Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the
week of 31 December 2008
a free weekly news & information update from
Courage Center Handiham System. Please do not reply to this
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Welcome to Handiham World!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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
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
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
The Monday evening
EchoLink net at 1900 CST (0100 Z Tuesday)
Let Avery know what you
On the air
- 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
This week at Headquarters:
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!
- The Handiham office will be closed Friday,
January 2, 2009 so that Handiham staff can enjoy a long weekend with
- 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
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
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
- 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
support is critical! Please help.
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
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.
members with disabilities can take an online audio course at www.handiham.org:
• Operating Skills
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 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
In you are reading this in plain text, the link
Thank you for your support!
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:
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!
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
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