[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 13 May 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 11:21:22 -0500

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


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

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
Handiham Manager

The official date and Hamvention website is here:

The ARRL National Convention announcement website is here:

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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:

Or via telephone dial:
And enter pass code 2400484#

Anyone interested in asking a question during the program may do so by

To find out what shows are scheduled during the current month and / or to
listen to both current and archived podcasts, just go to

The Michael Hingson Group
"Speaking with Vision"
Michael Hingson, WB6NHM, President

Other resources:

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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?


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:
or email me at:

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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:

You can visit the SWPC website and browse through the reports yourself:

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 <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

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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:

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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:


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. 


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

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:

If you want to find out about Mac computers and the built-in screenreader
VoiceOver, here's where to go:

Feeling brave enough for Linux? Check out this help forum on the Orca
screenreader in the Ubuntu forum:

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!

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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

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: 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

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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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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 13 May 2009 - Patrick Tice