[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 8 July 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2009 13:20:30 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 8 July 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:

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Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat sitting on bench, wearing stacked straw summer hats

Did you miss us last week? Well, after all, it is summertime here in
Minnesota and we have to take a few days off to enjoy the fine weather. Next
week will also be a "vacation week" for your weekly e-letter and audio
lectures, but this week it's business as usual. In case you suspect that we
are inordinately lazy in the summer, I think I should point out in our
defense that this is typically the slowest time of year in the office, so it
is the best time for staff to enjoy some time off without affecting our
service to members all that much. Other organizations, including our friends
at TIPSNET, take a summer break, as do many radio clubs. Once ARRL Field Day
is over, the pace of ham radio slows considerably.

Not, mind you, that there are not things to do on the bands and around the
ham shack!

I've been slowly collecting the materials for a new 160 meter wire antenna.
This will be a random-wire job, and I'm going to tune it right at the
feedpoint with an LDG autotuner. I've always wanted to try this kind of
antenna arrangement, and the little LDG tuner is just the ticket. A
random-wire antenna is really just an end-fed wire of more or less whatever
length fits in a given space, and I have a nice, deep back yard, so there is
no problem at all running the wire out at least 125 feet. If I cared to put
a bend in it, I could easily make it 200. The problem with 160 meters, and
the reason so few hams actually use that band, is that the antennas needed
to operate on a frequency like 1.9 MHz are very long and thus very difficult
to fit into a typical urban property. Let's take a moment to calculate the
length of a half-wave dipole at 1.9 MHz, shall we? 

Start with the formula: 468 divided by the frequency in MHz = the length of
a half-wave in feet.

468 divided by 1.9 = 246.3 feet.  That's a long dipole antenna!  In fact,
many operators barely have space for a 40 meter dipole that requires only
about 65 feet.  A vertical antenna might be a consideration, but for 160
meters, it could easily top 120 feet for a quarter-wave. I think folks in my
neighborhood might notice something that tall in the back yard!

So consider the beauty of the end-fed Marconi wire. Like the vertical
antenna, it is fed at the base, with the antenna's radiator near the ground
and a counterpoise of radials or other conducting material serving to cut
current losses in the ground near the feedpoint. The wire radiator goes up
for whatever distance is practical, near the roofline of my house in this
case, and then the wire continues out into the long back yard to make up the
rest of the required length. If I use an antenna tuner right near the
feedpoint, the tuner can decide if the radiating length is too long, in
which case it will add a bit of capacitance to electrically shorten the
antenna, and if the radiating length is too short for a given frequency, the
tuner will add a bit of inductance to electrically lengthen the wire. I love
letting an antenna tuner do the work - it's so much easier and more
practical than cutting the antenna wire to exactly the right length, which
is always time-consuming and problematic. If you cut off too much wire, the
antenna tunes too high in frequency, and then you are stuck. There is an old
joke about "reaching into your toolkit and pulling out the wire-stretcher",
but that mythical tool has never been in any toolkit I've ever owned.

A Marconi antenna works best with an extensive radial system, but I'm not
going to worry too much about that. I'll use the house's copper water pipe
system, which is also near the antenna's feed point, as well as a galvanized
metal window well that is conveniently located at the basement egress window
near the feedpoint. I figure I can always add a radial or two if that isn't
enough.  Even shorter radials will act to reduce ground losses near the
feedpoint, which is where most of the current flows anyway.

The 160 meter band is more useful than you might think. Even during a
sunspot minimum, 160 meters remains reliably "open" during evening and
nighttime hours. Although it can be difficult to use in the summer
thunderstorm season when static levels rise, the 160 meter band always has
some nighttime activity. My local radio club hosts an evening net on or
around 1.9 MHz at 20:00 United States Central Time. You can find the SARA
net nightly except Tuesday & Thursday. SARA, the Stillwater Amateur Radio
Association, is a Handiham affiliate.

My goal is to get my wire antenna up & running before winter - antenna work
is one ham radio activity that is best done in the summertime! For anyone
out there looking for "bonus points", convert the length of an end-fed wire
1/4-wave at 1.9 MHz to meters. 

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager


Avery's QTH - The controversy continues!

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/508> Pound Puppies with Morse code key

Image: George, N0SBU, photographed his pound puppies posing with a Morse
code telegraphy key. Those puppies look pretty tired from practicing their
Morse code!

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

It seems the controversy continues. Should there be a waiting period before
up-grading to the next license class and if so, what license classes should
it cover?

Let me tell you a little story about a Novice Class Operator who was a "hot"
CW operator. This happened in the days when the Novice license was good for
only one year and then you had to either up-grade to General Class or leave
the air. Also, way back then, the Novice was to use no more than 75 watts
and the frequency control had to be done using fixed-frequency crystals and
they were limited to some CW bands only. They were the upper parts of the CW
bands where the other operators didn't do much operating anyway. These
restrictions were to help prevent the new person from making errors or
interfering with the more seasoned operators. The idea was that a person
should be able to get their speed from 5 words per minute up to 13 words per
minute in that year so they could pass their General Class code exam. That
year also gave the person time to study for the General Class while gaining
experience on the air.

There was this one Novice who got pretty good with the International Morse
Code and did a lot of operating on the 40 & 15 meter CW bands. He had
several crystals, so he could move around some on the Novice bands and
increase his chances of making contacts.

As his year was nearly up, he was ready to up-grade to General Class and so
went down to the FCC office and took and passed the General exam. After
about a three month wait, the new General Class license came in the mail.
Back then you had to have the actual License in hand before you could get on
with your up-grade. The new General Class ham was really excited because now
he could use that brand new VFO and Vibroplex bug to send Morse code. The
bug didn't get much of a workout on the Novice bands because the typical
Novice speed of five words per minute is pretty slow and it was hard to
adjust the Vibroplex down that slow.

Gosh, he was all excited and ready to go! He tuned across the 40 meter CW
band and heard a couple of stations in conversation with each other and both
of them signing slash MM. So, he zero beat them with his new VFO and broke
in on them. For awhile a very nice three way conversation was taking place.
Then suddenly the two slash/MM stations were going way too fast for the new
General Class operator to copy. Way too fast was not the correct thing to
say. These operators were running at lightning speeds. He had made the
mistake of breaking in on a couple of hams that were taking a break from
their duties as ships radio operators where all they did was send & receive
code all day and they were high-speed ops. So he very sheepishly asked them
to please QRS (Slow down). What he had not realized was that as he was
sending he was speeding up and the others were just being courteous and
keeping up.

Now don't you think a longer waiting period might have prevented this very
embarrassing situation? I do!

By the way in case you have not guessed that Novice was me...

So, until next time

73 es DX de K0HLA Avery

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 <http://www.handiham.org/node/507> Events by N1YXU

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/507> Events by N1YXU

July Events

Officially, welcome to summer! It certainly feels like summer here in North
Carolina with the temperatures already having bordered on the century mark.

I hope each of you had a great time at Field Day. Our club members certainly
did (despite the heat!). If you happened to work W4EZ, please let me know.
That is the callsign our group used in Field Day.

Take some time to look through the events for July. I'm sure there will be
some that will catch your interest.

Until next month..

- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

.        Read the N1YXU events column on <http://www.handiham.org/node/507>


 <http://www.handiham.org/node/506> SOHO image: Sunspots return!

 <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/070409soho.JPG> SOHO
image: Sunspots return!

In this SOHO image, there are giant sunspots, returning like fireworks on
the 4th of July! They are part of cycle 24, too. C'mon ol' sol - you can do
it!  Although this huge sunspot group is rotating away from us now on July
8, it is still visible.  You can check out the SOHO website for a safe way
to view the sun:



Testing Windows 7

Testing Windows 7

The new Windows 7 operating system will be available in October. I have been
testing a "release candidate" version of this newest version of Windows, and
I must say that I'm really impressed with its performance. I installed it on
a separate hard drive so that I can continue to work with my current version
of Vista. I'm pleased to report that it's "so far, so good" with the
EchoLink application. I'll continue to test various other ham radio apps,
but I'd like to hear from any of our readers and listeners out there who
might also be testing the W7 release candidate. If you have news to share,
let me know and we'll post it here.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA

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Tower collapse results in Field Day death

The CQ Newsroom mailing list reports that a Michigan amateur radio operator
was killed when a Field Day tower collapsed.

Larry Prelog, KE4PM, of Niles, Michigan, has died as the result of a tower
collapse at his club's Field Day site. According to the local
"Herald-Palladium" newspaper, Prelog was helping to set up antennas for the
Blossomland Amateur Radio Association's Field Day operation when the tower
he was climbing on buckled and collapsed.

Read the story on the ARRL website:  <http://www.arrl.org/?artid=9042> 

See a nice photo of Larry entitled "We remember our friend" on the BARA
website:  <http://www.blossomlandara.org/> 

Read a story on the Herald-Palladium news site entitled "2 tower legs bent,
caused collapse that killed Prelog":


Handiham History: We hear from one of the early members
 <http://www.handiham.org/images/hh_history_book2.jpg> Handiham history
scrapbook - click for large image
Image: George, N0SBU, located a scrapbook of early Handiham history. You can
email us at  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with comments on
Handiham history, and that is exactly what Don, WA0YAH, has done! Click on
the image thumbnail for a larger view of the scrapbook.

Pat, you can pass this on to George for Handi-Ham history:

I have enjoyed reading the articles in the Newsletter about the beginning of
Handi-Hams so I thought I'd share my Handi-Ham experience. In the 60's I was
a fairly new spinal cord injured quad and started attending summer camp at
Camp Courage. There I met Roselyn Mahowald, forget her call, Leon Mahowald's
(WA0CJS) sister. She strongly encouraged me to become a ham. She became a
silent key in 66 and I didn't pursue getting a license. In later years Eddy
Thorson (WA0RRA) had her license and operated a radio at camp and I got the
bug. I contacted the Handi-Hams in Rochester in 68. One day Ned Carman
showed up at my home in rural Belle Plaine with a Heathkit Receiver, wire
dipole antenna, and study books and code tapes. I wasn't able to use a
straight key so Ned brought a four tube electronic paddle keyer. It had its
own internal speaker and with a little adapting to the paddle I could
practice code.

WA0YAH, Don 


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

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. 


Meteor scatter at Radio Camp?

Matt, KA0PQW, and I were talking today on the radio and Matt remembered that
the Perseid meteor shower, an annual event, happens right around the time
Handiham Radio Camp is in session. Sure enough, when I checked Wikipedia I
found that the timing just might favor some meteor scatter radio propagation
during the week of August 16 - 23. We may just take a shot at learning a new
mode of operation as we try bouncing radio signals off the ionized trails
left by meteors as the travel through the upper reaches of the atmosphere.



This week at Headquarters:

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

.        Some changes are in store for the Handiham program. There is
nothing new about things changing, is there?  Over the years since the
Handiham System was conceived by Ned, W0ZSW, there have been lots of
changes. The more you look at our history project, the more you realize that
change is a normal and necessary part of anything! The thing about change
these days is that the pace of change is getting faster, so in other words,
even "change" is changing! Yikes! How are we (and you) supposed to keep up
with all of it? What we plan to do is to make a special web page that has
news about changes at the Handiham System. When there is something new, I'll
let you know and you can use that news page to keep up to date. We have
talked before about changes like not operating the California Radio Camp
this year due to a funding shortfall in this bad economy, and I think we
need to have a news page to let you know what kind of plans are in the works
for our Radio Camp sessions and our other services. It is better to have one
place to go to for news on program changes than to have to search all over
the website. While the news about not running a California camp session this
year was "bad news", I want to emphasize that not all news is "bad".
Sometimes change is just what happens, as when technology improves and
replaces older technology, like digital audio replacing cassette tapes or
like email replacing ballpoint pens and paper. Making it easier for our
members to keep up with what's happening in the Handiham program just makes
good sense!

.        Potential hacker attacks make working on the website more
time-consuming. This week we were informed by our web hosting service that a
security vulnerability had been discovered and it was necessary to turn off
secure FTP access to the HTML directory. What all that means is that I'm
going to have a heck of a time keeping things up to date on the members only
section of the website. The main public website is not affected, since I do
all the updates through the Drupal content management system from any web
browser, like Internet Explorer or Firefox. I'll carry on with updates as
best as I can, but things are going to be a bit less spontaneous, I'm
afraid. It is good to know that our hosting service is taking security
seriously, which is why our website remains safe and secure. The secure FTP
will eventually (we hope) be enabled again once proper security measures 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 Handiham World Summer
1979 historical edition, 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.

.        I have fixed an error on the Handiham website that indicated the
Radio Camp application page was under construction. It is not, and you can
download the forms you need with no problem.

.        Minnesota Radio Camp application forms are online! The sooner we
hear from you, the better -- if you are planning to join us at this summer's
session. One of the summer camps that had been held at Courage North in
previous years has been canceled, which means that people who could not get
into that session may want to apply for the Radio Camp. Incidentally, you
can e-mail us with your ideas for projects and topics at the upcoming
Minnesota Radio Camp session. Thanks for all your ideas so far!

The waterfront at Lake George

Join us this August at Minnesota Radio Camp.

Download the camp application package, which contains information pages and
the forms you need to apply for camp. Camp starts on Sunday, August 16, and
finishes on Sunday, August 23. It's a week of extraordinary fun, during
which you can earn your ham radio license or just get on the air. And it can
cost as little as $240 for the week. There are two choices for formats,
either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF. 

*       Download Word Forms <http://handiham.org/manuals/forms/mncamp/word/>

*       Download PDF Forms <http://handiham.org/manuals/forms/mncamp/pdf/> 
*       Not <http://www.handiham.org/node/358>  sure?  Take a photo tour!

Having trouble downloading or have questions about Radio Camp or Handihams?
Just email Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx, anytime.


.        The main Handiham website at www.handiham.org will be updated
daily, usually multiple times a day as news breaks.

*       In Operating Skills: 

*       The July digest issue of CQ is now posted. 
*       That means that now all three July digest issues of CQ, Worldradio,
& QST digest audio have been completed for our blind members by Bob, N1BLF,
and are posted. 
*       Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the July "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. 

*       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

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.


.        By wa0tda at 07/08/2009 - 18:11

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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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