Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 18 March 2009 This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System <http://handiham.org> . Please do not reply to this message. Use the contact information at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx This issue is being delivered in plain text, but is available in HTML with graphics and photos. You can get the HTML version online at the following link: You can also listen to the content online: Listen to an MP3 audio stream: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! Ham Radio Deluxe main screenFree software tour: Ham Radio Deluxe Last week we talked about the free audio editing program called Audacity. Today, I want to tell you about a wonderful way to control many modern amateur radio transceivers using a personal computer. This information pertains to users of Microsoft Windows because the software is written to run specifically on that operating system. Ham Radio Deluxe is a free software suite written by Simon Brown, HB9DRV. Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) also includes mapping, satellite tracking and the digital mode program Digital Master 780 (DM780). It is designed for Windows 2000 or higher (XP, Vista, 7), also Internet Explorer 6.0 (or higher) is required. It may work with Windows 98 but this is not supported. The policy is to support Windows versions which are supported by Microsoft. Any licensed Amateur may download, install, and use HRD. It is not open source software, however. The difference is that the software author does not license the software under an open source licensing agreement, and the computer code is not public. Before I get into any details about Ham Radio Deluxe, I think we should make it clear that this software is constantly under development and is thus being improved all the time. It has gone through many releases and upgrades over the years, and I have used it with great success in my own ham shack for many of the years that it has been available. The fact that HRD is always in active development sets it aside from many other software packages. Oftentimes you will find that a rig control program has maybe one or two releases, and not very much changes, if anything, after that. Ham Radio Deluxe is different, because it keeps getting better and better. I like the fact that I don't have to worry about ditching my rig control program because it is hopelessly out of date. This is one of the most important reasons to choose Ham Radio Deluxe. In order to use software to control your radio, you will need to provide a hardware connection between the radio and your computer. How you do so depends on which radio you have and what kind of ports your computer has available. Fortunately, there is information on the Ham Radio Deluxe website that will help you get this part of the job done. In the case of my ICOM IC-706M2G, I learned that I needed a special cable. This was relatively easy to find at a good price via the Internet. Further connections were done via a commercial rig interface, in this case a Rigblaster. I found that it was easiest to follow the Rigblaster instructions and everything worked pretty much as expected right away! You may find satisfaction in building your own interface, and you will find plenty of help for doing so on the Internet. Ham Radio Deluxe should be downloaded and installed after you get your hardware connections in order. I won't go into detail, but HRD will prompt you for the proper port settings the first time you use it, and after that the computer will remember all of these details so controlling your rig will be as simple as turning on the power to the rig and then running Ham Radio Deluxe. Like many hams, I have a few frequencies and modes that I return to on a daily basis. Generally speaking, most users will find that they do not take advantage of the many features of HRD. For example, I will typically use HRD and my ICOM to check into a local HF net, PICONET, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The net meets on 3.925 MHz SSB, and Ham Radio Deluxe allows me to save that frequency and mode into my "favorites". A simple click of the mouse puts me on the PICONET frequency. Since I like to keep a record of stations that I have worked, I use the logbook feature in HRD. The logbook is a pop up window that has all of the basic input fields you would expect, but what makes it easy to use is that all I have to do is enter the net control station's callsign, and the log book remembers the station and allows me to choose "auto fill" to complete all the other fields with the correct information about name and location, as well as a note that this was PICONET. The frequency field always reflects the radio's true frequency, which is sent by the data cable from the ICOM to the computer. If you like DX, there is a DX spotting window built into Ham Radio Deluxe. A list of DX spots appears below the frequency screen, and all you have to do is click on the DX spot you're interested in, and the radio automatically changes frequency to the same one as the DX station. I am not much of a DX chaser, but I do enjoy using this feature to see which bands are open. Since the DX spotting feature gets its information constantly from the Internet, you need to have a live Internet connection. You do not need an Internet connection to use HRD to control your radio, as long as the radio is connected through an interface directly to your computer. However, it is also possible to control a radio remotely via the Internet using Ham Radio Deluxe. I have enjoyed using the K0LR IC-756 Pro transceiver located in northern Minnesota, even though I was physically located in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Lyle and I set up the details for me to log on before I left for vacation. Since I was already familiar with controlling my radio with HRD, it was easy to learn how to control another radio remotely via the Internet. Even so, I feel as if I have barely started to use all of the features Ham Radio Deluxe has to offer. You can run digital modes, track satellites, map the contacts you are logging, operate CW, display a short wave station database, and customize the program to your liking. Since I can see the computer screen, I do not use the built in voice to speak frequency and mode, although these features are available in Ham Radio Deluxe. It is worth noting that the spoken frequency is not dependent on any voice module being installed in the rig. Even if the transceiver does not have a voice module, HRD can still speak the frequency. That said, what I have heard from blind hams is that HRD is not all that blind-friendly from the standpoint of screen reader users. I would like to get more detail on what features are accessible and which ones are not. Since this software is supported by an excellent team of volunteers, perhaps one day accessibility improvements can be made. You can get Ham Radio Deluxe at: <http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/> http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/ Next week: Two free screen readers. Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Burghardt Amateur Center closes retail ham radio store Well, It's official. Rumors started flying last week that longtime amateur radio retailer Burghardt Amateur Center of Watertown, South Dakota had shut its doors. Hams being hams, they were discussing this news on the repeaters, on the HF bands, and on the Internet. I decided to call the Burghardt service number and find out for myself, since the Handiham program had often used the services of Burghardt's for repair. Jim Smith, W0MJY, owner of Burghardt Amateur Center in Watertown, South Dakota, told me that the company will no longer sell Amateur Radio transceivers and accessories. The company will now be called Burghardt Radio Repair, and will continue to repair amateur radio equipment. While talking on the phone, we reminisced about those days long ago in the mid-1970s, when Don, W0DN (SK), and I made a sales trip to Watertown to see if we could convince Stan Burghardt, W0IT (SK), to sell the brand-new model of vertical antenna we were manufacturing. We put one together right there in the store! Even though the antenna had the unlikely name of "Butternut", it proved to be a pretty good seller for years after that. Members of my own local radio club have enjoyed making pilgrimages to Watertown over the years, sometimes combining an operating event with a trip to the radio store. Retail margins in the amateur radio equipment business have always been pretty thin, and between the current economic recession and competition from less than full service dealers selling on the Internet, it is easy to see how it would be difficult to maintain a stock of expensive amateur radio equipment and make the sales part of the business profitable. Thankfully, Burghardt Radio Repair will still be there when your radio gets sick. We wish Burghardt Radio Repair the very best! You may also wish to read a story about Burghardt's on the ARRL website: <http://www.arrl.org/?artid=8831> http://www.arrl.org/?artid=8831 _____ Avery with morning coffeeAvery's QTH Welcome once again to my humble QTH: Early Saturday morning I tuned my Yaesu FT-100 to the 9:30 am local Swap net. Oops! it was way too early, so I decided to see what else I hear on the 2 meter band. On the 145.450 MHz repeater (Echolink Node 89680) I happened to hear a net going on. I listened for awhile and heard the net control announce it was a QCWA (Quarter Century Wireless Association) net and he was taking check-ins, and whether or not people were members they were welcome to check in. I grabbed the microphone and put out my call. Sure enough I was acknowledged, so I came back and mentioned I was also a member of QCWA and was secretary of QCWA Chapter 8 at one time, but had not been very active for awhile. Well, with that, all the QCWA members wanted to say hello to me and it was like old home week. For those who are not aware, the QCWA requirement for joining is that you had to have been licensed at least 25 years ago. It is OK to have had a license, dropped it and then gotten it back again but that first one had to have been 25 years ago. At the time I first joined Chapter 8, I was the youngest person there but of course that is no longer true. Why did I mention QCWA? For some time now the Handiham System has been providing the tapes for QCWA along with our own. One track on the 4 track tapes is sometimes devoted to QCWA. Some of the QCWA people are also members of Handihams. Pat, WA0TDA, manager of Handihams is a member of QCWA also. QCWA has chapters almost everywhere, so if you are interested you might want to check out a chapter in your area. Even if you are not yet able to join, there are many experienced people who may be able to help you upgrade or answer some of your other Amateur Radio questions. The weather here is quite nice now; the warmest it has been since November, and the temperature has been running in the 40's, 50's, and 60's Fahrenheit. Ah! That is above zero. Now is a good time to check out those antennas. Be sure nothing is in the traps. Be sure the rotator is working correctly. Check out that lightning protection system. Be sure all the ground radials are connected. Maybe you were wanting to put up a new HF or UHF/VHF antenna, so now is the time to get started. With warmer weather tornados and hurricanes show up, so you may want to check out a SKYWARN class and monitor the SKYWARN and hurricane frequencies. Don't check in unless you have something the net control needs. Listen to the net controls and be there if they need you. If you have some urgent traffic for your part of the area and no one else is around, then check in and offer to take the information and deliver it. Be sure you deliver it. It may not be a bad idea to have an HT with you most of the time either as you never know when the nasty weather may pop up. This is one application for our new remote Kenwood TS-480 base. Not too often are tornadoes found that far north, so it is very likely that it will be operational should your HF antennas go down and you need to get out important emergency information. 73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery Remember: You can reach me Monday & Wednesday until 1:30 Minneapolis time at: 763-520-0515 or Email me at: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ A homebrew project like this needs a radio John's homemade car parked in his driveway. Reported by Pat Tice, WA0TDA Some ham radio operators build electronic kits. Some even etch their own circuit boards and design and build radio gear from the ground up. Then there's Handiham volunteer John Hoenshell, N0BFJ, who designed and built a car... yes, an automobile! We have been watching this homebrew project take shape over the past few years. I always get a chance to visit with John at Dayton Hamvention and at Handiham Radio Camp, so I've gotten to see photos of the project when it was just a "frame car" - the metal frame without any sheet metal. I asked John where he's getting the parts. "Scrounging - anything I can find", he says. It turns out that anything made of the right kind of metal, plastic, or whatever is fair game for John's car project. Even sheet metal from an old refrigerator is pressed into service as John scrapes the bottom of the dumpster looking for new treasures. All this project needs now is a transceiver mounted under the dashboard. Oh, and for those of you who know John, a battery charger! . Members may Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/370%2523commen t-form> at Handiham.org to post comments on this article. _____ 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. _____ Extra Pool Handiham DAISY book Extra Pool Handiham DAISY book Beta test the new Extra Pool Handiham DAISY book: 1. You will need eClipseWater, so here is the link to the website: http://www.eclipsereader.com/eClipseWater/index.htm 2. You will need a DAISY book reader. If you want to read a DAISY book on your computer, you can use an open source free program like AMIS, which is pronounced "ah-mee". You can find it at: http://amis.sourceforge.net/ 3. Here is the link to the new Handiham Extra Class pool DAISY book. Remember that you need eClipseWater to reconstruct the book onto your hard drive before putting it in your DAISY player. Also, this option is for those who wish to boldly go where almost no person has gone before, to experiment, learn and have fun with new technology. Which means that I won't give you tech support on all this stuff! Anyway, here is the link to the file: http://www.handiham.org/local/daisy/extra_class/extra_pool/Extra_3_P.DNA If you get this to work for you, I'd like to hear from you. We are in the beta testing phase of DAISY book production. Thanks for your help! Best regards, Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ This week at Headquarters: * Nancy is back in the office this week. * Tom Fogarty, KB0FQW, worked out of the Handiham office a couple of days this week. He even checked into the EchoLink net! Tom is the Camping Department Director and usually works out of Courage North. (Tom is Pat's boss, so he get's dibs on the rig at HQ!) * Radio Camp applications are now printed and in the mail. If you attended radio camp last year, you are on the list to receive an application. * Arrive on Sunday, August 16 and depart on Sunday, August 23, 2009. Minnesota Radio Camp will be at Courage North, deep in the pines of northern Minnesota's beautiful lake country. Pictures of camp are available online. * Once again, campers earning their first license, the Technician, at Radio Camp will get new handheld radios to start them off on their ham radio careers! * It's like a vacation! Those of you who have enjoyed a Handiham Radio Camp at Courage North before know what a beautiful place it is, located on a pristine lake with plenty of lakeside activities, woodland trails, comfortable housing, great food and fellowship, and of course plenty of ham radio fun. * Radios galore! This year we will have our Kenwood TS-480 remote base station operational at the camp, as well as an EchoLink node so that you can stay in touch with your ham radio friends with a handheld radio. We will have several other stations available, including the popular Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver and the new Kenwood TM-V71A blind-accessible dual band radio. Courage North has high-speed Internet access. You can come to camp to take one of the licensing classes for Technician, General, or Extra, or you can take a class in operating skills or an Extra Class seminar, which covers some of the more advanced news and technology in amateur radio today. There is always time for fun at camp, and we always take some side trips to places like Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. If you would like us to send you an application packet, please e-mail Nancy at: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx You may also call Nancy toll-free at 1-866-426-3442 to request an application packet, renew your Handiham membership, or make a donation to support our work. We hope you can join us for Minnesota Radio Camp 2009. The Handiham Radio Club will also meet at Courage North during Radio Camp week. This year there will be bus transportation as well as airline transportation to Bemidji. We also have plenty of free parking and pick up for free at the bus station and airport. * New in Operating Skills: * April QST digest audio is online for our blind members. * Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the April "Doctor is in" column from QST for our blind members. * March audio is also posted. WORLDRADIO audio digest is available for our members. Login to the member section of the <http://handiham.org/user> Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The QST, CQ, and Worldradio digests have been read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF. * Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your change of address, phone number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in touch with you. You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact us. * Minnesota Radio Camp VE Session <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> time & date set: <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> Minnesota Radio Camp VE Session Set An open VE (Volunteer Examination) session for ham radio licensing has been scheduled for the last full day of Handiham Radio Camp on Saturday August 22, 2009. The session is sponsored by the Paul Bunyan Amateur Radio Club & Courage Center's Handiham System. Walk-in's are welcome. If you have been studying for your amateur radio license, you are welcome to join us at Camp Courage North, Lake George, MN to take your exam. Place - Courage North Dining Hall Time of session - 9:00 AM Walk-ins accepted - Advance notice is helpful, but not required. o Read more on the <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> Handiham website: <http://www.handiham.org/node/335> http://www.handiham.org/node/335 Reminder: Handiham renewals are now on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we need you to keep our program strong! You will have several choices when you renew: * Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year. * Join for three years at $30. * Lifetime membership is $100. * If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for the year. * Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities. * Discontinue your membership. Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. Your support is critical! Please help. The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities. Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free. DONATE USED HAM GEAR 1-866-426-3442 toll-free Help us get new hams on the air. FREE! Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date with ham radio news. * You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> . Email us to subscribe: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> : . Beginner . General . Extra . Operating Skills _____ That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handi-ham System Reach me by email at: <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * Avery, K0HLA, Educational Coordinator: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ARRL </p /> <p>diamond logo ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide. Please contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you fill out the paperwork! The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address. . By wa0tda at 03/18/2009 - 19:19 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/377%2523commen t-form> to post comments . <http://www.handiham.org/node/377?size=thumbnail> Thumbnail _____ Courage Center Handiham System 3915 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, MN 55422 E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442) FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! We look forward to hearing from you soon.