[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 03 December 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 14:53:27 -0600

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

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Welcome to Handiham World!


WA0TDA: Remote Base Update

WA0TDA: Why nets are important - Pat with coffee mugAs we have been
reporting, the Handiham Remote Base HF station is on track to go live to
member use in early 2009. Stan, W4MQ, is working on some software updates to
make the process of setting up and operating the rig control software easier
for our blind Handiham members. Our thanks to him and to our beta testers,
and especially to Lyle, K0LR, project engineer, and Joe, N3AIN, our expert
JAWS volunteer and TS-480 user, for working with Stan to identify issues
with the accessibility of the system. 

One concern that Lyle and I have had is what would happen to the TS-480, the
system computer, and the related interface electronics when the temperature
dropped in the "shack", which is unheated. Temperatures have not fallen
below about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Celsius) outdoors yet, but we have
had no problems thus far.  The station is located in the attic of the
Courage North dining hall, and the entire building is unheated. In northern
Minnesota, which is near the center of the North American continent, dense,
cold Arctic air often settles in for long periods of time. It is not unheard
of for this part of North America to reach morning low temperatures far
below zero. International Falls, Minnesota is used as a testing spot for
cold weather operation of new cars. This cold spot was satirized in the
Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons as "Frostbite Falls". How true to life that is!

At any rate, we will no doubt experience our coldest temperature at the
remote base site sometime in January, about two weeks following the Winter
Solstice, the shortest day of the year, which is December 21.

That is the day of the least sunshine, but there is a two week lag as the
atmosphere catches up, which I guess would be because of thermal inertia.
Thus, the really telling cold weather should arrive around mid-January and
likely linger for several weeks. It is during this period that the station
will be most severely tested as we reach the bottom of the operating
temperature envelope. 

Now, here is another development: We would like to invite you to use
EchoLink to log on to the remote base in receive only mode.  Look for the
station callsign, W0EQO-L, node number 261171. Connect to the remote base,
and you will turn the radio on automatically, and the audio stream will
begin. If you happen to do this while the radio is in use, you may hear
stations on frequency immediately. If the radio is in use through the W4MQ
software, there may be periods while the control operator is transmitting
where you do not hear anything, but upon receive you will hear the other
signals. If there is no control operator logged in via the W4MQ interface,
you can use the EchoLink text feature to control the radio's frequency.
Simply enter a number like 5 into the text box and press enter. The radio
will respond by changing the VFO to 5 MHz, and you will hear WWV if
conditions are favorable. If you want to listen to PICONET on 3.925 MHz,
enter 3925 and press enter. The system does not require you to enter the
decimal point. If the radio is in the wrong mode, simply sending a U will
change the mode to USB, L to LSB, C to CW, A to AM, and so on. When you log
on via EchoLink, there is a possibility that there will be other users
logged on already, and they may be listening to a frequency they chose. Be
respectful of others and don't change the frequency unless you think the
other station might be finished. On the other hand, don't hog the station
when someone else wants to use it. Up to five users can listen at once. Oh,
and one more thing: Since our TS-480 is equipped with blind-friendly speech
frequency output, you will hear the radio tell you what frequency it is on
as soon as you make a change. Please give the Handiham Remote Base a try and
let me know what happens, and I will share your comments with our
engineering team, and possibly even with our e-letter readers and podcast

For your Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Center Handiham Manager

t-form>  to the Handiham website to post comments.


Avery's QTH: Keeping time in space

Avery's QTH - Avery with hands in front of his face

Welcome once again to my humble QTH

First, I would like to remind people that we are still looking for Net
Controls for our Monday 14.265 net. Anyone interested please let me know. If
we have 4 or 5 people, we can always have some around to do the net.

Second, I would like to see if I can sneak this by my editor. Last couple of
weeks the subject of time and times zones was brought up' so I have a trivia
question for you. I have been listening to a rebroadcast of the ISS
(International Space Station) which is traveling around the earth at a very
fast clip and entering and leaving time zones also very fast. So, my
question is:

How do the people in ISS keep time?

Also, you might figure out how the space probes we have sent out in space to
land on other planets and send back data that are so far away from any of
our Earth time zones keep time.

Well, winter is on the way and with winter the HF bands usually get better
so you may want to check them out and see what is going on. Some of the HF
nets will be getting more and more check-ins as band conditions get somewhat
better. All that time this last summer you spent on getting HF antennas up
and working will pay off as it will now be time to find out just how well
you did. There will be more contests to work. Even if you don't want to
enter the contest, you can still work stations and send in your log as a
check log for the sponsor of the contest. Whatever operating you do in a
contest will improve your operating skills and you will have fun at the same
time. You may even work a rare DX station that is only operating during

Even if you don't operate in contests, when the band conditions are right
you can sit and rag chew with someone around the world and get to know them
better. Sometimes right in the middle of a contact that station will fade
out and another one will pop up in place due to change of conditions as the
radio waves bounce off the ionosphere.

On CW with break-in keying you are more apt to catch this faster than with
voice operation as you may hear the other station fade out between words
whereas with voice you may not notice until you send it back to the other
person. If you are using VOX on voice, then you may also notice a fadeout a
lot faster.

These radio waves can do some strange things. One time many years ago I was
operating on one of the HF bands talking to someone up in the Arctic. They
said they were on a floating iceberg but another station from Waseca, MN was
also chatting with them and we could both hear the station out on the ice
pack somewhere but we could not hear each other even though we were only an
hour's drive from each other. As long as I brought it up the fellow in
Waseca had his daughter and one of her friends over so he put them on the
air, too. All the guys on the floating ice got to chat with his daughter and
her friend. Of course this unique experience made their holiday season a bit
brighter. The Waseca station and I had to relay through the iceberg station
to make any comments to each other. I never did find out their exact
location or if they were really on the ice pack or if they were on board
some ship. But did it really matter? No! Not really. What did matter is that
a lot of people had their holiday season made a little brighter by having
that shared experience on the air.

I never receive a QSL card from them either, but again it didn't really

So for now. Oops, I almost forgot: The way they tell time in the ISS is by
using the time at the Houston Space Center. Whatever time it is at the
Center is also the same time aboard the ISS.

73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery
You can reach me at:
Or by email at:

.        Login
t-form>  to handiham.org to post comments about Avery's QTH. 


On the air - TIPSnet takes on December CQ Zero Bias editorial

On the air

The TIPSnet, a friend of Handihams, meets each Tuesday evening, United
States Eastern Time. The net is available worldwide on EchoLink. On December
2nd, guest Rich Moseson, W2VU, Editor of CQ Magazine, spoke about the Zero
Bias editorial "What will happen now that Riley isn't watching?" Our blind
Handiham members can find the December CQ digest in our members only
section, and hear Bob Zeida, N1BLF, read the column. In the December issue
of CQ, Rich discusses this problem and its dire consequences, what will
happen if we police ourselves but there is no backup when needed from the
Feds? Another topic was the CQ acquisition of Worldradio magazine.

Rich stated that our best representation in Washington remains the ARRL, an
opinion seconded by CT Section Manager Betsey Doane, K1EIC, during the
TIPSnet discussion. Handiham members who missed the TIPSnet can listen to
the recorded audio. A link will be posted in the Members Only section on
Friday. The audio will be part of our regular Handiham-Notify mailing for
the Operating Skills online audio lecture series.

TIPSnet meets every Tuesday from 7pm - 8pm local time (EST) / 0000z on
several repeaters throughout New England, including the SPARC Repeater
System and N1NW system in Norwich in Connecticut. National and International
connections are welcome via the New England Gateway -
EchoLink Conference *NEW-ENG* (node # 9123) and IRLP Reflector 912, Channel
3 (node # 9123). Live streaming audio is available on the web during the net



On the Internet - PICONET gets a new online home

The popular north central United States HF social and traffic net called
"PICONET" meets on  3.925 MHz weekdays and Saturday starting at 0900 Central
Time. PICONET has a long association with Handihams that even predates our
Handiham program becoming part of Courage Center. Pay a visit to the new
PICONET website at:


We have a PICONET page on the Handiham website, too: 


Join us on the net anytime you hear us on. You need not have traffic or even
previous net experience. You can listen through the Remote Base on W0EQO-L. 


Letters - Kudos To Pat On The Web Site!

Pat Tice has certainly done a tremendous job on the new design of the
Handiham web site. I really like the simple theme that he chose, and I'm
considering "borrowing" it for a family of ham-related sites I maintain for
the Eastern Mass. ARRL section.

Drupal is such a joy to work with. I'm constantly amazed at the new
functionality and software "modules" that developers are introducing daily.
There's even one to highlight ham activity authored by WT6X. You can see it
in action over at his web site, http://www.wt6x.com/ham/.

I was sorry to hear about the cancellation of the winter camp in California.
But I'll do my best to make the Minnesota camp in August, if Pat needs me as
a volunteer. Having the date moved to early August will help me
tremendously, as the end of August is always a mad-house here at Boston
College where I work.

Phil, K9HI
Watertown, MA

.        By k9hi at 12/03/2008 - 15:57

.        k9hi's <http://www.handiham.org/blog/1>  blog

.        Login
t-form>  to the Handiham site to post comments. 


Holiday office hours - snowman with HTThis week at Headquarters:

Office hours

In December, the Handiham offices are closed Wednesday, Thursday, and
Friday, December 24, 25, and 26. On New Year's Eve, which is December 31, we
will be open in the morning, closing at noon.

We wish all of our members, visitors, podcast listeners, and e-letter
subscribers a wonderful holiday season!

Handiham Year-End Appeal & Newsletter

Our annual print edition of the Handiham World is now in the hands of most
of our members.

We want you to look for this issue, because it contains our annual giving
envelope. That giving envelope is important, because we survive as a program
through the generosity of our donors. Please look for your annual giving
envelope and consider helping us with a tax-deductible gift.
<http://www.handiham.org/node/270> Remember that you can also donate online
at Handiham.org. 

*       You can download your very own PDF copy of the news letter here:
*       You can listen as Bob Zeida, N1BLF, reads the year-end edition here:

In other news...

*       As Avery already mentioned, we would like to hear from you about the
Handiham HF nets. Do you want to keep a 20 meter net, a 15 meter net, and a
10 meter net? How about the 40 meter CW net? Do you remember the old 17
meter non-net informal get-together started by K2WS on 18.165 MHz? Please
write to wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your ideas and suggestions. Now is the time to
decide, as the solar cycle begins to favor better HF conditions! Some of you
feel that we should only keep the 20 meter net and not the 15 and 10 meter
*       Jerry, N0VOE, is volunteering in the office on Tuesdays. Look for
him on the Handiham EchoLink net from callsign W0ZSW on those days. He
volunteers other days from his home QTH.
*       Pat, WA0TDA, is taking vacation days on Fridays through the end of
the year, but will still send out a weekly education letter, so look for
that. There will be new General and Extra lectures this week.
*       QST, CQ, QCWA Journal, & WORLDRADIO audio digests are available for
our members. Login <http://handiham.org/user>  to the member section of the
Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The December
QST and Worldradio and CQ magazine digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF. 
*       We have added an "audio this week" link at the top of the member
page once you log in. This is a good place to find out what audio is new on
our website each week, including magazine digests and audio lectures. This
page is updated on Fridays. 

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@xxxxxxxxxxx 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
*       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@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

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@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

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

. Beginner 
. General 
. Extra 
. Operating Skills


Donate online to support the Handiham System

New! Donate online to support the Handiham System

Now you can give to Handihams online!

This year it is possible to support Courage Center's Handiham System with an
online donation. We exist only because of the support of people like you -
people who care about other amateur radio operators. Of course our special
mission is to help people with disabilities to earn their licenses and get
on the air. Often times we hear from people whose circumstances are truly
difficult. They have little money, and they are stuck in their house or care
facility, but have always wanted to get on the air. They may have retired
from a long-time job because of an injury or after losing their eyesight and
now are looking for a way to get back on the air, or to get on the air for
the first time. We are experts at breaking down barriers and helping people
to achieve their ham radio goals - and by extension, other life goals as

Now, don't get me wrong. We also have plenty of highly self-sufficient
members with disabilities who simply enjoy using our audio resources and
want to share their contributions with others who share similar interests.
The point is that we are all about hams helping other hams.

I hope you will consider a gift to support this work. Gifts to Courage
Center and its programs are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by
law, and you will be helping our staff and volunteers to share the
excitement of ham radio with people who will be really grateful! In a
moment, I will give you a link to the secure Courage Center donation
website, but I did want to give you a few brief tips about how to use it.

Once you get to the secure page, you will find "Please make a donation to
Courage Center!", followed by a form page. The first section of the form,
called "Donation Information", is the part I need you to be very careful
about because if you want to support our program, you have to say so in this
section. You are asked to either choose an amount to give, or fill in an
amount. Now comes the "Designation" pull-down. You must use the pull-down
and select "Handi-Hams" if you intend the gift to support the Handiham

screenshot of donation pull-down with Handi-Hams selected
Screenshot of the donation page pull-down menu showing "Handi-Hams"


In the "Additional Information" section, you use a pull-down to choose the
frequency of the gift - a one-time gift, for example. This section also
allows you to check a box if you are giving on behalf of a company or if you
prefer to donate anonymously. There is a comment section as well. Then you
will find the "Billing Information", which is your name and address,
followed by "Payment Information", which is your credit card information.
Finally, there is "Tribute Information", in case you wish to give on behalf
of someone special by honoring them with a tribute. When you complete the
form, click the "Donate Now" button.

Oh, and please do us a favor and let us know if you find any part of the
form to be inaccessible via screenreader.

<https://couragecenter.us/NETCOMMUNITY/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344>  this
link to the secure Courage Center donation web page.

In you are reading this in plain text, the link is:


Thank you for your support!

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@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

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


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 12/03/2008 - 20:49 

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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 03 December 2008 - Patrick Tice