[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 03 August 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2011 15:44:21 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
<unsaved://Untitled_1.htm#Contact> , or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. 

You can listen to this news online:

MP3 audio stream:


Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:


Get this podcast in iTunes:

 <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Description: Subscribe in


RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:



Welcome to Handiham World!

Description: Coils on Butternut vertical covered with snow.

Photo: Butternut vertical at the WA0TDA QTH is covered with snow.  Maybe
this "cool" picture will help us all get through this spell of hot, humid
summer weather!

Handiham Radio Camp begins on Monday, 8 August.  The weather across most of
North America has been uncommonly hot, often setting new temperature
records.  Fortunately we did get a nice weather break today here in
Minnesota as the humidity dropped a bit and the morning temperature was in
the low 60's Fahrenheit.  Of course we would like to see nice, comfortable
weather during our week at Camp Courage, but there is another reason I look
forward to less heat and humidity in the atmosphere: there will be less
interference from thunderstorms!  Thunderstorm static is a common problem
for amateur radio operators who enjoy making contacts on the lower frequency
HF bands. The 75 m band is still somewhat usable during the summer months,
but it does take patience to put up with all of the static from storms that
are sometimes hundreds of miles away. Add to that the long summer days when
absorption gets really high and makes signals so attenuated that they really
have a hard time competing with the static crashes and you really have quite
a challenging radio environment. Believe it or not, some amateur radio
operators still even make contacts on the 160 m band during the summer. That
is the absolute worst of our HF bands during the high summer season because
it is most affected by absorption and QRN. 

Sometimes it makes sense to simply shift gears and try some other bands and
modes of operation. I really like staying in touch with my friends on the
EchoLink-enabled repeaters and even through EchoLink on my computer or smart
phone. Summertime can be an excellent time to start listening on the VHF
bands, too. June is typically a good month to experiment with making single
side band contacts on the 6 m band. As summer continues to unfold and you
get into July and August, you may find that it is possible to make single
side band contacts on the 2 m band. If you like CW, you may find others who
share your interest on VHF over the summer months. Summertime conditions,
while bad for HF operation, can sometimes make for excellent long-distance
contacts on VHF.

Another excellent summertime amateur radio activity is to do an antenna
assessment and make a list of everything that needs doing to keep your
station on the air before the cold winter months arrive. Believe me, I have
done antenna work in every single month of the year and it is much easier to
strip wires, put on connectors, climb ladders or towers, and handle aluminum
tubing during the summer! A big antenna installation almost has to be done
in the summer months when there is good weather and adequate daylight after
dinner, when help may be available from other radio club members. 

Speaking of antennas, I had to take down two of my wire antennas earlier
this week. There was a dead tree in the backyard and I had made arrangements
with a tree guy to come over and cut it down as well as do some trimming of
the other trees around our property here at the home QTH.  Well, I was
surprised when the tree guy called and told me he had an opening on Monday,
so he would be able to come right over that morning and do the work. "Sure",
I said, before remembering that both of my wire antennas either ran through
the tree that needed to come down or close to it. So I ended up having to
rush outside and try to get the antennas down in the half-hour to 45 minutes
before the tree crew arrived. That turned out to be a decision point,
because I had already taken part in an antenna assessment earlier this
summer and with help from my local radio club will get a new, longer wire
antenna installed. That made it easy to just go get my extendable tree
branch pruner and cut the old antennas right down without doing any
climbing. That leaves me with my trusty Butternut nine band HF vertical
ground-mounted in the backyard. The good news was that I had already
completed my summer maintenance on the vertical and it was ready to go for
use as my main HF antenna. It had needed replacement of one section of
cracked aluminum tubing and the addition of new radials. Had I not followed
my summer plan of getting antenna maintenance started early, I might have
been off the air right now except for the VHF and UHF bands.

I guess the moral of the story is that it pays to have a plan and to get
things done earlier rather than later when at all possible. You never know
what might be coming up later today, next week, next month, or next year. It
doesn't hurt to build in a little planning and redundancy when it comes to
amateur radio!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


But first - Help us win the Dr. Dave Challenge!

Thanks to Diane WI8K,  Dan N8OJW,  and Gary KB9ZUV for your help this past
week. We appreciate your support. 

Description: Dr. Dave, KN0S, climbs the antenna tower at Radio Camp.

Money is tight these days and we desperately need your support.  Now, thanks
to a generous challenge grant by Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, we have a chance to
help fill the budget gap.  Dr. Dave will donate $5,000 to the Handiham
System if we can raise a matching amount.  That means we need to really put
the fund-raising into high gear!  If you can help, designate a donation to
Handihams, stating that it is for the "Dr. Dave Challenge".  We will keep
you posted in our weekly e-letter as to the progress of the fund. 

Nancy can take credit card donations via the toll-free number,
1-866-426-3442, or accept checks sent to our Courage Center Handiham

Courage Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

Be sure to put a note saying "Dr. Dave Challenge" somewhere in the envelope
or on the note line of the check.  If you donate online as detailed toward
the end of your weekly e-letter, be sure to designate to Handihams and then
send me an email letting me know you donated to the Dr. Dave fund:

Thank you so much for your support!


FCC seeks comments on change to allow exam credit for expired Amateur Radio

Description: FCC Logo

The FCC is going to entertain the possibility of allowing examination credit
for expired ham radio licenses and is seeking comments on the matter. As we
know, if your license expires and is beyond the two year grace period, you
must start all over again with the Technician exam and work your way back up
to whatever your former license level was, taking every exam. The Anchorage
VEC has requested this change.

DA 11-1318
Released: July 29, 2011

*       Read more on Handiham.org:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1177> 



Description: Dog barking at mailman. Jasper loves our mail carrier - she
gives him a treat when she stops by!

Lyle, K0LR, writes: 

Avery would love this:   


If you follow Lyle's link, it takes you to the Engadget website and a
homebrew Morse code Bluetooth-enabled device that can be used to access a
computer, smart phone, or tablet via Morse code. 

Chuck, AF6YS writes:

I finally got the embroidery machine working and doing caps...   Would any
Handihams be interested in any caps or anything embroidered? 

You can send me an email if you are interested and I'll pass it on to Chuck.
Send to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 


NF4L Software: K3 Texter translates Elecraft rig responses to plain English
for screenreaders

Description: K3 Texter screenshot courtesy NF4L

Mike Reublin, NF4L, has created a new accessibility program for blind hams
who would like to hear feedback from their Elecraft K3 transceivers.

He writes:

I've written a free program that gets responses from an Elecraft K3 and
possibly other Elecraft transceivers (KX3) and translates them to plain
English text, displaying it on screen so that a screen reader can speak

The name of the program is K3 Texter.

The URL for download is:

Could you announce this to your members?


Mike NF4L


Echolink enabled repeater available to Handiham Campers arriving at
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Description: microphone

Radio Camp is approaching fast! Campers will begin arriving on Monday,
August 8, 2011. Don, N0BVE, has informed us that there will be an Echolink
enabled repeater available to Handiham Campers arriving at Minneapolis-St.
Paul International Airport.

Sometimes it is just fun to spend a little time on the air when you have
gotten away from the gate and are in the main terminal and have time to
while away. Check out the UHF repeater!

444.325 MHz + offset

131.8 Hz Tone


FCC Unveils New Research that Measured Broadband Performance

Description: FCC Round Seal

As part of its intensive ongoing efforts to expand access, promote adoption,
and spur innovation through broadband, the FCC conducted the first
nationwide test of residential wire line broadband service. The result is
today's report, "Measuring Broadband America Plan
http://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america/";  first proposed in the
National Broadband http://www.broadband.gov/plan/,  which takes major steps
to empower consumers and enhance competition in the home broadband services
marketplace. As part of this effort, the FCC today unveiled new consumer
resources to help Americans take the confusion and mystery out of choosing
the speed they need, including a step-by-step guide. 

*       Read more on Handiham.org:


Remembering Novice stories...

Diane, WI8K writes: 

I received my Novice license in 1986. My call sign was KB8AHL. At that time,
CW was the only mode available to us and I was rather nervous about trying
it. Finally, at the urging of several members of the L'Anse Creuse ARC, I
decided to check into their 15 M CW net which met Mondays at 7:30 PM on
21.165. I checked in with no problem following what I heard on the air and
the instructions from my club friends. When it was my turn, I sent, "feeling
nervous and confused." W8PBO, our NCS sent "You did fine." I was relieved
but still rather keyed up. It took 2 wine coolers to settle my nerves!
Several weeks later, I was eavesdropping on the 15 M SSB net, where I heard
one of the members say I had a nice fist and the NCS agreed. Once I heard
that, I knew everything would be all right. It was probably good that I
drank the wine coolers after the net rather than before.

73 Diane, WI8K

Do you have a Novice story to share?  Sent it to me: wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 


Troubleshooting 101: Noise 4

Description: Small tools and wire

Last week we listened to a to a radio noise sent in by Joe, N3AIN. Joe
didn't send any new noise in, so I've found a noise of my own to add to the
list of common ham radio annoyances.

Since I don't own a sophisticated noise-sniffing instrument of any kind, I
decided that my easy to carry handheld radio would do the job.  I have a
Yaesu VX-5R, which is a good rig for this purpose because it can go down to
the AM broadcast band.  I set the squelch on that band to zero, so as to
hear the normal background noise on a clear frequency.  Then I turned on a
device in our home that I had long suspected of being a noisemaker.  If you
are listening to the podcast, you can hear it now, and if you are reading
text, you can listen to an MP3 file at the following link:

 <http://handiham.org/audio/noise4.mp3> http://handiham.org/audio/noise4.mp3

In that audio sample, you heard the background hiss, then the noise caused
by the device, then the background hiss again when I turned off the
offending device. Any theories as to what the mystery device is?  Send me an
email with your guess and if you want, how you would fix it. 

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


August Events by N1YXU

Description: Events in August 

Some of you may not have turned on your radios, amplifiers, and other
equipment lately for fear of over-heating your ham shacks!! It certainly has
been a hot summer so far. Don't let Mother Nature get the best of you. Make
sure that you get your radios activated. Take a look through the many
activities that will be happening in August. 

Until next month. 


- Laurie Meier, N1YXU 


Read the Events Column at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1179> 


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

Today we are heading to the new General Class pool.

G5B01 asks: A two-times increase or decrease in power results in a change of
how many dB? 

Possible answers are:

A. Approximately 2 dB 
B. Approximately 3 dB 
C. Approximately 6 dB 
D. Approximately 12 dB

The right answer is B, Approximately 3 dB.  Although you could calculate
power level changes using the formulas given in the book, there is one rule
of thumb you should just commit to memory because it will help you many,
many times in your ham radio career.  It is that any doubling of power, such
as going from 50 to 100 Watts, will result in a 3 dB increase.  Cutting the
power in half will result in a 3 dB decrease.  In a practical sense, when
you hear that an antenna provides 3dB gain, that would be the same as
doubling the power!  Savvy old Elmer says that if you have the choice of
getting that gain with an antenna or an amplifier, take the antenna because
it will give you gain on both receive and transmit!


CME headed for Earth

Description: cartoon sun

Space Weather News for August 3, 2011 reports a "MINOR STORM WARNING": 

On August 2nd, the sun hurled a cloud of plasma (CME) toward Earth when
magnetic fields above sunspot 1261 erupted. Analysts expect the CME to
arrive during the early hours of August 5th, possibly sparking geomagnetic
storms around the poles.

Read the entire story on our favorite space weather website:

 <http://spaceweather.com/> http://spaceweather.com


Remote Base Health Report for 03 August 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

Both stations are operational. 

W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line as of this publication date.  

*       Summer band conditions: The Upper Midwest of the United States has
been experiencing high temperatures and very humid air masses.  These
conditions make for frequent thunderstorms, which cause horrendous levels of
static on the HF bands.  This will make the remote bases a little hard to
use at times.  Conditions may be best in the late night and early pre-dawn
hours when thunderstorms have quieted down a bit. 
*       At the same time, the daytime band conditions on 75 and 40 meters
have been rather poor due to absorption brought on by the long sunny days
here in the Northern Hemisphere. Trying to check into the PICONET on 3.925
MHz has been a challenge! 

You can view the status page at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 


This week @ HQ

*       I will be at camp Thursday, 4 August .   There will be a new Audio
Notice released on Friday. Nancy is off Fridays and I will be taking Friday
afternoon off.  I will be at Camp Courage Sunday 7 August through Saturday
13 August and will be unable to take any but the most urgent phone calls.
Email messages will be answered on a time-available basis. The Camp Courage
phone number is 320-963-3121.  The camp repeater is W0EQO and it will be
connected to the *HANDIHAM* Echolink conference most of the time.  We will
also have IRLP node 7051 active at least part of time.  Our IRLP node will
be a learning tool, and I for one am really looking forward to learning much
more about IRLP!  I will be taking pictures and we will be reporting from
camp next week.  I am not sure that we will have a podcast, but you never
know!  I have tried to catch up and work ahead somewhat so that our General
Class students who are listening to the audio lectures online will still get
their weekly lessons. I am excited to be able to talk to a group of campers
in our leadership youth camp and introduce them to ham radio.  We hope to
make a contact with the Handiham Net on Thursday so that the campers can
hear ham radio in action!  
*       There is some interest in teaching basic Morse code at camp.  Drop
me an email if you are interested in either learning code or brushing up
your skills: wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Bill, N6HBO and Ken, KB3LLA, as well as Avery,
K0HLA, would be willing to teach. Heldy, Bill's Guide Dog, will keep them
all in line. 
*       There has been a request to set up the Collins S-Line station
donated to us by the late Senator Barry Goldwater, K7UGA. I am passing this
request on to our volunteers, who may be able to get the station running
during radio camp week. It's a chance to get your hands on a real piece of
Description: Avery, K0HLA, at the Collins station.
*       The new General Audio lecture series is underway, and lecture five
is on line. Our lecture introduces basic electrical principles.  
*       The audio magazine digest is available for our blind members.
August audio is  posted for Worldradio, and QST.  We are waiting for CQ
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.
Watch www.handiham.org and your weekly E-Letter for updates on what we are

.         Tonight is EchoLink net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net
is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to 00:30 GMT
Thursday morning. 

o    EchoLink nodes:

*       KA0PQW-R, node 267582
*       N0BVE-R, node 89680
*       *HANDIHAM* conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred
high-capacity node.)

o    Other ways to connect:

*       IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)
WIRES system number 1427

*       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 - 2011. 

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 2011.

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 $12 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 $36.

.         Lifetime membership is $120.

.         If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable
sponsored membership.

.         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.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  



JPEG image

JPEG image

GIF image

GIF image

GIF image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

GIF image

JPEG image

GIF image

GIF image

JPEG image

Other related posts:

  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 03 August 2011 - Patrick Tice