[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 01 December 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2010 14:56:54 -0600

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. 

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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

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.  


Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 


A dip in the pool

Lately there has been news about a Dutch study
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:

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.
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.)
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.
What factors affect the RF exposure of people near an amateur station
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.
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:

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
and  <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: 

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> 

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!

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:


For more information about NASA astrobiology activities, visit:



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."


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.



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

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:


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

*       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

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


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&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

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

·         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:

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 Handiham System

Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


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.



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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 01 December 2010 - Patrick Tice