[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 03 November 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 09:40:21 -0500

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:


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!  

In this edition: 

.         Still waiting for frequencies!

.         Plain text frequency chart updated

.         Split Rock on the air event

.         Dip in the pool

.         Operating skills: How to use beacons

.         November events released

.         Live ham radio broadcast from w5kub.com starts this morning! 

.         Remote base progress report

.         Video feed of Mars Rover being outfitted

.         Phone number for this podcast - call & listen if you don't have
access to a computer.

.         This week at HQ


No feedback as to frequency for new 75 meter net

Description: FT-718 rig

Hello, anyone out there? I'm still waiting for your feedback on frequencies
you have listened on during the continuing search for a place to park our
new 75 meter net. If you could get back to me with your suggestions for a
clear frequency anywhere in the Extra, Advanced, or General portions of the
band, I would really appreciate it. Our first choice would be a clear
General frequency if possible, but if one is not available in the evening,
which is when we will have the net, then we will go with an Advanced or
Extra frequency.  The 75 meter band DX window will not be used.  It is
3.790-3.800 MHz. The AM calling frequency of 3.885 MHz is also reserved as
is the SSTV frequency 3.845 MHz. 

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> 


Plain text frequency chart updated

Last week we mentioned the availability of the frequency chart.  This week,
we have updated the popular Handiham plain text version, which is adapted
for blind users by the Handiham System. It eliminates the table for 60 meter
frequencies, which some users may have found confusing.  You can find the
new chart on line:


Handiham members needing help interpreting the chart or who would like the
plain text file sent to them by email should contact me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

If you can see a printed frequency chart, you may want to download and print
the latest ARRL chart, which is available at: 



This weekend: "Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald" Split Rock Lighthouse
operating event

Description: Split Rock Lighthouse photo from a previous SARA event

It's an on the air event that remembers the sinking of an iron ore ship and
celebrates the Split Rock Lighthouse 100 year anniversary! Join the
Stillwater, MN Amateur Radio association, a Handiham affiliated club, on the
air this coming weekend. Earn a certificate by making a contact.


Nov 6-Nov 8, 1600Z-0200Z, W0JH, Stillwater, MN. Stillwater Amateur Radio
Association. 21.360 14.260 7.260 3.860. QSL. W0JH, w0jh@xxxxxxxx, see below.

QSL certificates will ONLY be sent via e-mail! Send your request with
required QSO info (call sign, date, time, freq., RST report, etc.) to:
W0JH@xxxxxxxx or complete QSL Request Form at: www.radioham.org (You do NOT
have to send a printed QSL card!). A file suitable for printing will be sent
to you via e-mail.

SARA website: www.radioham.org


A dip in the pool

No one told you there was going to be a quiz, right? I thought it would be
fun to pick a question out of the question pool and see how many of us can
remember the right answer. Ready? Here we go:

G1B03 asks us: Which of the following is a purpose of a beacon station as
identified in the FCC Rules? A. Observation of propagation and reception, or
other related activities B. Automatic Identification of Repeaters C.
Transmission of bulletins of General interest to amateur radio licensees D.
Identifying Net Frequencies 

Did you pick answer A, Observation of propagation and reception, or other
related activities? That's the right choice, and good information to know,
because beacons can help you use the bands more efficiently. Listening for a
beacon can alert you to a band opening, which is essential to working DX or
possibly making that rare VHF contact!


Operating Skills: How to find out where & when to listen to beacon stations 

Description: cartoon tower with waves radiating

Now that we have quizzed you about beacon stations, let's visit the Northern
California DX Foundation's website to find out where to listen to worldwide
beacons, what they actually sound like so that you know what to listen for,
and when they are transmitting their identifications. All of these things
are essential to using beacons effectively. I'll give you the link to the
beacon schedule in a moment, but first I want to tell you a few basics so
that you will know what to look for on the web page. It is important to
realize that beacons do not transmit continuously, so if you tune to a
beacon frequency, you must monitor for a period of time and be patient. The
NCDXF website states:

"Each beacon transmits every three minutes, day and night..." " A
transmission consists of the callsign of the beacon sent at 22 words per
minute followed by four one-second dashes. The callsign and the first dash
are sent at 100 watts. The remaining dashes are sent at 10 watts, 1 watt and
100 milliwatts."

So that means that when you tune to a beacon frequency, it is possible that
you will hear nothing at all for a few minutes, even if the band is open. If
you keep listening and don't hear anything, here are some possible reasons:

*       The band is not open.
*       You are using a directional antenna and it is not pointed toward the
beacon station.
*       Conditions are changing and the band is up and down, and you
happened to catch it in a fade. 

Also consider this: If you do hear a beacon station identifying, it will
start the transmission at the full 100 Watts, then decrease power to 10
Watts, 1, Watt, and finally 1/10 of a Watt. This is so that you can judge
how good the signal path is relative to power. If you can hear the lowest
power part of the identification transmissions, the band conditions are
really good. If you can barely hear the 100 Watt transmission, conditions
are not so good, but the band conditions may be worth monitoring. 

The things you will need to know about finding and tuning in a particular
beacon station are:

*       The station's callsign
*       The frequency of transmission
*       The station's location 
*       The time of the hour that the transmission will be sent

Here is the information available about each beacon in a grid on the NCDXF
beacon list page: Call, Location, 14.100, 18.110, 21.150, 24.930, 28.200,
Operator, Status.  So what does this mean?  Let's break it down and find

*       Call is the callsign of the beacon station. This is what you will
listen for and identify, so that you know which station you are hearing.
This is quite important, as the beacons share some common frequencies.
*       Location is the location of the beacon station. The country is
given, not the exact location by city and street. 
*       14.100 is the 20 meter beacon frequency. 
*       18.110 is the 17 meter beacon frequency, and so on.
*       Operator is the entity, usually a club or organization, responsible
for operating the beacon station.
*       Status is the operational condition of the beacon. If it is listed
as "OK", it is working normally. If it is "Off", it is not working.  There
may be footnotes to further explain the situation.

In the first row of the grid we find station 4U1UN.  We see that it is
located at the United Nations building. Under 14.100, we see that it
transmits at 00:00, which means at the top of the 3-minute cycle. In the
grid, the time refers to minutes and seconds within a three minute period.
Each beacon transmits once every three minutes. Under 18.110, we see that it
transmits at 00:10, which is at 10 seconds into each three minute cycle, and
so on for the other frequencies. Under Operator, we see UNRC, which stands
for the United Nations Radio Club. Finally, under status, we see that it is
OFF, with a footnote. This means the station is off the air right now, and
when we check the footnote we see that it is because of repairs on the
United Nations Building roof.

In the next row, we find station VE8AT. Under 14.100, we see that it
transmits at 00:10, or 10 seconds into each 3-minute cycle. Are you
beginning to see how this works? Each beacon in turn transmits on 14.100 at
its own scheduled time in each 3-minute cycle. So you can set the radio dial
on 14.100 MHz, and if you hear a signal at a specific time, let's say at
exactly the top of the hour, you know that it has to be 4U1UN.  If it is at
10 seconds later, then it must be VE8AT. If it is 20 seconds into the same
minute, it is the next station in the list, W6WX, and so on. 

Needless to say, you need to know the exact time to really make complete use
of this beacon system. MFJ even makes a beacon alerting device (MFJ-890)
that lights up LED indicators on a world map to show  the time a specific
beacon is transmitting. The device is not blind-accessible, but may be of
use to sighted Handiham members. 

Ready to explore the NCDXF beacon list?  You'll find it at:


November Events by N1YXU

Description: transceiver

I hope all of you are doing well. Welcome to November and the beginning of
the holiday season. I have to confess that Thanksgiving is one of my
favorite holidays. Our entire family usually gets together and spends a few
days enjoying each other's company. It is a wonderful time to spend
catching-up with family who live out of state. I hope you have a very nice
Thanksgiving holiday.
There are quite a few November events that will hopefully catch your eye. Be
sure to look through the list and mark some dates on your calendar.
Until next month..
- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read Laurie's November Events Column at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/960> 


Live ham radio broadcast again Nov 3rd starting at 0800 central. ( Nov 3
1300 UTC)

Description: W5KUB Helmetcam

Broadcasting from the companies of MFJ, Ameritron, Hygain, Cushcraft,
Mirage, and Vectronics.

Although this broadcast is not the official broadcast which will be streamed
later this month, you will still see us tour all the facilities at these
companies. you will see the research and development, the manufacturing,
customer service and all the products. You will meet and hear interviews
from key people such as Martin F. Jue who is owner of MFJ and the other
companies. you will meet engineers, and will be able to ask questions on the
chat room . You will also be able to chat with others on the chat room. We
are viewed in 150 countries and many hams around the world follow our

This year we broadcast the Huntsville, AL hamfest and the Dayton Hamvention
and we gave away over $10,000 in prizes to viewers. During the official MFJ
broadcast, we will be giving away a lot of very nice prizes.

The broadcast on Wednesday Nov 3 is mainly to test live video streams, put
together an agenda, and meet the players and determine the prizes. Although
it is not the official broadcast (later this month) there will still be
interesting things to see as we test. Once we have this test and develop the
agenda, we will send out a new notice of the time and date for the official

The site is http://w5kub.com

We will try to broadcast our 280 mile drive that morning live, as we travel
to Starkville, MS .

Please help us to pass the word around to other hams.

See you Wednesday.



Remote base progress report: 03 November 2010 

Description: Kenwood TS-570

Last week I did the preliminary setup and testing of the TS-480HX. Today &
Thursday, I will attempt to get the computer interfaced to the station and
run some more tests. 

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. 


Out there

.         Bill, K9BV, suggests a live video feed (no sound) of the next Mars
Rover being outfitted at Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

I tried this in the morning and there was no video.  It did show up later in
the day, which is probably not surprising since we would be talking about
California time when the JPL crew would be working, two hours behind my time
here in Minnesota. Give it a try - it is fun to watch.  Thanks to Bill for
the suggestion.


Call by phone to hear the latest Handiham Podcast

Description: Two older ladies, one showing the other a portable phone

Picture: Two ladies, one showing the other a portable phone. "Look at this;
I can get the Handiham podcast on my phone. I don't even need a computer!"

Podcast Information

Podcast Name: handiham - ham radio for people with disabilities

Phone Number:
+1 (360) 526-6243

RSS Feed:


Ham radio for people with disabilities. A weekly podcast from the Courage
Handiham System, http://handiham.org. Ham radio topics, including accessible
equipment, blind ham radio, events, policy in the Amateur Radio Service,


This week @ HQ

*       This week's Friday Technician audio lecture will be on the subject
of RF grounding. Here's a teaser:  It's not the same as DC grounding!  
*       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. 

Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that this is November, and guess what happens in

*       On November 7, we fall back one hour to standard time. The net
remains true to whatever local time you use, but shifts by +1 hour for GMT
relative to USA daylight time. Here in Minnesota, the difference is 6 hours,
with GMT being 6 hours ahead. So if the net begins at 11 AM Minnesota time,
that is 17:00 hours GMT, or 5 PM in London. 
*       Today, Wednesday 3 November, is our last evening session on Daylight
time. Next week we will be back on standard time for the evening net, 7:30
pm Minnesota time, or 01:30 GMT. 

Tonight is net night with a special topic night hosted by Jerry, N0VOE, and
Linda, N7HVF.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States
Central Daylight time, which translates to +5 hours, or 00:30 GMT Thursday

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

*       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


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, 03 November 2010 - Patrick Tice