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 link: You can also listen to the content online: Listen to an MP3 audio stream: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ 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 group." 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 gets! 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/> 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 that. 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: 763-520-0515 Or, avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/392%2523commen t-form> to post comments _____ 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 worldwide. Online resource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conficker 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 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/393%2523commen t-form> to post comments . _____ 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 this." 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 listening. Listen to the malicious code sequence here: http://handiham.org/audio/codefile.mp3 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 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/394%2523commen t-form> to post comments _____ 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> 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> 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: When: Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM) GMT: Thursday morning at 00:30 Z Where: 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.. Regards, - Laurie Meier, N1YXU n1yxu@xxxxxxxx Read Laurie's Events column online: <http://www.handiham.org/node/390> 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 hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * 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 us. 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 year. * Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities. * 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> 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 toll-free. DONATE USED HAM GEAR 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> 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! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handi-ham System Reach me by email at: <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 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 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/395%2523commen t-form> to post comments _____ 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.