[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 24 June 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 06:17:17 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 24 June 2009 

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

You can also listen to the content online:

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


Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat, WA0TDA, (L) and Newt Owens, owner of the farm, gas up the generator in
this old Field Day photo from the 1970's. 
Image: Pat, WA0TDA, (L) and Newt Owens, owner of the farm, gas up the
generator in this old Field Day photo from the 1970's. 

Summer is officially here, and summer heat and humidity have arrived here in
the United States Upper Midwest. I call this particular season "the ham
radio doldrums" because it seems as if activity on the HF bands gives way to
thunderstorm static and the repeaters fall silent as people head outdoors or
go on vacation. Sure enough, several recent nets that I often check into
have gone without net control stations, and I only found out after the fact
because I didn't show up for those nets, either. My bad!

Fortunately, Amateur Radio Field Day arrives at just the right time to
revive ham radio for the summer!  It's more than just a "day", too - most
clubs and individuals plan for months ahead of actual Field Day weekend, and
Field Day itself spans the weekend of June 27-28 this year. It is always
held on the fourth full weekend in June. Since Field Day is an exercise in
emergency operation, it is often held in, well, a real field!  Outdoors.
Without access to the power grid. Or permanent shelter. It may rain or be
sunny & hot. There might be bugs. Or bears. You just never know, and that's
part of the adventure.

The idea, of course, is to practice setting up and operating "off the grid",
which is potentially valuable experience for doing the very same thing in an
emergency. The thing about Field Day is that it typically combines this
serious purpose with lots of ham radio fun, including on the air competition
for points, camaraderie, family picnics, camping out, and just plain
enjoying the summer. It's really my favorite ham radio event each year, and
I plan to spend some time with the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
(SARA) Field Day crew this coming weekend. 

When I think about all the years I have enjoyed Field Days past, I can
recall times I have operated as part of a club event and times I have
operated solo.  There were other times that I operated with a small group of
my ham radio friends. One of my favorite early memories is of operating with
the Mankato, Minnesota Amateur Radio Club on the lawn of the local vo-tech
school. We had tents set up, and it was fun to operate and learn new skills
by getting on the air with my friends. Once I operated Field Day from a
barn, sharing the microphone and code key with my friend Don Newcomb, W0DN,
who is now a silent key. Don and I would later hatch the plans for a new
antenna company, Butternut Electronics.  You never know what might come out
of your Field Day experience!

Some groups like to operate competitively, with the goal of earning that
coveted high score. Points are given for each contact, and there are extra
points for certain types of operation. For example, phone contacts count one
point each, while CW or digital contacts count two points each. Multipliers
for low power operation or operating "off the grid" help build up that

But fierce competition has never been my Field Day cup of tea, and I tend to
gravitate toward groups that place a higher priority on just having fun. One
time I decided to join a Field Day group operating nearby, and was
disappointed when it turned out to be a CW-only operation with only the most
experienced ops allowed to take a place at the operating position. I didn't
stay long there, because it wasn't my idea of fun to watch someone else log
points. The lesson I took away from that year's Field Day was that I needed
to do a bit of homework ahead of time to be sure I was with a group that
didn't take earning points so seriously. Not, mind you, that there is
anything wrong with being competitive. It's fine for those who enjoy that
sort of thing, so I guess my point is that Field Day comes in many flavors,
and it's up to you to shop around for one that you like. 

You can start on the ARRL website, since ARRL, among its many other great
activities, sponsors Field Day. There is a graphic "Field Day Locator" map
that allows you to put in your own address and then marks out nearby Field
Day sites:


You can read the Field Day rules here:


And visit the official ARRL Field Day website:


If you are an operator with a disability, you definitely need to plan ahead.
You will want to make sure that the Field Day site is accessible, especially
if you use a wheelchair or scooter to get around. Flat is good, steep hills
and rutted dirt trails are not! If you are blind, you will want to make sure
you have planned ahead for a rig with a voice chip and a logging computer
with a screenreader, or you can pair up with a sighted person to do logging
while you operate the radio. It is all about cooperation and learning while
having fun, and there are plenty of ways to be creative while helping
everyone enjoy Field Day. 

I hope to hear you on the air this weekend!

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager


Avery's QTH

Avery Finn, K0HLA, studies an electronics text as he waits for his turn at a
"Finn Bath" (sauna) at Courage North.
Image: Avery Finn, K0HLA, studies an electronics text as he waits for his
turn at a "Finn Bath" (sauna) at Courage North.

Avery is not writing a column this week. We think he is too busy reading
those comments you sent him about the Extra Class license and how there
should be a waiting period before one could even take the exam. The idea
would be to allow candidates for Extra to gain valuable on the air
experience prior to moving up to the top license. 

As an example, this comment came from TIPSnet guy John West, N1IWT:

Hi Avery,

Anything to get more experience is okay with me. Also, it would force more
to "get on the air". Like the old Novice rules - the original "use it or
lose it". It serves two purposes; practical training and casual usage.

It's sad the FCC might not agree as they '"dumb down" everything that's

So add a few votes from the TIPSnet crew.


John West N1IWT TIPSnet Program & Publicity Manager 
Email: tipsnet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Find TIPSnet on the web:  <http://www.tipsnet.org> 



Dear Handihams,

The DDXA radio club is holding PA Field Day this coming Saturday. We are
trying to get in touch with Handihams in Berks County, PA in hopes they will
consider joining us. I can supply transportation. Please feel free to
contact me: Laura Hughes or Bridget Hughes, phone 610-944-9253 or email

There is a map with directions on the www.ddxa.org website. The DDXA  RADIO
CLUB of Berks County's 2009 Field Day event runs from Saturday, June 27th (2
PM)  through Sunday June 28th (2 PM).

Laura (Bridget) Hughes, KB3NTV, and Charlie, NT3O


New sunspots

Spaceweather reports two new sunspots - it's about time, right? 

"NEW SUNSPOTS: Since 2007, it has been unusual to see even a single spot on
the sun. Today there are two. A pair of new-cycle sunspots is emerging in
the sun's southern hemisphere. This is a good opportunity for readers with
solar telescopes to witness sunspot genesis in action."

Visit http://spaceweather.com for links and updates.


Hap Holly, KC9RP interviews Handiham Radio Club President KB3LLA

 <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/kc9rp.jpg> Hap Holly,
KC9RP, (pictured) interviews Handiham Radio Club President KB3LLA
Image: Hap Holly, KC9RP, works at the computer as he produces the RAIN
Report, and audio news program about amateur radio. Photo courtesy
<http://www.therainreport.com> www.therainreport.com.  

The RAIN Report, produced by Hap Holly, KC9RP, features Handiham Radio Club
Present Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, talking about the Handiham program. Don't
miss this 9 minute interview featuring two of the most knowledgeable amateur
radio operators around, Hap and Ken!

Find it on the RAIN Report website:


Handiham History: The ham shack gets an inspection

Handiham History: The ham shack gets an inspection

In this 1969 photo provided by George LaValle, N0SBU, for the Handiham
History Project, Ned Carman, W0ZSW, is pictured at the Handiham station. The
caption reads:

"Ned Carman, W0ZSW, founder of the HANDI-HAM System, looks over Don Murray's
shoulder as the FCC Engineer-in-charge examines the radio shack log. Looking
on are Harold Allen, FCC engineer (lower left), and Jack Maus, W0MBD. 1969.

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If you have any stories to share, send them to us and we'll get them to
George. Now, here is a correction for the history department:

"I think this is great, I remember so many of these old friends. One
correction: WA0EPX was Don Johnson. Mary Amdahl's call was WA0YWA. Thanks."

WA0YAH, Don 


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

Please join us and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit:


Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM)
GMT: Thursday morning at 00:30 Z


145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul) 
Node 89680 (EchoLink worldwide) 
IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) 
WIRES system number 1427

Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member, and the net is relaxed,
friendly, and informal. 

By the way, our Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we need net
control stations for the Wednesday evening net and for the Monday through
Saturday morning net. If you are in the Twin Cities, all you need is a radio
that can get on the 145.45 N0BVE repeater, and if you live outside the RF
area, you can still be net control via EchoLink, IRLP, or WIRES. 


TV tuner works with screenreader

This comes to us from Luella, KE0RF, via Ken, KB3LLA. It was posted on the
AccessComp list at Yahoo Groups. This is great information from  Steven
Clark of Kansas City.

Hi, I got a new toy delivered today. It is also the first item I bought from
www.woot.com, and doubt it will be the last. I got a Sabrent USB 2.0 Digital
HDTV Tuner. This thing is great from what I've found so far. It turns your
computer into a TV. It receives those cool new HD channels that are out
there floating around in Kansas City and other cities as well.

It comes with a small HD antenna that screws onto the device. The tuner
plugs into a USB 2.0 port and will not work with USB 1.0. I've found it to
be very easy to use with Window-Eyes. After installing the software and the
USB hardware, it will ask to scan channels. From what I understand it will
work with digital cable but since we just have standard cable, nothing to
try out there. So I chose to have it scan using the antenna for channels and
it found 22.

A list of channels is presented in a grid format with the station letters
and channel in each grid entry. It was very simple to arrow around through
the channels and find the one I wanted. Once I was on the channel I wanted
to watch, I pressed the context key and then enter on the first item which
Window-Eyes told me is play.

I knew that Nova on KCPT is described and after it started playing that
channel, I pressed the context key again and went down to the audio
settings. The first selection was checked and I found another audio choice
below. I selected the second choice, pressed enter and I heard the TV show
and the described show in my left ear. Yeah, I'm using headphones, but it
sounds just as good through the built in speakers on my netbook.

You can also set the audio to only be on the left or right for anything you
are watching.

It comes with a remote and the buttons are setup in a grid. Ruthie made me
an Excel spreadsheet with what each button does.

I'm very happy with this purchase and am happy to find everything so
accessible. I haven't tried recording anything yet, but I did find in the
options menu one can select to record both video and audio or just audio.
The options menu works fine with Window-Eyes as well.

I bought this great device for $29 from www.woot.com, and while shopping
around to get a second one for Ruthie, I've seen them selling for about $39
or so plus shipping. 

Editor's note: Woot.com sells items out quickly, so you probably won't be
lucky enough to locate one there, but your dedicated Handiham staff searched
and found them at TigerDirect for under $40:  <http://tinyurl.com/mq3zps> 


This week at Headquarters:

.        The Friday audio lectures return this week.  Audio will be posted
on Friday.

.        Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has recorded audio of the Handiham World Summer
1979 historical edition, so check out the audio page. The Friday
notification email will have a link. If you are a member and are not getting
the Friday audio lectures notification, let us know and we will get you on
the list.

.        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 sure? <http://www.handiham.org/node/358>   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 July digest issues of Worldradio & QST digest audio have been
completed for our blind members by Bob, N1BLF, and are posted. 
*       Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the July "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. 

*       Stay in touch!  Be sure to send Nancy your change of address, phone
number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in
touch with you. You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or
call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact

Reminder:  Handiham renewals are now on a monthly schedule - Please renew or
join, as we need you to keep our program strong!

You will have several choices when you renew:

*       Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year.
*       Join for three years at $30.
*       Lifetime membership is $100.
*       If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for the
*       Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our
*       Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. 

Your support is critical! Please help. 

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club
program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio
Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities. Call 1-866-426-3442


1-866-426-3442 toll-free Help us get new hams on the air.

FREE! Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay
up-to-date with ham radio news. 

*       You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org
<http://www.handiham.org/> .  
Email us to subscribe:  <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

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

. Beginner 
. General 
. Extra 
. Operating Skills


That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!

Manager, Courage Handi-ham System
Reach me by email at:  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

*       Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
*       Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: hamradio@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 06/24/2009 - 11:19

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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 24 June 2009 - Patrick Tice