[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 5 November 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 13:48:26 -0600

Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 5 November

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

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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

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


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's Time Links:

Time zones:

UTC/GMT Conversion:


UTC/GMT Time Converter:

GMT: Greenwich Mean Time - World Time in every Time Zone:

Current UTC/GMT Time:

Daylight Time - History:

Coordinated Universal Time:

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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:


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
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.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..   


- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read more at:


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> 

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
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.

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
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
*       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@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


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> 

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@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
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