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! Big news: Radio Camp moving to Camp Courage By Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager Tom, KB0FWQ, addresses campers at Courage North Image: Tom Fogarty, KB0FWQ, Director of Courage Camps, addresses the gathering of campers and volunteers as we prepare to move to a new location, Camp Courage. Handiham Radio Camp 2009 is a wrap. Campers departed on Sunday, 23 August 2009 after a week of fun on the air, studying for licenses or upgrades, and catching up with their friends who return to the annual Minnesota camp at Courage North. Courage Center's Camping Department has hosted the Radio Camp at the northern location for 20 years, so it was difficult to say goodbye to Courage North, our camp near the headwaters of the Mississippi, deep in the lake country of northern Minnesota. Sometimes it is necessary to make a move, though. Over the years, it has become more difficult and expensive to get our Handiham members and volunteers up to Courage North, which is about four hours by road from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Campers used to be able to take a bus from the metro area, but bus service has been cut back in recent years until there is no longer daily service. While air transportation is available, it has grown steadily more expensive, and the leg of a camper's flight from Minneapolis to Bemidji, near camp, costs more than the longer flight from most major cities across North America to Minneapolis. Making the trip north was thus either hard to schedule by bus or would more than double the cost of travel by air. Even worse, AMTRAK service is not even available. While Courage North is really a beautiful spot and really just the right size camp for us, you have to be able to get your campers there. We feel that the time has finally come when this is no longer feasible. The number one complaint we hear about Radio Camp is the cost of getting there. Sometimes (actually pretty often) campers will plead with me to give them the camp week for free because airfare costs so much. While I could sometimes find money in our budget for that in the past, you know as well as I do that the economic recession has really squeezed our budget, and we have to bring in more revenue in camp fees as well as in donations. The camp fees do not cover the true cost of camp, but our donors are understanding and generous, and continue to help us, though not as much as they could before the recession. Cutting the travel costs for campers is the obvious thing to do, but we have to move the location of our camp session to do so. Fortunately, Courage Center's Camping Department, headed up by Camp Director Tom Fogarty, KB0FWQ, owns another camp property, Camp Courage, which is where we will be in 2010. Camp Courage was established in 1955, and was Courage Center's first camp. Roughly three times larger than Courage North, it offers excellent infrastructure, lakeside activities, and new camper cabins with wonderful common areas for classroom space. Camp Courage is really two camps: Lakeside and Woodland. We will be on the Woodland side of camp, which is nestled in a forest of tall hardwood trees, but still with a view of the lake. Camp Courage offers pontoon boat access, so we will continue our maritime mobile HF operation. There is high speed internet access, a permanent computer lab, a tower with a tri-band beam antenna, and a radio cabinet exactly like the one we left behind at Courage North. Yes, we know that there will be challenges as we tackle a move to a different camp, but remember that we are also moving the Handiham headquarters to its official new offices, which will also be at Camp Courage. The Handiham program is part of Courage Center Camping, so this makes sense. It also allows us to serve campers better than ever during the actual Radio Camp session. We have already started the move, with George, N0SBU, and I transporting the equipment from Courage North to Camp Courage on our way back to the Twin Cities. During the coming month, we will be moving the main Handiham office out of Courage Center's Golden Valley location. I will give you more updates here on Handiham.org, but I can tell you in advance that we will likely have to close for a period of days while things get sorted out. In due course we will have further information about how to contact us by phone, how to get to Camp Courage, and all of the information you will need to access Handiham services. The website, with its audio lectures and news, will continue to work as it always does. We will have no changes in our email addresses. Email will be the most reliable way to stay in touch during our moving process. I answer email day and night, including weekends, so don't be shy about contacting us. Please be patient, though, as the volume of email can get pretty large. We are temporarily suspending the equipment loan program during the Fall quarter, as staff will not be available to run it during our move. Final camp dates for 2010 will be announced shortly. The approximate dates put the Radio Camp session around the week before Memorial Day. This is around the last week in May, 2010. We are moving the Radio Camp back to its original location, Camp Courage, and its original time on the calendar, May. If you have been following our Handiham History Project, you know that the "May Convocation" at Camp Courage was the original Radio Camp. These are some big changes, but they will be good ones for our campers. AMTRAK service is nearby, as is the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Twin Cities have excellent bus connections. The cost to travel to camp, as well as the proximity to a major city, make Camp Courage, which is only about 40 miles west of the metro, much more attractive. We thank our good friends up north for all they have done over the decades to make Courage North a welcoming place for us; the Courage North staff, the ARRL VE team, the Paul Bunyan ARC, the volunteers and campers, our friends living nearby, and everyone else who made the Minnesota Radio Camps so much fun. We look forward to seeing some of the same volunteers and camp staff at Camp Courage next May, along with even more campers! Thank you, everyone. Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Avery's QTH - Why Amateur Radio? <http://www.handiham.org/node/223> Avery's QTH - Avery with puff & sip keyer Welcome once again to my humble QTH: Radio Camp is over and everyone has returned home with new Amateur Radio Experiences. Some have upgraded their licenses. Others have learned new radio skills. Now someone is going to ask "Why HAM Radio?" What about Citizen Band, computers, and cell phones? So why do we need that Ham Radio stuff? Well, you say, there are so many things that can be done with Amateur Radio that cannot be done on the other communication systems as has been proven many, many times. Sure, CB radios are all right for short distances, but what if you have to get a message 1/2 way around the world? Family Radio systems are the same. Computers can work too, but what if the battery goes dead right in the middle of a vital communication? Or what if the internet connection fails? Cell phones are all right too, unless the cellular system gets overloaded or the tower is blown down in a tornado or hurricane. Ah! Let's see you dial up the International Space Station with your cell phone and talk to them in an emergency. You can't unless you are patched in by another communications source. The very nature of Amateur Radio is such that having to take that FCC test makes Amateur Radio operators more knowledgeable in the world of communications than the general public. Hams have a better idea as to why and how things in communications happen and can make necessary adjustments when and where necessary. It is not difficult to pull a battery from a vehicle and use it to power a 100 watt all-band all-mode radio, then put it back in the vehicle, start the engine to recharge it, and start the process all over again to keep the communications link open. Hams, Radio Amateurs, can change frequency bands if one is not good, or change modes of operation if it is necessary to get a signal out. Over the years this has been proven many times. When the world has a disaster, it is the ham operators who get the information out first. Both 9-11 and Katrina are more recent examples here in the USA. Hams are SKYWARN spotters. They help save lives in many parts of the country. They are not tied to wires and thus do not have to worry about whether phones are working or not. The radio & TV media rely on the spotters to determine if the radar is really showing a tornado or just the hook on the radar screen. You can tell the people you are talking to that Amateur Radio is not dependent on just one method of communications but on many, and that by taking an FCC examination you show you have the knowledge to be an Amateur Radio operator and, as per the bill signed by President Bush, a part of Homeland Security. So, until next time 73 es DX de K0HLA, Avery You can reach me Monday & Wednesday 9:00 am to 1:30 pm at 763-520-0515 or email me at: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ Matt, KA0PQW, rides the N0BVE ATV Matt, KA0PQW, rides the N0BVE ATV I didn't have time to write a letter from camp last Friday, so I posted this photo of Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, posing atop Don Rice's all-terrain vehicle. Don, N0BVE, brought the ATV to Courage North so that he could get around camp as he worked on the internet infrastructure, fixed campers' computers, and generally made life easier for the technologically-challenged! Matt is a volunteer instructor at Radio Camp and has authored our blind help files for radios like the Kenwood TH-F6A. Thanks to both Don and Matt and all of our volunteers for their help at Radio Camp. _____ <http://www.handiham.org/node/541> FAR announces scholarships <http://www.handiham.org/node/541> On the air FAR SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS 2009 have been announced! Congratulations to the scholarship recipients, and the best of luck to you with your studies. You are the future of amateur radio. Check the handiham.org website for a list of recipients. . Read more on handiham.org. <http://www.handiham.org/node/541> _____ Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset It's Wednesday, and that means the Handiham EchoLink net is on the air tonight. 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. _____ Time for a refurb The WA0TDA shack from several years ago. Photo: The WA0TDA shack from several years ago. Three big pieces of gear are now gone, and more new stuff has collected. If you are like I am, you have a ham shack that has several transceivers, at least a couple computers, some bookshelves, cabinets, and files, and not nearly enough desk space. It doesn't seem like all that long ago that I refurbished my ham shack, putting in new cabinets and reconfiguring the equipment. Well, guess what? It's time to do that again, because I have found that my needs have changed over the past few years, and with changes in my station layout, some new equipment replacing old equipment, and differences in the way I work, I have found that I have finally gotten sick of putting up with the daily annoyances of things not being quite the way they need to be. All I know at this point is that I want to make some changes. What those changes will be is still unknown, because I need to think about the whole thing logically and write myself some notes. You can do the same thing for your ham shack. I call it a "ham shack assessment", and these are some of the main points you need to cover: * Ergonomics: Is your desk the right height for keyboarding if you use a computer? How about ease of access to the radios and other commonly used gear? You should never sit in an uncomfortable or unnatural position in order to work at a desk that is the wrong height or in a chair that is wrong for the purpose. You should not have to reach over your coffee mug or can of soda to reach a control, because that is a recipe for a liquid spill on the operating desk. * Light: Do you have the proper lighting? Is at least one light, however small (even an LED) available for emergency lighting if the power fails? * Temperature: Is there enough ventilation, and is the temperature right for comfortable use of the room for long periods of time? * Noise: Is the room quiet, or at least quiet enough, to maintain good operating practice by always having a clear audio signal? How about ambient noise from fans or motors? How much can - or should - you tolerate? * Security: Is the equipment protected from use by unauthorized people? * Safety: Is the room wired for the demands placed on it by your station? Is your radio and computing equipment up off the floor if the room is in the basement and might be subject to wet floors? If a water heater breaks or if the washing machine overflows, water can creep past walls! Are ground fault interrupters in use? How about grounding and lightning protection? Is stuff piled on the floor where it can be a tripping hazard? * Flexible desktop workspace: Do you have enough desktop workspace that can be cleared and used for a special project, such as addressing QSL cards or sorting through a box of small parts? Or is every square centimeter of space taken up by clutter? Right off the top, I can say that I have too much noise in the shack. It's not obnoxious noise that would be heard over the air, but there is just too much fan noise from the HF rig. I don't really have as much space on the desktop as I'd like, and I have wires hanging in front of a file cabinet, making the drawers difficult to open. The lighting is good, as is the chair and desk height. I do have another computer that is being tested with Windows 7 and will ultimately replace my current "main" computer. I figure that if I'm going to be digging around on my hands and knees stringing wires for the computer, I might as well tidy up the entire ham shack. I'm not exactly rushing into this project, but I will post a photo and some notes about my experience when I'm finished. If, that is, a ham shack can ever be truly "finished". _____ This week at Headquarters: . The Friday audio lectures return again this week. Audio will be posted on Friday. . The Remote Base at Courage North is in service. Please feel free to use this wonderful member resource. . Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has recorded audio of the September QST and Worldradio digests, 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. . Audio tape users will likely see a delay in production this month. We encourage users of cassette audio to make the change to digital and receive the clear, currently available audio from our website. * In Operating Skills: * Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the September "Doctor is in" column from QST for our blind members. * Login to the member <http://handiham.org/user> section of the Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. * 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: 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 08/26/2009 - 19:20 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/546%2523commen t-form> to post comments . Thumbnail <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/hh_square_2.thumbnail.jp g> . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/546> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/546> 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.