[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 01 April 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 11:07:34 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 01 April 2009 

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System <http://handiham.org> . Please do not reply to this message. Use the
contact information at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

This issue is being delivered in plain text, but is available in HTML with
graphics and photos. You can get the HTML version online at the following

You can also listen to the content online:

Listen to an MP3 audio stream:
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Welcome to Handiham World!

Free software tour: A free, easy to use, accessible logging program

Pat with the usual coffee mugLast week we talked about two free screenreader
solutions for our members who are blind or have low vision. This week, we
introduce you to XMLog, a free, regularly updated, amateur radio logbook
system for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP.  It will also work with
Windows Vista but, as the website points out, "there may be problems setting
the correct execution options. If you have trouble check the Yahoo! XMLog

Michael, W1ECT, is the author and maintainer of XMLog, and he has clearly
devoted a lot of thought and effort into making the software interface work
well for everyone, including blind users. His dedication to offering this
resource to the greater amateur radio community and continuing to support it
is commendable. If you use XMLog and like it, there is information on
supporting it on the website.

Logging software these days is far removed from early computer logging, when
the personal computer was simply used to manually enter data in some kind of
basic spreadsheet. Today, logging software interfaces with modern
transceivers and recovers frequency information directly through a hardware
link. XMLog is no different in this respect, and you will find that it
supports most common modern radios. Rig support is listed on the main XMLog
webpage, and I was surprised to see not only cutting-edge radios like the
Elecraft K2 and K3, but also the Heath SB-1400! All Kenwood radios are
supported, as well as most ICOM and Yaesu radios, as well as a few others.
Frankly, this software is about as universally usable and friendly as it

Some audio speech alerts are built into XMLog, though you do have to install
the free audio wave files associated with the alerts if you want to use that
feature. Otherwise, we consider XMLog to be screen reader accessible if you
are blind. The interface is straightforward whether you can see the screen
or not. There is built-in CW support and XMLog can display a separate window
that interfaces to your packet TNC or to Internet PacketCluster nodes. You
can have DX spots announced automatically in audio format if you use the
voice alert feature for PacketCluster spots.

Frankly, I think that logging software is an essential part of a well-run
amateur radio station. While you don't have to log every single contact, you
are more likely to log if the logging process is simple and nearly
effortless, as XMLog seems to be. The value of logging will become apparent
once you start keeping your own logbook. You will be able to go back over
your records to find a friend you met on the air, keep track of contacts for
various awards, track your usage of various frequencies and bands, recall a
call sign that you had forgotten, and use your operating record if you ever
have to field an interference complaint. The FCC no longer requires logs, of
course, but they are truly valuable nonetheless, and as long as you don't
have to expend too much effort keeping them up-to-date, why not start your
own station logbook?

You can find XMLog online at the XMLog website: <http://www.xmlog.com/> 

Next week: I experiment with a file recovery utility.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager

 <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx


Avery's Field Day Whopper

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/391> Avery with fish

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

As many of you know from my previous columns, for many years the Field Days
I took part in were mostly for fun.

The biggest challenge was to find a completely new and different location
that no one had used before. Even though we kept a log of contacts, many
times we did not even turn it in. After all, we were there for fun, and part
of the fun of Field Day is just getting together and sometimes even
entertaining our families and friends with the picnic. You don't exactly run
up your Field Day score that way.

My Field Day locations consisted of:

. The middle of a golf course where we were peppered by golf balls at times.
. A chicken coop on a farm where we used the barbed wire fence as a long
wire antenna.
. The top of a hill where a ski jump was located.
. A sail boat on Lake Minnetonka.

As the years passed, it became more and more difficult to find new and
different locations to hold Field Day. We tried hard to think of places that
not many others would be using. One time, after just about running out of
something new for a Field Day site, an idea came to mind -- If only I could
make it work.

So I went to work constructing the special solid state transceiver. After it
was complete, I checked and rechecked it. Then I took some candle wax and
completely encased the whole electronics of the transceiver in the wax,
being very careful not to miss anything. I had to moisture-proof this thing!
Well, to my surprise this transceiver still worked and worked quite well at

Now, I had another little problem, which was how to waterproof the antenna.
After all, I was going to be out fitted in diving gear sitting on the bottom
of my secret lake way off in the woods. I figured if I made a very long
candle-like affair with a hole down the middle, I could feed the antenna
right into it and seal up the one end and connect the other end under the
wax coating to the antenna terminal on the radio. Yup! That worked just
fine. I had to encase the telegraph key so that the contacts would stay dry
and not short out, so out came that old cigar box and again -- you guessed
it -- I used that candle wax to seal everything up.

Now, while all this was going on I had been running out to my secret lake
and training these two very large fishes to swim alongside of me. When I had
them really familiar with me, I got them trained to accept a harness.

So, there we were, the three of us, swimming around the lake in formation so
to speak. It must have been quite a sight for those people attempting to
fish or boat on the lake.

My next project was to connect small electrodes to the harnesses so I could
get power to my radio transceiver. Anyway, now I had electric eels to power
my radio so I had no need for any other source of electricity.

And, that is how I worked Field Day from swimming around the bottom of my
secret lake.

Happy April fool's Day!

73 & DX de K0HLA Avery

You can reach me Monday & Wednesday until 1:30 PM Minneapolis Time at:

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Malicious Conficker worm activates on April 1 without much effect - yet

guy shaking fist at dead computer

Reported by Patrick Tice, WA0TDA

By now most of us have heard of the threat to computer users worldwide
caused by the mysterious computer worm called "Conficker". According to
Wikipedia, Conficker, also known as Downup, Downadup and Kido, is a computer
worm that surfaced in October 2008 and targets the Microsoft Windows
operating system. When I was listening to the car radio on the drive back
from Courage Center yesterday, I heard a story about this computer worm and
how easy it is to protect against it. The main thrust of the story was that
you enable Windows Update and simply keep your computer up to date. Since
most amateur radio operators have one or more networked computers in their
ham radio shacks, this is no small matter.

The expert interviewed on the radio suggested that the threat, while still
serious, would not be as bad as once feared when the virus activated, as it
was scheduled to do, on April 1, 2009. Well, today is April 1 and there have
been no reports of serious network congestion. The ultimate threat is still
largely unknown because no one knows the motivation of the criminal or
criminals who designed the worm. There is speculation that the computers
around the world that are currently infected could be given malicious
instructions to steal data or otherwise wreak havoc on the Internet. Thus,
the situation is still being monitored closely by computer security experts

Online resource:

If you have personal experience with this computer worm, share your story
with us by writing to me, Patrick Tice, at e-mail address: wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

.        By wa0tda at 04/01/2009 - 13:44

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Malicious code attacks SSB operators worldwide

guy with steam coing out his ears

A new threat has emerged to single sideband communication worldwide, as
malicious code spread by an ingenious method shuts down phone operation for
ham radio operators who are unfortunate enough to simply tune across the
amateur radio bands.

It was hitherto assumed that malicious code, something so common in the
world of computer security, could not affect amateur radio equipment set up
to run single sideband.

A victim falls prey to the malicious code by tuning through the ham radio
bands and encountering a simple audio sequence, which, if it reaches the
element of that transceiver's microphone, disables the SSB mode function,
rendering the radio unsuitable for single sideband communication.

Spokesman Charles B. Handel, N0DITZ, of the Frozen Knob, Idaho SSB Society,
lamented, "We always suspected that the Morse code people were out to get
us, but no one ever thought that they would stoop this low. Everyone has a
right to operate the mode of their choice, and we are danged ornery over

Unnamed experts from the United Nations Telecommunications Authority refused
to comment, other than to say that this is the first known instance of Morse
code behaving like malicious computer code.

Handiham.org has captured the offending audio sequence, but you are warned
that if you play the audio near a single sideband transceiver that is turned
on, even though the microphone button is not pressed, your radio may be
infected by the malicious code. Be sure to turn off all radios before

Listen to the malicious code sequence here:

Warning: Side effects of Handiham.org audio are CW gravitation, microphone
vexation, talkwarts, codefinger, and enhanced DX.

.        By wa0tda at 04/01/2009 - 14:20

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Global Simulated Emergency Test Scheduled for April

ARRL is reporting in bulletin ARLX005 that the Global Simulated Emergency
Test is scheduled for April 18, 2009.

Here is the text:

The HQ Stations of all IARU Member-Societies, as well as the stations of
Emergency Communications Groups, have been invited by
IARU Region 1 to participate in the 2009 Global Simulated Emergency Test
(GlobalSET), on Saturday, April 18, 2009 from 1100-1500 UTC.
The GlobalSET will take place on and near the emergency Center of Activity
(CoA) frequencies on 80, 40, 20, 17 and 15 meters, +/- QRM.
Stations in the United States intending to participate need to register
through their IARU International Emergency Communications
Coordinator. For the United States, registrations should be e-mailed to ARRL
Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura,
K2DCD at, k2dcd@xxxxxxxxx

Read more at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/389> 


Amateur Radio Balloon Project launches Saturday, April 4, 2009

The HALO II Project will involve 15 Universities simultaneously launching
high-altitude balloons to create a balloon-to-balloon network in order to
promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Education and
conduct cutting edge multipoint science experiments. Amateur Radio APRS will
report data fed directly to each transmitter aloft from an on board GPS.

Read more at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/388> 


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

Tonight you will have an opportunity to meet your friends on the Handiham
net. Please join us and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit:


Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM)
GMT: Thursday morning at 00:30 Z


145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul) 
Node 89680 (EchoLink worldwide) 
IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) 
WIRES system number 1427

Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member, and the net is relaxed,
friendly, and informal. 

By the way, our Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we need net
control stations for the Wednesday evening net and for the Monday through
Saturday morning net. If you are in the Twin Cities, all you need is a radio
that can get on the 145.45 N0BVE repeater, and if you live outside the RF
area, you can still be net control via EchoLink, IRLP, or WIRES. 


Events by N1YXU

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/214> Events by N1YXU

April Events
March Madness here in North Carolina is giving way to April. We have all
been very wrapped up in the NCAA basketball tournament, and, as usual, the
competition has been very interesting. The weather is also finally leading
into spring like temperatures. It will be great to be able to get outside
and finish preparing the gardens.
As far as inside, amateur radio activities - My husband, Bruce (N1LN) has
been very active on contests lately. The glow from the amplifiers has helped
keep the house warm until spring arrives!!
I hope you find several events in April that peak your interest.
Until next month..
- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read Laurie's Events column online:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/390> 


This week at Headquarters:

.        Minnesota Radio Camp application forms are online!

The waterfront at Lake George

Join us this August at Minnesota Radio Camp! 

Download the camp application package, which contains information pages and
the forms you need to apply for camp. Camp starts on Sunday, August 16, and
finishes on Sunday, August 23. It's a week of extraordinary fun, during
which you can earn your ham radio license or just get on the air. And it can
cost as little as $240 for the week. There are two choices for formats,
either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF. 

*       Download Word Forms <http://handiham.org/manuals/forms/mncamp/word/>

*       Download PDF Forms <http://handiham.org/manuals/forms/mncamp/pdf/> 
*       Not <http://www.handiham.org/node/358>  sure?  Take a photo tour!

Having trouble downloading or have questions about Radio Camp or Handihams?
Just email Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx, anytime.


*       Fiction title added to library for blind members

cassette tape
The ARRL fiction title "Firewatch" by Cynthia Wall is available on loan to
our blind Handiham members. It is on 4-track audio tape cassette in Library
of Congress format only. Synopsis: Kim and Marc are faced with fires
everywhere in Oregon's tinder-dry Cascade Mountains.

Blind Handiham members who wish to borrow this book should contact Nancy at

*       New in Operating Skills: 

*       April QST , CQ, QCWA Journal, and Worldradio digest audio is online
for our blind members. 
*       Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the April "Doctor is in"
column from QST for our blind members.  
*       Login to the <http://handiham.org/user>  member section of the
Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The QST, CQ,
and Worldradio digests have been read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF. 

*       Stay in touch!  Be sure to send Nancy your change 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 or
call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact

Reminder:  Handiham renewals are now on a monthly schedule - Please renew or
join, as we need you to keep our program strong!

You will have several choices when you renew:

*       Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year.
*       Join for three years at $30.
*       Lifetime membership is $100.
*       If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for the
*       Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our
*       Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. 

Your support is critical! Please help. 

The Courage Handiham System 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. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club
program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio
Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities. Call 1-866-426-3442


1-866-426-3442 toll-free Help us get new hams on the air.

FREE! 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 www.handiham.org
<http://www.handiham.org/> .  
Email us to subscribe:  <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at
www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> :

. Beginner 
. General 
. Extra 
. Operating Skills


That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!

Manager, Courage Handi-ham System
Reach me by email at:  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

*       Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
*       Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
*       Avery, K0HLA, Educational Coordinator: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
*       Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
*       Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


ARRL </p />
<p>diamond logo

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!

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 wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for
changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and
your new address.


.        By wa0tda at 04/01/2009 - 16:03

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Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442) 

FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! 

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


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