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! 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. 73, Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 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: http://www.handiham.org/manuals/Frequencies/freq_chart.txt 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: http://www.arrl.org/graphical-frequency-allocations _____ 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. Details: 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 out. * 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: <http://www.ncdxf.org/beacon/beaconschedule.html> http://www.ncdxf.org/beacon/beaconschedule.html _____ 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.. Regards, - Laurie Meier, N1YXU n1yxu@xxxxxxxx Read Laurie's November Events Column at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/960> 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 broadcast. 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 broadcast. 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. Tom W5KUB _____ 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 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. _____ Out there . Bill, K9BV, suggests a live video feed (no sound) of the next Mars Rover being outfitted at Jet Propulsion Laboratory: <http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl> http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl 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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham Description: 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, more. _____ 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 November? * 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 morning. 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 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.