[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 17 December 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 14:32:03 -0600

Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 17 December

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center's
Handiham System <http://handiham.org> . Please do not reply to this message.
Use the contact information at the end, or simply email

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!

Guy shaking fist at dead computer

WA0TDA: Internet security becomes a ham radio topic

Yes, I know. Computers are taking over the world, including ham radio,

15 years ago, there were still plenty of hams mightily resistant to the idea
of a computer in the ham shack. Each year, I saw more and more computer
equipment showing up at hamfests. There were complaints that the hamfests
were nothing but computers anymore!

Today there are few holdouts who still don't have computers, especially ham
shack computers. Heck, many of us have multiple ham shack computers, often
running different operating systems. They control our radios, do our
logging, and act as digital mode input and output devices. They make
EchoLink and IRLP possible. They can give a digital transfusion to a cranky
HT that's lost its memories. In short, they have become essential for most
of us, and even the most reluctant computer user will have to admit that an
Internet computer in the shack is essential for callsign lookup! 

So, like any other piece of ham gear, the shack computer sometimes has its
problems. It's really the only piece of gear in the shack that can be
damaged by malicious intrusions via the Internet, and because so many ham
radio operators are exposed to this danger, radio clubs are beginning to
take notice and offer their members some help. Why, just today Microsoft is
set to release a vital security update for the Internet Explorer browser.
Without the update, an unsuspecting user could risk having their computer
hijacked just by visiting a website.  Worse yet, the owner of the website
may not know that their site is infected. Then there is email spam. This
morning I received multiple messages from "Hallmark Cards" containing zip
file attachments. Of course as a savvy user I know that Hallmark did not
send these messages, and the attached files were harmful viruses designed to
take over my computer and steal personal data.

How can your ham club help its members to avoid becoming victims? Here are
my suggestions:

1.      Form a computer or Internet Technology committee. Members of the
committee can be "go-to" people if anyone in the club has a question. 
2.      Consider having a club presentation on Internet Security. If a club
member cannot present, try getting an expert from outside the club. 
3.      If your club owns an email distribution list, be sure that it is
protected from spammers. Open lists are a disaster waiting to happen! 
4.      Extend your club's Elmering program to computers, at least the ones
that will be used in the ham shack. Members who are new to computing may not
know the basics of setting up their computers with firewalls and antivirus
5.      Stay informed! Nothing changes as fast as the world of computing
technology, so posting relevant stories on your club's website may be in

Now, have I got you worried about today's Internet Explorer security patch?
Read about it on the BBC website, in a story entitled "Microsoft plans quick
fix for IE".  Microsoft is due to issue a patch to fix a security flaw
believed to have affected as many as 10,000 websites:

For your Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Center Handiham Manager

.        By wa0tda at 12/10/2008 - 19:07

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Avery's QTH - Letting the smoke out

Avery's QTH - Those cold December nights

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

Friday morning I had just gotten up and done some things around the shack
when I turned on my Yaesu FT-100 and happened to hear WA0CQG, Carl, and
WA0TDA, Pat, chatting on the 145.450 repeater, so I waited for a break and
gave out my call.

They went on with their conversation and at a break point let me into the
QSO. I knew Carl for many years, from back when we were in the APPLE
Computer Club together. I had an Apple 2C and attended as many meetings as I
could to find out as much about Apple computers as I could. Appleworks was
quite a program back then. The Apple Club also had a "disk of the month"
program, and for a reasonable price a person could get some really good but
inexpensive software. Boy! I tell you, I thought that 128 K Apple 2C was
really something. I had all the goodies with it too, the printer and 110/300
baud modem. At that time 300 baud was really fast and not many were using
it. Within a couple of years though, everyone was at 1200 baud and then 2400
baud and many BBS's would not even let a slow 300 baud modem connect.

Well, I digress.

So, the three of us go around a couple of times when Pat says, "Avery, time
for net and I'm glad to hear you are volunteering to be net control."

Well, OK! So I started the net up.

I had about three check-ins and was right in the middle of saying something
when a big flash of light, a loud noise, the very pungent smell of ozone,
and a rather large puff of very dark smoke came rolling out of my power
supply. I made a quick call to Pat to see if someone else could pick up the
net. Sure, I had an HT I could have USED TO finish the net, but it would
have been a bit more difficult to do.

I turned on my scanner and listened to the net while I was taking the cover
off the power supply. Sure enough, there had been a barbeque in there. It
looked charred, a whole row of component parts, diodes, resistors,
capacitors, the whole bunch. Looking around the circuit board, I could see
that some of the larger solid state devices also had heavy black stuff on
their cases and leads. The fuse was blown and covered with that stuff too...
looked to me like it would cost more to fix it than to get a new power
supply. I still had not been able to check out my FT-100.

I took some time on Saturday and ran out to Radio City and purchased a new
power supply. I got home and unpackaged it. I hooked up my FT-100 and there
on the 145.450 was Matt, KA0PQW, calling someone who did not come back, so I
gave Matt a call with fingers crossed that my FT-100 was working and was
very much relieved when Matt came right back to me.

This true story says two things:

First, be sure you have a back up net control in case something happens and
second, be sure to have back up power in case the power (or power supply)
fails. I could have pulled the car battery or mounted the FT-100 in the car
had it been an emergency.

So until next time 73 es DX from K0HLA Avery 

You can contact me at: 763-520-0515 or email me at:


Canadian Time Standard CHU to move from long-time frequency

Time to change your shortwave radio dial! After seventy years of
broadcasting Canada's official time, the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL CANADA
shortwave station CHU will move the transmission frequency for the 7335 KHz
transmitter to 7850 KHz. The change goes into effect on 01 January 2009 at
00:00 UTC. CHU is a part of NRC's system for disseminating official time
throughout Canada, broadcasting 24 hours a day from a location approximately
15 km south-west of downtown Ottawa. Listeners hear tones to mark the
seconds, voice to announce the time in French and English, and digital data
to set computers.

You can read the official announcement in PDF at:


The COMAX Morse Code Keyboard Replacement

The COMAX Morse Code Keyboard Replacement

A reader sent this to us, and it sounds like a useful piece of assistive
technology for people who know Morse code and want to control a computer
with a single switch. This would be useful for a person whose spinal cord
injury, for example, would allow them only enough mobility to operate a
switch, either by puff and sip through a straw, by eye blink, or some other
head movement.

We have not tested this application, so we cannot say how it performs.

Comax is a method of using Morse code to replace the keyboard on computers
using Windows operating systems. It offers input codes for all the standard
keys, not just the alphabet and numbers. It works with all Windows
applications and covers the full range of Morse code speed, from the
beginner using mouse input, to the user with a disability using special
switches, to the experienced Morse operator running at high speed. Some of
the Comax features are:

* Comax is a software application. If the mouse is used for code input, no
additional hardware is required.
* The code is optionally sounded through the computer sound system, tone and
volume may be adjusted.
* One button mode (straight key) using mouse button
* Two button keying mode (paddle) using mouse buttons
* There is a special Comax mouse with a key-jack for connection of your
favorite key or paddle.
* The mouse with key-jack may also be used for connection of switches for
users with disabilities using switch access.

Contact for further information:

Or visit the Comax website:

Pricing is about $40, through Google checkout with Internet delivery, or
about $70 for physical copies.

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 <http://www.handiham.org/node/287> EchoLink Keyboard Commands

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/287> EchoLink Keyboard Commands

This information is provided in text for our blind users. As an alternative
to using EchoLink with a mouse, the following commands can be entered from
the keyboard:

Key Function:

Alt+1 Activates the Station List area
Alt+2 Activates the Text Message area
Alt+3 Activates the QSO Status area
Alt+4 Activates the Text Chat area
F6 Activates the next area (in the sequence above)
Shift-F6 Activates the previous area (in the sequence above)
Ctrl+PgDn Switches between Index View and Explorer View in the Station List

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.        Read more on the Handiham <http://www.handiham.org/node/287>


Long-time volunteer Col. Bob Reckner, W8IQJ, is a silent key

Long-time volunteer Col. Bob Reckner, W8IQJ, is a silent key

Photo: Col. Bob, W8IQJ (left), and Pat, WA0TDA, at Hamvention 2004.

Lt. Col. Robert D. Reckner, W8IQJ, age 87 of Union, passed away on Saturday,
December 13, 2008 at Hospice of Dayton. Bob retired in 1970 from the US Air
Force after 28 years having served during WW II, the Korean Conflict and
Vietnam. He was a Command Pilot, Missile Maintenance Staff Officer, and had
served as the Commander of the 2046th Communications Group at WPAFB. An avid
Amateur Radio Operator, Bob was known with his FCC License W8IQJ, and was
active for many years with the Dayton Amateur Radio Club. With the
"Handi-Ham" Club, Bob volunteered for many years at camps for people with
disabilities. He was a familiar face at both California Radio Camp and
Minnesota Radio Camp, where he taught the General Class.

Col. Bob was a wonderful addition to our Handi-Hams Radio Camps, teaching
students, helping staff and just being his "bigger than life" self. He will
be missed by all of us here at Courage Center and Courage North.

Next August, when we hold our 2009 Handiham Radio Camp, we will plant a
White Pine in Col. Bob's memory. Like Col. Bob, the tree will stand tall,
with its arms spread wide, giving shelter to others.

Read more about Col. Bob at the Kindred Funeral Home website. Simply click
on the web site, look for Bob's name on Dec 13th and then click. That will
open a personal data window which covers all details.


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Dear Handihams, 

If you've never checked out this guy's web site, you should.  Lots of
interesting posts! 


Phil, K9HI

Editor's note: You've got THAT right, Phil!

The link Phil sent us is to the KB6NU Ham Radio Blog. There are lots of
blogs out there in Internet-land, but this one is worth a visit  because it
is well-written and often contains items of interest that no one else is
discussing at the moment. Find the KB6NU page at: <http://kb6nu.com/> 

Dear Handihams,

I just listened to the latest Handiham net and it seems something is
missing. I'm pretty active with the Amateur Lighthouse Society and we hold a
PSK net the last Sunday of every month. It's called the "ARLHS PSK Hour". I
got to thinking that maybe we should consider something like that for
Handihams. I do realize the majority of the focus is the blind membership
but maybe this would bring out some other users. Let's think about a PSK

Justin, KC2GIK

Editor's note: It is true that deaf Handiham members might have a special
interest in PSK-31, but blind hams can get on that mode as well. Check out
the DigiPan and DigiTalk versions of Skip Teller's (KH6TY) software for



I suggest you start by checking in to the net Justin mentioned, the ARLHS
PSK Hour.  After that we may get enough interest going in a Handiham net! I
guess you will have to look around for the PSK Hour, as I couldn't find the
time & frequency on the ARLHS website. If anyone knows, please send an email
to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 


Holiday office hours - snowman with HTThis week at Headquarters:

Office hours

In December, the Handiham offices are closed Wednesday, Thursday, and
Friday, December 24, 25, and 26. On New Year's Eve, which is December 31, we
will be open in the morning, closing at noon. This week Pat is out of the
office Thursday afternoon and all day Friday.

We wish all of our members, visitors, podcast listeners, and e-letter
subscribers a wonderful holiday season!

In other news...

*       We have a new net manager!  Howard, KE7KNM, has kindly stepped up to
the plate and agreed to help us get a little more structure into our net
control situation. 
*       Jerry, N0VOE, is volunteering in the office on Tuesdays. Look for
him on the Handiham EchoLink net from callsign W0ZSW on those days in 2009.
He volunteers other days from his home QTH and can be heard on PICONET on
3.925 MHz and on the 145.450 repeater system, node 89680. 
*       Pat, WA0TDA, is taking vacation days on Fridays through the end of
the year, but will still send out a weekly education letter, so look for
*       QST, CQ, QCWA Journal, & 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 December
QST and Worldradio and CQ magazine digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF.
Look for January audio this Friday, with links from your Handiham-Notify
*       The Winter QCWA Journal is out in print. We are waiting for our
reading list from QCWA.
*       Long-time volunteer instructor Tony Tretter, W0KVO, was mentioned in
the October 2008 Spark Gap Times: "Tony Tretter, W0KVO, helped me get my
Novice license in 1968. I saw his tower and knocked on his door after
hearing him on 75 meter AM on my Hallicrafters S-120. Tony gave me the CW
and written tests for Novice." -- AE0Q, Glen. 
*       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. 

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. 


Elmer: Getting to the EchoLink text box

Dear Elmer,

How do I get to the text box in EchoLink while using keyboard commands? I
use a screen reader and I want to try out the W0EQO-L remote base. I hear
you can control the frequency of the TS-480 by putting the number in the
text box.

Eager Beaver

Elmer says:

Dear Eager,

The way to get in to the chat text window is alt 4 on the top number row of
the keyboard. First, open EchoLink on your computer, then search for
W0EQO-L. If you wish to search by node number, look for 261171. Don't bother
trying to connect through a node, as the connection can only accept single
callsign computer users. Once you find W0EQO-L, you can connect. You will
hear audio of some kind, either static if the radio is not tuned to a
station, or you might hear a QSO in progress. Up to 5 stations can connect
to the node at one time, so other users may already be listening. If the
station is in use by a beta tester through the W4MQ interface, you will not
have control of the frequency. If there is no such user, you can control the
radio's frequency through the EchoLink text box. All you do to get to the
text box is click in the box area with your mouse or use the keyboard
command alt 4. Do not get this confused with alt F4, which will simply close
EchoLink. If your cursor does not end up in exactly the right spot in the
texting area, you may want to try tabbing once to get focus in the text
entry field. In that field, you can type a frequency, such as 5, then press
enter and you will hear WWV on 5 MHz if conditions are right. To get to
PICONET on 3.925 MHz, type in 3925 and press enter. Notice that there is no
decimal point. The radio will respond by changing frequency and telling you
what frequency it is on in spoken audio. To change modes, you can type USB,
CW, LSB, AM, and so on. Remember that LSB is used on PICONET and across the
75 meter band.

For users of Window-Eyes, it is necessary to type insert b first, as this is
their bypass command, and Window-Eyes won't try to accept alt 4 as a screen
reader command.

Have fun with the remote base!

73 from Elmer

.        By elmer at 12/17/2008 - 14:27

.        elmer's blog <http://www.handiham.org/blog/388> 

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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@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

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@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at
www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> :

. Beginner 
. General 
. Extra 
. Operating Skills


Donate online to support the Handiham System

New! Donate online to support the Handiham System

Now you can give to Handihams online!

This year it is possible to support Courage Center's Handiham System with an
online donation. We exist only because of the support of people like you -
people who care about other amateur radio operators. Of course our special
mission is to help people with disabilities to earn their licenses and get
on the air. Often times we hear from people whose circumstances are truly
difficult. They have little money, and they are stuck in their house or care
facility, but have always wanted to get on the air. They may have retired
from a long-time job because of an injury or after losing their eyesight and
now are looking for a way to get back on the air, or to get on the air for
the first time. We are experts at breaking down barriers and helping people
to achieve their ham radio goals - and by extension, other life goals as

Now, don't get me wrong. We also have plenty of highly self-sufficient
members with disabilities who simply enjoy using our audio resources and
want to share their contributions with others who share similar interests.
The point is that we are all about hams helping other hams.

I hope you will consider a gift to support this work. Gifts to Courage
Center and its programs are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by
law, and you will be helping our staff and volunteers to share the
excitement of ham radio with people who will be really grateful! In a
moment, I will give you a link to the secure Courage Center donation
website, but I did want to give you a few brief tips about how to use it.

Once you get to the secure page, you will find "Please make a donation to
Courage Center!", followed by a form page. The first section of the form,
called "Donation Information", is the part I need you to be very careful
about because if you want to support our program, you have to say so in this
section. You are asked to either choose an amount to give, or fill in an
amount. Now comes the "Designation" pull-down. You must use the pull-down
and select "Handi-Hams" if you intend the gift to support the Handiham

screenshot of donation pull-down with Handi-Hams selected
Screenshot of the donation page pull-down menu showing "Handi-Hams"


In the "Additional Information" section, you use a pull-down to choose the
frequency of the gift - a one-time gift, for example. This section also
allows you to check a box if you are giving on behalf of a company or if you
prefer to donate anonymously. There is a comment section as well. Then you
will find the "Billing Information", which is your name and address,
followed by "Payment Information", which is your credit card information.
Finally, there is "Tribute Information", in case you wish to give on behalf
of someone special by honoring them with a tribute. When you complete the
form, click the "Donate Now" button.

Oh, and please do us a favor and let us know if you find any part of the
form to be inaccessible via screenreader.

<https://couragecenter.us/NETCOMMUNITY/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344>  this
link to the secure Courage Center donation web page.

In you are reading this in plain text, the link is:


Thank you for your support!

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@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

*       Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx
*       Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxx
*       Avery, K0HLA, Educational Coordinator: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx 
*       Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxx
*       Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxx 


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 12/17/2008 - 20:22 

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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 17 December 2008 - Patrick Tice