[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 25 March 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 14:00:06 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 25 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

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!

Cartoon guy with white cane & dogFree software tour: Two screenreaders

Last week we talked about the free rig control program called HRD, or Ham
Radio Deluxe. Today, I want to share a couple of free screenreader solutions
for our members who are blind or have low vision. 

In my opinion, there was never an area in the world of software solutions
that is more worthy than providing affordable computer accessibility. While
I understand and respect the need for professional-grade
assistive-technology software, the business needs of commercial producers
are such that the end product can be very expensive. This will inevitably
shut out many users who simply cannot afford hundreds, or perhaps even
thousands, of dollars for assistive technology software above and beyond the
cost of their computer systems. A business or educational setting may
require commercial software with its superior performance and customer
support. On the other hand, home users can be well served by free software
solutions, whether they are free software that you download and install on
your computer or web-based. I am going to give you links to what I feel is
the best free software screenreader as well as an online screenreading
resource operated by a nonprofit organization. Neither one will cost you a
dime, and both are very capable screenreading resources.

Thunder: This is a free screenreading program that you download and install
on your computer. You will need Microsoft Windows, 2000 or newer. The
website does not specifically state that Vista is supported, but we believe
that it is. Lists of keyboard commands are available for Thunder, as you
would expect for a commercial product. The Thunder screenreader website
states in large, bold type:

Thunder is TOTALLY FREE to all organisations and all individuals.

No, they didn't spell organizations wrong; that is the British spelling!
Thunder is used worldwide, and the organization that offers it is in Great
Britain. If you already have a commercial screen reader on your computer,
you should stick with what you have, because we do not recommend installing
two screenreading programs on a single computer. 

The AIR Foundation, or Accessibility is a Right Foundation: this nonprofit
organization offers free screenreader access via the Internet. You open up
the organization's website, and immediately it will begin talking to you and
telling you how to use the screenreader. Once it is running, you need to
stay connected to the Internet and as long as you do so, you have free
screenreader access on your computer. It's as simple as that; you really
don't need to know very much about either operating a computer or
screenreaders to make this thing work. We have not tested it on a dial-up
Internet connection, but we strongly suspect that it would not work. We
suggest either a DSL or cable modem connection to the Internet. 

The AIR Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to
advocate, teach, and deliver tools that promote accessibility as a
fundamental human right. Its first corporate partnership is with Serotek

Where to find these resources:

.        You can find Thunder at: <http://www.screenreader.net/> 

.        You can find the Accessibility is a Right Foundation and start
using the free screen reader, which is based on the excellent software
called Screen Access to Go, at:  <http://www.accessibilityisaright.org> 

Next week: A simple, free, accessible ham radio logging program.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager

 <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx


FCC: An Amateur Radio Repeater is what most of us already thought it was

FCC round logo
The ARRL is reporting that the FCC has clarified what constitutes an Amateur
Radio repeater. To most of us, this simple definition of a repeater is that
it is a station that simultaneously (more or less) retransmits another
station on a different frequency. We say "more or less" simultaneously
because there is always some delay inherent in signal processing. We have
all learned to allow for audio delay in applications like cellular phone
use, EchoLink, and other VoIP applications.

A petition, filed in 2007 by Gary Mitchell, WB6YRU, President of the
Northern California Packet Association, sought clarification from the FCC on
the word "simultaneously," asking if it referred to the signal information
being retransmitted, or to the fact that the receiver and transmitter must
both be active at the same time while acting on the same signal information.
According to Part 97, Section 3(a)(39), A repeater in the amateur service is
"[a]n amateur station that simultaneously retransmits the transmission of
another amateur station on a different channel or channels."

On March 23, 2009, the Commission clarified that even if there is a slight
delay between what is received and what it transmits (as in the case of
D-STAR and other digital repeaters), it is considered simultaneous if the
receiver and transmitter are both active at the same time.

Frankly, I was trying to figure out what the point of this hair-splitting
was all about. Could it be that some digital mode users sought to place what
most of us considered to be repeaters in parts of the frequency bands where
repeaters are not allowed? If anyone has insight into this speculation on
what prompted the petition for clarification, please write to me.

Patrick Tice

Read the ARRL story:


Avery's QTH

Avery's QTH - Avery with his Indiana Jones hat

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

Seriously, you should plan on attending the Dayton, Ohio Hamvention May
15-17 at Hara Arena.

If you go with a group of 4 people (or more) and split everything 4 ways, it
is pretty reasonable. We split everything but food. We buy our own food at
stops along the way and restaurants after we get there. We fill up on gas
before we leave the Twin Cities and keep running totals of how many gallons
and price of gas at each fill-up after that. After we get home we just
divide everything by the number of people. By taking turns driving, we can
make pretty good time. As one person drives, another one reads the map or
GPS, another one can play radio, and one can sleep so we always have fresh

Some motels have two in a room and some have four. Some of the motels have
the breakfast with the room and some don't. The University of Dayton, where
we stayed one year, has 4 per dorm room and no food on campus so you have to
eat out. There is a really good pizza place near there where many of the
college kids hang out. We usually go there for at least one meal. Dayton has
just about every major restaurant food chain, plus some very good local

Be sure to order your ticket early too, so you have it before getting there.
The line to get a ticket can be very long and why waste time standing in
line waiting to buy a ticket? Also, it is a little less if you buy it early:

Advance Admission Ticket $20.00
Admission Ticket (at door) $25.00
HamventionR Bus Ticket Valid all 3 days $8.00

In any case, wherever you decide to stay, you need to get a room as soon as
possible because the people checking out of one year's Hamvention are
already reserving the same room for next year, so unless someone cancels, it
can be hard to find anything within 60 miles of Dayton. Some of the
international clubs like 10-10, FISTS, QCWA, etc. sometimes reserve a block
of rooms. Once in awhile they have extras that they let out to others, so in
a pinch that sometimes works too. All around Dayton, all you will see that
weekend are other hams. There are call letter license plates from all over
the USA & Canada.

One time we went a couple days early and visited the Air Force Museum just
outside of Dayton. You could spend a few days there and still not see
everything. Several rockets standing many stories high are lined up outside
the museum. There are so many aircraft they can't get them all inside. Just
about one of each the Air Force ever had plus some captured planes are in
the huge collection. The best part is the whole thing is FREE, I repeat,
FREE! Well, our taxes pay for it, but there is no cost to go visit.

At Hamvention, you will find just about anything you want in Amateur Radio.
All of the major manufacturers are represented, as well as all the major
organizations. There are acres of exhibits, inside and out. You can even
visit the Handiham booth and sit down and visit for awhile. The ARRL always
has a large, informative display area that covers a lot of floor space. This
year is special, because it is also ARRL National Convention. The seminars
and workshops alone make Hamvention worth the trip. The ARRL National
Convention will be held at the Dayton HamventionR May 15-17 at Hara Arena.

There is a website with a lot of good information at:

Go for it - you will have a great time!

73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery
Remember: You can reach me Monday & Wednesday until 1:30 Minneapolis time
Email me at:

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ARRL Field Day web page is online

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/117> ARRL diamond logo

ARRL has posted its 2009 Field Day website, which means it's time to start
thinking about planning and preparation. Field Day is June 27-28, 2009. The
addition of the useful Field Day station locator makes it easier to find a
club or group participating in this annual event.

Since Field Day is sometimes in an actual field or in out of the way
locations, we urge clubs and groups posting Field Day information to include
whether or not the site is wheelchair-accessible. Groups with blind
operators will want to pay attention to the availability of speech frequency
capable radio gear.

If you have a disability and would like to participate with your club, don't
be shy: Speak up and ask how the Field Day site can be adapted to work for

Check out the ARRL Field Day website:

Check out the Field Day Station Locator (Uses Google maps):


No huge increase in question pool size - FCC

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/135> FCC round logo

In ARLB016, the ARRL is reporting that the FCC has denied a petition to
vastly increase the size of the Amateur Radio question pools.

In April 2008, Michael Mancuso, KI4NGN, of Raleigh, North Carolina, filed a
petition with the FCC, seeking to increase the size of the question pools
that make up the Amateur Radio licensing exams. Mancuso sought to increase
the question pool from 10 times the number of questions on an exam to 50
times more questions. On March 19, 2009, the Commission notified Mancuso
that it was denying his petition.

In his 2008 petition, Mancuso claimed that the current question pool is too
easy to memorize and "that there has been a significant increase in the
number of Amateur Radio operators receiving their licenses over at least the
last decade or more who do not appear to possess the knowledge indicated by
the class of license that they have received. Most discussion about this
topic, both on the air and on Internet forums, generally refers to these
widespread observations as the 'dumbing down' of Amateur Radio. It has been
widely assumed that the cause of this observed situation is based upon the
subject material addressed by the license examinations, that the material
requirements specified for the examinations does [sic] not meet some minimum
level of knowledge expected by some or many in the Amateur Radio community."

Read the rest of this story on the ARRL website:

What do you think? log in to comment.

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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:


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. 


Handiham Radio Club Invitation from KB3LLA

KB3LLA wears stars & stripes hat

Any Handiham member wishing to join the Courage Handiham System Amateur
Radio Club please send me an E-mail with your name and call. Also, please
let me know whether or not you are an ARRL member. ARRL membership is not
required for club membership. All Handiham members are entitled to club
membership by virtue of being a Handiham member. Just another benefit of
joining Handihams. So, join handihams, if you haven't already, and join the



Kenneth Silberman, KB3LLA, President
Courage Handiham System Amateur Radio Club

Image: Ken, KB3LLA, dons his presidential campaign hat, complete with stars
& stripes.

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This week at Headquarters:

.        Minnesota Radio Camp application forms are online!

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.


.        Fiction title added to library for blind members

cassette tape
The ARRL fiction title "Firewatch" by Cynthia Wall is available on loan to
our blind Handiham members. It is on 4-track audio tape cassette in Library
of Congress format only. Synopsis: Kim and Marc are faced with fires
everywhere in Oregon's tinder-dry Cascade Mountains.

Blind Handiham members who wish to borrow this book should contact Nancy at


*       Jerry, N0VOE, and Guide Dog Trawler spent the day at the Handiham HQ
shack yesterday, and Jerry took the net control on the EchoLink net while
Trawler took a nap.  Jerry reminds us that the net is really a great place
to stay in touch with your friends, so join the net and join  the fun!
*       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

*       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

*       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:

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

*       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

*       Minnesota <http://www.handiham.org/node/335>  Radio Camp VE Session
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:

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: 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 03/25/2009 - 18:47

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