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: 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! Pat enjoys a cup of coffee from his Handiham mug. Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November... Yes, that's the way I remember that September is one of those shorter months, and here we are at the end of the summer season here in the northern hemisphere. There have been a lot of changes in the works for the Handiham program, including our plans for moving Radio Camp to Camp Courage, changing the date of the camp session to the month of May, staffing cutbacks, and -- the one most people have been asking about lately -- the office move. All of this change is not simply brought about by the current economic recession, though some of it is definitely the result of having to work within a tighter budget. While we would definitely prefer to keep all of our staff on board, right now we simply cannot afford to do so. While I had hoped to have the office move completed by the end of September, we are not quite there yet. Early October is the most likely time we will be ready, but thanks to Avery and CJ (K0CJ) as well as George, N0SBU, and Mark, WA0PYN, we have made excellent progress preparing for the move by getting some of our equipment out of the way. The next step, coming in early October, will be to move the storage cabinets out to Camp Courage so that we have dry, dust-protected storage for donated equipment that will be used at camp sessions and to move our file cabinets and other necessary office equipment. Some of our members have not been keeping up with the news about the move and have asked for equipment through the equipment loan program. Since Avery operated the equipment loan program, that part of our services has been suspended temporarily while we figure out how it is going to be handled in the future. At least for the year 2010, we will be distributing equipment to campers at radio camp. This compromise position on distributing equipment allows us to continue to serve members with this part of the program while avoiding the time-consuming and expensive packing and shipping associated with the traditional equipment program. It will still get equipment into the hands of members who need it. Those members who have already borrowed equipment through the loan program will see no change at all, since they may continue to keep the equipment on loan as long as they are using it and keeping up with their Handiham membership obligations. One of the common questions we are hearing is what our contact information will be. The telephone numbers for Jerry Kloss and Avery Finn will be discontinued. The numbers for Nancy and me will remain in service. E-mail to Nancy and me will remain the same, but you should delete Courage Center e-mail addresses for Avery and Jerry. If you have questions about e-mail addresses, you may always contact me at my wa0tda@xxxxxxxx address. We must not forget about where mail should be sent. It's pretty easy; any mail sent to our current address, 3915 Golden Valley Road, will reach us as always. If we make any changes in any of this contact information, you will hear about it through your weekly e-mail newsletter and on the Handiham website, which, of course, will remain at Handiham.org. Several of you have asked what the new headquarters station will be like. We think the station will be much more functional because we will be located in a rural area where there is little powerline interference or other electrical noise. As many of you know from following our newsletters over the past few years, electrical noise from the ventilation system at Courage Center has been the bane of HF operation at W0ZSW. In fact, the electrical noise is so severe that practical HF operation has come to a complete halt. Energy-saving motor control systems are the culprit, and it is with much relief that we can finally say goodbye to this terrible RF interference problem. Camp Courage has most of its electrical wiring running underground, making for a quiet RF environment. Our station will be located in the basement of the camp reception center. Reception, in this case, refers to the place where visitors to camp stop first to do business, register as visitors, drop off packages or mail if they are making deliveries, and so on. Ironically, "reception" can also refer to radio reception, which we will finally be able to enjoy again on the HF bands. Don't let the fact that we are in the basement cause you to assume that the station can only be reached by going down a dark stairway, pushing aside the cobwebs, and making your way to a dark corner behind the furnace. No, it is not like that at all. The basement is a walk-out, so there are windows and a door directly out to the parking area behind the building. Bright sunshine and no steps -- that's what will greet you as you come into the new Handiham headquarters station at Camp Courage. Wheelchair users will find the station area accessible. Those of you who are familiar with the station at Courage North or the station at Courage St. Croix will recognize the familiar cabinet housing the station equipment. The carpeted floor helps to hold down noise and the well-placed bright florescent lighting makes the area a good workplace. Radio Camp at the new location will also be a great improvement in many ways. As much as we like Courage North, the newer cabins at Camp Courage provide better, more accessible space for wheelchair users. The new cabins are state-of-the-art and will make the Radio Camp experience much more enjoyable for everyone. Since we are also on a lake at Camp Courage, we will continue to have the same fun with waterfront activities like the pontoon boat maritime mobile operation, sailing, and perhaps even a visit to an island in the lake. The month of May should provide us with temperate weather in late Spring, not too hot and not too cold. The setting of Camp Courage, which is three times larger than the acreage at Courage North, is in hardwood forest rather than pine forest, which will be a change -- but not a bad one, because both locations are scenic and designed to be accessible. Radio Camp first began at Camp Courage, and was held in the month of May. At that time, it was considered a "convocation", more like a meeting that extended over several days. Today's modern Radio Camp session is a week long and includes much more amateur radio education and more activities. Yes, I know these are big changes and that some of them are more than a little difficult. No one wants to say goodbye to regular staff members like Avery and Jerry. One good thing about amateur radio is that it has always been a helpful community of dedicated volunteers, whether hams helping other hams through their local radio clubs, friends working together, or through an organization like ARRL or the Handihams. We know that both of these friendly "Elmers" will continue to help other amateur radio operators in every way that they can. As we move into the coming year, we are already seeing signs of economic recovery around the world. Hopefully our volunteers and supporters will continue to enjoy working with us and making sure that we build even more financial stability into the Handiham program. The new headquarters station will be really great, and we even hope to install a second Handiham Remote Base to fill the needs of our members who cannot put up regular antenna systems. Change, whatever inconvenience it may bring us, also holds the promise of opportunity. We will be looking forward, building on what we have and making sure that our core services continue to meet the needs of Handiham members. For Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx Handiham Manager _____ Microsoft offers free security software computer bug - beetle with screen While browsing the MSNBC website, I saw that this free security software was released on Tuesday, though it has been under beta test for some time. Here is what the Microsoft website says: Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It's easy to tell if your PC is secure - when you're green, you're good. It's that simple. *Your PC must run genuine Windows to install Microsoft Security Essentials. I will be testing Microsoft Security Essentials on several machines. When you go to the download site, you will be given a choice of 32 or 64 bit versions, so be sure you know which version of Windows you are using. Here is the link: <http://www.microsoft.com/Security_essentials/> http://www.microsoft.com/Security_essentials/ Frankly, I have been less than completely satisfied with the various security software packages I have used over the years. Some were huge and bloated, and slowed the computer to a crawl. Others nagged me about everything or sent annoying renewal and update messages constantly. One required reregistration over and over, even though it is supposed to be free. The pay-for versions were no better, and sometimes even worse, because they tried to do everything and had confusing interfaces or instructions. I hope that the Microsoft Security Essentials leaves these problems behind, but we will see. If you would like to read the MSNBC article, here is a link: <http://tinyurl.com/ycxbkrp> http://tinyurl.com/ycxbkrp Remember, you must be running a valid, licensed copy of Microsoft Windows to use this security software. _____ Beacon Award available to blind hams working PA QSO Party Cartoon shows blind guy with white cane. He is petting a happy dog. For the second year the Pennsylvania QSO Party will offer the "Beacon Award" to the legally blind op with the most QSO's. The award is based on total QSO's and not on score. This year's party is October 10 - 11, 2009. Both in-state and out-of-state hams are eligible for the award. There may be certificates awarded to finishers other than first place. Rules and other info can be found at: http://www.nittany-arc.net/paqso.htm The sponsor had some web site problems which will be fixed tonight, updating the rules for 2009. I was lucky enough to win the award last year with 614 QSO's. I've posted this info to both the blind-hams and blind-ham-ops lists. 73 and Thanks for your time, Steve, KW3A _____ Avery's Spooky QTH: Avery's spooky QTH - cartoon guy with HT & pumpkin Welcome once again to my humble QTH: Tomorrow it is October! Pumpkins, October, Halloween and the Spook Patrol. Gosh! I can remember just like it was yesterday. About 25 - 30 years ago I was living in a city with a very small but active amateur radio club. Our meetings were in an old school building that has long since been torn down. We had a meeting room and ham station set up there. Many of the members were also in the local police reserve unit and helped out the police with things like directing traffic and crowd control at the Friday night Football games and other events. Every Halloween a "Spook Patrol" was formed. The Police Reserve club members (2 people per unit, one to drive and the other to work the radio, read street signs, etc.) armed with official-looking magnetic signs placed on the sides of their personal vehicles and E. F. Johnson 5-channel CB's converted to the ten meter ham band installed were dispatched to different sections of the town by the net control station. One of the club members with a ten meter rig (the net control station) was placed at the City Hall Police Station alongside the police dispatcher with their radios, so there was direct communication between the Police Reserve and the Police. The city had more hills and valleys than most, and there were several spots where a mobile ten meter rig could not reach another one which meant that sometimes a message had to be relayed from one car to another before getting back to net control. Two meters and repeaters as we know them today just did not exist back in those days. It was the function of the Reserve to drive around the city and be additional eyes and ears for the regular Police Officers who couldn't be everywhere all at once. If anything was spotted that seemed wrong or out of the ordinary the reserve person would call it in and a regular squad car was dispatched to check it out. In the 4 or 5 years I took part in this operation not much very exciting ever happened. Things were very quiet around town for a Halloween evening. We all liked to think that all was quiet was a good thing and that it was because of the "Spook Patrol". So, until next time... 73 es DX de K0HLA, Avery _____ Daily On The Air (DOTA) http://handiham.org/images/hamradio.gif By Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx Since I see that people are emailing this vintage article from our website, I've decided it's worth another run. I've noticed that there isn't much activity on my local repeater. Perhaps I'm just not listening at the right times, but I've sampled the repeater throughout the day on different days of the week, and aside from some scheduled net activity, users seem to be maintaining "radio silence"! I don't think this is just true of my local repeater, either. Some repeaters have always been more active than others, but the overall activity level just seems to me to be down over the past few months. Every experienced ham radio operator knows that there is an ebb and flow in ham radio interest and activity, sometimes corresponding with the season. Here in North America, during the winter, we are likely to be challenged by difficult driving conditions that may spur an increase in repeater activity during commuter "drive time". Ham radio is seen by some as a wintertime activity, so repeater activity can pick up simply because people are stuck indoors. There is a daily rhythm to the use of a typical repeater as well, with long-time users sometimes appearing at the same time of day for a short exchange. But getting back to my repeater, there are long, silent stretches of dead air throughout most of the day. I know there are people out there either listening at home or in their vehicles, but the repeater is still going unused. What to do? I decided that I'm going to try an experiment. I call it the "DOTA", or "daily on the air". That way it rhymes with "GOTA", which, during Field Day, stands for "get on the air". With DOTA I simply resolve to have a contact on my local repeater every single day. It doesn't have to be long, nor does it have to be at any particular time. It could be with a person I already know, or it could be a random contact with a person I have never met on the air. If I don't hear anyone, I will just say, "WA0TDA listening", and see if I can shake someone loose! My DOTA plan went into effect this morning, and, not hearing anyone on the repeater, I made a short call. Immediately, another member of my radio club answered and we had a short conversation. He told me about his new transceiver, and how he was planning to earn his HF privileges. During the rest of the day, I think it might be a good idea to listen to the repeater and see if I hear anyone calling. My QTH is only about a mile south of interstate Highway 94, and I may be able to hear stations new to the area as they operate mobile and check out the Twin Cities repeaters. After all, if I were driving someplace and wanted to have a QSO, I would want someone to answer me if I made a call on their repeater system! My theory is that activity builds more activity. When a repeater is perceived by the local ham radio community as one that is reasonably active, it is more likely to get used. Try DOTA yourself and let me know if it works for you. _____ Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset Today is Wednesday, and that means the Handiham EchoLink net will be on the air. 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. _____ 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 members only website navigation structure was messed up by a software error last Friday and was not rebuilt and reposted until Monday. The new navigational structure is even easier to use and features no graphics at all in the navigation bars. I apologize for this mess up, but in the end it turned out all right because it forced me to remake the navigation and bring it up to date. In this case, old Murphy actually gave us a hand! . Our Contact information is the same: Courage Center Handiham System 3915 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, MN 55422 763-520-0512 (Nancy) 763-520-0511 (Pat) hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . Tentative MN Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage: Arrive Friday, May 21 Class days: Sa, Su, M, Tu, W VE Exam Day: Th Depart Friday, May 28 . VOLLI is now in service. It stands for VOLunteer Log In, and is a way for our Handiham volunteers to register and then enter their volunteer hours without having to fool around with paper records. We encourage volunteers to create a username and password, then submit their hours spent recording audio, doing club presentations for us, and so on. Volunteer hours are important, because United Way funding depends in part on volunteer hours. If you are a volunteer and need a link to VOLLI, please email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Our special thanks to my son Will, KC0LJL, who wrote the Java code for VOLLI. He is studying in Tokyo this semester and sends a big "hello" to our readers and listeners. . 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. . Remote Base users who try the built-in IRB sound feature instead of SKYPE are encouraged to send us reports on how the audio worked. . Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has recorded audio of the October Worldradio and CQ 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. . Our new volunteer reader for QST is Michael Gregg, KA5EXI. Michael is just completing his first digest of audio with the October issue, and I think you will agree that he does a great job with nice, clear diction and good technical quality. As always, check the audio page for the latest updates. One thing that I would like to have our blind members comment on is the way we present the QST articles. Would it be useful to break up the audio into distinct articles? Since this is the way Michael is recording them, it might be practical to offer that option. Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx to comment. * In Operating Skills: * Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the October "Doctor is in" column from QST for our blind members. * Login to the member section of the <http://handiham.org/user> 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 us. _____ Elsewhere: Cheap radios that talk Every so often someone lets me know about a Chinese-made handheld radio with voice frequency output. Actually, there are very inexpensive Chinese radios around, and a search on eHam produces some interesting links to reviews containing statements like this one: "The annoyingly loud voice that speaks English with bad Chinese accent can be muted with one simple command." Well, the other things is that we don't know if these radios are type-accepted for use in the United States, but we would love to hear from someone who has tried one of the "Quansheng" radios. Good, bad, ugly...? Give us the story! One anecdote that I heard was that the radios are not particularly easy to use, in spite of the voice frequency output. But that's a subjective thing, and we would like to learn more. In the meantime, you may find these reviews amusing, if not completely edifying: http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/6220 Here comes the virtual machine You may not have heard of so-called "virtual machines" yet, but you will. The concept allows an operating system with all of its installed software, some of it perhaps too old to run on a newer operating system, to run within your existing operating system. The reason you will hear about virtual machines is that when Windows 7 is released in about three weeks, one of its features will be the ability to run the much-beloved, venerable Windows XP within a virtual machine environment. Click on the virtual machine icon, and you can run XP within a window, and that's pretty cool if you have older software that only runs on XP. There is a bit more to getting this system to work from Windows 7, such as having a processor that supports virtualization and enabling this hardware feature in your computer's BIOS settings. On the other hand, you can download XP free of charge to use within a virtual machine if you own a legal copy of Windows 7. There is, however, an interest in running other operating systems. That is where open source software comes to the rescue. Check out VirtualBox from Sun Microsystems: "VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating <http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Guest_OSes> systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD." Read more here: http://www.virtualbox.org/ _____ 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. 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 * 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 09/30/2009 - 14:33 . Add new comment <http://www.handiham.org/comment/reply/576#comment-form> . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/576> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/576> to friend _____ 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.