Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 21 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! We're back - sort of Guy driving scooter with wagon of Hamvention treasures in tow Image: A shopper uses a scooter to get around the acres of flea market. He's pulling a wagon with his callsign license plate, which we have blacked out so that the XYL won't see this and ask him about all that junk he brought home from Hamvention. Last week we were at HamventionT and the ARRL national convention in Dayton, Ohio. Believe it or not, even with all the talk of recession and pandemic flu in the news every day, the show was a good one, and our experience at the Handiham booth was very positive. While we will have to wait for final attendance numbers to be released, Dayton was certainly worthwhile for us. Of course I am behind in my work, so the weekly e-letter is late. When I sent out a "poor me, I'm so busy that I need more hours in the day" notice yesterday, I got the following highly sympathetic suggestions: * Sleep less... * Well you could do it, but it would involve moving to another and larger planet, I think Jupiter. * Maybe it has something to do with traveling over time zones especially the International Date Line a few times... * There is a thing called the day stretcher. You find them at Wal-Mart right next to the cucumber stretchers. * Learn to say 'NO" when asked to go to meetings. But then what do you do for a job?!! * Daily, at noon, turn the hands of the clock backwards by an hour or so. This will gain you the extra time required, but first check with the XYL to make sure your extra time doesn't interfere with her timing or else you won't have much time at all, on earth or elsewhere! * I'd give the person who could tell me how to get more hours out of a day a big bear hug!!! * This is my secret: Time travel -- oops, now it's not a secret anymore. I put my mp3 lessons on my cell phone mp3 player and listen when driving (I don't get distracted when I must pay attention to driving.) Thanks to all who shared their words of wisdom. Geez, a guy sure can't get any sympathy around here! But back to Hamvention. Ken, KB3LLA, Handiham Radio Club President, was at the booth, as were Handiham volunteers John Hoenshell, N0BFJ, and John Pedley, N0IPO. Volunteer Bill Rouch, N6HBO, also visited and was quickly recruited for some booth time! It was in speaking with Bill that I started to form some real insight about what is happening in the realm of the Handiham program. But I am getting a little ahead of myself. First, I should tell you that I drove to the show, all the way from Minnesota. That put me behind the wheel for almost 12 hours each way, and I knew I would be bored without an audio book to keep me company as the miles passed by. I'd recently visited the bookstore, where I'd picked up an audio CD copy of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's book "The World is Flat - A brief history of the twenty-first century". The six compact disks in the book would surely keep me occupied for quite awhile, when I was not on two meters or tuned in to the car radio. So I listened to Tom Friedman, a Minnesota native who grew up not far from Handiham headquarters. In "The World is Flat", I learned that Tom was talking about the way technology, specifically the availability of high-speed internet communications, has made it possible for people to do their work from anywhere. That in turn means that you can be in Bangalore, India doing an information technology job as easily as you can do the same job from an office in Chicago. Heck, who even needs an office? This, according to Tom, flattens out the world. There are other "flatteners" as well, and they all work together to make it easier than ever before to do work in any place, at any time. People can collaborate on projects from every corner of the globe instead of sitting together in a meeting room. But let's get back to my visit with Bill, N6HBO. Bill earned his license at Radio Camp, so he knows a thing or two about the challenges faced by people with disabilities. Anyway, Bill asked me about wi-fi radios. I wrote some time ago about my Christmas present, which was a Grace internet wi-fi radio, and Bill said he also recently got an internet wi-fi radio. We were soon comparing notes. He operates an excellent small mail-order business featuring ham radio accessories, and he thought such a radio might be of interest to hams. The thing is, Bill could never operate a business like his as efficiently as he does without the advantages of the flat world. He is able to use the internet to do his marketing, and his products can be manufactured wherever they can be made most efficiently. Bill's "Ham4Less" business is a success because he understands how to make the flat world work for him, and his customers benefit from quick service and good prices in the bargain! So much has changed since I first started working in the Handiham program myself, way back in 1991. While we had Handiham members worldwide back then, the world was anything but flat. It took months to get an audio cassette tape to someone outside the United States. If you lived in New Zealand, you were certainly going to wait longer to get served than if you lived in Denver. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, uh, office, we had exactly one IBM Selectric typewriter for our document processing. Letters sent by postal mail and telephone calls via long distance were our usual methods of communication. You thought twice about making too many long distance calls, because the expense would break the budget. Contacting members by letter was so slow that you sometimes forgot what the conversation was about. With the telephone, you often traded voice mails in a frustrating effort to get things done. Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, kept a huge bookcase full of index cards containing the membership. Down in the basement, shop volunteers like Rex Kiser and Ken Williams repaired donated vacuum tube equipment. Today, in the new flat world, we deliver audio and information to our members around the world at the same time, which is whenever they want it, no matter where they live. It is as easy to listen to our audio or get information from our website in Europe or Australia as it is in Iowa or Minnesota. The playing field has been leveled, allowing us to serve more people when they want to be served, and do so wherever they happen to be, as long as there is internet available and they can reach our Handiham website. In the office, things have changed, too. Staff computers can access a shared member database, so that when we answer a phone call, we know the basics about the member who is calling. We can often research the answer to a question while the member is on the phone, saving another call back to that person. Thanks to secure computing technology, even if a major blizzard that keeps me home for the day strikes, I can log in to CITRIX and do my work as if I am right at my desk. Remote control also flattens our world with access to the Handiham Remote Base HF station. You can be anywhere with internet access and run the station. Handiham members who cannot put up antennas are now on a level playing field with those who can. I work every day with volunteers who live hundreds or thousands of miles away, trading files and collaborating on projects as if they are right here in the same room, working with me. Talking with Bill at the same time that I was reading Tom Friedman's book really brought the point home to me: We have made quite a leap into the 21st Century flat world, and it has been good for all of us at Handihams! Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx Handiham Manager Resources: * Bill Rouch's business, Ham4Less, where you can see a photo of Bill and Guide Dog Heldy, as well as do some ham radio shopping: <http://www.ham4less.com> http://www.ham4less.com/ ARRL diamond logo with antenna, inductor, and ground symbols * Tom Friedman's book, "The World is Flat": <http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/the-world-is-flat> http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/the-world-is-flat * ARRL, which will help you learn more about how to be a ham radio operator if you would like to get your license and join in the fun: http://www.arrl.org _____ <http://www.handiham.org/node/466> Scenes from Dayton: Everything $1 per pound <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/everything_1_dollar2.jpg > Scenes from Dayton: Everything $1 per pound Image: Look at this pile of flea market stuff. There are old test instruments, rack-mounted gear for something or other, intriguing black boxes with calibrated dials - all of it piled high in the outdoor flea market at Hamvention 2009. A Sign on top of the pile proclaims "Everything on trailer $1 per pound". This would be perfect for your next sci-fi movie set! _____ Avery's QTH Avery at the W0ZSW operating desk. Welcome once again to my humble QTH. What can I say? Dayton Hamvention is over for another year. I did not make it there but heard it was better than last year. Perhaps next year I will be able to make that fun weekend trip. Well, staying at home gave me a chance to listen to some nets over the weekend. The Handiham net was one of them. Twice on two different days I heard people just butting in on a net. In one case, the net control had to ask for the person's call letters. The person interjected some things that had nothing really to do with the conversations going on within the net. The proper thing he/she should have done is give out their call and wait for net control to acknowledge them. Then ask if it would be all right to ask some questions on some special equipment problems after the net was over. It is never a good idea to tie up many people in a net just to get some personal questions answered . Do it before or after the net. Another possibility would be to ask if they could go off frequency to another HF Frequency if on HF or another repeater if on a VHF frequency. I am sure if the positions were reversed that person would not have liked it if they were waiting to get into a net and then just as they were about to take their turn, someone jumped in on them and took over what should have been their turn. As I mentioned last week, take some time and recheck the FCC rules & regs, and before checking into a net listen first to figure out the procedures they are using and then follow the lead of the net control station. Unless there is some sort of life threatening emergency do not just break in any old time you feel like it on a net! Remember that while you are participating in a net that the whole world could be listening to you. There are certain subjects you should stay far away from. Religion, politics, off-color or ethnic jokes, and anything to do with how governments operate are examples of things to stay away from. Why? Because many different people may be listening, and what is correct in one belief or government may not be in another. It would not be good to start a major controversy over it. People can - and will - be offended by ethnic slurs and questionable humor. Things that are always good subjects to talk about are the weather (always a good ice-breaker), what kind of ham gear a person is running, whether you or the other station are taking part in public service events like a marathon race, sports, other hobbies like stamp collecting from QSL cards or playing chess over the air, maybe working with wildlife to prevent certain species from dying out, model railroading, photography, flying... Well, I hope you get the idea. I remember reading a newsletter from one of the local clubs here in the Twin City area and in it was a column written by someone signing the column "The Old Grouch". Three guesses what that person wrote about in the newsletter; yup, just this sort of stuff. Funny thing was only the editor and the person writing that column actually knew who that "Old Grouch" was, but that "Old Grouch" sure did a good job of keeping things the way they should be on the air. It was only a little slap on the wrist if the "Old Grouch" wrote you up, but if you took notice and made the corrections that "Old Grouch" had recommended, that prevented you from getting something much worse - a write-up from the FCC. Remember the Amateur Radio license you have is a privilege and the FCC gives and the FCC takes away. So, until next time 73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery You can reach me Monday & Wednesday 8:00 to 1:30 PM Minneapolis Time (CDT) at 763-520-0515 _____ Don't be like these guys! The 10 worst ops to have on your net cartoon monkey, swinging on vine, holding phone (or radio)All of us know that there are rules and regulations that govern amateur radio. We know that there are band and power limits and that some frequencies are restricted by mode of operation or license class. There are rules about identifying our stations, third-party traffic, and about limiting obscene or indecent speech, but other than the specific things set forth in the rules and regulations, there is no one to tell us how to operate, whom to talk to, or what to talk about. The problem is that some operators, especially those who are newly licensed, have little experience on the air and can quickly cause problems on a net, where one station, the net control station, is in charge and there is an order and purpose to the net. Here are some problem ops. I hope you are not one of them! 1. Mr. No-ears, the guy who doesn't listen before talking. This operator just doesn't know what is going on, because he did not take time to listen. This is bound to create confusion as the net proceeds and will waste everyone's time as things that have already been said get repeated for the benefit of Mr. No-ears. 2. Mr. Gotta-lot-2-say, who breaks into the net many times, disrupting the orderly flow of the net and causing other stations to lose their turns in the queue. Sometimes he thinks his pronouncements are so important that he doesn't even need to wait for the net control station's permission to transmit! 3. Mr. Impatient, who has a hair-trigger push to talk switch. He is waiting with his thumb on the microphone (or the space bar on EchoLink), ready to jump in the instant the net control station stops talking. He creates no end of problems on a net, especially an Echolink net, where repeaters around the world need several seconds between transmissions to synchronize. Even worse, he may prevent a station with emergency traffic from making a call. 4. Mr. Release-2-listen, who talks at great length once he gets started. Instead of a push to talk switch, his microphone has a "release to listen" switch, since he listens far less than he talks. This can get old quickly, and other operators will decide that they have better things to do than listen to a monologue on the net. 5. Mr. Late-2-everything is late for the net. He expects to have everyone stand by patiently while his tardiness causes the NCS to have to repeat vital information. Of course he doesn't have a clue what has already transpired, because he was too busy to arrive on time. 6. Mr. Clueless is a nice enough guy, but when he checks into a net, he doesn't stick to the topic at hand. The net may be discussing Field Day preparations, but Mr. Clueless asks whether anyone has an instruction manual for his cordless shaver or knows what the weather is like in Peoria. He just doesn't get it! Mr. Clueless is a major problem for the net control station, because he is working at odds with the net control, who is trying to manage the flow of information. 7. Mr. Non-technical knows next to nothing about his equipment. He checks in with no audio, way too much audio, off frequency, and ties up the EchoLink system because he has not learned EchoLink with the test server, as he should have! 8. Mr. Low-life tells off-color jokes on the air and sometimes varies his routine by throwing in an ethnic slur. He wonders why he doesn't exactly get welcomed back when he checks in. 9. Mr. Politics - well, you can guess what he talks about. It's sure to be a problem to someone on the net! 10. And finally, I'll bet you know this guy: Mr. Know-it-all. Yup, he knows the answer for everything, even stuff he's never heard of. Just ask him, or better yet, just wait a few minutes and he'll tell you and the rest of the net how to run things! I hope you don't run into any of these characters on your net, but if you do, don't panic - be polite but firm in taking control of your net and the net business. If you have any suggestions about how you have handled encounters with bad operators in the past and want to share what happened with our readers drop me a line at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx _____ Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset Alas, no one took the Handiham net last night. I couldn't get internet at Dayton, except at the hotel, so there was no Saturday noon check in, for which I apologize. I did check in to PICONET via the Handiham remote base from the hotel. 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. _____ <http://www.handiham.org/node/467> Get our e-letter audio podcast by phone <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/hamradio_6.gif> Get our e-letter audio podcast by phone You can listen to our weekly e-letter audio podcast by phone if you can't get to your computer. It's easy with Podlinez. You just call 360-526-6243. More information, including a way to get text alerts sent to your mobile phone, are at the Podlinez website: http://www.podlinez.com/details.php?number=3605266243 _____ This week at Headquarters: . The Handiham office will be closed Friday through Monday for the United States Memorial Day weekend. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 26. . 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. . The Handiham website will be updated daily, usually multiple times a day as news breaks. * In Operating Skills: * The June issue of Worldradio digest audio has been completed for our blind members by Bob, N1BLF, and is posted today. * The May, 2009 issues of QST & CQ 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 complete for May. 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 05/21/2009 - 19:05 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/468%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Thumbnail <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/elmer_0.thumbnail.jpg> . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/468> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/468> 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.