[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 14 January 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 13:24:15 -0600

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Welcome to Handiham World!

Remote Base and Morse Code

Remote Base Update: Morse Code operation

Screenshot: W4MQ Remote Base CW pop up window

Did you ever own a gadget, a radio, or a piece of software that you really
understood completely? I must say I had a bit of a surprise earlier this
week when using the handiham remote base software by W4MQ. I had been using
the remote base as a beta tester for a number of months now, but I had never
really had occasion to use the CW mode setting, even though I had tuned
around in the CW portion of various bands a number of times in the past. In
fact, Avery, K0HLA, had asked me if it was possible to operate using Morse
code with the remote base.

"Heck, I think it must be possible, but I'm not sure how you would hook up a
key and whether you would use some kind of modulated audio or just how it
would work", I replied.

After all, the radio obviously received very well in the CW portion of the
bands, and some of our handiham members would likely be interested in
operating Morse code from time to time if such a thing were possible. Well,
as Lyle, K0LR, and I worked through a number of beta testing issues, one
thing that came up was something called "auto mode". This is a setting made
by the administrator of the system that causes the radio to go back to
whatever default mode is set for a given portion of a ham radio band. For
example, on the 20 m band if you were using a frequency of 14.280 MHz, the
auto mode would place the radio in the USB mode automatically, so that you
would be on the right side band. The user can, however, control the mode
manually. It is assumed that this will sometimes be necessary. Anyway, this
setting was not being changed automatically when I did my testing, so I
noticed that the radio would typically just keep the same mode that I had
been listening in on single side band whenever I went to the CW portion of
the band. Only this week did I think to manually change the mode to the CW
setting. The first thing that I noticed was that the audio filter was
automatically changed to a much narrower width that would be more
appropriate for Morse code operation. The second thing I noticed was that
the radio no longer said "no transmit". And the third thing was that a
little pop-up window appeared that would allow me to simply type into a text
window and send Morse code automatically! Because I had already logged on to
the software using my own call sign, this handy little application already
knew who I was. It has several shortcut buttons that allow me to send CQ,
call QRZ, call a specific station just by entering the station's call sign
in a form field and pressing the call button, and probably even more that I
haven't discovered yet. So here I was, using this software for months, and
only this week discovering a major feature.

I don't know whether to be a little bit embarrassed by this, or whether I
should just chalk it up to the fact that there was so much other stuff to
test that a fellow might be expected to miss a thing or two here and there.
I will readily admit that I seldom have an actual QSO using Morse code, but
I do listen to code rather frequently just to see what band conditions are
like, mostly on 20 and 40 m.

Discovering this new Morse code feature (new to me, anyway) was almost like
discovering a gift that I had forgotten to open up at my last birthday
party. Who knows what else the remote base might serve up as a really fun
and useful feature? We are still hoping to open the remote base and get it
out of beta mode within the next few months. It has been doing
extraordinarily well surviving the cold Minnesota temperatures in its
unheated ham shack. Already this week Courage North has had an early-morning
low temperature of -35°F. I think I can almost feel the cold radiating back
at me right through my own computer when I connect to the remote base!

For Handiham World, I'm Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx  

*       Login
t-form>  at Handiham.org to post comments


Avery's QTH - Avery's station brag

Avery's QTH - Avery's station brag - Avery with coffee cup

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

Some of you may have heard a first on the Handiham Net this last Friday and
Saturday. It was not a really big deal, but I checked in from the home
location both days.

As Jim, our net control, will tell you though, ?It is very easy to get into
the habit of doing something.?

When I went to turn the net back to him, I started to use the W0ZSW call in
place of my own K0HLA call but I caught the error about half way through and
made the necessary correction and then gave my own call.

In case you are interested, I have a Yaesu FT-100D for a transceiver and it
is being used with a wire "J" Pole antenna and my new Alinco power supply.
The antenna is inside my second floor apartment hanging from the ceiling
from one of those hooks used to hang flower pots. When I moved in, I noticed
there was one a few feet from each corner of the room so I had no problems
with having to get permission to install the hooks as they were already

I have a couple of HF antennas for it also, but right now I am not using the
FT-100D on the HF bands as I have yet to figure out a way to get up an HF
antenna that won't cause any problems with neighbors. My balcony is all
metal aluminum siding, which makes it a bit challenging to produce a good
radiating HF antenna and attach it without damage to the siding. The
curtains are metallic and only appear to cause problems on a select few
repeaters. If I open the curtains that problem seems to go away, but then
neighbors across the way can see into my window and my privacy is gone. A
celebrity ham radio writer like me can?t be too careful.

I live in Hopkins, MN and the 145.450 N0BVE repeater is in Minnetonka, which
is the next city over. That is not as far as one might think. I am within
walking distance of the Hopkins-Minnetonka border and could almost see the
repeater from my location if there were not buildings, trees, hills, and
other visual clutter between our locations, so I do not need much in the way
of power to get into the repeater.

I am planning on mounting the FT-100D and a couple of antennas (one HF and
one UHF/VHF) in my car sometime after the lease is up and I can purchase the
car outright. Right now I am unable to do anything which might affect the
lease agreement. That would solve all my apartment antenna problems. I will
be able to just go operate from my car. Also, in the event of an emergency,
I will have power from the car so I will not be relying on the power lines
feeding the building.

My other rigs include a Kenwood TS-50 with its associated Kenwood external
automatic antenna tuner and a Yaesu VX-7R HT. Although I do not use them
much anymore, I also have a Yaesu FT-23 HT and a 35 Watt amplifier which I
used to use in my truck. The outside mobile antenna mounted right in the
middle of the top of the truck gave me pretty good range even without the
amplifier turned on. That was a very handy combination as I could use the HT
with the amplifier in the truck or unhook the HT and take it just by itself
and rubber duck antenna out to another location if necessary. Or, if the
battery in the truck went bad I could still call for help using the
batteries in the FT-23 HT.

Perhaps some of my experiences will give you some ideas on how to get on the
air from your own location.

So, for now? 73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery

You can reach me at:

Or 763-520-0515

t-form>  to post comments


Take an audio course to learn Windows XP - For free!

A computer is nearly a "must-have" for amateur radio operators these days.
This can be a problem for a person who is not familiar with personal
computers and operating systems like Windows. Learning Windows can seem like
a daunting task, too, and since many of our Handiham members are blind or
have low vision, it's not that easy to pick up a two inch thick printed book
from the local bookstore to do a bit of reading up on the subject.

What to do?

We were wondering about this problem here at Handiham headquarters. Our star
volunteer computer trainer, Dick Chrisman, AB7HW, passed away a few years
ago, and we really needed some help with computer training basics. Recently
I discovered an excellent series of free audio tutorials covering Windows XP
basics. XP is the version still widely used in business and by lots of home
users, and it is common to find it as the preferred operating system in
brand-new netbook computers. Vista is the latest version of Windows, but
most of the things taught in the free Windows XP audio course will still
apply to Vista users.

The free Windows XP audio course, available in either MP3 or WMA format, may
be found on the Access Technology Institute:


Let us know what you think of the course, and be sure to email me at
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx if you have any other great learning resources to share with
your fellow Handiham members. 


FAR Amateur Radio Scholarships Announced

THE FOUNDATION FOR AMATEUR RADIO, INC., a non-profit organization with
headquarters in Washington, D.C., plans to administer forty eight (48)
scholarships for the academic year 2009 - 2010 to assist licensed Radio
Amateurs. The Foundation, composed of over seventy-five local area Amateur
Radio Clubs, fully funds two of these scholarships. The remaining
forty-eight (48) are administered by the Foundation without cost to the
various donors.

Licensed Radio Amateurs may compete for these awards if they plan to pursue
a full-time course of studies beyond high school and are enrolled in or have
been accepted for enrollment at an accredited university, college or
technical school. The awards range from $5,000 to $500 with preference given
in some cases to residents of specified geographical areas or the pursuit of
certain study programs. Non-USA residents are eligible to apply for some of
the scholarships. Clubs, especially those in California, Delaware, Maryland,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin (areas of preferred
residence for some of the scholarships), are encouraged to announce these
opportunities at their meetings, in their club newsletters, during training
classes, on their nets and on their world wide web home pages.

Additional information and an application form may be requested by letter or
QSL card, postmarked prior to March 30, 2009 from:

FAR Scholarships
Post Office Box 831
Riverdale, MD 20738

Applications are also available for download from the Foundation?s web site:

The Foundation for Amateur Radio, incorporated in the District of Columbia,
is an exempt organization under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue
Code of 1954. It is devoted exclusively to promoting the interests of
Amateur Radio and those scientific, literary and educational pursuits that
advance the purposes of the Amateur Radio Service.


Earthquake Strikes Costa Rica, Emergency Ham Frequency Declared

Earthquake Strikes Costa Rica, Emergency Ham Frequency Declared

ARRL: On Thursday, January 8 at 1921z, an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the
Richter scale struck the Central American country of Costa Rica.

The earthquake, with an epicenter located about 22 miles northeast of San
Jose, comes after a series of almost 60 seismic events that have rocked the
country since early this week.

The Radio Club de Costa Rica (RCCR) -- that country's IARU Member-Society --
is monitoring local repeaters and 7090 kHz. IARU Region 2 Emergency
Communications Coordinator Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, requests that 7090 kHz be
kept clear of non-essential traffic due to possible emergency communications
dealing with the earthquake. The ARRL encourages all amateurs to be aware of
the emergency operations on this frequency. US amateurs should avoid
interfering with Spanish language SSB while using digital modes.


Manage your own Handiham-World mailing list settings

The popular Handiham World Weekly E-Letter is published each Wednesday. Now
you can manage your own settings on the mailing list website at
Freelists.org. You can set the system to stop sending emails while you are
on vacation, for example. Simply use the handy web form below:

Enter your email address: 


For assistance, please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx


Handiham EchoLink Net

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/266> On the air

Our daily Handiham net will be on the air Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 11:00 United States Central time (17:00

145.450 MHz (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
Node 89680 (EchoLink worldwide)
IRLP node 908 (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.

Please direct questions to:

Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager

This week at Headquarters:

*       Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, says that we have four net control
stations, and we need more so that the same ones don't need to take more
than one time a week. If you would like to volunteer, we will be glad to
help you get started. One idea that came up was to have some kind of a
training net, which would be our topic at least one day a week on the usual
daily EchoLink net. Do you have any comments on that?  It could be about
different topics each week, something that could help all of us in our
operating skills. You may email us with your comments at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 
*       The daily EchoLink net is on every day but Sunday, and it can also
be on that day if anyone volunteers!
*       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 January QST, CQ,
and Worldradio digests have been read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF. Remember that
January is the last print edition of Worldradio, so you'll want to catch
that audio.
*       The February, 2009 QST magazine is out in print, and we expect Bob
Zeida to begin his reading shortly. 
*       The Winter QCWA Journal is out in print. We are STILL waiting for
our reading list from QCWA.
*       George, N0SBU, has completed the tape cassette digest. It will have
some special audio from Matt Arthur, KA0PQW. Many of you will have received
your tape digest by now.
*       We have added an "audio this week" link at the top of the member
page once you log in. This is a good place to find out what audio is new on
our website each week, including magazine digests and audio lectures. This
page is updated on Fridays.
*       The Friday Handiham-Notify mailing list has been moved to
Freelists.org for better reliability. I was just not satisfied with the
performance of our Mailman lists on Handiham.org, because they didn't handle
large numbers of subscribers consistently, and some of you missed your
Friday mailings. The Handiham-Notify list contains our audio lecture links
each week, along with links to magazine digest audio, both of which are
Handiham member services.

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@xxxxxxxxxxx or call her
toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact us.  


WorldRadio Online E-mail Notification List Established

(Hicksville, NY) January 8, 2009 -- A new e-mail list has been established
to notify readers of the availability of each new issue of WorldRadio
magazine, which is converting to a free online-only publication (titled
WorldRadio Online) as of its February, 2009 issue.

WorldRadio subscribers and any other interested people may sign up for the
list at:


Direct links to this sign up page will be posted on both the CQ magazine
website at:

 <http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com> http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com

and the old WorldRadio website at:

 <http://www.wr6wr.com> http://www.wr6wr.com

Monthly e-mail alerts will include highlights of each new issue, along with
instructions and hotlinks for connecting with the online issue. The e-mail
addresses will be used only by CQ Communications, Inc., and will not be
rented or sold.

Each issue of WorldRadio Online will be posted in PDF format, permitting
readers the choice of browsing articles online or downloading the issue to
their own computers to read at their convenience or even to print out in
part or in whole. Access to WorldRadio Online will be free of charge.

Most of WorldRadio's columnists will continue to write for the new online
edition. In November, 2008, CQ Communications, Inc. purchased WorldRadio
upon the decision of founding publisher Armond Noble, N6WR, to retire and
sell the magazine.


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 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.


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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 14 January 2009 - Patrick Tice