[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 5 August 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 13:55:10 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 5 August 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 

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!

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, change is coming to the Handiham
System. Let's go directly to Avery's QTH to find out more.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager


Avery's QTH: My volunteer roots

Avery in the ham shack

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

This is going to be somewhat difficult for me, and I am not quite sure where
to start, so I guess I will just start at the beginning. As a very famous
baseball player, Yogi Berra, once said when asked how he comes up with all
those one liners, "I just say what comes out of my mouth", and so this will
be just what I type.

Many years ago when Bruce, K0HR, was Handiham Manager, he set up a Field Day
on the back lawn of Courage Center. It was just outside what was then the
Handiham radio room. Well, I arrived right after my work day was over and
was talking to Bruce. Then he mentioned that the kid in the wheelchair
operating the Novice station rig was having trouble making contacts and
could I help him. (Remember that in those days a Novice could only work CW
on HF bands)

OK! So he had permission from his parents to stay a couple hours and take
part in the Field Day at Handihams. I went over and sat down in a chair next
to him and listened a while as he attempted to make some contacts. I noticed
right away several stations responding to his CQ but he was not able to
notice his own call being sent. I told him stations were answering his CQ
and I would copy for him and he would send. As they sent, I would write down
the letter and say it and then I would tell him to listen 3 down for this
pitch or whatever the case was. After a few contacts he seemed to catch on,
so I told him to try it himself.

Well, that did it and a few more contacts and he was glued to the rig
logging one contact after another. The only break he took was to go in and
call his folks to get permission to stay all night and continue operating
the Novice Station. As I remember, it was a little cool that night and
Courage Center located a couple blankets in which he wrapped himself and
covered all but his keying and writing hands. I was hooked and I became a
Handiham volunteer right after that.

I was net control for two of the larger repeater organizations in the Twin
City area, and when it was my turn to do the net I would hop into my car and
drive over to the radio room at Handihams and do the net from there. Of
course that was great PR for Handihams. I was one of very few volunteer
people to have permission to use the radio room 24/7. Sometime, years later
I did a CW up-grade net from that same radio room every Thursday evening for
two hours. I started at zero for people who needed to learn the code and
going up to 5, 13, and 20 words per minute so each license class was

Don't tell anyone, but I was cheating. The 5 word practice was really 7 and
the 13 word was really 15 and the 20 was really 24. I planned for when they
went to take the code test that someone might drop a pencil on the floor,
sneeze, rustle some paper, or cause some other distraction, and the little
extra speed would give them a buffer so they would still get through the
code test with a passing score.

Also, one evening, long before all this digital stuff, we decided to do a
marathon net and went quite late into the evening with an amazing number of
303 stations checking in. We had 3 operators taking turns, one logging for
the other two. The information was sent in to the Guinness Book of Records
and we received a very nice letter with their letterhead saying that
although it was a record, they did not have a category for it so it would
not be included.

As some of you are aware Jerry, N0VOE, left the staff of Handihams to retire
but is still a Handiham volunteer, and my hours were changed to just Monday
& Wednesday, the reason being the economy and some of the programs being
affected by it.

Well, now it is my turn to retire from Handihams, due to this same economic
problem. Our budget is shrinking. Like Jerry, I will be around as a
volunteer like I was for so many years before I became a staff member.

This will also affect some of the programs. I was taking care of the
equipment loan program. I won't be there to do that anymore so there goes
that program. Hopefully the remote base will help make up for it though.
Some other things I did will not get done either, since it will just be Pat
and Nancy on the staff and they will have to devote their time to other

I plan to be with the Handiham staff until late September, and after that I
will return to volunteer status.

So, it is with mixed emotions that I say,

73 es DX de K0HLA Avery

You can reach Avery Mondays and Wednesdays, preferably in the morning hours,
at 763-520-0515 or by email at avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thank you, Avery. We will keep our readers and listeners posted on all
headquarters news. 


Letters - Accessible tools


How about putting together a list of basic and recommended accessible tools
for the ham shack and posting it in the E-letter? 



Pat says: That's a great idea!  In fact, we will make it an operating skills
discussion topic at Radio Camp and we will come up with a list, which we
will post here. 


Handiham History: KZ0T gets some good press in the Bemidji Pioneer

Handiham History: KZ0T gets some good press in the Bemidji Pioneer

We are always on the lookout for good publicity for amateur radio, and for
the Handiham System.

It was Sunday, August 22, 1982. The Pioneer newspaper in Bemidji, Minnesota
published a feature article entitled "Courage North -- Handiham Radio Week".

This particular newspaper clipping, shown as an image, features Dr. Tom
Linde, KZ0T, operating a Morse code keyboard with his nose! The text reads:

"I use my professional interest to help people like me get involved in my
vocational interest (ham radio)," said Dr. Tom Linde, a clinical
psychologist from Knoxville, Iowa. Linde has been involved with ham radio
activities for 16 years and holds an Extra license. Because of his physical
disabilities he can't use his hands, but with the help of a Morse generating
keyboard he can transmit by tapping out code with his nose.

Next to the picture of Dr. Tom we see a photo of a shiny, chrome-plated J-38
Morse code key, taken from a side angle. The caption reads:

There are four levels of licensing for ham radio operators. To qualify as a
Novice, the operator must pass a test in theory and regulations and transmit
five words per minute. The next three levels of license are General,
Advanced, and Extra. To qualify as an Extra operator required the ability to
transmit 20 words per minute and familiarity with all ham radio regulations
and theory. Pictured is an old "straight key" used to transmit signals.

Thanks to George, N0SBU, for this clipping and for his continuing work on
the Handiham History Project.


Perseid meteor shower could be bigger & better

According to a story on www.Spaceweather.com, This year's Perseid meteor
shower could be even better than usual:

"A filament of comet dust has drifted across Earth's path and when Earth
passes through it, sometime between 0800 and 0900 UT (1 - 2 am PDT) on
August 12th, the Perseid meteor rate could surge to twice its normal value,"
said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

The Perseids might then provide an exceptional opportunity during this brief
night time window for meteor spotting and operating meteor scatter radio.
Although August 12 will be the peak of meteor burns, the shower continues
into the early part of the week when the Handiham program runs Radio Camp at
Courage North, deep in the pines of Minnesota's lake country.

"The evening sky will be dark at camp, since we are far from urban areas and
their light pollution", said Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager. "It
could be quite a show to see meteors streaking across the dark Minnesota

For more information about the Perseid meteor shower, which is an annual
occurrence, visit http://www.spaceweather.com.


Radio Shack turning into "The Shack"?

It just might be! Radio Shack may be set to drop the "Radio" from its name
and become "The Shack". This is according to a story on the www.engadget.com
website. Take a look at this Radio Shack site:
http://www.radioshack.com/theshack/, which seems to confirm the story.

Read more on the Engadget website:

Ham radio operators have used the terms "ham shack" and "radio shack" to
refer to the room or area where their station equipment is located, or more
specifically, the point of operation. Here is an interesting Wikipedia
article with a bit of history behind the terminology:

PC World indicates that the rebranding will take place August 6:


Handiham CW Net Note from W8IRT

Handiham CW Net Note from W8IRT

To all handiham members:

I'll be running the Friday morning (13:00 - 16:00 UTC) HH net from Cape Cod,
W8IRT/1 on August 7 & 14 . A good deal farther East than this QTH. There are
several Friday HH regulars in W1 land. As usual there, the gear will be the
trusty old Omni-D & battery power.

Hoping things are well with y'all @ courage
Paul. W8IRT

Friday CW Net:

7.112 MHz CW, 09:00 - 12:00 ET, plus whatever time is needed to wrap up the
last contact: This is the Handiham Informal slow speed CW Net. Look for
Paul, W8IRT. You may e-mail Paul at w8irt@xxxxxxx with your ideas and signal
reports, or to find out about schedule changes for the CW net. Paul advises
us that the net remains true to local time, which means a one hour shift
when changing to or from Daylight time in the Spring and Autumn.


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

George, N0SBU, is planning to run tonight's net. How to check into a net
will be the topic. 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. 


Events by N1YXU

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

August Events

For those of you who will be attending Radio Camp, I hope you have a great
time, make a lot of wonderful friends, and take time for amateur radio!

There are many events that should hold our attention and time - especially
during the hot summer days of August. Enjoy!

Until next month..

- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read Laurie's events column here:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/527> 


This week at Headquarters:

.        The Friday audio lectures return again this week.  Audio will be
posted on Friday.

.        W0ZSW, our headquarters station, will be moving to a new location
at Camp Courage after Minnesota Radio Camp. Old-timers will probably say,
"New?  That isn't new. The Handiham System was out there at Camp Courage
years ago."  Well, that is true. Early Handiham "May Convocations" were the
predecessor of the Radio Camps that we have today, and they were first held
at Camp Courage, which is about 40 miles west of the Twin Cities
metropolitan area. Although Camp Courage has a Maple Lake, MN address, it is
rural, situated in the gently rolling Minnesota countryside, forested
primarily with deciduous trees (the kind that lose their leaves in the
winter), next to a lake. The camp features a tower and triband beam, as well
as a GAP vertical antenna. We will probably be installing a wire antenna
suitable for the lower frequencies and replacing the radio equipment with
more modern, blind-accessible gear.

As many of you already know, our current location at the Golden Valley
address has been unsatisfactory for ham radio operation for a number of
years now. The problem began with the installation of new energy-saving high
volume ventilation controllers for the entire building at Courage Center.
These controllers save energy by sensing the air flow needs in the building
and adjusting the phase of the AC delivered to the giant fan motors in the
equipment room immediately above the ham shack. This is all well and good,
except that the controllers spew out horrendous levels of broad-spectrum
radio frequency interference. It is impossible to operate any HF at all from
the Golden Valley location, and although we are doing the best we can with 2
meter operation and HF operation by porting audio from the remote base at
Courage North or from the K0LR remote, these solutions are no substitute for
having a clear, RFI-free HF spectrum. 

As part of the moving process, some equipment has already been removed from
the W0ZSW shack. The main HF rig, our TS-570SAT, has been packed and will
spend a week at Radio Camp, Courage North, before making the trip back to
southern Minnesota and the Camp Courage location. Campers will enjoy the
blind-accessible rig in operating skills.  The station's TM-V7A will also be
packed for camp. For a period of time following radio camp, W0ZSW will thus
be off the air as we get things reorganized. We expect to be back on the air
in October.

.        Plans for a second Handiham Remote Base station are in the
discussion stage. More news as it happens, but I can say right now that the
proposed location is Camp Courage, at the new W0ZSW shack.

.        The Remote Base at Courage North was offline for several hours, but
has returned to service. It was determined that someone at camp shut down
our remote base server application. We are implementing new security
restrictions to prevent this from happening in the future.

.        The Handiham audio tape offerings are being trimmed significantly.
Many titles that have not been popular are being dropped. This does not
affect the monthly 4-track digest.  As a result, the book & tape catalog is
not quite accurate, and some titles will not be available, although they are

.        Help wanted: Net control station needed to take over the 14.265 MHz
Monday net! Email us at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx if you can help. You will need at
least a General class license or the equivalent HF license if you live
outside the USA. 

.        Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has recorded audio of the August CQ, 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.

*       In Operating Skills: 

*       Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the August "Doctor is in"
column from QST for our blind members.  
*       Login to the <http://handiham.org/user>  member section of the
Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The QST, CQ,
and Worldradio digests have been read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF.  
*       New Today: Bob has completed the August, 2009 CQ, which was posted
today, also in the member 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


National Wildlife Refuge Week ham radio operations

National Wildlife Refuge Week ham radio operations

The TCDXA has been asked to participate in the National Wildlife Refuge
Week, October 12 through October 18, 2009 by operating from wildlife refuges
throughout Minnesota. In October, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is
observing National Wildlife Refuge Week, which is Sunday, October 12 -
Saturday, October 18.

Amateur Radio can help spread the word about this event, and further enhance
their positive image with the USFWS. The TCDXA can do its part by operating
from as many refuges as possible. Minnesota locations are listed at:


Information on the event and detailed instructions for participating can be
found at the NWR Week website:


Note: Several TCDXA members have already registered and will be operating
from Rydell, Rice Lake, and Mille Lacs NWR.


Please consider signing up for a refuge and supporting this worthwhile


Mike, N0ODK
President, Twin City DX Association



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: 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.


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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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