[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 24 September 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 13:38:36 -0500

Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 24 September

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage
<http://handiham.org/> Center's Handiham System. Please do not reply to this
message. Use the contact information at the end, or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxx Listen in MP3 audio:


Get this issue as an audio podcast:


Welcome to Handiham World!


Don't count Morse code down & out just yet!

Yes, yes, we've all heard about how Morse is completely outdated and should
be hidden away like that crazy old uncle who lives in the attic. But once in
awhile we are reminded that code is still a viable mode of operation, and
can even be pretty handy in an emergency. Just such a scenario unfolded last
Sunday in the rugged terrain of Glacier National Park in Montana, in a
mountain pass where cell phone service is problematic, if it exists at all.
A look at a map of Glacier shows winding roads, and plenty of places where
there are no roads at all. If you look at a map of Kansas, you see straight
roads, because there are no mountains in that mostly flat state. People who
live in mountainous territory learn quickly that VHF and UHF signals cannot
be counted upon to travel great distances as they do in Kansas! HF signals,
on the other hand, can make the trip over hills and mountains, bouncing off
the ionosphere to come down hundreds of miles away. In recent years,
portable HF transceivers have become popular backpacking rigs, and can
accompany hikers on wilderness trips without weighing them down. A length of
wire to throw over a tree can serve as an easy and effective antenna.
Sideband can be a bit of a challenge with these portable QRP rigs, but CW
(Morse) is a natural, since it is a very effective low-power mode. Read the
following story and then get out that code practice oscillator! 

 map of rugged Glacier National Park (US National Park Service)

Ham radio to the rescue - Morse code message gets through

Morse code and a small, portable, battery-operated transmitter came in
pretty handy for a man with a broken leg in Glacier Park. The accident
happened in Buck Creek Pass east of Glacier Peak. 

According to the HeraldNet news, "Six hundred miles away in Bozeman,
Montana, Robert Williams was testing his ham radio Sunday when he heard the
call signal W-7-A-U."

A man in the hiking party had broken his leg and needed help. Williams
followed through with a call to authorities for assistance.

Read the entire story online:

&news01ad=1> &news01ad=1

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


Avery's QTH: Winter is around the corner

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/99> Avery's QTH - Change Happens! 

Welcome Once Again to my Humble QTH:

I was wondering if anyone is still working on that QSL contest we have
going? I have heard very little about it. In fact nothing. I notice that Pat
has been featuring several QSL's in past issues and wouldn't it be nice if
he had some of your 40th Anniversary contest QSL's to feature in some future

Winter is on the way here in Minnesota and it is a good idea no matter where
you are to check out those antennas. Be sure they are all working and that
any repairs that need to be done are completed before the really nasty
weather sets in. Make sure simple things like any soldered connections are
good. Also, check to be sure there is no moisture in the feed lines. Seal
all places moisture might get into coax or come through a feed through into
the house. Climbing a tower full of ice to check out a beam antenna is not a
lot of fun and is not very safe either, so do your antenna work now before
the weather changes. It is a very good idea to check any ground radials to
be sure they are all connected and grounded correctly, since this is
difficult to do when the ground is frozen solid. If you have dipole or G5RV
type antennas up, be sure you have a method in place to take up the slack
and let it out as necessary as the trees whip around in the wind. If you
don't and the antenna is pulled too tight things will snap and you may have
to wait until Spring in order to put it back up again.

Might not be a bad idea to have some sort of emergency power to run the rigs
if the power goes out from power lines going down in an ice storm. A deep
cycle battery with a solar panel charger to keep it fully charged is one way
to go. A more expensive way would be to have a gas generator and then you
could power some other things as well as the ham gear.

Have every rig in the vehicle working and checked out too because in a pinch
you could always operate from your vehicle and have heat from the engine.
For that reason it is always a good idea to keep the gas tank filled on the
vehicle as it may take awhile to get plowed out and to a station to refill
it. Also, you should have a winter emergency kit in the vehicle with things
like a cold weather sleeping bag, candles, matches, food that won't spoil,
compass, rope, etc.
Don't get me wrong . We have a lot of outdoor fun in the winter with ice
fishing, sledding, ice skating and hockey. In St. Paul, MN they even have a
Winter Carnival with parades, and all kinds of things. When there is enough
Ice on the lakes they even have motorcycle races. In case you are wondering
they have spikes on the tires of the motorcycles. Some years they have built
Ice castles which are all lit up at night with many different colored lights
and are really photo quality for pictures. Ice carving is another project of
the Winter Carnival and some very realistic carvings are made as the result.

One of our local ham clubs has even operated a special event station from an
ice house on a frozen lake in past years and who knows they may even do it
again in the future and you just may be able to get a special event QSL from
them if you are able to make contact with them.

Until next time,

73 & DX de K0HLA Avery

You can reach me at:


My Direct Phone #
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/space.gif> 763-520-0515


Solar wind dies down, hits 50-year low

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/189> Solar WX News 

NASA Science News for September 23, 2008 is reporting that solar physicists
have announced that the solar wind is losing pressure, hitting a 50-year
record low for the Space Age. This development has repercussions across the
solar system.

What it means for ham radio operators is unknown, but it does seem
unsettling as we seem to be facing a solar cycle that is stingy with
sunspots, which are a must for the good HF propagation we have come to
expect every 11 years!

As with other Science at NASA stories, you can either read this one or
listen to it through a link on the NASA website. Make of it what you will,
since no one really knows what the effects of this long-term trend in solar
weather might be. It could include climate change, increased cosmic
radiation for astronauts and space instrumentation and ham radio satellites,
perhaps a link with sunspot activity... who really knows?

Anyway, you can find the FULL STORY at:



On the other hand, HF conditions might improve!

 HF conditions might improve

Space Weather News for Sept. 22, 2008 at http://spaceweather.com
<http://spaceweather.com/>  is reporting a NEW SUNSPOT:

"For the first time in months, a significant sunspot is emerging on the sun.
It is a fast-growing active region with two dark cores, each larger than
Earth. The magnetic polarity of the sunspot identifies it as a member of new
Sunspot Cycle 24. Because the year 2008 has brought so many blank suns, some
observers have wondered if we are ever going to climb out of the ongoing
deep solar minimum. Today's new sunspot is an encouraging sign that the
11-year solar cycle is indeed progressing, albeit slowly."

Visit http://spaceweather.com <http://spaceweather.com/>  for sunspot photos
and updates.


Daisy book project update

 Daisy book project update

The new Extra Pool Handiham DAISY book:

1. You will need eClipseWater, so here is the link to the website:

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:

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, HI, HI. Anyway, here is the link to the


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.

Please write to: 
Patrick Tice


Handiham volunteer appointed to DAISY working group

 Handiham volunteer appointed to DAISY working group

Congratulations to Courage Center Handiham System volunteer Dr. Kenneth
Silberman, KB3LLA, who has been appointed to the National Information
Standards Organization (NISO)/ Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY)
Digital Talking Book for the blind Standard Revision Working Group by NISO
and the DAISY Consortium.

Dr. Silberman has been working with the Handiham System to improve blind
access technology, teach classes at Radio Camp sessions, and organize the
Handiham Radio Club.

The DAISY standard will guide the production of blind-accessible Courage
Center Handiham materials. The Handiham office now has in place equipment
that can scan printed text and turn it into DAISY format books.

Related items:

What does blindness have to do with the Brooklyn Bridge? Let Ken Silberman
tell you:

Science Information Testbed for the Blind:


This week at Headquarters

 Our antenna and tower at Courage St. Croix

*       A General Class Course will be offered at Courage Center St. Croix
in Stillwater, MN, beginning this Thursday evening, September 25. Class
begins at 7:00 PM. The class is free to everyone, and is held in a
completely wheelchair accessible environment. It is team-taught by members
of the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association, and since I'm a member, I'll be
teaching the Rules & Regulations portion of the course. The textbook is the
ARRL General Class License Manual, 6th edition. If you live in the eastern
Twin Cities metro area or nearby western Wisconsin and want to upgrade from
Technician, this is a great opportunity!  ARRL Dakota Division Vice
<http://www.arrl.org/divisions/#Dakota> Director Greg Widin, K0GW, will
introduce the course.  Greg is in charge of education for the SARA group.
Find out more at http://www.radioham.org <http://www.radioham.org/>  or
simply email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 
*       The September CQ, QST, & WORLDRADIO audio digests are available for
our members. We also expect the October QST audio to be online by later
today. Login to  <http://handiham.org/user> the member section of the
Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The September
QST and Worldradio magazine digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF.  We have
added CQ Magazine digest in the September audio for our members who do not
use regular print.
*       The Handiham office goes to a new schedule in October. We will be
closed on Fridays.  That means that the phones will not be answered, because
no one is in the office. However, the Friday audio lectures will be produced
as usual, and I will answer email to patt@xxxxxxxxxxx as usual. Regular
office days will be Monday through Thursday. Friday, October 3, is the first
day this new schedule has us out of the office. Courage Center is also
installing a new phone system. When I find out more about how this will
affect our members, I will let you know. Handiham staff will get an hour and
a half of training on the new system in mid-October. We are all curious
about how different the new system must be to require that much training.
It's a good thing we love learning technology and like new gadgets! Anyway,
it will help us serve you better and faster.
*       The remote base beta test continues, and we invite potential beta
testers with Advanced licenses to email us at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx if you think
you can figure out how to run the station without too much tech support. As
one member correctly noted, Advanced class holders are likely to have the
experience necessary to operate the station, so they should be on a par with
Extra licensees! It's certainly true that Advanced ticket holders have
passed exams at least as difficult as Extras, and have done so long enough
ago to have garnered a fair amount of on the air operating experience. The
basic information on the remote base is available in the members only
section of the website.
*       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   <chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/cb_transparent_l.gif>
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/space.gif> 1-866-426-3442
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/cb_transparent_r.gif> . Mornings are
the best time to contact us.  


 Huge alligator grabbing Pat, WA0TDA
<http://handiham.org/images/alligator.jpg> Reminder:  Handiham renewals are
now on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we need you to keep our
program strong!

Image: Meet our new dues collection agent! A huge alligator grabs Pat,
WA0TDA.  "Sure wish I'd renewed my Handiham dues sooner." 

For years Handiham membership renewals were done each July. This year, we
are going to a monthly system.  If you renew in March, your membership goes
until the following March, for example. 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. There is a postage paid
envelope provided, and you won't get a visit from you-know-who.

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:
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/space.gif> 1-866-426-3442
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/cb_transparent_r.gif> or email:

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
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/space.gif> 1-866-426-3442
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/cb_transparent_r.gif> toll-free.


<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/space.gif> 1-866-426-3442
<chrome://skype_ff_toolbar_win/content/cb_transparent_r.gif> 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


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 diamond logo <http://www.handiham.org/images/arrllogo.gif> 

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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