[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 10 June 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 14:33:38 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 10 June 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 

You can also listen to the content online:

Listen to an MP3 audio stream:
Download the MP3 audio to your portable player:
Get this issue as an audio podcast:


Welcome to Handiham World!

Handiham History: The new guy

Younger-looking Pat in W0ZSW ham shack.

Image: Pat, WA0TDA, in the W0ZSW ham shack, circa 1991. Now that I look at
it, I look pretty dorky with those big glasses, but they were the style back
then.  No excuses for that goofy smile, though! That ancient terminal in the
background was probably for packet radio. Black & white image scanned by
George, N0SBU.

Back in the early 1990's, Bruce Humphrys, K0HR, the Handiham Manager, left
Courage Center to run another non-profit. I was in the market for a
part-time job, having spent a couple of years at home with our newborn son.
My wife Susie spotted an ad in the newspaper (of all places) for this
odd-sounding job as Handiham Manager at the Courage Center.  Did I want to

Well, I did apply and was interviewed by Bruce himself. I ended up taking
the job, and went to full time a couple of years later. As the new guy at
Handiham headquarters, I needed to learn pretty much everything. Thankfully,
Sister Alverna O'Laughlin, WA0SGJ, and Maureen Pranghofer, KF0I, were good
at their respective jobs as Education Coordinator and Student Coordinator,
and they helped me figure things out.

When George started the Handiham History project, I got to thinking about
how the headquarters offices have changed over the years. When that dorky
photo was taken back in 1991, Jane Rova was our Handiham secretary, and her
desk had our one and only piece of high-tech office equipment: an IBM
Selectric typewriter. We communicated by postal mail and telephone, and that
was pretty much it. 

Today, the volume of postal mail has shrunk to a trickle, having been
replaced with email. While we still use the telephone a lot, email has even
replaced a lot of what used to be done by phone. The website has been online
since the late 1990's, and it has grown into a colossus that serves up
Handiham audio and news on demand, replacing thousands of tape cassettes
that used to travel to our members by mail. The website has made it possible
to publish a weekly edition of Handiham World instead of a four times per
year paper edition, which is how it was in 1991. Even better, the new
technology makes everything more accessible and immediate for our members!

People often ask me what those staff members from the early days are doing
today. Jane is retired, as is Sister Alverna. Sister lives in her Franciscan
community at Assisi Heights, in Rochester, MN. Interestingly enough, that is
where she lived when Handihams first started and where she became one of the
first volunteers back in 1967. She still holds her original call, WA0SJG.
Of course her Novice call, WN0SGJ, was modified to change the "N" to an "A"
when she earned General. She currently holds an Advanced ticket. Maureen,
KF0I, now operates her own business, which does custom professional
Brailling. She lives a few blocks from Courage Center, and holds her Extra
ticket. As far as I know, Bruce is still working at a non-profit that
provides water and simple technologies to people in Africa.

Big table in George's basement, filled with handiham history stuff.
Image: The N0SBU basement table, filled with Handiham history stuff.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Hugo, George LaValle, N0SBU, has spread out
lots of Handiham photos, old newsletters, and memorabilia out on a big table
in his basement. As George sorts through everything, he is writing some
stories and re-writing some of the text in old Handiham documents for
inclusion in our weekly e-letter. We will have much more later on. 

You can write to George care of wa0tda@xxxxxxxx if you want to add to the
Handiham history. Please put Handiham History in the subject line.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager


Avery's QTH: My radical proposal

Avery's QTH: My radical proposal

Image: Avery at the microphone of the Collins S-Line donated by K7UGA.

Welcome to my humble QTH. This is Avery, K0HLA, and I found myself thinking
this week about some of the operating practices we are hearing on the bands
these days. What I came up with is a radical proposal, and it is short and

Are you ready?

I think we should propose a new FCC requirement that a person be licensed
for a certain period of time before they can even take the next class of
license test.

Far too many people get their licenses and then have no experience with
operating or how things work in the real world. For example, if you had to
hold General for two years before you could even take the Extra exam, we
would give people who are new to the HF bands a chance to gain some valuable
on the air experience.

Tell me what you think! I am serious about this and want to start a dialog.
Should there be a waiting period before upgrades to Extra? How about
General? If so, why?

So, until next time,
73 es DX de K0HLA Avery

You can reach me Monday & Wednesday until 1:30 PM at:
or email me at:

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Accessible right out of the box

That's the way it should be - accessible right out of the box!

Let me explain. First off, I'd like to thank alert reader Ken, KB3LLA, for
locating the information on the Apple iPhone's accessibility features. When
I say "accessible right out of the box", I mean that the iPhone 3G S is
ready for use by a person who cannot see the screen. That's right: It has a
built-in screenreader, VoiceOver, the same screen reader found on Mac

The Apple website says: "Making a revolutionary mobile phone means making it
easy for everyone to use. That's why iPhone 3G S comes standard with
accessibility features that help people with disabilities experience all
that iPhone has to offer."

Is that cool or what? Apple definitely goes down on my list of "good guys"
who do the right thing by making their products accessible. They are doing
it the right way, which is to assume that the iPhone's accessibility should
be available without special, expensive optional hardware or software. The
iPhone 3G S earns Apple our kudos!

There is more about this phone's accessibility feature on the Apple website:

Do you own this phone and have a comment to share? Email Patrick Tice,

.        By wa0tda at 06/09/2009 - 18:05

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Soundproof books

Blind news: Soundproof books

The DAISY Consortium website is reporting that Amazon is making more e-books
"soundproof" on its Kindle e-book reader. If the term "soundproof" sounds
ominous to you, it's because it just might be, depending on whether you are
a blind consumer who depends on having accessible books or an author who
feels that the consumer should pay for access to an audio book.

The term "soundproof" was coined by George Kerscher, International Project
Manager of the DAISY Consortium, and Jim Fruchterman of Benetech in a 2002
article in First Monday. For an excellent background on this issue, read the
article, The Soundproof Book: Exploration of Rights conflict and Access to
Commercial EBooks for People with Disabilities:

You may find this list of soundproof books from the KEI Blog website useful:

Interestingly enough, you will find dead authors listed there, so it's
rather difficult to imagine that they took an active part in turning off the
sound for books like Isaac Asimov's "I Robot", Adam Smith's "The Wealth of
Nations", or Marx's "Communist Manifesto". It would seem that either the
publisher specified that the sound be toggled off, or that is somehow a
default setting. In any case, if you want to read "The Wealth of Nations",
you are probably better off getting it for free on the Internet at
http://www.adamsmith.org, since the book, published in 1776, is in the
public domain anyway.

You can read the short Daisy Consortium news item here:

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In case you are wondering, at Handihams we continue to make any of the
materials we produce as accessible as possible.  


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

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. 


Stem cells delivered via contact lens restores vision

In this Australian study, three patients who were blind in one eye had their
vision restored through the use of stem cells delivered in an unusual way -
by a contact lens! Sight in the blind eye was restored in less than a month.
The patients had corneal damage blindness. 


More from the University of New South Wales:


.        By wa0tda at 06/05/2009 - 12:59

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This week at Headquarters:

.        The Friday audio lectures return this week. The Extra Class topic
will be op-amps. Audio will be posted on Friday.

.        There is an error in E2C05 in the Extra Class question pool
modified for DAISY on the Handiham website. The corrected question should


Which of the following frequencies would generally be acceptable for U.S.
stations to work other U.S. stations in a phone contest?

A. 5405 kHz

B. 14.310 MHz

C. 50.050 MHz

D. 146.52 MHz

The correct answer is B. If any of you Extras out there got it wrong, better
go back and review!

.        Minnesota Radio Camp application forms are online! The sooner we
hear from you, the better -- if you are planning to join us at this summer's
session. One of the summer camps that had been held at Courage North in
previous years has been canceled, which means that people who could not get
into that session may want to apply for the Radio Camp. Incidentally, you
can e-mail us with your ideas for projects and topics at the upcoming
Minnesota Radio Camp session. Thanks for all your ideas so far!

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 sure? <http://www.handiham.org/node/358>   Take a photo tour!

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


.        The Handiham website will be updated daily, usually multiple times
a day as news breaks.

*       In Operating Skills: 

*       The June issue of Worldradio digest audio has been completed for our
blind members by Bob, N1BLF, and is posted. 
*       Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the June "Doctor is in"
column from QST for our blind members.  
*       The June, 2009 issues of QST & CQ magazines are in audio digest 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. 

*       Tape deliveries are in the mail for June. Thanks to George, N0SBU,
and Avery, K0HLA, and to our readers, Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, and Bob Zeida,
N1BLF.  Don't forget to return those mailers so we can send July out as soon
as it's ready.
*       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: 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.


.        By wa0tda at 06/10/2009 - 19:24

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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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