[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 April 2015
- From: <Patrick.Tice@xxxxxxxxxx>
- To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:35:57 -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, 29 April 2015
Notice: Because of a domain name server issue, some links may not work at
Handiham.org. We know about this, so please be patient.
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:
. Of all the stuff to worry about... Tigers?
. The week's question answered: How does your summer operating
. Do you know braille and live in the Twin Cities?
. Check into our daily nets.
. The Remote Base HF report: W0ZSW scheduling begins.
. May audio is in production and April audio is on line.
. There are some summer tips. (Like how not to wash your HT.)
. ...And more!
But first, by now you have heard the news that the FCC is proposing the
closure of nearly two-thirds of its field offices, which will result in the
elimination of almost half of its field agents.
FCC round logo
This story is covered in detail on the ARRL website, where it explains the
proposal and the responses of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and
Commerce and the ARRL.
proposed-enforcement-bureau-closures> I urge you to visit the ARRL website
and read it when you get a chance, because it could affect Amateur Radio
enforcement in a big way.
Or could it? Should we worry about fewer field agents and more distant
It will be interesting to find out how FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responds to
Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), who has requested all documents
related to the proposed closures. There has already been some discussion
around this topic on the internet, with the predictable lament of
already-lax enforcement and how this will lead down a road of ruin with on
the air free for alls and the absolute nadir of communications civility, CB
radio, becoming our future.
What does ARRL say about this? Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, addresses the issue
directly in his May 2015 "It Seems to Us" column. The title, "Toothless
Tigers" pretty much says it all. Enforcement is already problematic and
extremely slow, sometimes taking years to crawl toward a resolution. As
Dave points out, the new FCC plan would create a "Tiger Team" of field
agents based in Maryland to be deployed as needed to investigate problems
with a high level of concentration and with the expertise of staff with
electrical engineering backgrounds.
That's all well and good, but so much in life is practical, isn't it? How
will a "Tiger Team" be able to respond to geographically far-flung incidents
that are on again, off again in nature? That's how the most egregious
deliberate interference cases are. The interference may be horrible and
disruptive while also being unpredictable. It is hard to imagine that FCC
staff will be able to travel great distances and then camp out for days or
weeks to establish proof of rules violations, especially for Amateur Radio
complaints. Even investigation of interference with public safety
communications could suffer the same fate. How can it possibly be practical
for the Tiger Team to travel to the locations of isolated incidents?
Wouldn't it only make sense to go to places where complaints are
concentrated and multiple incidents could be pursued during the same field
The fact of the matter is that interference complaints have always been
difficult to manage because they are spread out through both time and space.
You don't necessarily know when and where they will happen, and it can take
months to establish a pattern. This does not seem like something a team of
engineers based in Maryland will be able to handle.
This brings us to the question of whether we should worry about a decline in
enforcement. In a sense, because our expectations of the current state of
enforcement are already pretty low, this seems a lot like worrying about
falling down the stairway when we are already standing on the bottom step
anyway. It seems unlikely that most of us would even notice any difference,
at least at first.
The real problem will develop over time. Lax enforcement is ineffective at
maintaining compliance as it becomes clear to violators that there are no
consequences for their bad actions. This is as true with traffic laws as it
is with communications regulations. If speeders are not occasionally
stopped by the police and ticketed, speeding on the roadways will become the
norm. In a similar fashion, when occasional enforcement is not applied to
bad behavior on the air, violations will become more common.
The issue of lax enforcement will not go away. No, it is not something to
worry more about than we already do at this very instant, but hey - it is a
real problem already, even without the proposed closings and staff cuts at
FCC. You know what? I'm glad there is push back from Congress and ARRL on
this latest proposal. I'm glad that ARRL has our back. And - because I try
to keep an open mind - If the Tiger Team idea is (with the input of ARRL and
other interested parties) tweaked to be highly responsive and turns out to
work okay, I will gladly embrace it.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
Drawing of a computer
Last week's question was: How does your ham radio operating change in the
Doug, N6NFF, says, "About the only thing the summer changes for me is that I
take my HT out onto the patio. In order to make sure that I have a good
signal into our local club repeater, I place my Kenwood TMV-71A into
cross-band repeat mode. I usually use the one-way cross-band repeat feature.
Beyond that, nothing else really changes for me."
John, N1UMJ, says, "On this week's question, my radio activity does change.
I'm outside more so I'm more likely to pop up on an HT, especially where
public service activities pick up and I'm involved in many of them regularly
and often that means I'm even on frequencies other than ham ones. Often
though I just grab one of my HT's and if I'm out and about, I make sure to
have it with me monitoring one of the repeaters for one of the clubs I
belong to, or my own. Also, where I am outside a lot more often, I find if
I'm ever in trouble, or come across someone else who is while I'm walking,
the HT will get through where the cell phone doesn't always. On last week's
question I missed: Yes, I have an HT with me every time I leave the house.
Reason one, 90% of what I do involves radio of some sort and I have most of
what I need programmed in to the radio I carry, be it ham related or
somewhere else I need to be. If I'm not doing anything else with radios, I
monitor ham frequencies. Reason two is I am owner of a repeater on 900 MHz
in my area, so if I'm in range of that repeater I make sure to keep an ear
on it in case something goes wrong, and to keep it active. So, actually, I
often have 2 HT's on me, my VHF one and if I'm in range of my repeater, my
900 MHz one. When funds allow, my repeater will also have IRLP on it most
likely so then I'll be on it even more making sure everything is okay."
Matt, KA0PQW, says, "I think my ham radio operating changes quite a bit from
winter to summer. This past winter I spent a lot of time on 75 meter AM. I
really had a great time firing up the old Johnson Viking Ranger at night and
early in the morning, but now with summer and thunderstorms I won't be
spending much time on 75 meters. It's getting to be VHF season, so now is
the time to watch 6 meters and above. When it starts getting very hot and
humid, then I will be paying attention to two meters and above. I sure hope
we will have good tropospheric propagation later this summer, and I hope
for a good sporadic-E season on six meters. We have already had some E-skip
openings on six meters. I will still turn on the old 75 meter AM rig from
time to time to make sure it is working, but won't spend as much time with
it. Besides, I won't need the added heat from the vacuum tubes in the living
room during the summer!"
Next week's question: Can you help teach a merit badge class in the Twin
Cities? Please read this request:
Braille and ASL help needed
Braille book atop transceiver
Rick, W0IS, writes: I've been asked to volunteer as a Boy Scout merit badge
counselor for the new "Signs, Signals, and Codes" merit badge. The merit
badge requirements are at this link.
As you can see, it covers Morse code (which is why I was asked), but also a
number of others, including braille and American Sign Language:
Explain the braille reading technique and how it helps individuals with
sight impairment to communicate. Then do the following:
* Either by sight or by touch, identify the letters of the braille
alphabet that spell your name. By sight or touch, decode a braille message
at least six words long.
* Create a message in braille at least six words long, and share this
with your counselor.
* Describe what American Sign Language (ASL) is and how it is used
* Spell your first name using American Sign Language. Send or receive
a message of six to ten words using ASL.
Since those are out of my expertise, I will be looking for others to help me
with these. I think I have some leads for ASL, but I wonder if you could
recommend someone who might be interested in helping scouts learn about
braille, and learning how to read and write a short message. I would
probably be doing this as a class once or twice a year. Basically, I would
just need a guest speaker who could talk about the subject and help the
scouts read and write their message. The class would probably be somewhere
in the Roseville, MN area. It would be several months before the first
class took place. The only requirement for a volunteer would be that they
take the BSA "youth protection training," which is about a 30 minute
training that can be done online or by video. Ironically, I believe it
requires viewing at least part of the video, and I don't think there's a
version that is accessible to the blind. However, I'm sure I can make sure
whatever necessary accommodations are made. If you know anyone who might be
interested, I'd appreciate if you would pass this along to them!
TNX & 73,
Roseville, MN is in the northern Twin Cities metro area. If you live in the
Twin Cities and have some expertise in braille, and would like to help Rick
with this scouting merit badge course, please contact us at the Handiham
Program and we will give you Rick's contact information.
On the air this week:
There's not a lot going on, it seems. If you are interested in working DX,
check out the DX News website:
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,
Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
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.
One operating note: The IRLP reflector 9008 is not connected at this time.
Want to learn more about that Morse code you hear on the air? KA5POW
suggests a Morse club resource:
How about webinars on JAWS, the screenreader from Freedom Scientific? Check
out the FS Webinar Link.
Here's a timely summer tip: Today I threw in a load of clothes to wash.
I've gotten into the habit of squeezing any clothes with pockets to
determine if there is anything in the pockets before they go into the
washing machine. I found a wallet today, but other items saved have been
smartphones and Fitbits. As we have heard, many of us will carry miniature
handheld radios in the summertime, and they conveniently slip in a pocket.
If you forget them and that clothing item gets washed, your HT gets a nice
bath and it will never work again, though it will be nice and clean. Always
check your pockets for your radios or other electronic items after your walk
outdoors. Check all laundry items before sending them into the laundry
stream and again before placing them into the washing machine.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is taking the week 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.
I'll be volunteering at my local club's VE session Thursday, 30 April.
you live in or nearby the Stillwater, MN area, the session is open and
begins at 6:00 PM. Details at ARRL.org.
Both Handiham HF remote base internet stations are up and running.
. 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 <http://handiham.org/remotebase/
> and in the W0ZSW Skype
. 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.
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
> or send an email message to let
us know about the problem
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. Pat, WA0TDA, is
taking some time off here and there over the summer. "The nicer the
weather, the more likely I'll be playing hooky!"
May QST DAISY digest audio has been recorded by Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and is
available to our blind members.
April magazines are out and our volunteers have recorded audio for our blind
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.)
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 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
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