[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 31 December 2008

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2008 12:55:40 -0600

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 31 December 2008

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

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Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat guzzling coffee in Courage Center's cafeteria, Handiham mug in handEnd-of-year greetings from all of us at Handihams!  At this time of the year, it is traditional to over all the old stories from the previous year. Guess what? I'm not going to do that, thus sparing you from the tedium of one more retrospective. Consider it my New Year's gift to all of our readers and listeners. It isn't that important stuff hasn't happened over the previous year, it's just that too many media outlets and editors cobble together old stories so that they don't have to do any work on current news at the end of the year. Me? I would rather just make this a short and to the point issue as we look forward to 2009. You're welcome.

There are several new handiham-related things to look forward to early on in the new year. 

The first item of business is related to our Handiham Nets:

Beginning January 1, Howard, KE7KNN, our Net Manager, will begin taking counts of the stations checked in for each net session. This information can be sent as official National Traffic System traffic, if the net control station so desires. This is the way it is done on the PICONET, which I will get to in a minute. The idea of counting stations checking in and coming up with the total to pass on to the Net Manager will help us to get an idea of how healthy the net really is and whether it is growing or shrinking. Furthermore, sending the total as official traffic will help gain all of us more experience with NTS. For example, let's say I am the net control station and I tally 20 stations that checked in during my session of the net. At the end of the net, I would prepare a piece of traffic for Howard that would go something like this:

This is message number one routine from WA0TDA, current time and date, to KE7KNN. Station total 20. Signature Pat

I know this isn't the exact formal style of the ARRL radiogram form, but it should be good enough to get things done. Howard will probably be listening to the net and will take the traffic directly, or you can use the radiogram format to include his e-mail address for delivery, which is ke7knn@xxxxxxxx. Most stations handling traffic will keep some kind of log so that they don't lose count of which message number they should be using.

As long as we are talking about the nets, I want to share with you a message from our Net Manager:

Hi Pat,

Your e-letter has me listed as the net manager, but you have Arlene's call sign! Remember, she's the pretty one! My call sign is KE7KNN. I have noticed on the net that we are getting a lot of interference from one station using JAWS. Anyone using automated speech such as JAWS needs to turn it down when they are on the net. Also, we need people to be careful not to overdrive their microphones. I'll be out there listening each day. You can email me at KE7KNN@xxxxxxxx.  That is for everyone for the nets. 

Thanks, Howard

Pat says: My apologies to Howard for getting his callsign wrong in the previous edition. Darn it, I was hoping to make it through the entire year of 2008 without a single mistake. One of the things I am going to do over the coming months, and you can call this a New Year's resolution if you like, is to tune around the bands and try to really get to know what is going on on the frequencies that I seldom visit. It has been my habit to consistently return to the same old frequencies, usually at the same time of day. Who knows what I might be missing? Furthermore, I just may get some ideas about when and where to build new handiham nets. Keep in mind that we are open to suggestions as to which high frequency nets we want to keep during 2009. The best way to form a solid opinion is to try really hard to listen at different times and on different frequencies to learn exactly what is going on. Keep an open mind about this, and send your suggestions to either Howard or me.

The next item of business is the remote base:

We are still on track to bring the remote base online for member use in early 2009. Stan is still working on the software, but we expect to begin an orderly assignment of passwords to members in the first quarter of 2009. There is still quite a lot to do on the instruction pages, and frankly I am a bit worried about getting inundated with tech support requests. I do need to make the instruction pages more detailed so that our users will be able to figure out as much as possible on their own. One of the things you will be able to do with the remote base is to check in to the PICONET, a very active daily HF net with a long time association with the Handihams. 

The PICONET has a history paralleling the handiham system, having started in the late 1960s and continuing to this day as a successful net. It is worth looking at because it has had staying power in the face of a great deal of technological and social change in amateur radio. The tenor of the net is one of camaraderie and informality with a modest helping of public service and a friendly net control station. Net control station duties are shared among a list of volunteers who take "their hour" on a particular day of the week. The system has evolved over the decades as a practical method to avoid any one person being tasked with too many hours and too much control. Everyone understands that each net control station has a different personality. A count of stations checking in is maintained and passed as a piece of traffic at the end of each hour. Because the net is on 3.925 MHz, a frequency band covered by most out-of-the-box commercial wire antennas and verticals, there are few technical problems for participants setting up a station. An annual get-together reinforces the social aspect of the net. There is a website. A "blank hour" is rare.  

At last September's PICONET get-together I met friends I've known for years, but there were also some teenagers just getting started in amateur radio. The "marketing department" even scored newspaper coverage with photos. To all intents and purposes, the PICONET is alive and well and serves as a good example of an entity that maintains the correct mix to stay that way. It will be fun for Handiham members far and wide to be able to check in via the remote base.

For Handiham World, I'm Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 

Avery's QTH - SKN

Avery with magnifying glass

Welcome once again to my humble QTH: 

Straight key night is New Year's Eve, so if you have not been invited to a New Year's party or have decided not to go to one, why don't you dust off that straight key and get on the air with a bunch of your ham buddies? It is not a contest per se, just a bunch of hams chatting with each other on CW. Speed is not a concern as people will be more than happy to slow down or speed up for you. Remember that with a straight key it will not be very easy for people to go very fast anyway. Now that the International Morse Code is no longer a requirement, think about giving it a try on New Year's Eve and having some fun with it.

Because we will be closing early on Wednesday we'll keep this issue a little shorter than normal, so HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

See you next year -- Whew! I wait 360 plus days to say that.

73 & DX from K0HLA Avery 

You can contact me at: 763-520-0515 or email me at: 

Editor's note: Avery thinks we can reward the net control stations with the most stations checking in.  He thinks we should offer a hat or mug to the winner of each of our three active phone nets, which are: 

  • The daily EchoLink net at 1100 CST (1700 Z)

  • The Monday 14.265 MHz net at either 0930 CST or 1000 CST, depending on the scheduling of the SATERN net.

  • The Monday evening EchoLink net at 1900 CST (0100 Z Tuesday)

Let Avery know what you think!

On the air

Icom radio

  • GB2HLB is on the air until 22 January 2009 to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Braille. Each station contacted will receive a special card depicting Braille and raising awareness of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). 
  • The Handiham daily EchoLink net on N0BVE, node 89680, continues even on New Year's Day, at 11:00 AM United States Central Time, 17:00 GMT. 
  • It's Straight Key Night! Learn more at http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2009/skn.html


HMY2K8 - A multiband HF transceiver

VU2HMY has build a really cool homebrew HF transceiver. In these days of take-it-out-of-the-box-and-use-it, building an ambitious project like this is quite unusual. Check it out at: 

Holiday office hours - snowman with HTThis week at Headquarters:

Office hours

On New Year's Eve, which is December 31, we will be open in the morning, closing at noon. This week Pat is out of the office Thursday  and Friday.

We wish all of our members, visitors, podcast listeners, and e-letter subscribers a wonderful holiday season!

In other news...

  • The Handiham office will be closed Friday, January 2, 2009 so that Handiham staff can enjoy a long weekend with their families.
  • Jerry, N0VOE, is volunteering in the office on Tuesdays. Look for him on the Handiham EchoLink net from callsign W0ZSW on those days in 2009. He volunteers other days from his home QTH and can be heard on PICONET on 3.925 MHz and on the 145.450 repeater system, node 89680. 
  • Pat, WA0TDA, is taking vacation days through the end of the year, but will update the website. Phone messages are definitely not the way to contact me during vacation, but I do check email. 
  • January CQ digest audio will be posted by Friday, January 2, 2009 for our blind members. Reading is complete. Blind members can login as usual to hear volunteer Bob Zeida, N1BLF, read in his usual expressive, friendly manner. By the way, won't you please drop Bob a short email to thank him for all his reading help? You can reach him at his callsign, N1BLF, at Comcast.net. 
  • QST, CQ, QCWA Journal, & WORLDRADIO audio digests are available for our members. Login to the member section of the Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The January QST and Worldradio digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF. Remember that January is the last print edition of Worldradio, so you'll want to catch that audio.
  • The Winter QCWA Journal is out in print. We are STILL waiting for our reading list from QCWA.
  • 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 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:

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.


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. 

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

• Beginner 
• General 
• Extra 
• Operating Skills

Donate online to support the Handiham System

New! Donate online to support the Handiham System

Now you can give to Handihams online!

This year it is possible to support Courage Center's Handiham System with an online donation. We exist only because of the support of people like you - people who care about other amateur radio operators. Of course our special mission is to help people with disabilities to earn their licenses and get on the air. Often times we hear from people whose circumstances are truly difficult. They have little money, and they are stuck in their house or care facility, but have always wanted to get on the air. They may have retired from a long-time job because of an injury or after losing their eyesight and now are looking for a way to get back on the air, or to get on the air for the first time. We are experts at breaking down barriers and helping people to achieve their ham radio goals - and by extension, other life goals as well! 

Now, don't get me wrong. We also have plenty of highly self-sufficient members with disabilities who simply enjoy using our audio resources and want to share their contributions with others who share similar interests. The point is that we are all about hams helping other hams.

I hope you will consider a gift to support this work. Gifts to Courage Center and its programs are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law, and you will be helping our staff and volunteers to share the excitement of ham radio with people who will be really grateful! In a moment, I will give you a link to the secure Courage Center donation website, but I did want to give you a few brief tips about how to use it.

Once you get to the secure page, you will find "Please make a donation to Courage Center!", followed by a form page. The first section of the form, called "Donation Information", is the part I need you to be very careful about because if you want to support our program, you have to say so in this section. You are asked to either choose an amount to give, or fill in an amount. Now comes the "Designation" pull-down. You must use the pull-down and select "Handi-Hams" if you intend the gift to support the Handiham program.

screenshot of donation pull-down with Handi-Hams selected
Screenshot of the donation page pull-down menu showing "Handi-Hams" selected.


In the "Additional Information" section, you use a pull-down to choose the frequency of the gift - a one-time gift, for example. This section also allows you to check a box if you are giving on behalf of a company or if you prefer to donate anonymously. There is a comment section as well. Then you will find the "Billing Information", which is your name and address, followed by "Payment Information", which is your credit card information. Finally, there is "Tribute Information", in case you wish to give on behalf of someone special by honoring them with a tribute. When you complete the form, click the "Donate Now" button.

Oh, and please do us a favor and let us know if you find any part of the form to be inaccessible via screenreader.

Follow this link to the secure Courage Center donation web page.

In you are reading this in plain text, the link is:


Thank you for your support!

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

Manager, Courage Handi-ham System
Reach me by email at: 



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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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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 31 December 2008 - Patrick Tice