[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 27 May 2015
- From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
- To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 27 May 2015 11:57:01 -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, 27 May 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
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Welcome to Handiham World.
Microphone, headphones, and eyeglasses
In this edition:
. Troubleshooting coax issues with a continuity checker.
. Some updated net information, including four HF nets for you to
. National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program to be made
. This week's go-to website features a maker project.
. Amateur Radio NEWSLINE calls for help.
. The Remote Base HF report: Help needed with instructions.
. June audio production continues.
. ...And more!
<http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/72> How to check coaxial cable with a
Cartoon guy with toolkit
There is no doubt in my mind that having a simple way of checking continuity
is one of the troubleshooting basics. Continuity, as we talk about it here,
means that a path supporting electrical current flow exists between two or
more conductors. That is not to say that a current is actually flowing - it
just means that if and when we want a current to flow, it can do so.
Let's take the example of a piece of coaxial cable. At Handiham
headquarters we have lots of long and short coaxial cables. Some are jumper
cables that are typically used to connect radios with accessories, such as a
transceiver to antenna tuner or SWR meter, or maybe both with a couple of
short coaxial jumpers. Then there are the longer runs of coaxial cable that
carry the signal out through the wall to a lightning arrestor and then to
the antenna, depending on the installation. The proper operation of the
station depends on conductivity between the radio and the accessories and
antenna. Each link in the chain represents a possible failure point.
If I pull a coaxial cable jumper out of the junk box at Handiham
headquarters, I always take a moment to check it out for continuity.
Knowing that donated coaxial jumper cables have come in from a wide variety
of sources, I know better than to trust that they will be good! There are
two steps to checking a cable. The first is to see if the center conductor
is soldered into the center pin on each connector. Then unscrew the outer
part of the PL-259 plug so that you can see if the coax braid has been
properly soldered. If the coax braid is not properly soldered, loose
strands may be poking out of the solder holes or the solder may be lumpy and
not properly flowed into the holes and onto the body of the connector. It's
usually pretty easy to tell if there is a problem connector if the PL-259
plug moves freely when you twist it while holding onto the cable itself. A
loose plug means that you should set that jumper aside for repair.
The second test is for continuity. Even if a coaxial jumper looks perfect
and the PL-259 connectors are solid, the cable may still be bad. The
possible conditions that may be revealed by your continuity test are these
1. The cable is good and ready for use.
2. The cable is open through the outer shield.
3. The cable is open through the center conductor.
4. The center conductor is shorted to the shield.
5. An intermittent condition exists that causes a short or open when the
cable is flexed.
Digital multimeter, coaxial jumper to be tested, and clip lead.
Photo: Simple test gear for a continuity check includes a clip lead and a
multimeter with a continuity buzzer.
Your test gear is pretty basic. You need a simple continuity checker, which
could light a lamp or sound a tone when the connection is made. Some
multimeters have a continuity setting that sounds a tone, but you can also
just use the resistance setting. While resistance is not the same as
continuity, the idea is to test for extremely low resistance, which
indicates that there is a connection between conductors. If you have a
multimeter with a continuity setting, use that. If your meter only has a
selection of resistance ranges, just start with R times 100. Touch the
meter probes together to either hear the continuity tone or watch the meter
reading. If you are watching the meter display it should indicate very low
or no resistance when the probes are touched together.
The other thing you need is a clip lead with alligator clips on each end.
Depending on your dexterity and the length of the cable to be checked, this
little clip lead can prove very handy indeed.
Now we are ready to do the testing. Be sure you are working only with
completely disconnected coax. Both ends must be free.
1. Take one end of the disconnected coax. Remember, we are NOT able to
test continuity with the coax connected to any equipment or antennas. Touch
one multimeter lead to the center pin of the PL-259 plug and the other to
the outer metal part of the plug. You should hear nothing, indicating that
the cable is not shorted. This is always the first test, because we must
eliminate the possibility of shorts before we can make any assumptions about
the center conductors or the shield.
2. Next, take the clip lead and use it to short the coax at one end by
connecting the center pin of one of the PL-259 connectors (it doesn't matter
which one) to the shield side of that same connector. Take the free end of
the coax and touch one multimeter probe to the center pin and the other to
the metal shield of that PL-259. You should now hear the buzzer that
3. You have now completed the basic tests, because you have determined
that the cable is not shorted and by passing a current through the entire
length of the center conductor and back through the shield, you have
determined that both the center conductor and shield are intact. The final
test is to flex the cable and wiggle the connectors while performing both of
these tests again. If it helps, you can add two additional clip leads to
connect the multimeter probes so that you don't have to try to hold them in
contact with the PL connectors. This will help determine if the cable is
4. If the cable fails any of the tests, feel free to test the shield to
shield and center pin to center pin connections separately. Never use a
cable that is suspect, because it could cause damage to your equipment.
5. Last but not to be missed is a final check along the length of the
cable for any obvious bad spots, such as a break in the outer jacket or any
suspicious bends or bumps in the cable.
If you are testing a long length of coax that goes through a wall, you will
still need access to both free ends with the connectors. In this case, you
are going to have to do some legwork, so if you are starting outdoors, clip
the clip lead onto the PL-259, shorting the center pin to the shield. Go
back indoors with the multimeter and check across the inside PL-259, where
you should get the sound of the continuity buzzer. Grab the multimeter and
head back outdoors, then remove the outdoor clip lead and take a reading
across the PL-259, center pin to shield. There should be no continuity.
This is about the easiest way to check a long feedline.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
On the air this week:
Did you know that ARRL headquarters flagship station W1AW has a regular
operating schedule? Morse code practice and bulletins of interest to
Amateur Radio operators are sent on a regular schedule. You can find the
schedule on the ARRL website <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw-operating-schedule> .
Don't worry if you cannot copy Morse code bulletins at the transmitted
speed. Bulletins are also given in digital and voice modes on a variety of
frequencies. Checking the W1AW schedule and then tuning around on the
listed frequencies is a good way to learn about HF propagation and to find
out which bands offer the most reliable propagation into your area at a
given time of day. Do you use the EchoLink application on your computer,
iPhone, or Android phone? If so you can also listen to W1AW bulletins via
EchoLink. Here is the information:
W1AW EchoLink Conference Server - W1AWBDCT
Audio from W1AW's CW code practices and CW/digital/phone bulletins is
available using EchoLink via the W1AW Conference Server "W1AWBDCT." The
audio is sent in real-time and runs concurrently with W1AW's regular
MIDCARS provides travel assistance on 7.258 MHz. This is a very active
frequency year-round as the net has a wide geographic footprint in the USA
SOUTHCARS, the South Coast Amateur Radio Service, provides regular scheduled
nets, traffic information, and more on 7.251 MHz and has a large VoIP
presence as well. There are two websites:
. Main website with net mission and information:
. VoIP website with schedule and links to VoIP applications:
PICONET is 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,
Breakfast Club Net is found on 3.973 MHz every morning from 4:00 AM to 8:00
AM USA Central Time. Anyone can check in to this friendly social net to
have a cup of coffee with your ham radio buddies and if you want, you can
even be a club member. An amateur may qualify for membership in the
Breakfast Club by checking into the net 10 times, not necessarily
consecutive or in any particular time period.
. Breakfast Club has a website: http://www.hamdata.com/bc.html
All four nets, MIDCARS <http://www.midcars.net/> , SOUTHCARS
<http://southcars.com/main> , PICONET <http://www.piconet3925.com> and
Breakfast Club <http://www.hamdata.com/bc.html> , may be heard on our
Handiham remote base HF stations <http://handiham.org/remotebase/> .
ARRL: US Naval Academy PSK31 CubeSat Transponders Active. In a recent
space bulletin ARRL announced that PSK31 transponders on two US Naval
Academy CubeSats are operational, according to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. The
CubeSats launched on May 20 from Cape Canaveral on an Atlas 5 launcher. The
launch included a pair of 1.5U CubeSats - the PSAT APRS/PSK31 satellite and
BRICsat, a propulsion/PSK31 satellite - as well as a 3U CubeSat, USS Langley
(Unix Space Server Langley). The launch also included The Planetary
Society's LightSail-1. Read more on ARRL.org.
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
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. D-Star coming soon! Wouldn't it be nice to have the Handiham net
available on the D-Star system? Soon that will be a reality, according to
net manager VE7KI.
5. The Handiham net is no longer available on IRLP.
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.
FCC votes to make the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
FCC round logo
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to make permanent its
program that distributes communications equipment to low-income individuals
who are deaf-blind. Known as "iCanConnect," the National Deaf-Blind
Equipment Distribution Program provides equipment needed to make
telecommunications, advanced communications and the Internet accessible to
Americans who have significant vision and hearing loss. In a vote at the
Open Commission Meeting, the Commission extended the current pilot program,
which was set to expire on June 30, 2015. The Commission also voted to
propose rules for a permanent extension of this successful program. Through
the program, deaf-blind consumers who meet income requirements can receive
free communications equipment designed for people with combined vision and
hearing loss. Installation, training and other technical support, including
individual assessments of each consumer's specific accessibility needs, are
> Read more about the FCC
deaf-blind announcement on the Handiham website.
In other FCC news, the Commission has decided to eliminate the regulatory
fee to apply for an Amateur Radio vanity callsign. The change will not
actually take place until the required congressional notice has been given.
-regulatory-fee> Read more about the vanity callsign story on the ARRL
This week's website: Emergency Antenna Platform System
No doubt about it - This is one of the coolest "maker" gizmos around, and
it's useful for ARRL Field Day preparations and summer HF portable
operations. It lets you turn any parking lot lamp post into an antenna
tower, and no climbing is involved! This robot was presented in 2013 at the
Hamvention (TM) Youth Forum. It's a device that you position near the
bottom of a lamp pole as you stand safely on the ground. You can mount a
VHF/UHF vertical on one side and also attach a dipole at the center
insulator. Then by wired remote control you start the device and it climbs
the pole, carrying your antennas up to their temporary location in the
There are videos from the 2013 Youth Forum and from an actual field
installation as well as detailed photos and CAD files at the WC2FD.com
Thanks to Michael, VE7KI, for suggesting this website.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is taking the month of May off. 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.
Amateur Radio NEWSLINE calls for help.
From Producer Skeeter Nash N5ASH: this is a Facebook post from Sunday,
5/24/15 by the Amateur Radio Newsline Facebook page administrator, James
"A few days ago Bill Pasternak WA6ITF was admitted into the hospital. He is
currently in ICU and stable. I have not directly talked to Bill but I am in
constant contact with Dave Booth KC6WFS who has been with him every day.
Bill has said that "it was ok to mention his situation to you and to
understand if the reports are delayed".
Several volunteers are needed to fill positions in writing, production, and
> Find out more at the official
Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running.
Scan this QR code to visit the Remote Base website on your smartphone.
Handiham Remote Base info QR code
. Both stations remained up and running for MOST of the Memorial Day
holiday weekend, though we did update software at W0ZSW and W0EQO's host
went offline for a few hours, either due to loss of internet access or a
. Help needed! The instructions for using the W4MQ software and the
ARCP-590 software are quite limited, especially for blind users. Are there
any volunteers out there who can help us with recording some how-to guides,
including even very basic instructions? Email Pat, WA0TDA, if you can help
describe how to use either of these software rig control programs, either in
writing or in a spoken word audio recording.
. The W0ZSW remote base station is now operated part time with W4MQ
software controlling the IC-7200 (no speech frequency announcements via the
internet) and the ARCP-590 software controlling the TS-590S (speech
frequency announcements available via the internet.)
. If you are a registered user, check the station's schedule for
which rig is in use at the remote base website
> and in the W0ZSW Skype status.
. We have run into a problem with Skype crashing on the W0EQO host
computer at Camp Courage North. Please file a problem report for W0EQO by
email if you notice that the W4MQ software is not responding or Skype stops
. 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
* 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.
The Doctor is In column from the June 2015 QST audio recording for our blind
members has been completed by volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY. Thanks,
Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the June DAISY audio digest including QST
articles of interest to our blind members. It is in production and will be
ready soon as a DAISY download. Thanks, Bob!
May CQ DAISY digest audio has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P, and is
available to our blind members.
May QST DAISY digest audio has been recorded by Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken
Padgitt, W9MJY, and is available to our blind members.
May QCWA Journal has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P, and is available in
streaming MP3 from a link at QCWA.org <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php
listen here <https://handiham.org/audio/QCWA/QCWA-2015-May.mp3
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: Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version
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.
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:
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.
> 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.
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
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
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.
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