:  Periodic testing and maintenance.

We need to understand that planning and installing backup power systems is not 
enough.  In fact, that is only the beginning of a continuing process of 
periodic checks and preventive maintenance.  In the case of the UPS, I should 
have checked it by running a simulated power failure.  I could have turned off 
the computer and then unplugged the UPS to see if it would hold the AC output 
voltage.  A nightlight or other small indicator can be used for this purpose.  
When the UPS loses power from the mains, it is supposed to sound a beeping 
alert.  I would listen to make sure that happened as well.  If everything seems 
okay, I could plug in the UPS, start the computer, and try the test again.  Had 
I followed that procedure, I would have known that the UPS needed a new battery.

It is similar with all of our other equipment, which may include solar 
chargers, spare batteries, radios, microphones and code keys, computers used 
for radio purposes, antennas, generators, and accessories.  None of these 
things is guaranteed to work when we need them, but we can increase the odds of 
success by periodic testing and maintenance when we do find something that is 
not working right.  Summer is prime season for periodic storm and construction 
related power outages. Let's plan ahead and be ready.  You might even want to 
make 2014 the year you draw up a checklist of maintenance items and then 
calendar them for attention.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator

Hamvention® is May 16 - 18, 2014.

Are you attending the 2014 Hamvention®?  If so, we would like you to visit the 
Handiham booth, which will be at #330 in the Silver Arena.

[Pat, WA0TDA, and Hap, KC9RP, pose together at the RAIN Report booth.]

This photo shows Pat, WA0TDA, posing with Hap, KC9RP, at the RAIN Report booth, 
which is right next to the 2013 Handiham booth.  We are in a good neighborhood 
at Hamvention®, that's for sure!

The 2014 Hamvention® is all about "Makers... The Future of Ham Radio".  I like 
that theme, because it is one whose time has come.  Since 9/11 there has been a 
lot of emphasis on emergency and public service communication. That is 
certainly a good thing, but Amateur Radio is a "big tent" that can house people 
who have many diverse interests.  A long-standing tradition that deserves new 
emphasis is that of designing and making things related to radio and 
communication. Today's "makers" design new modes of operation, write software, 
and yes, they still build radios.  They are problem-solvers who roll up their 
sleeves and find solutions to make things work better.

I'm looking forward to Amateur Radio in the 21st Century.  As we make our way 
in this new century, we need to be forward thinking in our perception of what 
ham radio is all about.  The world needs more people who understand STEM - 
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Amateur Radio is a platform for 
learning STEM, and it can be an especially good one because it allows us to 
build and experiment, trying new things on the air, and is also supported by an 
enthusiastic maker community that is connected via radio and through the 

Frankly, there continues to be a perception problem about Amateur Radio.  It is 
often referred  to as "old" in so many words when it is mentioned in news 
stories and promotions surrounding public service.  I've seen such stories 
again and again - while meaning well, the authors still find some way to be 
amazed that old technology like ham radio can still be relevant for one thing 
or another.  In spite of an ongoing effort to point out the reliability of ham 
radio communications as a public service and emergency communications backup 
system, this "old technology" theme surfaces again and again.

Making new circuit designs and writing the software to go with them cannot be 
similarly characterized, though I'm pretty sure we will still hear people who 
will express surprise that we are capable of technical innovation.

One thing for sure is that we don't want to keep hearing this:  "Ham radio?  I 
didn't know they still did that."

So make the pilgrimage to Dayton this year if you can.  We'd love to see you, 
and there is plenty of new stuff for you to learn about, thanks to the "makers" 
among us.

2014 Radio Camp (Saturday, August 16 through Saturday August 23, 2014)

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:

VHF/UHF radios

HF radios

Accessories like speakers and tuners

Morse code accessories

Other accessories - Please let me know what you need.

WA0CAF likes a story about Windows XP:

·         Microsoft is Still Making Security Updates for Windows XP, But You 
Can’t Have 

Dip in the pool dives into the General Class:

Today we are checking out a question about digital modes.

G8B10 asks, "What does the number 31 represent in PSK31?"

Possible answers are:

A. The approximate transmitted symbol rate

B. The version of the PSK protocol

C. The year in which PSK31 was invented

D. The number of characters that can be represented by PSK31

The correct answer is  A: The approximate transmitted symbol rate.  The reason 
I picked this particular question is that there is a proposal before the FCC 
that addresses the use of symbol rate.  Check out the ARRL Symbol Rate petition 
here.<http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-files-symbol-rate-petition-with-fcc>  The 
petition, RM-11708, has generated quite a bit of controversy with many 
commenters pointing out that increasing symbol rate limits would interfere with 
CW contacts.  This does not seem to be a forgone conclusion, though. One of the 
best comments submitted to the FCC and ARRL is by N2QT:

The reason I chose this particular question from the pool is that it gives me 
the opportunity to mention RM-11708, which I see as a clear call to open up 
spectrum to innovation - something that will help our maker community to 
develop new modes.  One of our biggest challenges in Amateur Radio is the 
perception that we are "old technology".  I just can't see the problem with 
increasing the allowed symbol rate, provided that we do so thoughtfully.

The status of RM-11708 is still "open" on the FCC 
  1,095 comments, including some with today's date, have already been filed.  
There is a "submit a filing<http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display?z=pzltq>" 
form on the FCC website.

Field Day coming up - Join us in Oak Park Heights, MN

  *   The 2014 field day packets and rules are available from ARRL.  Visit:
  *   Our affiliated club, SARA<http://www.radioham.org>, will be holding Field 
Day on Saturday, June 28 & Sunday, June 29, 2014 at Autumn Hills Park in Oak 
Park Heights Minnesota. Details and specifics for this year's events are being 
pulled together. Watch this space for details.
  *   The Field Day site is wheelchair accessible and there is paved on site 
accessible parking.
  *   Several radios will feature voice frequency readout.
  *   No overnight operation is planned - daytime only.
  *   Accessible restrooms are on site.

Practical Radio

[pliers and wire]

Mystery Box!  Take a guess.

[Handiham mystery box]

Here is a photo of the mystery box I found in the Handiham storeroom yesterday 
while looking for something else.  I'll describe it so that our blind members 
have a chance to take a guess as to what it is.  I will say this:  It has a 
very practical use in the ham shack, but not for everyone and not for every ham 

Photo description:  This is an aluminum "Bud" box approximately 5" by 3" by 2". 
 Visible on the front panel is a toggle switch, a knob with a pointer design, 
and five holes drilled to make a speaker grill.  A small bundle of three wires 
comes out one side, terminating in three spade lugs.  One wire is white, one is 
yellow, and one is green.  The green wire has two knots tied in it, the yellow 
has one, and the white none.

[Inside view of mystery box showing circuit]

A second photo shows the inside.  There is a 9VDC battery connector and holder 
(but no battery), a speaker, a small circuit board with several components, the 
back of the toggle switch, and a potentiometer with three wires soldered on.

What is it?  The answer will be published next week!

This is practical radio - Reason things out.  Learn new things.

Handiham Nets are on the air daily.


Summertime is a busy season for everyone, and that means our net control 
volunteers as well.  If we cannot fill a net control position this summer, 
please feel free to just start a roundtable conversation.  We are looking for 
some help with the daily midday sessions and with the Thursday evening 
Technology Net session.  Please contact Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, at his ARRL.net 
address if you think you might be able to help.

Listen for the Handiham Wednesday evening net tonight and try to answer the 
N6NFF 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.  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]

Email changes coming April through May

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

I'll be taking Fridays off for a while.  Our office will be closed Fridays.  
Our usual hours are 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM CDT, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM EDT.  Outside 
those hours, you may email us or leave a voice message.


Be sure to check the Events column by N1YXU. 

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 mailing. We have 
April audio available for our blind members, including the QST Doctor column, 
the new 2014-2018 Technician Question Pool in DAISY format, read by Jim, KJ3P, 
and another chapter on VoIP, read by me, WA0TDA.

CQ Plus April 2014 digest is in DAISY format.  Log in and check out the new CQ! 
 This will be included in this month's NLS cartridge.

QCWA Digest for April 2014 is available in MP3.

I have started a recording project for Operating Skills, based on the ARRL 
book, "Internet Linking for Radio Amateurs" by K1RFD. The goal is to make more 
information on VoIP available to our blind members.

Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY do the volunteer 
digest recording.  Thanks, guys!

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.

·         To the best of our knowledge, the Handiham website was not 
compromised by the Heartbleed bug.

·         Test your own or other websites for Heartbleed at this 

·         I also use a Chrome extension called Chromebleed to detect visited 
sites that may be 

Remote Base News

One station is operational.

[W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.]

Handiham Remote Base internet station W0ZSW is on line for your use 24/7.  
W0EQO is off line this week after an update failure.

  *   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 
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]

Want to log in instead?  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. 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 
612-775-2291 If you need to use the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442.

Nancy Meydell, Handiham Secretary: 612-775-2291 (General information about the 
Handiham program, membership renewals)

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA: 612-775-2290 (Program Coordinator, technical questions, 
remote base requests, questions about licensing)

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>
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, 23 April 2014 - Pat Tice