This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. You can listen to this news online: MP3 audio stream: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this podcast in iTunes: <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Description: Subscribe in iTunes RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! Description: View of IC-7200 and other gear on the WA0TDA operating deskYes, this morning's webcam photo reveals that the WA0TDA ham shack is still not as tidy as it might be. The magazines on the left are ones I use for researching equipment and recording for our blind members, the IC-7200 is in the center and an LDG AT-200PRO tuner sits on top of the rig and takes care of touching up the SWR on the Windom and vertical antennas. Mounted below the cabinet to the left of the Icom is a Yaesu FT-2800M, a 2 meter radio that's just plain reliable and easy to use. If you have sharp eyes, you might be able to make out the NHK World coffee mug my son Will, KC0LJL, brought back from Tokyo for me. The IC-706M2G is out of sight below the edge of the desk. Tidying up the ham shack is always something that needs doing, but is generally scheduled for "tomorrow". Now that the new year is so close, I can make it a new year's resolution. That's called creative procrastination! December already. It hardly seems possible that we are nearly at the end of 2010. When I think back on all of the things I had planned to do this year, it seems that many of them are still on the "to do" list, especially the work I knew needed to be done to bring my ham shack up to par. The one big thing I did manage was acquiring and installing the new ICOM IC-7200 transceiver, a vast improvement over my aging and cranky Yaesu FT-747GX. The main ham shack computer was also replaced and both ham shack computers were outfitted with Windows 7, bringing much-needed updates to the operating systems. Left undone were all but the most essential antenna maintenance, and this leaves me with antennas that really should be upgraded or replaced altogether. Well, it's 15°F with a stiff wind and snow out there in the backyard right now, so the chances of getting the motivation to do antenna work seem pretty slim. I miss having my EchoLink node operational, but have simply not had the time to set it up and put it on the air. The node had been working just fine, but when I replaced the ham shack computer that ran the node, I ran into some configuration problems with the new machine and with many other things clamoring for my attention, the node simply had to go silent. On the positive side I was able to configure Ham Radio Deluxe to control two rigs at the same time to simplify logging. Now that I have written all of this stuff down, maybe I didn't do so badly this year after all. Meanwhile, back at the office... Description: Scissors cutting a dollar bill - budget cuttingDescription: Handiham World Screenshot2010 has been a challenging year economically for nonprofit programs like ours. Still, when I think back to what we accomplished during 2010, we managed pretty well. We completed the office move to Camp Courage, which was no small accomplishment. Thanks to help from volunteers, we were able to get an excellent wire antenna strung up so that remote base station W0ZSW could be on the air from Camp Courage. Remote base station W0EQO was maintained in working order throughout the year and remains an excellent resource at Courage North. We managed to run a successful Minnesota Radio Camp at Camp Courage, the first radio camp in many years to return to that location after a long run of successful sessions at Courage North. We maintained and even expanded the online audio offerings available to our members any time from the Handiham website. Again, thanks to volunteer assistance, we were able to maintain the audio cassette tape availability to our members who still do not have access to computers. We were able to publish the Handiham World Weekly E-Letter all year long with very few interruptions in all of its various formats including the weekly podcast. A summer print edition of Handiham World with a giving envelope was also published and distributed. In your mailbox soon... Now, as we approach the end of the year, a new print edition of Handiham World will soon be arriving in your mailbox. It has Handiham news, but it also contains that all-important giving envelope. Please consider using the giving envelope to send your tax-deductible gift in support of the Handiham System again this year. As I said, it has been a challenging year for nonprofits. Our parent organization, Courage Center, has worked hard to be as efficient as possible, and all of us have had to work very hard to provide a high standard of service. That includes the Handiham program, which has seen its share of belt-tightening over the past year. If you support what we do it really is critical to step up to the plate at this time of year and use that giving envelope. We really appreciate it, and thank all of our members, volunteers, and supporters. Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham System Manager _____ Lost file I heard from a member this morning that he couldn't find one of the audio files on the Handiham website. It was a 2008 QST article on choosing your first HF rig. I seldom lose a file, but that one was really, really gone. It's too bad, but maybe just as well since several new radios have been introduced in recent years and the article was probably out of date. I apologize for the inconvenience, and I may just consider writing an updated version and recording it myself, time permitting. _____ Re-do! 3.715 MHz Test tonight at 20:00 hours Central Time - 30 minutes after start of Echolink Net Description: FT-718 rig Several of us will be listening and hopefully starting a roundtable on the Advanced Class frequency 3.715 MHz plus or minus QRM at around 30 minutes into the evening Echolink net. I can't think of a better time, because we will have the Echolink net as a fallback place to make contact. Also, the Echolink net control can remind the participants about 75 meters. We will also look at a once per week 20 meter net. The Handiham 20 meter net is still listed for 14.265 MHz at 9:30 Central Time on Mondays, plus or minus the Salvation Army Net. Shall we try listening again? It might be fun to get it going. Please e-mail me this week with your frequency and time suggestions, frequency reports, and other suggestions about the net. 73, Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ A dip in the pool Lately there has been news about a Dutch study <http://www.dailytech.com/Study+Suggests+WiFi+Could+Be+Harming+Trees/article 20281.htm> that showed trees in the vicinity of Wi-Fi Internet signals suffered some damage. Results of the study have not been replicated, and I have to say that I look upon this so-called "study" with a great deal of skepticism. However, RF energy can cause damage to living tissue. It's just that the power levels in the study are rather low and the widespread use of Wi-Fi Internet would certainly have caused problems elsewhere if there were any real danger. Some of the questions in the Technician Question Pool relate to radio frequency energy exposure. Let's see what ones you can get right. Here we go: T0C01 What type of radiation are VHF and UHF radio signals? A. Gamma radiation B. Ionizing radiation C. Alpha radiation D. Non-ionizing radiation The answer is D, non-ionizing radiation. ~~ T0C02 Which of the following frequencies has the lowest Maximum Permissible Exposure limit? A. 3.5 MHz B. 50 MHz C. 440 MHz D. 1296 MHz The answer is B, 50 MHz. (We'll tell you why in a moment.) ~~ T0C03 What is the maximum power level that an amateur radio station may use at VHF frequencies before an RF exposure evaluation is required? A. 1500 watts PEP transmitter output B. 1 watt forward power C. 50 watts PEP at the antenna D. 50 watts PEP reflected power The answer is C, 50 watts PEP at the antenna. ~~ T0C04 What factors affect the RF exposure of people near an amateur station antenna? A. Frequency and power level of the RF field B. Distance from the antenna to a person C. Radiation pattern of the antenna D. All of these choices are correct This is one of those tricky ones where it is D, because all of the choices are correct. It serves to remind us that we can make our stations compliant with safety standards by changing more than one thing. ~~ T0C05 Why do exposure limits vary with frequency? A. Lower frequency RF fields have more energy than higher frequency fields B. Lower frequency RF fields do not penetrate the human body C. Higher frequency RF fields are transient in nature D. The human body absorbs more RF energy at some frequencies than at others The correct choice is D, the human body absorbs more RF energy at some frequencies than at others. 50 MHz seems to be one of those frequencies where more RF energy is absorbed by the body, which explains why it has the lowest maximum permissible exposure limit. ~~ Even those of us who have our Extra Class licenses don't always remember this part of the rules and regulations. Many amateur radio operators were licensed and went through their upgrades before RF energy exposure was ever a concern. It is only in the relatively recent history of amateur radio that RF exposure questions appeared in the question pools. Remember, the questions we just went through are in the new Technician Class pool that just came into effect this past July. Safety is always a paramount concern in amateur radio, and obviously the question pool committee felt that every new operator should be aware of how RF energy can affect the human body. But getting back to that Dutch study about the trees, it appeared that only one species of tree was affected and that there was a probability that RF energy had nothing to do with it. Disease from another source is expected to be identified as the real culprit here, and, as I said, other researchers could not replicate the results. This does serve to remind us that human beings have always been suspicious of things they cannot see or don't understand and they may be quick to jump to conclusions about RF energy, which is invisible and not well-understood by the general public. Hence, every so often there seems to be a new scare of one sort or another about RF energy. My advice is to be careful, following good practice in the design and operation of your amateur radio station. Pay attention to the RF exposure guidelines and enjoy getting on the air. Take comfort in the fact that although modern urbanites are bathed in RF energy all day long, we are living longer than ever before. It is in the parts of the world with low RF energy exposure that people have life expectancies in the 40s, and that is because of poor sanitation, bad diet, and disease ? not to mention political unrest and the danger of crop failure. When you put RF exposure into perspective and operate according to safety guidelines, it hardly seems like something to keep worrying about, does it? _____ Handiham Radio Club Notes By Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, Handiham Radio Club President If you use a screen reader, I would urge you to take this survey. These folks at WebAIM <http://webaim.org/> (Web Accessibility in Mind) do good work and gather and disseminate valuable information to the disabled, web development, accessibility, and other communities. 3rd Screen Reader User Survey: We are pleased to announce our 3rd screen reader user survey: http://weba.im/survey3 If you use a screen reader, please take a few minutes to complete it. The results provide invaluable information to web developers, standards bodies, assistive technology vendors, and others that are passionate about web accessibility. You can see the results of our previous surveys at <http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey/> http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey/ and <http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey2/> http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey2/ This latest survey will give us trends and changes from previous surveys, as well as insight into many new and interesting questions. It's important that we get many screen reader users to complete the survey. Even if you use a screen reader only for evaluation and testing, your responses are valuable - particularly because they provide a useful comparison with other screen reader users. Please help us spread the word and the URL: http://weba.im/survey3 Thanks! Jared Smith, www.WebAIM.org Ken also reports that Audio Books from RFB&D Are Now Accessible on the Mac, according to RFB&D. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic® (RFB&D®), the nation's largest provider of educational audio textbooks, announced that its entire collection is now accessible on Mac as well as Windows operating systems through the introduction of RFB&D ReadHear, developed by gh, LLC in partnership with RFB&D. More at: <http://www.rfbd.org> http://www.rfbd.org Handiham Radio Club member Grady Ebert, KB5SDU, reports that he is picking up net control duties for the Friday Handicapper's Information Net on 7.270 MHz. Congratulations to Grady on taking a leadership role! Look for the net at 2:00 PM United States Central Time. _____ Extraterrestrial life? Hey, maybe it will be really out of this world DX! The headline is : "NASA SETS NEWS CONFERENCE ON ASTROBIOLOGY DISCOVERY Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 P.M. EST On Dec. 2". Well, nothing piques our interest like a big announcement that can't be released until tomorrow. I'll sure be watching! WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website at http://www.nasa.gov. For NASA TV streaming video and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv For more information about NASA astrobiology activities, visit: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov _____ Mountaintop operating - get there by goat Description: goat Summits on the Air (SOTA) is sort of like islands on the air, but for mountaintops! See how it's done in this engaging video as "goathiker" climbs McCurdy Mountain, Colorado to add another station to Summits on the Air. He writes: "That hike in to McCurdy Park was brutal; seven miles on a rough trail and with 3200 feet of elevation gain! Weather turned freezing cold Friday night on us. Campfire warmed us some but early into the tents kept us toasty. Goat's water was frozen Saturday AM. It was slow getting up and started. Lots of hot drinks to get the day going." Goats? Yes, WG0AT takes a hike up the mountain with his two goats, Rooster & Peanut, who pack the radio gear up the slope. Nice audio with great background music and some good audio of on the air contacts. Some of the audio while atop the mountain has pretty severe wind noise, giving you an idea what putting a summit on the air can be like. The Yaesu rig ran 5 Watts on batteries. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldPcjdvtIw4 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldPcjdvtIw4&feature=player_profilepage> &feature=player_profilepage _____ Remote base progress report: 01 December 2010 Description: Kenwood TS-570 Both stations are functional. Report problems to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Would you like to try the station right now? If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the radio, you can search for W0ZSW-L, node 524906, and connect. Entering a frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. Don't forget about our station at Courage North, in far northern Minnesota's lake country. If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the radio, you can search for W0EQO-L, node 261171, and connect. Just as with the other station, entering a frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. _____ On the air SRD 2010: The 12th Annual SKYWARN Recognition Day <http://www.crh.noaa.gov/hamradio/index.php> Special Event will take place this Saturday, December 4, 2010. Read more at: <http://www.crh.noaa.gov/hamradio/index.php> http://www.crh.noaa.gov/hamradio/index.php _____ This week @ HQ Description: Radiogram from K0VTT Nicest thing in the mail this week: This is a radiogram sent by WB9FHP to me via K0VTT and N0YR. It reads: "Enjoyed your article in December World Radio online about traveling abroad. Keep up the good work with Handihams a fine organization. Signed Larry, WB9FHP". Thanks to everyone who works in public service communications and the National Traffic System. It's always fun to receive (or send) a message via amateur radio. * The Handiham office will be closed every Friday through the end of the year. We will still release the Audio email unless we notify you otherwise. * The NCVEC Question Pool Committee is working on the new General Class pool, which will be effective on 1 July 2011. We have heard that the pool questions will be more difficult, and there will be more total questions in the new pool. Our advice to those of you who have been dragging your feet about getting your General Class upgrade is to get busy right now and pass that General! If you wait too long, you will have to go through the new pool and take a harder exam. * Once the new 2011 General Pool is released, we will begin working on getting it into the most accessible format possible. George, N0SBU, has helped us in the past by editing the pool down to include only the correct answers, which is not meant to replace the regular NCVEC pool, but to be helpful as a study guide for our members who use screenreaders and who appreciate a shorter pool for review. * New General Class audio lectures tied to the 2011 pool will begin in the summer of 2011. ARRL and W5YI study materials should be ready in the Spring, probably by Dayton HAMVENTION®. * I've asked Santa for a new ARRL Handbook, which is quite a good deal now on the ARRL website <http://www.arrl.org/shop/The-ARRL-Handbook-2011-Hardcover-Edition/> . I'll write up some notes about accessibility once I get a chance to look the book over - and the CD, which contains the PDF contents of the book. * A big thank you to our net control stations for "saying yes" and volunteering for this leadership role. We really appreciate your help and everyone has noticed that the nets are running more smoothly than ever. · "Get well soon!" to Jerry, N0VOE, who has been under the weather lately, but getting better by the day. He will not be available for net control duties for awhile. Description: Jerry Kloss, N0VOE, a long-time Handiham volunteer and former staff member. · Tonight is net night. The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +6 hours, or 01:30 GMT Thursday morning. The 3.715 MHz HF net begins around 30 minutes later, at 8 PM. EchoLink nodes: KA0PQW-R, node 267582 N0BVE-R, node 89680 HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.) Other ways to connect: IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) WIRES system number 1427 * We need an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES node in Rochester, MN so that Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, can continue to check into the Handiham net. Chris, KG0BP, has shut down his node because he has moved to the Twin Cities. * Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your changes 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 us. _____ Supporting Handihams - Year-end is a critical time. Description: graphic showing figure using wheelchair holding hand of standing figure Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage Center's secure website. It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you need to use the pull-down menu to designate your gift to the Handiham program. · Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website: https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294 <https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344> &srcid=344 · Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down Designation menu to select "Handi-Hams". · Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift is a tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information. This would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example. We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and we plan to continue doing just that in 2010. _____ Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Handiham Membership Dues Reminder: Handiham renewals are 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. Your renewal date is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends 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 Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532 or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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.1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new hams on the air. 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: 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! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handiham System Reach me by email at: patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ Description: ARRL 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.