[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 4 March 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 16:03:17 -0600

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 4 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

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Welcome to Handiham World!

cartoon runnerEMF - Run for the hills, it'll get you!

EMF - electromagnetic field - is a physics term, one that amateur radio
operators know about, perhaps not in those very words, but from their
studies for licensing examinations they know that magnetism and current flow
are related. A flow of electrons through a conductor creates a magnetic
field that is strong in the vicinity of the conductor, but falls off rapidly
as distance from the conductor increases.  


Even though we can't see an electromagnetic field, it is a real physical
field produced by electrically charged objects, and we can measure it with
various instruments. A simple one is a compass, the needle of which will
move when it is in the vicinity of a conducting circuit hooked to a battery.
This is a simple experiment done in elementary school science classes.

Both AC and DC produce EMF. Some devices, like your simple doorbell, depend
on the magnetic field generated in a coil when a doorbell button closes a
switch that allows current to flow. The magnetic field pushed an iron rod
into a piece of tuned metal that makes the ding-dong sound. Some appliances
around the home use motors that require much more energy to do work, such as
running the compressor in your fridge or moving the fan blades in your
furnace. The more current that flows, the stronger the EMF, most of which is
contained within the motor and the appliance cabinet. 

Ham radio equipment generates EMF, too, but much is at radio frequencies, as
you would expect! There will be other electromagnetic fields around power
supplies and other accessories. Even the desk lamp on the ham shack desk and
the wiring inside the walls of the house have electromagnetic fields
surrounding them. 

In short, we are bathed in EMF from almost everywhere!

Now, with all of that in mind, let's look back a couple of weeks into the
news. At the University of California in San Diego there is an ongoing flap
over a cancer cluster in a single campus building. The gist of the story is
that the Literature Building is suspected of having cancer-causing EMF
because a larger than expected number of cancer cases have shown up among
people who work or have worked in that building. I'll give you the link to
the story on the campus newspaper website after this story, but for now,
let's look a little more closely at what has happened at the campus.

The facts are these:  

*       There are electromagnetic fields in the UC Literature Building, as
there are in every campus building.  
*       There are elevators in the building, and the motors that run them
generate electromagnetic fields. 
*       A number of workers in the building have indeed been diagnosed with
cancers of various types over a period of years.  
*       There is a cluster of cancer cases, given the way one maps out the
parameters over time and space. 
*       The issue is an emotional one that has generated demonstrations,
marches, and anti-EMF activism among faculty and students. 

But what do you think?  As ham radio operators, we certainly have an
interest in a story like this!

Should we be worried that EMF will give us cancer? It sure seems that some
of the students and faculty members at the University are worried enough to
take action, even to the point of demanding that the entire building undergo
a renovation.

Well, here is what I think:  Sometimes people get an idea into their heads
and even though it is not strongly supported by empirical evidence, the kind
of evidence that good science demands, they still believe that they are
right. Something like EMF is a good candidate to pin an otherwise
unexplainable cluster of cancer cases upon, especially since it is invisible
and possibly mysterious to those who are not educated in the sciences.
Remember, mankind has a long and sad history of blaming natural events on
something like the position of the planets in the sky! Malaria was once
thought to be brought on by swamp air. Gemstones had the power to protect
you against diseases; emerald protected the eyes.  Disease and causality
were simply not understood, and the germs that caused many diseases were
invisible, just like EMF.  

Today, people still fall prey to the same mistake of associating two
independent events and assuming that one causes the other.

Now, I am not going to say that EMF in extremely high concentrations or over
long periods of time is perfectly safe.  I am also not convinced that the
cancer cluster in the Literature Building has anything to do with EMF.  Did
the two exist together?  Yes.  Are they connected? Maybe, but maybe not.

Cancer clusters are little understood by laymen, and even educated residents
of a college campus can make mistakes interpreting what seem to be
straightforward facts.  After all, the thinking goes, there were many more
cancer cases in the Literature building than one might expect by sheer
chance. Something caused them, so it must have been EMF, because it acts in
mysterious ways, not fully understood, upon the body.  

The problem is that cancer clusters are not necessarily a statistical
anomaly at all. Try this: Think of a grid of 100 squares, such as a
perfectly flat tile floor in your kitchen. Now you pour an entire jar of 100
marbles out onto the floor from as high as you can reach. The marbles will
bounce around at random and eventually come to a standstill, distributed
across the entire kitchen floor.  Look at each square tile. Does each tile
have exactly the same number of marbles on it?  Not likely!  Some tiles will
have none, most perhaps one or two, and one tile may have a half dozen. Now,
imagine that the tile with a half dozen marbles is the Literature building.
What "caused" the marbles to stop in that particular tile? After all, the
average number of marbles on a tile is only one. Something must have
"caused" the marbles to concentrate there, right?


Pure, random chance is in play here.  Nothing "caused" the concentration of
marbles on that particular tile, just as a tile with no marbles was not
"protected" from marbles by some unseen force.  So cancer clusters can be
random. The fact that there are electromagnetic fields present in the
Literature Building may be no more relevant than the color the walls in the
Literature building are painted. It would be astounding if your 100 marbles
distributed themselves exactly one per tile on the kitchen floor, and so it
is with real life geographic distributions.

It is easy to be tricked by this phenomenon. Our minds work to seek out
cause and effect. We want to know a reason why things are as they are, but
every cluster does not mean there is a cause related to anything other than

As an amateur radio operator, I know that electromagnetic fields are
generated by my equipment. Some of these are proven dangerous, such as high
power, concentrated microwave energy. But I am not going to worry about the
EMF from my refrigerator or an elevator motor. I am going to take prudent
steps to reduce RF exposure. I don't worry about getting cancer from a cell
phone or handheld radio, but I do wear a seatbelt when in an automobile and
hold the railing while using the escalator or taking the stairs. Ham radio
isn't going to give you cancer, but you could fall off the tower while
putting up an antenna.  Take stock of reasonable risks and prepare for them.
Use a safety belt and hard hat when doing tower work. And enjoy getting on
the air.

I don't want to dismiss the very real concerns of the UC San Diego students
and staff, but I do think that it does not serve a useful purpose to fixate
on electromagnetic fields as "the cause" of a cluster of cancers. It will be
interesting to follow this story as it unfolds. I prefer to be open-minded.
If empirical evidence exists outside of random chance, it is important for
us to learn about any effects electromagnetic fields have on the body.

Now, as I promised, here are some links you can use for further reading:

The link to the University newspaper article: <http://tinyurl.com/bhokk6> 

Campus Building Blamed for Cancer Cluster - New York Times blog:

National Cancer Institute page on EMF:  <http://tinyurl.com/62fags> 

National Cancer Institute page on cancer clusters:

Health & safety concerns about ham radio from Ham radio Online:

Questions and Answers About EMF Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with
the Use of Electrical Power:  <http://tinyurl.com/agfqgf> 


Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager



Avery's QTH

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/215> Avery's QTH - Avery with Collins S-Line

Welcome Once Again to my Humble QTH:

Earlier this week, someone asked me about shortwave listening (SWL) and
where to find a certain shortwave broadcast service, the BBC.

According to the information I found in a web search, the BBC had stopped
broadcasts to North America in 2001.

I had no idea.

Where was I all this time?

On the ham bands only, I guess. It had been a very long time since I had
tuned around the shortwave bands listening to all those neat stations like
the BBC, Radio Moscow, Radio Australia, HCJB and many others. I would get
the International news by listening to several of these stations on my
Hallicrafters S-40B receiver. It was not too surprising to find very
different points of view on the same news event. If I needed to get the time
or check the frequency of my receiver's dial I would use either WWV on 5,
10, or 15 MHz here in the United States or 7.335 MHz, CHU in Canada. Since I
was just a few hundred miles from the border, CHU was very easy to receive.

Now I see that even that CHU frequency has changed to 7.850 MHz.

According to Wikipedia:

"While no one knows the exact number of SWLs, most estimates place the
number in the millions. In 2002, according to the National Association of
Shortwave Broadcasters, for estimated numbers of households with at least
one shortwave set in working order, Asia led with a large majority, followed
by Europe, Sub Saharan Africa, and the former Soviet Union, respectively.
The total estimated number of households worldwide with at least one
shortwave set in working order was said to be 600,000,000. SWLs range from
teenagers to retired persons to David Letterman, who has mentioned on
several occasions how much he enjoys listening to shortwave, particularly
broadcasts by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)."

What you will hear on a frequency depends on whether it is day or night and
what season it is. What part of the world you are in makes a difference too,
as broadcasts are beamed to specific audiences in different geographic
locations. A very important factor is what kind of antenna you are using.
The RIGHT antenna will make a very big difference in what you will be able
to hear.

On a summer day in the USA you will hear a lot of noise on many of the bands
just above the broadcast AM bands. At night there will be many stations on
those same frequency bands that were so noisy with static just a few hours
earlier. If you listen in the wintertime in North America, most of the
shortwave bands will have stations. Many of what used to be mainstay
stations have gone off the air because of the internet and all the new
digital technology. Most of the stations leaving the air can still be heard
on the internet. Many people listen on their computers or HD radio.

Some of the things you may hear besides the broadcast stations are military
communications, pirate stations, number stations, ships & aircraft to name a
few. Yes! As some people have said, you have the world at your fingertips.

One of the more popular SWL monthly magazines is "Popular Communications" (a
sister publication of "CQ" Magazine), which contains all the current most
up-to-date information on SWL'ing. They list what stations are on at what
time and on what frequencies. Whether or not they are in English and if not
what language is being used are other items listed. Also, they have stories
on different aspects of radio broadcasting, many times giving the history or
a station or activity. Pictures of QSL cards are sometimes shown as well.

If you are a licensed radio amateur SWL'ing can still be fun and even let
you know a little about the propagation. If you are hearing a shortwave
station in Asia, it would be a good bet that as a ham you would be able to
contact that part of the world. Or, if Radio Australia was heard, then
getting into Australia via amateur radio would be a very good possibility.

Well, until next time.

73 & DX from K0HLA Avery

You can reach me Monday & Wednesday until 2:00 PM Minneapolis Time at:

Or email me at:

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Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on March 8, 2009


In the United States, daylight time begins on March 8 and ends on November
1, 2009. Many other countries observe some form of "summer time", but they
do not necessarily change their clocks on the same dates as the United

Accordingly, participants in the worldwide Handiham nets will notice the one
hour time shift. We will stick with the local Minnesota time for the nets,
which means that 11:00 hours USA Central Daylight Time will be the time the
daily EchoLink net meets. This can get confusing as related to GMT, however,
since there will be a 5 hour difference between Central Daylight Time and
GMT instead of the winter 6 hour difference.

Thus there will be no apparent time shift for a station using the 11:00
Minnesota time as their standard, but if a station uses a GMT clock, the net
appears to come on the air one hour earlier, at 16:00 hours GMT instead of
17:00 hours.

We have debated the merits of this time shift for years, but I guess it has
been pretty well settled. So because Daylight Time begins on the second
Sunday of March in the United States, on Monday, March 9, the handiham nets
will all be shifted relative to GMT.

I guess Albert Einstein figured out that time is relative, and this seems to
be an example of that phenomenon!

I hope to hear you on the air at the correct time, whatever that works out
to where you live.

Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager


March Events

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/214> Events by N1YXU

As I write this introduction, there are snowflakes falling outside - in
North Carolina in March! Unbelievable! I know I should not vent since many
of you live in much colder climates that have had quite a bit of snow this
year. May Spring arrive soon for all of us!

Enjoy March. Get on the radio and have some fun. I hope to hear you on the

Until next month..

- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read Laurie's March Events column online:


Broadcasting legend Paul Harvey dead at 90

Paul Harvey, known for his "Rest of the Story" news, has died at his winter
home in Arizona at age 90. In 2004, his mention of ham radio operators was
prompted by the Tri-State Amateur Radio Club (TSARC) in Cresco, Iowa, as a
Daily Point of Light by the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center
National Network.

Paul Harvey, who mentioned ham radio during his noontime broadcast on March
12, 2004 said the nation still relies on Amateur Radio operators to get the
message through in an emergency or disaster.

Hear a short clip:

(Parts of this story from ARRLweb and djterry.com.)


Remote Base Access opens to members

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/185> Remote Base Update

The Handiham Remote Base station, a Kenwood TS-480SAT, is now open to member
use. You must be a Handiham member, volunteer, or supporter and hold at
least a General Class USA license. (DX members may be able to use the
station if their country has a reciprocal operating agreement with the USA.)
The station is equipped with voice frequency readout for blind users.

You will need:

1. A personal computer running Windows XP or Vista that has a sound card,
speakers, and microphone. (No library or shared computers at schools or
common areas such as hotel lobbies, please, since you will need to install

2. A high-speed Internet connection. Dial up will not work.

3. A SKYPE account.

4. Ability and knowledge to install applications on your computer, or a
computer helper who can do so.

Handiham Members wanting Remote Base access please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx
Include your SKYPE name, as SKYPE is used for the audio to and from the

Please do not ask for access unless you are a Handiham member and have at
least a General Class license. We also need to remind our would-be users
that this is a project that will require you to be computer-savvy, have
high-speed Internet access, and to be able to figure things out without much
help from us. We do have some help pages online in the members section of
the website. Look for the Remote Base link after you log in to the website.
We are continuing to develop the help pages with input from you. Please
email us with suggestions.

Instruction pages for the W0EQO Remote base have been updated, including how
to get SKYPE.

Log in to the members only section and follow the Remote Base link. If you
cannot figure out how to log in to members only, please email me for help,
and include your callsign. My email address is wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

73 and hope to hear you on the air soon!

Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager


Computer help audio presentation

The Accessible World <http://www.accessibleworld.org/>  website has some
really great audio discussions, and they are archived for listening anytime
you want. This one is called "Computer Forum - Questions dealing with all
aspects of using the computer by Tek Talk Planning Team", and considering
the fact that most of us have computer questions of one kind or another,
this might be worth your listening time.  It's pretty long, almost 80
minutes, but I guess you need that time to cover topics more thoroughly.
Here is the link:

 <http://tinyurl.com/cxh96m> http://tinyurl.com/cxh96m


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

Tonight you will have an opportunity to learn how to be a better amateur
radio operator. You can check into the regular Wednesday night handiham
EchoLink net, because the first Wednesday of each month the theme of the net
is one of learning and training. Although the primary focus is on how to be
a good, even great, net control station, most of the same operating
techniques that make a good net control will also apply to normal,
day-to-day amateur radio communications. 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. 


This week at Headquarters:

*       SARA Technician course begins Thursday 5 March 2009

Cartoon guy carrying ham radio study books

Once again, Handiham-affiliated SARA, the Stillwater Minnesota Amateur Radio
Association, will sponsor a course leading to the Technician Class license.

Our class will begin on Thursday, 5 March, and run for 8 sessions (skipping
19 March). We will hold the class at the Stillwater Public Library in
Conference Room 230, from 6-8 pm. Directions to the library are available in
the "Meetings - Social" topic here: www.radioham.org. We will hold a test
session on 7 May, at Boutwell's Landing. There is no charge for the course,
students will need to have a copy of the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual.

Boutwell's Landing and the Stillwater Public Library are

For questions please contact K0GW at the ARRL dot NET address.

Handiham members wishing to attend please contact Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx


*       The EchoLink evening net moves to Wednesdays starting this week! On
March 4th the Handiham net MOVES from Mondays at 7:00 PM to Wednesdays at
7:30 PM. The first Wednesday of each month the net has a training focus, and
the rest of the month, it is open to other themes. 
*       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 is in the mail to ARRL members. Look for Bob, N1BLF, to
begin working on the digest audio soon. 
*       Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the "Doctor is in" column
from QST for our blind members.  
*       Just in! Volunteer Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the March 2009
Worldradio audio digest for our blind members.  
*       March audio is also posted. QST & WORLDRADIO audio digests are
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 Radio Camp VE Session <http://www.handiham.org/node/335>
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 03/04/2009 - 19:58 

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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.


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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 4 March 2009 - Patrick Tice