[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 09/09/09

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2009 16:14:26 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 09/09/09 

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 

You can also listen to the content online:

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Welcome to Handiham World!

Smiling Pat with handiham coffee mugOne of the highlights of my amateur
radio career came only recently, at the last Handiham Radio Camp session in
August. Considering that I have been in ham radio since 1967, when I started
as a teenager,  that highlight has been a long time coming.

No, it isn't that I recently acquired a new piece of radio gear for which
I've been saving my pennies for decades. I didn't put up a brand-new 70 foot
tower with stacked 20 meter Yagi antennas.  I didn't finally come out on top
of the heap in some contest. (That would be the day!) Nor did I participate
in a trip of a lifetime DXpedition to East Overshoe Island.

It wasn't any of those things, worthy as they might be for amateur radio
goals. Believe it or not, it was something even more exciting, something I
have waited all too long to do, and something that really brought the spirit
of amateur radio back home to me.

I became a Volunteer Examiner.

Admittedly, for most of my amateur radio career there was no such thing as a
Volunteer Examiner program. When the VE program started, I held only an
Advanced Class license, and participating fully in the VE program meant that
I would have to first earn my Extra Class ticket. I felt that I had really
very little incentive to do so, since I didn't use Morse code all that often
anyway and seldom even ventured outside the General Class phone bands. If I
went for Extra, it would be in my own good time. And it was. I finally had
to help Dr. Dave, KN0S, teach a radio camp class in Extra. Actually, I did
far more learning than teaching in the class and decided to sit down and
take the written examination, which I passed. After that, it was only a
matter of time until the Morse code requirement was dropped to five words
per minute.  

I could wait for that! The change took effect in less than 365 days, which
meant that all I needed to do was attend a VE session and seal the deal on
the upgrade. I don't feel too bad about that, because after all I had passed
a 13 word per minute exam at an FCC office, and remembered even being able
to copy the 20 words per minute code as it was given to the Extra Class
candidates by the stern-faced FCC examiner. Of course that was a long time
ago, and I didn't have any burning desire to brush up on code to do the
Extra when the requirement would be going away anyway.

Extra Class licensure is an accomplishment in itself, but it took me several
more years to finally make the decision to study for the VE exam. The
occasion presented itself when one of our Handiham members called to ask me
whether we had the ARRL VE Manual in any kind of accessible format. I knew
that we had it in text and audio, but I also knew that it was several years
out of date. Perhaps this was the time to revise the manual and turn it into
a Daisy book.

Well, that is easier said than done. The PDF document is easy for a sighted
person to use, but the nature of how PDF handles layout on the pages can
sometimes be more than a little confusing to someone trying to plow through
the document using a screen reader. There was nothing for it but to go
completely through the document line by line, editing to make the text flow
as it was intended.

"What the heck", I thought to myself. "I can't help but learn this book
since I'm going through it line by line. I might as well go ahead and take
the VE exam and get accredited."

Which is what I did. The way the timing worked out, I was able to get my
ARRL VE badge by the time Radio Camp week arrived. That meant that I could
participate in my very first VE session at one of our camps, and this was
something very special to me. It meant a lot to reach this goal and share it
with my friends at Courage North. Of course I had to explain to the VE team
leader that this was my very first session and that I pretty much had to
learn just about everything, but everyone was helpful and understanding. I
got to read the exam for one of our blind candidates. It was wonderful to
hear about the successes and a bit hard to learn about the folks who didn't
quite make it, but the session just brought home to me what a very kind,
understanding, and helpful community we are in the Amateur Radio Service.

I should have done this sooner.  It's a great way to give back to the

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 
Handiham Manager


Avery's QTH: Remembering ARRL Novice Roundup

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/488> Avery, K0HLA, with code key

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

Many years ago when I was much younger and had just passed my Novice
license, the ARRL sponsored a contest just for Novices called Novice

I decided I would give it a try even though my code speed was not all that
great. I had a very hard time copying just the 5 words per minute that was
then required to pass the Novice exam. Novice class operators were the only
ones eligible to win, but operators with higher class licenses were invited
to come down into the Novice HF bands and give out points by making contacts
with them. I am not quite sure now what the exchange was, but it was
somewhat similar to many of the contests of today. If my foggy memory serves
me, the contest ran a few weeks and Novices were able to make CW contacts
throughout the week as well as on the weekends.

Like many of the other Novices at the time, I had to ask many of the "upper
class" license people to "QRS" (slow down). I used "rpt" (repeat) several
times as well. Not only was it a fun contest, but do you know by the end of
it my speed had increased considerably? I remember keeping a log of my
contacts for the contest separate from my station log so that when the
contest was over I could just send it in.

That was so much fun that even after I upgraded my license to General class
I would go down into the Novice bands and give out points in the "Novice
Roundup" and send in my log as a check log. It was great to hear a New
Novice figure out they had just made a contact. Sometimes I was their first
contact and other times they already had made several contacts.

Every now and again I would run into a really fast Novice operator and in
most cases it was either an ex-military operator or someone who had operated
a commercial CW station of some sort. Many of the oceangoing ships had
high-speed commercial CW operators on board who would go for their Amateur
Radio licenses at some point. Again, if my foggy memory serves me, anyone
with a commercial FCC Telegraph license was exempt from the Amateur Radio
code requirements since they had all ready proven that they could copy code
at 20 words per minute or faster.

So, you may ask, why did I bring all this business about International Morse
code up?

The FISTS Group that exists to keep up the tradition of using International
Morse code has come up with a similar type of contest for not only newcomers
to code but also people whose code skills may be a little shaky. It is
called "Like CW? You just might. Try the FISTS Get Your Feet Wet Weekend!"
The rules and other information, like where to send in your logs, are listed
on the FISTS website: http://www.fists.org/getfeetwet.html

I hope you will give it a try and perhaps you will enjoy the very same fun
as those of us taking part in the Novice Round up so many years ago. As the
saying goes, "You have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

Your code speed will improve. Your operating skills will improve. You
enjoyment of Amateur Radio will improve.

By the way have you ever noticed that when I sign off from here I always do
so as if it was a CW contact?

So, until next time

73 es DX de K0HLA Avery

You can contact me Monday & Wednesday (until Wednesday September 30,
2009) before 1:30 PM
At 763-520-0515
Or, Email me at: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Like CW? You just might. Try the FISTS Get Your Feet Wet Weekend!

Like CW? You just might. Try the FISTS Get Your Feet Wet Weekend!

Despite all the controversy about licensing and requirements, there are a
lot of new hams who are intrigued with the code after passing their 5WPM.

But, like we all were (or are!), they are intimidated and nervous about
getting on the air. They've had bad experiences on Field Day or other
contests and QSO's where people won't QRS (slow down), and they are getting
frustrated. We don't want that to happen! We want to encourage and nurture
these new CW operators. The Novice Round Up used to be a good forum for
this, but the Novice concept is obsolete. Something needs to be implemented
that would include all classes of newcomers and give them a friendly place
to learn the ropes.

The 2009 Get Your Feet Wet Weekend will be 00:00Z Fri Sept 11, 2009 to
00:00Z Sept 14.

More on the Handiham site:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/561> 


Report from the Prez: Ham Radio at the Labor Day Parade

Ken, KB3LLA, sports his best Uncle Sam hat

The Lone Ranger was at the Greenbelt, MD Labor Day parade today. I got a
silver bullet and got to pet Silver, a very gentle animal! He's probably
been through this a thousand times before.

Working the radio net was difficult because the entrants kept moving in and
out of their assigned positions, making for a lot of changes and a lot of
traffic. I was with a couple of really good high school students, who kept
track of the list and relayed the changes to the announcers, while I and
another ham received the changes from various points along the route on
146.655 simplex and the club's 145.230 repeater.


Handiham Radio Club President


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

It's Wednesday, and that means the Handiham EchoLink net is on the air
tonight. 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. 


Looking for another way to be useful to your community?

ARRL </p />
<p>diamond logo

Remember when you were a kid and your mom told you to make yourself useful
when she caught you sitting around wasting time? 

Me, too. 


Here's a chance for you to finally make something of yourself by taking
mom's advice:  Get your ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1
certification so that you can participate knowledgeably in organized
emergency communications activities in your area. You will learn the basics
of the Incident Command Structure and best practices in good, effective
communications. No one knows when the next emergency will require trained
communicators, so get ready - be prepared! 

Registration remains open through Sunday, September 20, 2009, for these
online course sessions <http://www.arrl.org/cep/student/>  beginning on
Friday, October 2, 2009. 

There are other courses, too.  Here is a link to the ARRL Course Calendar:

The Emergency Courses are accessible and have been successfully completed by
some of our blind members. Now, get out there and make mom proud!


This week at Headquarters:

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/476> We are on Twitter!

 <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/ham_mobile.jpg> We are
on Twitter!

Look for us on Twitter by searching for "handiham". We invite you to follow
us. Handiham web page posts are now "tweeted" automatically!

.        The Friday audio lectures return  this week.  There will be new
lectures posted by early afternoon on Friday, and a notification will be
sent by email.

.        The Remote Base at Courage North is in service. Please feel free to
use this wonderful member resource.  

.        Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has recorded audio of the September QST and
Worldradio digests, so check out the audio page. The Friday notification
email will have a link. If you are a member and are not getting the Friday
audio lectures notification, let us know and we will get you on the list.

.        Audio tape users will likely see a delay in production this month.
We encourage users of cassette audio to make the change to digital and
receive the clear, currently available audio from our website.  CQ audio for
September has still not arrived as of this afternoon. 

*       In Operating Skills: 

*       Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the September "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. 

*       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


Elsewhere: Extreme makeover - Telescope gets a re-do and rewards us with
great images.

September 9, 2009: Astronomers have declared NASA's Hubble Space Telescope a
fully rejuvenated observatory with the release of observations from four of
its six operating science instruments. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
unveiled the images today at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

"This marks a new beginning for Hubble," said Ed Weiler, associate
administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "The telescope was
given an extreme makeover and now is significantly more powerful than ever,
well-equipped to last into the next decade."

Read more, or listen to audio of this story right from the Science at NASA
website:  <http://tinyurl.com/n597ud> 


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: hamradio@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.


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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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