[handiham-world] FW: Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 January 2014

  • From: Pat Tice <Pat.Tice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "'handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2014 20:28:00 +0000

[Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health]
Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 
January 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.

[Cartoon snowman holding handheld radio]

Chill out!

Yes, it is a horrible winter here in Minnesota, and from what I have been 
hearing from most everyone else in North America, it is not much better where 
they live.  Icy roads in Birmingham, Alabama?  Frigid temperatures down to the 
Gulf of Mexico?  Freezing cold in Florida?

Chill out, indeed.

Sometimes I think this kind of weather, especially when it is protracted and 
winter just keeps going on and on, can make people a little nutty.  The phrase 
"chill out" doesn't really mean to cool off in the sense of going outdoors in 
Minnesota to brave the polar wind and subzero temperatures.  It means that we 
should take a deep breath and think things through a bit before making some 
rash decision such as going nuts from cabin fever and snowshoeing to the 
nearest auto dealer to buy a red sports car with a convertible top.

Our ham radio avocation is not immune from those "chill out moments".  Last 
week there was talk about how one group had to move off an HF frequency because 
of interference from another group.  Later on a member of the "winning group" 
was overheard explaining how he had the technology to take over that frequency. 
 This sort of thing is - thankfully - not the normal sort of behavior we 
experience every day on the bands, though it is also not exactly unheard of.  
Another one was on a repeater system connected to the VoIP systems.  One guy 
was telling another one off on the air for not identifying.  The "tellee" 
insisted that he had identified but that the I.D. probably didn't make it down 
through the VoIP system due to the nature of such things with their 
connectivity issues and delays.  I sat there listening and wondering if the 
cold weather was getting to people.

Sometimes we get stressed out by things that really are not all that vital to 
our daily lives.  The best advice I have heard is, "Hey, it's only a hobby."

Although we might disagree with that oversimplification of the Amateur Radio 
Service, it does serve to remind us that we need to keep things in perspective. 
 This is true in the various activities that make up every day, week, month, 
and year of our lives.  For example, let's say I decide to drive to the grocery 
store.  On the way, another driver misjudges his position on the roadway and 
cuts me off, forcing me to step on the brake.  What do I do?  Sure, I can lay 
on the horn and signal my displeasure with hand gestures, but what will that 
accomplish?  The incident is already over and there is no point in using the 
horn - which is there to alert other drivers, not to make a statement.  Using 
rude gestures might be tempting, but what if it enrages the other guy and 
escalates into a dangerous encounter?  Besides - and believe me on this - as a 
former policeman I have seen many useless, senseless disputes grow far out of 
proportion to their real importance.  I will be better off simply concentrating 
on my own driving so that I get to the supermarket safely.  There is no point 
in raising my own blood pressure, insulting someone else who may have been 
having a family crisis, been feeling ill, be distracted by a child in the car, 
or who simply made a driving mistake because they have only recently gotten 
their driving license and are not as experienced as you are.

In a sense, driving a car on the public roads is not an individual activity at 
all.  Like many other things in life that we like to think are individual and 
under our personal control, driving is really a cooperative activity.  You 
follow certain agreed-upon rules of the road, as do your fellow motorists, so 
that you all get safely to your destinations.  You cannot drive without this 
shared understanding and cooperation.  Although so-called "defensive driving" 
had been taught when I was learning to drive, I have come to understand that my 
job as a driver is not only to get where I want to go safely, but that I must 
help my fellow drivers also get where they need to go.

Ham radio is like that.

We cooperate and follow certain agreed-upon rules while using the 
electromagnetic spectrum.  Some of the rules carry the force of regulative 
sanction in FCC Part 97 here in the United States and similar regulatory 
oversight in other countries.  Other rules are more like "best practices" that 
help us to maintain decorum and use the bands efficiently.  An example is "The 
Considerate Operator's Frequency 
Guide<http://www.arrl.org/considerate-operator>" available from ARRL.  The ARRL 
Frequency Chart shows us the FCC-designated 
frequencies<http://www.arrl.org/frequency-allocations> and modes that carry the 
force of regulation.  The Band Plan<http://www.arrl.org/band-plan> makes 
suggestions, but does not carry the force of any sanction other than incurring 
the possible disdain of your fellow operators when you disregard it.

Disputes can happen in social media or on the ham radio bands.  Don't let 
yourself get drawn into them. Remember these basic tips:

1.     People make mistakes.  Everyone does.  Don't be quick to judge.

2.     A kind word is more likely to be well-received than a scolding.  This is 
just human nature.

3.     Sometimes it is best to say nothing and just move on.  Ask yourself what 
escalating a small incident into a shouting match will really accomplish, other 
than creating hard feelings, embarrassing or angering the other party, and 
raising your own blood pressure, thereby souring your day as well as the other 

4.     Some situations do need correction and you need to take action.  In 
those cases, take it off the air in ways recommended by ARRL and guided by the 
Golden Rule.  How would you feel if someone chided you publicly for making a 
mistake?  Is the situation really worthy of further action?  Taking time to 
think about it will help diminish the chances of acting on emotion in the 
moment, and whatever action you do take can then follow best practices.

5.     In an emergency, you need to act more forcefully.  For example, if I am 
driving my car and notice that the driver in front of me is drifting out of his 
lane and might strike my car, I should use the horn to alert him.  On the 
radio, sometimes there does need to be prompt action to relay emergency 
information.  Interrupting an ongoing repeater conversation to report a car 
fire or injured person is an emergency.  If the repeater users fail to yield 
the frequency, that should be reported.  On the other hand, no one needs to 
yield the frequency to you because you want to make a routine call.  Learn to 
tell the difference.


You didn't expect a quiz, did you?  Well, I mentioned that I was a policeman, 
but before that I was a secondary school teacher, and I like to spring pop 
quizzes on my "students" from time to time, so here goes:

Scenario 1:  You are listening on your regional HF casual social net.  The Net 
Control Station has taken 15 check-ins, most of them on a first-name basis, and 
without giving much more identification than stating the name of the net.  You 
are pretty sure it has been at least 10 minutes since the guy running the net 
has identified with his callsign.  You should:

A. Break in and quote directly from Part 97 on station identification, adding 
that there could be significant penalties for rules violations.

B. Check into the net when the NCS calls for check-ins, then complain that you 
could hardly figure out who's who because no one uses their callsign.  For good 
measure, add that "a monkey could do a better job running this net."  Your 
humor will be appreciated!

C. Immediately notify your ARRL Section Manager or the Official Observers and 
file a report.

D. Chill out and think about it.  After the net make a phone call to the NCS - 
and mention that you listened to the net but were a bit confused because of the 
identification procedures. Explain that you wanted to check in, but had a hard 
time keeping things straight with callsigns.  Helpfully suggest that one thing 
that helps you out in the ham shack is an app that reminds you to I.D. every 10 

The correct choice is answer D, of course, since this essay is about chilling 
out.  While answer C - telling the OO's about the situation - isn't really 
wrong per se, it really is best to determine whether this is a case of ongoing 
poor operating practice that should be dealt with or a one-time incident where 
a new person taking the NCS position as a sub doesn't know how to manage the 

Scenario 2:  You are the NCS today and you tune to your usual 75 meter 
frequency.  Your net has been on that frequency for 20 years, but today there 
are a few stations carrying on a round table discussion on the frequency.  You 

A. Break in and tell them to move off of "your" frequency.

B. Join their conversation then announce that the net is starting and take over.

C. Move only 1 kHz up or down and begin calling the net.  This will give the 
intruders the right idea and teach them not to squat on the net frequency.

D. Break in and ask politely if they are willing to move, and if not, thank 
them and ask that they direct anyone calling in on that frequency to please 
join the net up or down 5 kHz, which will allow enough separation to avoid 

The correct choice is once again answer D.  Although the stations using the 
frequency could be polite and move, they are not obligated to do so.  Always be 
civil and be prepared to yield the frequency, just as you might have to yield 
the right of way when you drive a car. Don't get upset about it.  It's no big 
deal, just a minor inconvenience.  The sun will come up tomorrow whether or not 
the net runs on its usual frequency.  Chill out and relax!

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator


[Cartoon rabbit running with mail]

YouTube video on impedance matching - Thanks to Ron, K0FTB for the tip:

·         Here is a link to Impedance ​Matching 101 by Ward Silver, N0AX.   
It's about an hour long. Ward does an excellent job explaining a complicated 

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

·         Our study guide for 2014 Handiham Radio Camp Operating Skills will be 
the ARRL Public Service Handbook First 
Edition<http://www.arrl.org/shop/Amateur-Radio-Public-Service-Handbook>.  It is 
available from your favorite ham radio dealer or directly from ARRL.  Blind 
Handiham members should contact us for the DAISY version.  We will be happy to 
place it on your NLS DAISY cartridge for you.  Update:  Several beta testers 
are reviewing our DAISY version now.

2014 Tech Study Guide Online by KB6NU:

·         QST, QST QST:     I've started posting sections of the 2014 
No-Nonsense Tech Study Guide to my website, KB6NU.Com<http://www.kb6nu.com/>. 
Just search for "2014 study guide" to see all of the posts. I'm only through 
the first several sections, but I'm not seeing many changes so far, mostly just 
a few extra questions.   I do note, however, that there are only four figures 
in this question pool, whereas there were seven in the last one. So they must 
have made some changes in section T7. I just haven't gotten there yet.   At any 
rate, feel free to have a look. Any and all comments and feedback are 
appreciated.   73! (Dan, KB6NU)

Practical Radio

[pliers and wire]

Is ham radio simulation on the Internet "real" ham radio?

Over the years I've heard lots of talk about how some new mode of operation 
"wasn't REAL ham radio."  In the early days of SSB penetration into the HF 
phone bands, died in the wool AM operators talked about how single sideband was 
not real ham radio. Then it was digital modes.  Then along came remote 
operation and that wasn't "real" ham radio either.  Today I hear the less 
open-minded among us complain that Echolink isn't real ham radio.

All of those modes are real ham radio, because they contain elements of actual 
on the air spectrum use that falls under government regulation. An 
Echolink-connected QSO could turn into an on the air QSO with the addition of 
an active micronode or the connection to a participant through a VoIP-enabled 

From time to time I get questions about whether simulations like QSOnet with 
CQ100 or HamSphere are "real" ham radio.  These are products that provide a 
realistic ham radio experience, but they are not, in the strict sense, "real" 
ham radio.  You could use a simulation product to provide a realistic 
experience that is very much like getting on the air but without actually using 
the radio spectrum.  As such, you are not really on the air, which means that 
you are not subject to FCC rules while using these simulations.  In that sense, 
they are not "real", but the experience of operating is very realistic and the 
fact that you are communicating and interacting with other "operators" is 
certainly real enough.

In a sense, using a radio simulator is like playing a video game.  Since I've 
already been comparing ham radio and driving a car, why not do so again?

·         To drive a car, you need to pass a driving test, practice, and take a 
final driving exam with a professional examiner.  After you get your license, 
you may drive, but only so long as you follow all the rules and keep up your 
licensure. If you want to drive a commercial vehicle, you must study and 
upgrade your driving license.  In Amateur Radio, the path is similar.  You must 
study and pass your Technician license exam, after which you may get on the air 
as long as you follow the rules and maintain your license.  If you want to 
operate on a wider range of frequencies, you must study some more and upgrade 
to General and perhaps even to Extra Class.

·         If you want to play a video game using a driving simulator, you pluck 
down your money and have a go at it.  There are no licensing requirements.  
Driving in a sophisticated simulator can be quite realistic, and you can even 
feel like you are driving a real vehicle - but you aren't.  It isn't a real car 
and you are not driving on the streets and highways.  It is a simulation - 
realistic and fun, but not real driving.  The proof of this is that when you 
are done and step out of the simulator you are still right where you started, 
in the video arcade at the mall.  It doesn't matter if you crashed the 
simulated car because no one got hurt.  There was no ambulance.  You don't even 
have to be old enough to drive to use a simulator.  That is what a simulated 
experience is.  It is not the real thing, nor does it purport to be.  Ham radio 
simulators are even more realistic than driving simulators, but they are not 
really getting licensed operators on the air.  The FCC is not going to get on 
your case for not identifying.  In that sense they are more like video games - 
albeit very good ones - and not the real thing.

Does it really matter?  If you enjoy these radio simulators, by all means have 
fun with them.  If not, then don't.  Life's a big tent, as they say.

This is practical radio, so use what works for you!

Handiham Nets are on the air daily.

Listen for Doug, N6NFF, tonight and try to answer the 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.

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 time 
and GMT is -6 hours.  The net is on the air at 17:00 hours GMT.

The two evening sessions are at 01:00 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]


Jim Perry, KJ3P, Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY have kindly done the 
volunteer recording.  Thanks, guys!

New this week: CQ DAISY digest for December is now available.

Lecture 57, the second of our in-depth discussion of antennas in Extra Class is 
still available.  This one is an impressive hour and a half long by the time we 
go through the questions.  I hope to tackle impedance matching later this week, 
time allowing.

Secure web connections are now available for your member section web surfing.  
This means that you can type in "https" instead of "http" if you want to view 
the pages over a secure connection.

Secure, blind-friendly Handiham website login:

Our limited digest version of QST for January 2014 in DAISY is available in the 
members section.

Worldradio Online for January 2014 has been completed by Bob Zeida, N1BLF.  
Thanks, Bob!
  This is the FINAL edition of Worldradio as a standalone publication, due to 
the upcoming consolidation of several CQ publications.
Remote Base News

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

[Kenwood TS-480HX transceiver with LDG autotuner]

Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line for 
your use 24/7.

  *   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 

Operating tip:  Find out how to tell if the remote base station is already in 
use if you are using JAWS:

  *   Listen to the tutorial:
  *   Read the tutorial in accessible HTML:

Digital Cartridges to be Stocked at Handiham HQ in 2014:

A generous donor has afforded us seed money to stock a supply of NLS digital 
cartridges and mailers right at Handiham Headquarters.  That way we will be 
able to more quickly serve members who want to get their Daisy book material or 
our audio lectures on NLS cartridges for the Library of Congress players.

[Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer]

Don't care to download Handiham materials via computer? This digital cartridge 
and mailer can bring you Handiham audio digests each month, plus we have room 
to put the audio lecture series or equipment tutorials on them, too!

  *   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.

  *   Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this 
month.  Look for these DAISY materials in the members section. 

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. We don't have a stock of cartridges or mailers 
and 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 
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442.

Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at 
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> or by phone at 

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 
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  • » [handiham-world] FW: Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 January 2014 - Pat Tice