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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, 30 September 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:
. Whoa! It's getting dark. But the 75 meter band is lighting up.
. W0ZSW goes back on the air via Remotehams.
. Looking for an easy way to get a practice exam?
. Check into our nets!
. Dip in the Pool returns with a question from the NEW General Class
. Be ready for updates!
. Take a trip back in time with Fred's Head.
. X-class solar flare in the offing (maybe.)
. ...And more!
Dark ages return, and so does...
Icom IC-7200 close up, tuned to 3.925 MHz
...the 75 meter band.
A week into Autumn and it's really dark in the morning when I get up to take
the doggies out. At 7:30 in the evening we go out with them again, and I
have to bring a headlamp. I think I detect a serious seasonal change here!
The 75 meter band has sprung back to life, energized by the retreat of
summer's constant thunderstorm static and ionospheric absorption. This is
good news for guys like me who like the longer wavelengths of 160 and 75
meters. Although many of us tough it out and use those bands year around,
I've got to admit that high summer does bring some pretty challenging
conditions. Noise and absorption caused by solar excitation of the
ionosphere's D layer make both bands near unusable during daylight hours,
and there are a LOT of daylight hours in the summer.
I got to thinking about 75 meters after reading some negative comments about
the band on social media. There's no need to detail them, but suffice it to
say that the meme is that the 75 meter band is for old geezers yammering
about their health issues. My sense is that some memes have a kernel of
truth behind them. Could this be one of them?
Well, maybe. I have heard people mention health issues, but this is mostly
in the context of a casual conversation between friends who share what is
going on in their lives. Think of it as more like a group of friends having
morning coffee in a small-town diner. I know this to be true because the
small town diner coffee drinking experience is one I've had many times, just
as I've had lots of 75 meter roundtable gabfests. You talk about mostly
mundane things that are going on in town, who's going on vacation or buying
a different car, how your kid is doing at college, the big fish that got
away - and sometimes health issues. The mix of topics skews various ways
depending on the group's demographic, of course. Old guys have more health
problems than young folks, after all.
When 75 meters gets dissed on social media, it's really says more about the
expectations of the person who posts such comments; usually they are
interested in another aspect of Amateur Radio, such as working DX,
contesting, operating special events... anything but the venerable
tradition of ragchewing. And that's okay. To each his own. But I like
ragchewing, shooting the breeze, whatever you choose to call the pleasant,
unscripted visits we have on the air on bands like 75 meters.
And if you want to work DX or earn WAS (Worked All States), the 80/75 meter
band is your oyster during the upcoming months. As darkness increases, the
band quiets down and lengthens out. Soon - if not already - states like New
York will be heard in the late afternoon here in Minnesota, which means that
the Handiham stations will be a fun playground for those of you who don't
have room for a 75 meter dipole at home.
(For Handiham World, this is Pat Tice, WA0TDA.)
W0ZSW goes on line with Remotehams.com RCForb software:
TS-480HX with RigBlaster Nomic and LDG tuner.
Image: The Kenwood TS-480HX is on the test bench.
I'm happy to report that we are making great progress with the HF remotes!
W0ZSW is back on the air today for testing. Station setup took place
yesterday, along with setup of the host computer running the Remotehams.com
RCForb software. The W0EQO station is on its way to northern Minnesota,
where it will be tested again and prepared for setup at a Scout camp near
its former home, Camp Courage North. If you use the Remotehams.com RCForb
client, you can search for W0ZSW and listen to the station during testing
sessions. You will hear the Kenwood TS-480HX and be able to control the
frequency if no one else is using the radio.
The new software for our remotes will be the RCFORB client from
Remotehams.com. <http://www.remotehams.com> Did you know that with the new
RCFORB software, you can log on to and listen to stations as they both
receive and transmit? Furthermore, many of you can be logged in at once,
since multiple listeners are supported. This enables you to listen to an HF
net and hear everything, even when the station you are connected to
transmits! There are lots of potential uses for this feature, including
helping newbies learn about HF, listening on an emergency HF frequency
during a practice or actual emergency, and more!
Tech support: The Remotehams.com website includes a robust user discussion
area divided into topics. There is also on line documentation. One thing
that can be frustrating about trying something new, such as remote HF
operation, is that there is a lot to learn about and new users might be
impatient about reading the forum posts and documentation. This is pretty
much true when we talk about VoIP enhanced systems like Echolink as well.
But hang in there and do some reading, then don't be afraid to try out the
software, learning by trial and error. "Learning by doing" is a time-tested,
proven way to learn and retain knowledge. Here are some useful links:
. Remotehams.com main page - (Start here.)
. Remotehams.com client software download page - (Be sure to
download the CLIENT software, not the host software.)
. Remotehams.com support forums page allows you to browse questions
by topic area. <http://www.remotehams.com/forums/>
. Remotehams.com RCForb rig control software manual
<http://www.remotehams.com/help.html> and other documentation page.
Looking for an easy way to get a practice exam?
Free practice exams are yours simply by requesting them through a simple web
form at AA9PW.com. Go to:
Fill in the form with your email address (or the address of the person you
are helping with their studies), select the exam level from Technician,
General, or Extra, and if you wish, select the "No Figures" option. This is
recommended for blind test takers. An exam will arrive at the email address
you provided. The answers are at the end of the email message.
Be ready for the latest Mac update:
Maurice, KD0IKO, reminds us that when the next operating system arrives it
will pay to be ready. Here are some suggestions:
. Make sure that your applications are all up to date before the new
OS is installed.
. Do a backup! Have it ready just in case things don't go right.
. If you have more than one machine needing the upgrade, save it as
a download so that you don't have to do multiple downloads, wasting
Fred's Head from APH, a Blindness Blog:
Ken, KB3LLA, alerted me to "The Fred's Head blog <http://www.fredshead.info>
", which contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and
resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Fred's Head is
offered by the American Printing House for the Blind. Ken was amused by a
feature of the blog, which is digging back into old technology that was used
"in the day" for tasks that are handled by digital tech today. One was a
circular tactile slide rule
Another, featured this week, is an "Edison Voice Writer
<http://www.fredshead.info/2015/09/the-edison-voice-writer.html> ". Pay a
visit to Fred's Head and kick back while you read about what used to be new!
Spaceweather.com warns of possible X-class solar flare:
Sunspot AR2422 "has an unstable magnetic field that harbors energy for even
stronger eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of powerful
X-class solar flares during the next 24 hours."
Visit our favorite solar weather site, http://spaceweather.com, for more
information and updates.
What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is
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. IRLP 9008
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 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. Note that we do not have a Thursday evening session at
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.
A dip in the pool
Dip in the pool is back! Our question this week is from the General Class
question pool, number G1A06. It asks:
"Which of the following frequencies is within the General Class portion of
the 75-meter phone band?"
Possible answers are:
A. 1875 kHz
B. 3750 kHz
C. 3900 kHz
D. 4005 kHz
While you're thinking about which answer might be the right one, let's try
to remember how wavelength in meters is related to frequency. Most of us
probably remember the simple formula: Wavelength equals 300 divided by the
frequency in Mhz.
Did you decide which answer is the correct one? If you picked answer C,
3900 kHz, you got this one right. In this case we see that there is some
background knowledge required! For one thing, the answers are given in kHz,
not MHz. That means you need to know the conversion, which of course is
that you move the decimal three places to the left to change from kHz to
MHz. Then, if you start dividing each one out, such as 300/3.9 =
76.9230769231, you can see that even the "correct" answer does not exactly
equal 75 meters. It is closer to 77 meters. So the background knowledge
there is that when we talk about the 80 meter band and the 75 meter band, we
are really talking about a range of frequencies and therefore a range of
wavelengths. We just say "80 m" when we are talking about the CW end of the
band and "75 m" when we mean the phone portion at the higher frequency end.
One thing I recommend is that you memorize the approximate frequencies
associated with each wavelength of our HF bands. Even if you don't recall
exactly, you can then quickly eliminate answers like choice A, 1875 kHz,
which is in the 160 meter band.
Here is a helpful on line tool to help you calculate wavelength to frequency
You can also simply enter a calculation into a Google search. If you put in
300/3.9 and press <ENTER> you will get a result of 76.9230769231.
New audio: The NLS cartridges for September have been sent out. October QST
has been published by ARRL and is available to ARRL members as the online
digital magazine and in print. Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has recorded the Handiham
digest version for our blind members, and it is available as a compressed
DAISY file for you to download and play on your NLS or other DAISY book
player. Find it in the Handiham members section.
. CQ September 2015 has been recorded by Jim Perry, KJ3P - 58 MB
DAISY zip file. Find it in the members section.
. Joe, N3AIN, tells us how to install Windows without sighted help
by using a blind-accessible tool.
help.mp3> Anyone may follow this link and listen to or download the MP3
Other audio posted earlier:
* QCWA Journal for September has been recorded by Jim, KJ3P. It is
released when the official Journal for September is posted at QCWA.org, so
watch for it at QCWA.org. <http://www.qcwa.org/qcwa.php>
* The Doctor is In column from October QST has been recorded for our
blind members by Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, and is available in the members
* QST for September in digital has been recorded by Bob, N1BLF, and is
ready. We have it in DAISY for our blind members.
* ARRL General Class License Manual: Jim Perry, KJ3P, has finished the
first three chapters of the new ARRL General Class License manual, recorded
for our blind members. The audio is processed into DAISY for our General
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 is 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, is 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.
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 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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The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
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