Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 5 November 2008 This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center's Handiham System <http://handiham.org> . Please do not reply to this message. Use the contact information at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxx 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! Round FCC logo How about that vote? Say, how about that vote yesterday? It was something historic, all right! No, not the USA presidential elections... I'm talking about the vote of the Federal Communications Commission yesterday, Nov. 4, to free up the unused airwaves or "white space" between TV channels for use by wireless broadband services. This didn't come without a fight, because broadcasters, TV networks, and stations oppose the use of white space for wireless, fearing that it would interfere with broadcast signals. The proposal first surfaced about four years ago, and it is pretty telling about how this is a sea change in both thinking and technology when you look at who supports the change and who opposes it. On one side, there is the old technology of traditional broadcasters and on the other the new technology of computer companies, software companies, and Internet companies. Under the FCC's new spectrum plan, put forward by FCC chairman Kevin Martin, white space spectrum will be unlicensed and free to anybody who wants to use it. I think the broadcasters are wrong on the interference issue - and so does the FCC. Of course time will tell, but the promise of wireless spectrum opening up will mean far more options for high-speed Internet access, and I think in the long run that's a good thing for amateur radio operators. It is the marriage of amateur radio applications like EchoLink and remote base station control that will truly transform ham radio as we have known it. Some amateurs are already embracing this technology, while others, mostly in rural areas, do not have high-speed Internet access and have to put up with dial-up. You just can't do much with dial-up Internet. Basically, the FCC would let unlicensed devices use the vacant channels, known as white spaces, as long as these devices include anti-interference technology. The way I read it, higher power wireless could then provide Internet access to far wider service areas, making it much more feasible to deliver high speed to these unserved rural areas, and even provide more competition in cities. Microsoft and Google both plan to take advantage of the new spectrum. Where this opportunity ultimately takes us, one thing is certain: Ham radio operators will be part of the development and evolution of a new way to communicate, whether they are part of the engineering and technology teams working in industry as many do, or whether they are hobbyists writing software or designing better hardware that will take us places we haven't even thought of yet. This is really cool stuff! For your Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Courage Center Handiham Manager patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ Avery's QTH: Keeping Time Avery's QTH: Keeping Time Photo: Avery enjoys a morning cup of coffee. "It's always morning somewhere", says Avery. Welcome once again to my humble QTH: "Time in a Bottle" is a song. If you throw a clock out the window you have time flying as the kid's joke goes. If you ask an engineer what time it is they will tell you how to build a clock. Well, just what time is it? That depends on where you are and if they have daylight saving time or not. In the very early days time was not so important. You got up with the sun and when it was too dark to do much of anything; you went to sleep at night. OK! But that didn't work so well for people above the Arctic Circle as they had sun for six months and dark for six months, which is way too long to be awake or asleep. Sun dials were invented and now people could divide the day into different parts, but at night there was still a problem keeping time. Someone then came up with the invention of mechanical clocks. Now there was a way to divide both day and night into equal parts. But wait a minute here. If it is nighttime one place on Earth, it is daytime someplace else. This meant more problems. How can someone be sleeping at 12:00 noon and someone be wide awake at 12:00 midnight? HUM? To complicate the problem even more, as the Earth rotated where it was day and night was always changing. As transportation technology improved and people started moving about the planet at faster and faster speeds, something had to be done. So, what if the Earth was divided into time zones? Now the sun was always going to be rising and setting about the same time in that one zone every day and as people moved about the Earth they just switched time zones they were in. Oh! You are late for the meeting. Oh yeah? My watch says it is 1:00 right on the button. Well, it is wrong. My watch says it is 15 minutes after 1:00. Don't tell me still another problem with time? Everyone has a different time on their watch/clock. So time standards were developed and everyone now uses them. In the USA we have WWV at 5, 10, 15, and 20 MHz. At Handiham headquarters we use WWV time to start our nets as we have an HF receiver going and counting down the time until the net starts. Yes! We may be off a second or two, but we are close enough to keep people all around the globe in sync for the net. But I digress; let's go back to the time zones. Between New York City and Minneapolis there is a one hour difference. Someone in a New York office calling someone in a Minneapolis office at 8:00 A.M. may find no one in the Minneapolis office since it is just 7:00 A.M. there. Likewise, if someone in Minneapolis calls someone in California at 8:00 A.M., they may find the same thing happening. Between Minneapolis and California there is a two hour difference. Now what does this have to do with our amateur radio? Plenty! Nets have to be started the same time every time so as not to confuse people. In many cases there are other nets that follow on the same repeater or frequency, so it is very important for one to start and finish on time so the next one can take over at their correct starting time. We have a station from northern Japan checking into one of our nets quite often. It is a bit difficult to think of when it is 11:00 A.M. today in Minneapolis that it is 1:00 A.M tomorrow in Japan. Many well-seasoned operators have no trouble making these conversions, but even they have been known to make mistakes. If you have to, use a chart to figure out the time zones! Well, now you might think we have everything covered here but we don't. Someone thought it would be nice to take advantage of the longer sunlight days of summer by setting clocks ahead one hour in the spring and moving them back again in the autumn. So now in these places where "daylight saving" is used, that has to be factored into the equation. Well, before I get any more confused and run out of time, I think it is time to sign off. Before I do, however, if you want to find out more about time, check out the links below my signature. So, until next time. 73 es DX from K0HLA, Avery You can reach me Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 9:00 am until 1:00 PM at 763-520-0515 or by email at: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Avery's Time Links: Time zones: http://www.time.gov/timezone.cgi?UTC/s/0/java UTC/GMT Conversion: http://www.dxing.com/utcgmt.htm NIST: http://www.time.gov/ UTC/GMT Time Converter: http://www.worldtimeserver.com/convert_time_in_UTC.aspx GMT: Greenwich Mean Time - World Time in every Time Zone: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/ Current UTC/GMT Time: http://www.aldridge.com/client_serv/time.html Daylight Time - History: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/daylight_time.php Coordinated Universal Time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinated_Universal_Time . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/244%2523commen t-form> to handiham.org to post comments. _____ Media Hits: Huffington Post - The Ham Radio Voting Demographic Media Hits: Huffington Post - The Ham Radio Voting Demographic With all the election polls out there right now giving us facts about this demographic (blonde women over the age of 27 with slight mustaches) and that demographic (retirees who own goldfish and pray immediately after archery practice), the question arises: What do those who spend their free time surfing the dials on ham radios think about McCain and Obama? Yes, the coveted ham radio operator vote is out there. Read more of Greg Boose's story on the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-boose/the-lost-polling-demograp_b_140231. html _____ Sunspots reappear over the past weekend Latest solar image from SOHO Image credit: SOHO/MDI - Latest solar image The sun has begun churning up some new sunspots! Hopefully this will mean increased ionization in the upper reaches of the ionosphere and increased HF amateur radio activity. Spaceweather.com reported: "Over the weekend, sunspot 1007 grew <http://spaceweather.com/images2008/02nov08/1007_anim.gif?PHPSESSID=4s3uatqa nain4ouqn0ke9qa602> into a substantial active region with two planet-sized cores connected by dark magnetic filaments thousands of kilometers long." Read more at: http://www.spaceweather.com _____ <http://www.handiham.org/node/241> November Events by N1YXU <http://www.handiham.org/node/241> November Events by N1YXU November Events I wish each of you and your families a very blessed Thanksgiving this year. Our home will be filled with family, ranging in age from five years to ninety-eight years. I am already looking forward to sharing memories and making new ones. I also hope that each of you is able to get on the air and enjoy the hobby of amateur radio this month. Contest season is definitely here. As I am typing these words, my husband (Bruce, N1LN) is literally contesting in the next chair over. Have a great November. Until next month.. Regards, - Laurie Meier, N1YXU n1yxu@xxxxxxxx Read more at: http://www.handiham.org/node/241 _____ What did I do with that instruction manual? Yes, that is certainly a question all of us ask ourselves, especially with every item in the ham shack having multi-function features with menus and all sorts of digital this, that, and the other. You can be sure that sooner or later you will need the instruction manual for a transceiver, digital camera, computer printer, or whatever. There is an alternative to going to each manufacturer's website and trying to drill through all kinds of hard to navigate menus: Retrevo. You can find Retrevo at: <http://www.retrevo.com> http://www.retrevo.com We decided to check out this alternative and report to our members. Here's what we found out: 1. It is necessary to create a free user account if you wish to access manuals, though you can search first to find out if a particular one is available. 2. Retrevo has amateur radio manuals, but is not limited to ham radio. You can find manuals for all sorts of products there, which makes it a nice "go-to" site that I found relatively easy to use. 3. Retrevo will also produce search results from the web that relate to whatever you are looking for, plus links to products that you can buy related to your search. I expect that is how the website earns its living! 4. As you might expect, some manuals are available and others are not. For example, I tried searching for manuals on my Icom IC-706M2G and my older Yaesu FT-747GX. I found the Icom, but not the Yaesu, although Retrevo did return some good links to resources about the older rig, including reviews and articles, forums and blogs, as well as manufacturers and dealers. 5. Accessibility for people with disabilities is poor. A couple of deal-breakers for me were the failure to label graphic buttons, such as the one that links to the desired manual, with alternate text. Another is one of those challenge-response fields that requires you to type in a series of letters that are shown in a graphic before you can access the manual. The problem is that there is no way for a screenreader user to determine what the graphic says, since there is not a "disability" alternative offered. The correct way to design these systems always includes such an alternative. Our conclusion is that Retrevo is useful and worth checking out for a variety of instruction manuals, but still not where it needs to be with access for people with disabilities. _____ Elmer: Short-term memory loss Dear Elmer, Our VE team and radio club have been trying to help a candidate with short-term memory loss. What can be done to help him succeed? It is hard for him to remember what he has studied. Signed, Concerned VE Dear VE, One of the most frustrating problems in the world of disabilities is short-term memory loss. Sometimes this will come as a result of a head injury or a stroke. We have had a number of Handiham members with short-term memory loss who have been successful passing the Technician level license examination, but none of them had an easy time of it. You are really limited in what you can do at a VE session to accommodate a disability like this in a reasonable manner, especially if the VE team is short of members and you have limited time to deal with a large number of applicants. That said, a VE team can decide that a reasonable accommodation would be to provide the examinee with a volunteer reader who would preferably be a VE. This volunteer would sit with the examinee and systematically read each question and all four of the possible answers to the examinee. The examinee then specifies which answer to be marked down, and the volunteer marks the answer sheet. In this way, you are simplifying the process for someone who has the knowledge to answer the questions correctly but who may be getting bogged down in the process of reading the questions and marking the correct answer. It is as if you were cutting down on the number of processes running in a computer so that the primary process (answering the question correctly) can take priority. Care must be taken to avoid cuing the examinee as to the correct answer - you have to have a poker face - and voice! If the candidate seems to have no trouble with reading & understanding, then no accommodation need be given. However, accommodation is only one part of the picture. Usually it is difficult for these candidates to study and retain the material in the first place. A multifaceted approach to learning will include the following: 1. Repetition. I'm sure this is a no-brainer, but repeating and repeating and repeating is probably going to be necessary because retention is so much weaker in these candidates. 2. Presenting the material in different ways. Your candidate may be able to take in information visually and aurally. In other words, something like the Gordon West technician compact disc audio class may work to complement learning from the ARRL License Manual or from a PowerPoint presentation. The idea is to offer the same material through different senses -- seeing and hearing -- so that they complement and reinforce the learning process. 3. Patience. Candidates with short-term memory loss can take a very long time on the road to success. Repetition and practice examinations on the Internet are good ways to keep the learning process under way every day. These are not candidates who will be able to be successful after a single day cram session. It may take them many weeks or months, but it is possible in many cases for the candidate to achieve success with the Technician exam. It may very well be that at the Technician level, a person with short-term memory loss can have a very rich, rewarding ham radio experience and be a valued part of the amateur radio community in your area. I think it is certainly worth pursuing, and I applaud your efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. Good luck with your examinee and we all hope to hear him on the air soon! 73 - Elmer _____ This week at Headquarters: Handiham Nets change one hour related to GMT Handiham Nets change one hour related to GMT The United States returned to Standard time at 2:00 AM Sunday, November 2. Clocks were turned back one hour. Handiham nets keep their times relative to local time, not GMT. Therefore, the 11:00 AM EchoLink net will be heard at 17:00 GMT beginning November 3.You may email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with suggestions or bug fixes. In other news... * We would like to hear from you about the Handiham HF nets. Do you want to keep a 20 meter net, a 15 meter net, and a 10 meter net? How about the 40 meter CW net? Do you remember the old 17 meter non-net informal get-together started by K2WS on 18.165 MHz? Please write to <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your ideas and suggestions. Now is the time to decide, as the solar cycle begins to favor better HF conditions! EchoLink screenshot * We would also like to hear your thoughts about how to solve the perennial problem of Handiham members who cannot get EchoLink to work because of firewall issues, cranky routers, and clueless Internet service providers. Although the wonderful volunteers at EchoLink provide extensive online help and support pages, some of our members just can't get port forwarding configured, often because they do not have local technical support. Of course there is always the option of the public proxy list, but we are wondering if it would be useful to create a bank of Handiham proxies that could provide these members with another option. This would be a volunteer project for a number of hams who would be willing to set up and administer a few proxies. What do you think? Let us know at <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx * We are still getting questions about 2009 Radio Camps. We are not planning a California Camp in 2009, due to budget concerns. Minnesota Radio Camp dates are tentatively set at Sunday August 16 to Sunday August 23, 2009. Both Sundays are travel days. The change to an earlier week in August will allow us to have the entire camp week before schools and universities start classes. This will help us recruit camp staff and school age campers. Another benefit is that travel to Bemidji, Minnesota by economical scheduled bus service on Sunday is an option. * It seems hard to believe, but we have reached the half-century mark, 50, in the number of online audio lectures for General Class. Fortunately, there is not too much more material left to cover, so this lecture series for our members studying online will be completed soon. Don't worry - the audio will remain online so that new students can begin studying with us anytime. Several of our members have suggested that we name the audio files to reflect the content of each lecture. Right now, the files have generic, numbered filenames, such as 01_gen.mp3. If each file were named according to its contents, they suggest, it would be easier for users to go back and find specific topics to review. Well, there are a few problems with that approach. Non-standard file names mean rewriting the HTML code on the website every week. We've tried it, and we have found that we make many more mistakes, which means the links don't work. There is also the problem of a variety of topics that are covered in a single lecture, which makes it hard to decide how to name the file. So it isn't that we have never thought about file naming - we have. It's just that our current system works the best for efficiency and website administration. * Jerry, N0VOE, is volunteering in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Look for him on the Handiham EchoLink net from callsign W0ZSW on those days. * Pat, WA0TDA, is taking vacation day on Friday, but will still send out a weekly education letter, so look for that. * Tony Tretter's popular Extra Class Math tips audio tape is often requested. Now it is available online in MP3 format in the members section. Look in Education and then Op Skills, but I will provide a direct link in the Friday education letter. * QST, CQ, QCWA Journal, & WORLDRADIO audio digests are available for our members. Login <http://handiham.org/user> to the member section of the Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The November QST and Worldradio magazine digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF. He will soon start the November CQ digest, however, as of this writing, he has still not received his copy. George, N0SBU, has finished the November audio digest tape and we will be mailing it either Thursday or next Tuesday. We have decided that in future months we will not wait for CQ to arrive, as the other magazines are already completed and it will make our audio digest very late to wait for this one publication. CQ digest articles will be included for our blind members a month late. November's CQ audio will show up in the December tape digest. * 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: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx 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@xxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx 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@xxxxxxxxxxx> patt@xxxxxxxxxxx * Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx * Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxx * Avery, K0HLA, Educational Coordinator: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx * Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxx * Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxx 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.