Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 13 May 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: <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! Handihams at Dayton HAMVENTION - Booth 332 Handihams at Dayton HAMVENTION - Booth 332 Image: Stop by Booth 332 and meet John Hoenshell, N0BFJ, long-time Handiham volunteer and supporter. John will also be assisting with VE testing at Hamvention. This is the week! We are going to be at booth 332 at HamventionT in Dayton, Ohio. If you are planning to attend, and we certainly hope that you are, please stop by booth 332 and pay us a visit. Specifically, it is SA0332. "SA" stands for Silver Arena. Last week a typo crept in, and we gave you the wrong number. Thanks to Ken, KB3LLA, for getting this corrected. Hamvention begins on Friday, May 15th and runs through the weekend of the 16th and 17th. This week Nancy is back in the headquarters office, so that will help a lot! The office will be closed Friday, and there will be no audio lectures. We reopen Monday morning, May 18. When you stop by the Handiham booth, you will be able to sign our guest register. We always have a few extra chairs if you want to sit down and talk with us for while. If you are a wheelchair user, you will find that we always place our display table at the very back of the booth, which allows you to bring your wheelchair into our area and get out of the main traffic stream in the aisle. Ken, KB3LLA, Handiham Radio Club President, will be at the booth whenever he isn't out somewhere on the show floor finding out about all the new amateur radio gear. I will be there, as will Handiham volunteers John Hoenshell, N0BFJ, and John Pedley, N0IPO. If you hang around too much, we will put you to work as a greeter and Handiham representative! So consider the welcome mat out and waiting for you. We hope you can stop by and see us in person, but if not, we are going to try to get on the Handiham EchoLink Net on Saturday and on the same node and frequency at other times throughout the day on Saturday. This all depends on whether or not we are able to get a reliable Internet connection, so no promises. I hope to see you there! Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx Handiham Manager The official date and Hamvention website is here: http://www.hamvention.org/ The ARRL National Convention announcement website is here: http://www.arrl.org/announce/nc/2009/dayton.html . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/449%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/449> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/449> to friend _____ Letters: WB6NHM writes Letters: WB6NHM writes Dear Handihams, Please feel free to pass this on. Please tune in to the next "Thruoureyes with Joe Ruffalo" internet radio program scheduled for Wednesday, May 13 at 8:00 PM ET. Mr. Ruffalo along with co-host Jerry Moreno will be speaking with successful salesman and sales manager, Michael Hingson, WB6NHM, all about the knfbReader Mobile. To listen via the web, visit: http://www.thruoureyes.org Or via telephone dial: 201-793-9022 And enter pass code 2400484# Anyone interested in asking a question during the program may do so by calling: 888-572-0141 To find out what shows are scheduled during the current month and / or to listen to both current and archived podcasts, just go to http://www.thruoureyes.org/jaws.html The Michael Hingson Group "Speaking with Vision" Michael Hingson, WB6NHM, President 415-827-4084 info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx www.michaelhingson.com Other resources: http://www.knfbreader.com/ . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/462%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/462> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/462> to friend _____ Avery's QTH - Pay attention to the rules! Avery's QTH - Pay attention to the rules! Image: Avery at a recent Dayton Hamvention, posing in the flea market. Welcome once again to my humble QTH: Well, now that we have our licenses we can forget all that stuff we had to learn to pass the test, right? Wrong! It may be that some of the technical stuff is not all that necessary because we can always go back to a license manual and look up what we need. OH! Yeah! That formula was... or the specifications on this part are... which is great. We can take our time and be sure we have everything right before we go ahead with the project. You may consider that to be a lot like taking the written part of a driving test, but after you pass it and are on the road you have to know right away what all the traffic signs are. You don't have any opportunity to check out a manual and find out if a red light means stop or go. Or who has the right of way at an intersection. There are flashing red lights behind me and a very loud siren blasting away. What am I supposed to do? Why the lights and siren? What do they mean? No! There just isn't any time to stop and figure things out. You have to know it right now. The same is true once you are on the air talking to people. The FCC Rules and Regulations are there for a very important reason. You have to know them and do all your operating using them. You are the person responsible if they are broken. You may not have time to stop and check them out under some conditions. You have to know them, so if you are a bit fuzzy on them spend some of your time going over them and finding out what you can and cannot do. As several people have said, if there is any question in your mind as to whether or not something is legal, DON'T DO IT. Remember that as Amateur Radio operators we cannot do anything considered as business over the air. That is what cell phones and other devices are for. If, for example, you have a question about your Handiham application for one thing or another, call it in. Do not bring it up on a Handiham net. (97.113 of the FCC rules) Remember also that the whole world is listening (or can be), so if you have something you want kept private DO NOT bring it up! There are many sections to the rules, and of course you will not be able to remember them exactly but you want to know them well enough that you will stay out of trouble. Okay, so you are chasing a DX station. Is it in the USA part of the band or not? How many VE's have to be in the room when giving a test? A person is visiting you from another country and they want to speak to someone in their own language. Is this okay? Or isn't it? Well, this is all a very good idea you say, but I don't know where to find the FCC rules & Regulations. The best place is on the FCC's web site. Also, the ARRL, W5YI, and some others have them, so please take some of your time and check through the FCC's Rules and Regulations every now and again before you need them. Remember, like a driving license the Amateur Radio License is a privilege. The FCC gives and the FCC takes away. So until next time, 73 es DX de K0HLA Avery You can reach me Monday & Wednesday until 1:30 PM Minneapolis time at: 763-520-0515 or email me at: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/461%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly version <http://www.handiham.org/print/461> . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/461> to friend _____ Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Update released by expert panel <http://www.handiham.org/node/189> Solar WX News The Space Weather Prediction Center reports that a May update to the previously-released April report on Solar Cycle 24 has been released. Work had begun by a panel of experts for NOAA and its SWPC in 2006. The SWPC website says: "The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has reached a consensus decision on the prediction of the next solar cycle (Cycle 24). First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013. Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction." What does this mean for ham radio? That's a good question. We don't know yet, but band conditions will certainly improve from what they have been at minimum. We just don't know whether we can expect propagation as good as in past cycles. ARRL has an excellent story on the prediction update: http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/11/10812/?nc=1 You can visit the SWPC website and browse through the reports yourself: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/SC24/index.html . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/460%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/460> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/460> to friend _____ Letters <http://www.handiham.org/node/462> Letters Dr. Tom Behler, KB8TYJ, writes: Dear Handihams, Due to my interest in emergency management, teaching a Sociology Of Disasters course at my University, etc., I have taken and passed a number of FEMA on-line courses. They include IS22, IS100, IS200, IS700, IS800, IS271, and IS197. I have found the courses to be JAWS friendly, for the most part. What I do is save the manual and the exam for each course into a text format, so that they are easy to review. When I'm ready to take the exam, I note my preferred answer for each question on the exam I have saved, and then get sighted assistance to actually go on line and complete the official answer sheet. I'd do the answer sheet myself, but I'm afraid I'll inadvertently mark something incorrectly. All in all, except for the answer sheet issue, the courses seem to be quite accessible. Just thought you might want to know. It's back to final exams now! Yikes! Tom Behler, KB8TYJ . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/463%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/463> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/463> to friend _____ Peanut Whistle Two QRP Transmitter Peanut Whistle Two QRP Transmitter Image: "Peanut Whistle Two" QRP Transmitter mounted on a code key base. Have you ever tried QRP? QRP is the operation of a transmitter at very low power levels. Thanks to Bill Lauterbach, WA8MEA, who donated a "Peanut Whistle Two" QRP Transmitter complete with a 7.030 MHz crystal, we have a fine little QRP transmitter to test on the 40 meter band during Handiham Radio Camp in August. Bill operates the http://www.hamradiofun.com website, where he sells the Peanut Whistle Two as well as the popular portable "Yo-Yo" portable wire antennas. Since Bill included a couple of those, all we need to add is a code key, a feedline, and a receiver. Our thanks to WA8MEA and to all of our supporters who make Radio Camp possible. Pay a visit to the Hamradiofun website at: http://www.hamradiofun.com . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/459%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/459> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/459> to friend _____ Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset Tonight you will have an opportunity to meet your friends on the Handiham net. 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. _____ Handiham screen reader update <http://www.handiham.org/node/173> Orca Screenreader for Linux By Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Image: Orca screenreader for Linux shark with white cane logo. At Handihams we often get questions about computer access for people who cannot see or who cannot see well enough to read a computer screen. That is why we were interested to see what the recent National Federation of the Blind review of low cost screenreaders would be like. Before we get to that link, I'd like to give you just a little background about screenreaders. The ones referred to in the NFB article are for the Microsoft Windows operating system, but there are others. Fortunately, the state of the art in personal computing has advanced to the point where software and hardware in nearly any new computer work together to provide a blind computer user with access to at least the most basic navigation. However, most blind users will want to add the greater functionality of a "screenreader", a software package that "reads" what is on the computer screen and gives much deeper and more complete computer access to the user. Such screenreading software has evolved over the years to be, well, in the language of the non-technical person, "pretty darned good." That is the good news. The bad news is that the most highly-evolved and complete screenreading software packages are commercial and are very expensive. It takes money to have a team of developers on staff, and to keep up the fast pace necessary to keep the screenreader up to date as operating systems and applications change. The fact of the matter is that, in the real world, many users cannot afford to pay over a thousand dollars for their screenreading software. Such software can easily cost more than the entire computer! The most expensive commercial screenreaders are designed to be "resident" on your computer's hard drive. They come in installation packages that create permanent files and folders on your computer's "C" drive, and may be used with or without Internet access. They are capable of giving you all screenreading features in places where you are not able to get a wireless Internet signal, such as during travel. You can use them to edit text files, write a story, or look through a spreadsheet while on a bus, for example. A limited number of updates may be included in the price, but major updates are expensive. There are other commercial screenreading solutions that depend on high-speed Internet access to work. They may actually have some files on your "C" drive for offline use, but they are designed to use the Internet. These generally do not have the high up front costs that the expensive always-resident screenreaders have, but they require a subscription, like a monthly payment, for complete service. Updates are included and are part of the relatively low monthly bill. The really good news is that there are free or low cost alternatives of both kinds of screenreader. Thunder and NVDA are examples of screenreaders that are installed on your "C" drive and are resident with or without Internet access. The Accessibility Is a Right Foundation is an example of a free screenreader that uses Internet access to function. I don't want to sell the features of other operating systems short. Mac computers have built in screenwriter access via "VoiceOver". It costs nothing extra, so if you are buying a new system from scratch, all costs should be considered. A Mac may be a better buy if you don't have to spend an extra grand on a screenreader. Macs are designed to be easy to learn and use. Linux distributions vary, but the popular Ubuntu Linux includes the free, open-source Orca screenreader. Again, when considering total cost, both Ubuntu and Orca are free, and will work on a PC. You can also install Ubuntu on a separate hard drive partition on a Windows computer. Linux users generally must have a fairly good understanding of more advanced computing. Installation may require some experienced help. Does this little overview of computer screenreaders help? I know you must have even more questions about what ham radio applications will run on which operating systems, and how all of them do when accessed with screenreaders! I'll leave those details to another column, and for now just give you the links you are waiting for: Here is an article from the May, 2009, Braille Monitor publication by NFB, sent to me by Dick Garey, WA0CAF: http://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/Publications/bm/bm09/bm0905/bm090506.htm If you want to find out about Mac computers and the built-in screenreader VoiceOver, here's where to go: http://www.apple.com/accessibility/voiceover/ Feeling brave enough for Linux? Check out this help forum on the Orca screenreader in the Ubuntu forum: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Accessibility I hope this little article is of some use to those of you who may be considering whether to get started in computing. Don't let blindness or low vision stop you from enjoying the many things computer access can open up to you: Ham radio rig control and logging, callsign lookup, reading articles about ham radio online, listening to podcasts and ham radio audio of all kinds, running EchoLink, and so much more. Don't take "no" for an answer. If you are blind, things can still compute! . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/458%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/458> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/458> to friend _____ This week at Headquarters: . We are at booth 332 in the Silver Arena at Dayton Hamvention this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Booth setup may not be complete until sometime Friday afternoon, depending on how the travel day goes. . Look for us to be checking in on the Saturday Handiham EchoLink net if we can get an Internet connection. . There will be no audio lectures this Friday. . 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 <http://www.handiham.org/node/358> sure? Take a photo tour! Having trouble downloading or have questions about Radio Camp or Handihams? Just email Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx, anytime. Office hours this week: Our office is open the usual hours. Nancy is back in the office again. Yippee! Staff may not be able to answer all of the phone calls, but please leave a message and we will get back to you. Avery is in Mondays and Wednesdays. Pat is in Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Jerry, in his volunteer capacity, returns phone calls and emails daily. . The Handiham website will be updated daily, usually multiple times a day as news breaks. I will even be able to update from Dayton. * In Operating Skills: * The May, 2009 issues of QST, CQ and WORLDRADIO magazines are in audio digest for our blind members. * Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the May "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. The QST, CQ, and Worldradio digests have been read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF. * Tape deliveries are in the mail. Thanks to George, N0SBU, and Avery, K0HLA, and to our readers, Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, and 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. 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 05/13/2009 - 16:17 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/464%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/464> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/464> 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.