Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 11 February 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! cartoon guy looking in crystal ballIf you're like me, you probably use the web to check news. Printed newspapers and news magazines are "yesterday's news" for sure, and it isn't surprising so many of them are losing market share. So we are reading what is now called "digital ink". And just as with real ink newspapers, digital ink can give amateur radio some real media hits - or misses, as was the case with one story that popped up on my Google News page this morning. The story was on the Alva, OK Review-Courier website, and was a rehash of an older post on an AOL-linked service called "Walletpop". I'll give you links to both in a moment, but the point I'd like to make about this sort of bad press, which contains factual errors and even stupid spelling mistakes like "Morris Code", is that once they are posted, they live forever on the Internet as they get passed around every time someone re-discovers them. In this case, the so-called "story" is about Ham Radio being one of 25 things about to become extinct in America. When it appeared first in mid-2008, it wasn't real news then, either - just speculation based on someone digging their old crystal ball out and trying to predict the future. Among the unfortunate comments in the article was one about 50,000 ham licenses being lost "in the past five years alone". I can only speculate how much email Tom Barlow, N8NLO, the original author of the ham radio part of the Walletpop article, has gotten about this story. Feel free to read the many postings on the website, too. I couldn't have said it better than commenter Alan Pitts: "The AH0A site <http://www.ah0a.org> shows 684,000 hams in 2003 and 658,000 for 2008. That's a drop of 26k, -half of the 50k claimed above. But also look deeper and note the numbers of higher class licensees. There's a much greater percentage of hams going beyond just the entry levels of learning. So while there's slightly fewer hams, they are much more active hams. As for the age of hams, I can find no citation for the claims made. The FCC does not keep birthdates or age information. There's a lot of twenty-something people becoming Amateur Radio operators to join in the emergency response work that the Amateur Radio Emergency Service does throughout the country. Without hard data, it's anecdotal either way. But probably most important is that even now, in the lowest part of a very low sunspot cycle, Amateur Radio is active and engaging. Hams are being included in more and more emergency planning ( -and needed in those roles too!), contest activity is up, there's new digital capabilities announced almost weekly." You can read Alan's entire comment on the blog post above. If you would like to visit the phenomenal AH0A website and see more ham radio statistics than you can even hope to digest, you can find it at: http://www.ah0a.org Now, here are the other links you might want to visit: The <http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=348&NewsID=9 48452&CategoryID=987&on=1> Alva, OK Review-Courier website column link is very long, so you can find it in on our website in the HTML version of Handiham World. The Walletpop website will drive you nuts when you try to read the entire article, which requires you to reload over 25 pages, so here is a direct link to the Ham Radio part, which at least has the correct spelling of Morse: http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2008/07/17/top-25-things-vanishing-from-americ a-16-ham-radio/ One thing the Internet is good for is that postings that are incorrect can usually be refuted by readers in the comments section. In the old days of real ink newspapers, we had to send a letter to the editor! For Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Avery's QTH <http://www.handiham.org/node/192> Avery's QTH - Avery studies a book. Antique Finn Baths sign in background advertises saunas, we think. Welcome once again to my humble QTH: Thank you for the nice responses I received on last week's edition of my QTH column. That story sure brought up a lot of memories for me. In my day the radio club meeting was after the regular school classes were over. The person in charge was the science teacher who just happened to be a licensed amateur radio operator. Only one or two of the kids were licensed, but the rest of us were interested in short-wave listening. We also had the desire to receive our licenses someday. Most of us did manage to pass the FCC exams. In those days it required that we travel to the nearest FCC office and take the exam in front of the Engineer in Charge of that FCC district. We had to pass the code before we were even given the written exam. OH yeah! Back then we had to copy one solid minute in order to pass and that included all the letters, numbers, and punctuation. If we failed we had to wait a whole month before we would be allowed to try again, which meant taking the code again before getting to the written part of the exam. Once we had the ham "ticket", as we called the official license, most of us purchased receivers but built our own transmitters. Nope! In those days everything was not all in one box. Some people (me) had up to three switches or more to throw just to go from transmit back to receive. Then reverse the process when going back to transmit again. Let's see, had to switch the antenna back and forth between transmitter and receiver while flipping off the B plus on the receive and flipping on the B plus on the transmitter and then reversing the process again and again. Once a person got hold of a relay with enough contacts, that could all be done at once with one switch, which was a major improvement! As long as we mentioned the subject of Amateur Radio in the public schools, let's talk a little more about it. Several of the schools in the Twin Cities metro area have Amateur Radio as part of their actual day of classes. When you think about it, that is a really good idea. Why? It is because in order to receive a license, a person must learn some basic electronics and the math that goes along with it. In learning the rules and regulations, they learn about international radio-related laws. After they receive their licenses, the students talk to people all over the world. What better way than that to learn about cultures in other parts of the world? They learn about geography, because after all you have to know what direction to point the beam in order to contact that DX station you are trying so hard to get a QSL card from. AH! QSL card, the proof of contact, and stamps are also a learning experience. Stamps from all over the world are available for those who like to collect them. Stamps from people they actually talked to! Well, some people might suggest that Amateur Radio is OLD technology and why should that be taught in school? It is true that Morse code is still used, but on the Jay Leno TV show it was proven that it is still much faster than text messaging. It may interest them to know that most of the Astronauts in the International Space Station are licensed Amateur Radio operators and they have a fully operational ham radio station on board. They spend some of their free time talking directly to licensed students in many of the schools. Now try that with your cell phone! It is true that only NASA, the military, and licensed Amateur Radio operators are able to talk directly to the International Space Station. Many of these same students may go on to become the scientists and adventurers of the future, becoming the real life Captain Kirk or Spock of the Star Ship Enterprise to go where no one has gone before. With all the different digital modes and range of frequencies that are available to amateurs, it is no wonder that in 9-11 and Katrina Amateur Radio operators got the information through when all else failed. For many of the students in our schools amateur radio is just a stepping-stone. Many will go on to become the engineers, scientists, and educators of the future. So for now, this is a former high school ham radio club member Avery signing off. 73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery You can reach me at: Avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Or 763-520-0515 Please remember my office hours are just Monday & Wednesday until 2:00 PM Minneapolis Time . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/348%2523commen t-form> to post comments _____ Optacon remembered Optacon remembered Graphic: Photo from 1973 OPTACON instruction manual shows user scanning book with right hand while feeling tactile output with left hand. (Freedom Scientific) As we all know, hams love old equipment. Well, here is a blast from the past for blind hams. For anyone who still has an Optacon and needs documentation, it is available at http://www.freedomscientific.com/documentation/optacon.asp For those who are either too young to remember or don't know, the Optacon was one of the pioneering devices in the realm of assistive technology products. First manufactured in 1970, the Optacon (Optical Tactile Converter) is no longer in production, but it still has dedicated users to this day. The OPTACON is an electromechanical device that enables blind users to read printed material that has not been transcribed into Braille. It consists of a camera lens connected to a main electronics unit that contains a "tactile array" that consists of vibrating rods that users feel with their index finger. Printed text is, essentially, translated into tactile vibrating images. I have one! 73, Ken, KB3LLA Courage Handiham Radio Club President . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/347%2523commen t-form> to post comments _____ <http://www.handiham.org/node/346> Events by N1YXU February Events I went out to our front garden this past weekend to see if the tulips and daffodils have started to come up. They have not. I believe they are taking the same tactic that many of us are this winter - trying to keep warm by staying inside. It surely has been a long season to this point. The solace that I find at this time of year is that it is prime contest season for amateur radio operators. The past several weekends have been very busy at our house and in our ham shack. We have hosted three multi-operator, multi-hour contests in the last three weekends. That kind of activity definitely helps warm up the bands during the winter. Be sure to listen for N1LN or NC4KW when you are operating in contests. Be sure to look through the events for February. I am confident that at least one activity will catch your attention. Until next month.. Regards, - Laurie Meier, N1YXU n1yxu@xxxxxxxx <file:///C:\Users\HP_Administrator\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary %20Internet%20Files\Local%20Settings\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Ou tlook\Documents%20and%20Settings\lbm23\Local%20Settings\Local%20Settings\Tem porary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\WSHTI1LN\n1yxu@xxxxxxxx> . Read more on the Handiham website. <http://www.handiham.org/node/346> _____ ARRL </p /> <p>diamond logoW1AW to QSY on 160 Meters Starting Monday, March 9, Maxim Memorial Station W1AW will be using a new 160-meter frequency for its CW transmissions. To accommodate increasing activity near the current bulletin frequency of 1817.5 kHz, W1AW will move to 1802.5 kHz to reduce the possibility of interference. ARRL does so much for us! I hope you have renewed your ARRL membership. I just talked to a ham this morning who had let his membership lapse, but who was going to renew this morning. Go for it! It's easy to renew online at the ARRL website, too. <http://www.arrl.org> _____ Handiham Monday Evening EchoLink net to QSY Speaking of QSYing, the Handiham Monday Evening EchoLink Net Worldwide is preparing to change days and times. Strictly speaking, we are not correct in calling that a "QSY", which refers to a frequency change, but it was just too good a term to use following the W1AW story! Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, has decided that the Monday time is no longer working well for us and that Wednesday nights will work better. In a discussion about the timing, Matt, KA0PQW, noted that the CNIB net run by our friends in Canada starts at 6:30 PM USA Central Time and sometimes lasts longer than 30 minutes. Since that would put the CNIB net into the Handiham net proposed time of 7:00 PM, we are now considering a delay of 30 minutes to 7:30 PM USA Central Time. Keep watching Handiham World for updates on this change. Right now Howard is waiting for approval from repeater owner N0BVE, Don. _____ EchoLink woes: You're not alone cartoon guy shaking fist at dead computerI can't tell you how many hams I've heard from who have had problems getting EchoLink to work through a firewalled router. Thankfully, most of these trials and tribulations have a happy ending when the offending router finally listens to reason and starts allowing the correct port forwarding. Usually the problem shows up when some piece of hardware gets changed, as might happen when, as one user told me this week, he changed to Verizon fiber optic service. That, as you might expect, meant a change in routers. Oh, oh. Well, the problem was evident right away. The typical symptom is that EchoLink will start as it always has, but when you try to connect to a station like "ECHOTEST", the connection times out. You, my friend, need to tell your router who's boss! This has happened to pretty much all of us, myself included. Thankfully, the EchoLink help files are quite complete, and tell you exactly which port settings you need to change. EchoLink help will also direct you to www.Portforward.com, which is a great resource for learning how to enter the EchoLink settings in your specific router. Okay, so here is what our friend with Verizon says: At first Verizon service didn't know what we were talking about and had never heard of EchoLink. I turned off the firewall in Verizon Internet Security and noted EchoLink worked. We called Verizon and got a more informed technician who, after I told him what I had done, connected us to the tech with the company that writes that program. She!, Wanda, said for me to make sure I note that a lady did it, took over my computer and had it fixed in a couple of minutes. Below is what she did in case someone who has Verizon Security Pack calls you or Avery: EchoLink Firewall Protocol 1. Open up Firewall. 2. Go to Internet Access Rules. 3. Go to Advanced 4. Add port or protocol.. 5. This is where you add or change indicated changes. So there's one story. This week, I switched to T-Mobile at Home, the VoIP phone service that will replace my old land line at the WA0TDA QTH. With this particular service, you have to install a router that will provide the interface to your home phone, since everything will go through the Internet. Oh, oh. You knew there was going to be an EchoLink problem when I mentioned the word "router", didn't you? Sure enough, when the router was installed in daisy-chain fashion between the cable modem and my trusty D-Link wireless router, EchoLink refused to work. This time the solution was simple: I just unplugged everything and re-wired the phone router AFTER the D-Link, which meant EchoLink didn't have to run through the new router at all. However, the original instructions said to hook it up the first way, so this goes to show there are more than a few ways to solve a problem! _____ Laugh of the week Take a look at this: http://kb6nu.com/ Go to "Antenna Problem". For those who are blind, the photo shows a large microwave antenna being serviced and when the radome (the protective non-metallic cover) is removed from the front of the antenna, huge numbers of acorns fall out. Those squirrels were busy! And we wonder if those acorns are now roasted by all that RF. _____ This week at Headquarters: * Remote Base Access! Handiham Members wanting Remote Base access please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Include your SKYPE name, as SKYPE is used for the audio to and from the transceiver. We are starting to compile a user list. * Instruction pages for the W0EQO Remote base have been updated, including how to get SKYPE. Log in to the members only section and <http://handiham.org/user> follow the Remote Base link. * Request for General class lectures: George, N0SBU, has completed putting the website General lectures onto 4-track tapes for members without Internet access. Contact Nancy at HQ for details. <http://handiham.org/user> * New in Operating Skills: Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the "Doctor is in" column from QST for our blind members. February audio is posted. QST, CQ, & 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 February 2009 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. * Rustic sign says Courage NorthRadio Camp dates for 2009 are set: Arrive on Sunday, August 16 and depart on Sunday, August 23, 2009. Minnesota Radio Camp will be at Courage North, deep in the pines of northern Minnesota's beautiful lake country. Those of you who have enjoyed a Handiham Radio Camp at Courage North before know what a beautiful place it is, located on a pristine lake with plenty of lakeside activities, woodland trails, comfortable housing, great food and fellowship, and of course plenty of ham radio fun. This year we will have our Kenwood TS-480 remote base station operational at the camp, as well as an EchoLink node so that you can stay in touch with your ham radio friends with a handheld radio. We will have several other stations available, including the popular Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver and the new Kenwood TM-V71A blind-accessible dual band radio. Courage North has high-speed Internet access. You can come to camp to take one of the licensing classes for Technician, General, or Extra, or you can take a class in operating skills or an Extra Class seminar, which covers some of the more advanced news and technology in amateur radio today. There is always time for fun at camp, and we always take some side trips to places like Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. If you would like us to send you an application packet, please e-mail Nancy at: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx As soon as the application forms are printed, we will send you one. We hope you can join us for Minnesota Radio Camp 2009. The Handiham Radio Club will also meet at Courage North during Radio Camp week. This year there will be bus transportation as well as airline transportation to Bemidji. We also have plenty of free parking and pick up for free at the bus station and airport. * Minnesota Radio Camp VE Session <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> time & date set: <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> Minnesota Radio Camp VE Session Set An open VE (Volunteer Examination) session for ham radio licensing has been scheduled for the last full day of Handiham Radio Camp on Saturday August 22, 2009. The session is sponsored by the Paul Bunyan Amateur Radio Club & Courage Center's Handiham System. Walk-in's are welcome. If you have been studying for your amateur radio license, you are welcome to join us at Camp Courage North, Lake George, MN to take your exam. Place - Courage North Dining Hall Time of session - 9:00 AM Walk-ins accepted - Advance notice is helpful, but not required. o Read more on the <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> Handiham website: <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> http://www.handiham.org/node/335 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 02/11/2009 - 20:53 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/349%2523commen t-form> to post comments . <http://www.handiham.org/node/349?size=thumbnail> Thumbnail _____ 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.