[handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 April 2014

  • From: Pat Tice <Pat.Tice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 19:32:38 +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, 30 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.
Spring Antenna Special

Try this simple antenna design for a low-maintenance, easy on your budget 
antenna system that works multiple bands.
[Pat, WA0TDA, reads from the Basic Antennas book by Joel Hallas, W1ZR]
Pictured: Here I am, reading from the ARRL's "Basic Antennas - Understanding 
Practical Antennas and Design" by Joel R. Hallas, W1ZR.

HF antennas have a way of getting really complicated.  They can seem like 
overwhelming projects for people with disabilities.  And then there's good old 
human nature: We would like them to work every HF band, cost almost nothing to 
buy or build, be DX magnets, and - for good measure - be invisible to the 
neighbors and homeowners' association!
[Multiple band inverted vee system on telescoping mast.]

This simple fan dipole antenna system is easy on the pocketbook, works great, 
tunes well, and can't be seen from the street if you have a back yard in which 
to locate it.  It can be taken down in minutes by one person, but is sturdy 
enough to stay up all winter here in Minnesota.

The advantages of simple antennas are clear. They don't require an expensive 
tower and rotator system that will also add maintenance and tower climbing to 
your job list. They can be constructed to operate on multiple bands and are 
simple enough to make so that you don't necessarily have to buy a commercial 
version. You can choose strong but thin wire that is nearly invisible to 
satisfy neighborhood aesthetics. By using existing trees or other convenient 
supporting structures you can get wire antennas up and out of the way in such a 
configuration that they will work very well and be all but invisible. 
Telescoping poles can be used to provide a center support for a multiple dipole 
inverted vee system that can be fed with 50 ohm coaxial cable and operated 
without an antenna tuner. If you want, you can add an automatic antenna tuner 
to broaden the frequency response of this kind of antenna system.

Want to roll your own?  Here's my shopping list:

1.      Coaxial cable, enough to run from your operating desk to the base of 
the antenna support, then up the length of the support.  Measure it.  I'm not 
kidding!  If you are going to bury the feedline, get a cable designed for 
direct burial or else plan to run it through a plastic irrigation pipe.  While 
a lightweight coax like RG-8X may work in some installations, RG-213 will last 
longer.  I paid about 80 cents a foot.

2.      Antenna wire, available from sources like The Wireman, Inc. 
I used a stealthy lightweight 18 gauge stranded copper clad steel insulated 
wire, and I ordered 300 feet for this project, which totaled $57.  A stronger 
but slightly less stealthy option is the similar #14 wire.

3.      Dacron tie-off rope, 1/8 inch, black.  I ordered 100 feet, but you may 
need more or less depending on your lot's shape and the tie-off points. It runs 
around 10 cents a foot.

4.      End insulators.  I had a junk box full and ordered even more for less 
than a buck each.

5.      A center insulator with coax connector. ($12.95 from Wireman, or make 
your own from the many plans available on line.)

6.      Lightning arrestor - I had several lying around.

7.      Antenna support - This is a biggie, and I wanted one that was strong, 
but light and portable.  I ordered mine from Max-Gain Systems, Inc. 
(www.mgs4u.com<http://www.mgs4u.com>) and the model MK-6-HD set me back $169.95 
plus shipping.  It's made of fiberglass, is exceptionally strong and light, and 
has hand-operated clamps for easy deployment in the field.

Making the antenna is straightforward;  you simply do the math for half-wave 
dipoles, check your lot size and shape to plan where the various inverted vees 
will run and where the ends will be tied off, and then get busy measuring and 
cutting the dipoles for whatever bands you choose.

My picks were:

75 meters:       120 feet = Two 60 foot legs

40 meters:       65 feet = Two 32.5 foot legs

20 meters:       33 feet = Two 16.5 foot legs

17 meters:       25.75 feet = Two 12.9 foot legs

That's it!  The 40 meter antenna will tune nicely on 15 meters, so that band is 
covered.  I always allow a half foot or so extra to make connections or 
accommodate end insulators.

Solder the pairs onto the center insulator and wrap with good quality rubber 
sealing tape, then a layer of electrical tape and a final sealant.  I have no 
qualms about silicone sealer as long as the rubber tape and electrical tape 
layers are in place.
[Close up of center insulator at top of mast showing wrapped wires.]

Here you see the center insulator positioned on top of the fiberglass mast, 
before silicone sealer.  The coax connector is inside the mast, and the 
feedline runs down inside, emerging at the bottom section.
[Base of telescoping mast showing coax entering hollow mast, supported on wood 
boards for ground clearance.]

At the base of the telescoping mast, we see the feedline emerging through a 
guide channel of boards.  This prevents the fiberglass from resting on the 
cable, and in a permanent installation the boards can be replaced with a 
composite decking board that resists weathering.  There are some old radial 
wires from a previous vertical antenna visible, so I used them to ground the 
lightning arrestor.   The underground cable to shack is hard line that was in 
place already, but I needed to make an N connector link to add the additional 
cable and an old Blitz Bug arrestor.
[Detail of connection between RG-213 cable and hard line.]

Luckily I had the parts in my extensive junk collection!  As with the other 
outdoor connections, this one was carefully wrapped with Scotch(r) 130C 
lineless rubber splicing tape, then a layer of black electrical tape and 
finally silicone sealant.

The hard part - initial raising and tie-off

Check for power lines!  Avoid putting up a wire antenna near power lines!

The reason I chose the Max-Gain mast was its sturdy, lightweight design.  I can 
easily lift it into place myself, but it helps to have an assistant to guide 
the wires so that they don't tangle as the mast goes up. Deploy them outward in 
different compass directions like the spokes of a wheel, tying them off 
temporarily until the mast is up and more or less straight.  Although the mast 
can temporarily stand unguyed on a short post during installation if there is 
no wind, the antenna legs will ultimately also serve as guy wires.  My guide 
post was an old Butternut antenna mounting post set in concrete.  I just 
slipped the bottom of the fiberglass mast over it, but you could easily use a 
short metal fence post or just skip the post altogether in a temporary 
installation as long as you have a helper to hold it in place at the base.   
Adjust the legs of the vee dipoles as necessary, locating your final tie-off 
points and securing them with end insulators and Dacron rope. Depending on 
whether your installation is temporary or permanent, you will want to follow 
guidelines suitable for the installation.  Always be safe - keep wires high 
enough so that people won't walk into them.  Never run wires above, beneath, or 
close to power lines!  Details that I may have glossed over here can be found 
in the W1ZR book I mentioned.

Testing and tuning

This antenna is designed to be used without a tuner on 75 meters, 40 meters, 20 
meters, 17 meters, and 15 meters.  But guess what?  It tuned nicely on all the 
bands covered by my Icom IC-7200, thanks to an LDG AT-200 Pro automatic antenna 
tuner.  On resonant bands tuning is nearly instantaneous, and on bands where 
reactance must be added the tuner cranked for a while before finding the best 
match. There will be loss on non-resonant bands, but the antenna is simple and 
it works well.  The DX is rolling in, and 75 and 40 meters are a delight as 
winter sets in.  I've even had good reports on 160!

Sometimes simpler really is better.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator

Helpful FAQ sites for NLS Player!

Recently I got an inquiry from a user of the NLS digital DAISY player - the 
Library of Congress player. The user had encountered a "cartridge error" 
message while playing our DAISY digest and was asking if we knew what that 
meant. Well, I didn't know, so I went to Google and found a helpful FAQ, 
Frequently Asked Questions, on The National Library Service website. Here is 
the link, where you can find the answer to the mysterious "cartridge error" 
message and lots of other good stuff:


Also check out BARD Talk, a super-helpful site:

Hamvention(tm) is May 16 - 18, 2014.

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

The 2014 Hamvention(tm) is all about "Makers... The Future of Ham Radio".  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.

Microsoft Internet Explorer Vulnerability

US-CERT is aware of active exploitation of a use-after-free vulnerability in 
Microsoft Internet Explorer. This vulnerability affects IE versions 6 through 
11 and could allow unauthorized remote code execution. Discontinue use of IE 
until there is a fix.

Read the entire story at the CERT website:

Dip in the pool dives into the Extra Class:

Today we are checking out a question about station and antenna location.

E1B02 asks, "Which of the following factors might cause the physical location 
of an amateur station apparatus or antenna structure to be restricted?"

Possible answers are:

A. The location is near an area of political conflict

B. The location is of geographical or horticultural importance

C. The location is in an ITU zone designated for coordination with one or more 
foreign governments

D. The location is of environmental importance or significant in American 
history, architecture, or culture

The correct answer is D:  The location is of environmental importance or 
significant in American history, architecture, or culture.  However, I picked 
this question because there are usually other restrictions that are more likely 
to crop up for most of us.  One of the most obvious is that your spouse doesn't 
want a big antenna tower next to the house, or antennas on the roof.  Another 
might be neighborhood covenants that restrict antennas. Most of us don't need 
to be concerned about historical sites or environmental issues, but we darned 
well better keep the family happy!  That is the reason I like the fan dipole 
antenna system we have presented here today.  It is definitely low-profile, 
since it can be placed in a back yard and not even be seen from the street, as 
is the case at my location.  If you don't have room for this kind of a 
low-profile system, don't despair; there are others out there that could work 
for you.

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 Revealed!

[Handiham mystery box]

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

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 is a "Beam Heading Indicator".  These were once made by 
Handiham volunteers, and they worked with CDE-style rotator boxes.

[Rex Kiser, W0GLU, at the shop bench.]
Photo:  Rex Kiser, W0GLU, now a silent key, was our shop leader and oversaw the 
construction of the beam heading indicators as well as audio tuning aids. They 
were sold to members for $30 each back in the day!

This is practical radio - Know your ham radio history to help you understand 
the present.

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 NEXT WEEK!

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.

Important!  Beginning May 9, our old email addresses that end in either 
"courage.org" or "couragecenter.org" will no longer work.  Our new addresses 
will be effective beginning on May 9, 2014.  They will be announced next week.

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.

Digests & Lectures

QCWA Digest for May 2014 and the Doctor column from QST will be available later 
this week in MP3.

The new Technician 2014 - 2018 Question Pool with only correct answers has been 
read by Jim Perry, KJ3P.  It will be available later this week in the new audio 
section after you log in.  Remember that this new pool is only for testing on 
or after July 1, 2014.

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

Both stations are operational.

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

Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0EQO and W0ZSW are on line for your use 

  *   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:

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.  
Remember that our email addresses change on May 9, 2014.

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

Remember that our email addresses change on May 9, 2014.

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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For more information please visit http://www.symanteccloud.com

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - Pat Tice