[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05 October 2011

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 5 Oct 2011 15:09:42 -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:

[image: Subscribe in iTunes]


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


Welcome to Handiham World.

[image: Leaking pipe]

*A broken water pipe gets me thinking...*

What sort of things might cause a disaster in my ham radio shack?  I started
thinking about this recently after dealing with a minor disaster caused by a
leaking water pipe in the ceiling of the basement. As usual, I was sitting
in my home office, which also serves as my ham shack, when I heard a faint
drip, drip, drip. Since I spend an awful lot of time in my office, I know
and recognize all of the usual sounds of the house around me. In fact, I
don't really notice if the compressor in the freezer comes on and my brain
rarely even registers sound of the washing machine or dryer in the adjacent
laundry room.  The furnace or air conditioner can come on and go off without
interrupting me. Jasper, my dog, wanders the house and occasionally growls
at a squirrel that he sees through the window. None of this stuff bothers me
or particularly gets my attention. But the brain is a marvelous thing; it
can ignore the common and expected while immediately picking up on something

The sound of dripping water, even though barely audible, got my attention!

Sure enough, an inspection of the recreation room around the corner from my
office revealed a drip from the ceiling. Several of the tiles in the
suspended ceiling had gotten waterlogged and collapsed onto the floor, and I
hadn't heard that sound because I had only just a few minutes before come
into the office to sit down and do some more work. The leak must have
occurred in the afternoon shortly after I had finished my usual office day
and had taken the dog out for a walk. When I returned to the office after
dinner, that's when I heard the dripping sound that was so out of place. It
turns out that a 90° copper connecting joint in the cold water pipe going to
the outdoor irrigation system developed a tiny pinhole leak on the inside of
the bend.  The tiny, almost invisible spray was enough to create quite a
mess given a few hours. The soaked ceiling tiles collapsed onto an easy
chair, soaking it and ruining the cushion. The carpet on the floor was
soaked in an area of about a yard square. A few other items stored in the
room got wet on the outside, but were not ruined because I heard the drip
and responded in time to shut off the water. Fortunately, we have a carpet
cleaning machine that vacuums up water and we had a spare cushion for the
chair. I haven't replaced the ceiling tiles yet, but they are standard 2' x
2' squares that are commonly available at any big box building store. As we
are so fond of saying in Minnesota, "it could've been worse!"

Of course I called the plumber, and he was able to fix the problem the next
day.  Fortunately, we have a shut off valve for that particular leg of the
water system in our house, so there was no need to keep the main valve
turned off. It's heck to be without water when you need to wash, cook, and
flush!  But what got me to thinking about the ham shack in relation to this
broken pipe was that the shutoff valve is located directly above the ceiling
in my office. In fact, several water pipes converge in the ceiling above the
ham shack and it is sobering to think that the copper pipe carrying all of
that water is exactly the same age as the pipe fitting that failed in the
next room, which is about 20 years old. So, as I sit here talking into the
microphone and enjoying a nice session on my radio, will I one day feel a
drip, drip, drip on my head? I guess it could happen, and I have to admit
that when I finished the basement and built the ham shack I never gave a
second thought to the water pipes running through the ceiling joists
overhead. I had grown up with copper water pipe in my parents' house, and I
cannot remember a single time that there had ever been a leak. I guess I
would not have been too surprised if a leak had occurred where pipes were
joined in the soldered connection, but to have a piece of copper simply
spring a leak in the body of the pipe? It did seem pretty unlikely, but like
all such things it is not something to worry about unless it happens to you
– and it happened to me!

So I am forced to assess the probability of another leak, perhaps occurring
over the critical electronic and computing equipment I have in the ham
shack. Some of this equipment runs for hours or days at a time without being
turned off. One can only imagine the damage that would be caused by water
pouring onto the energized equipment. When I wired the ham shack, everything
was put on ground fault interrupters. Given a good soaking, the equipment
would probably short and trip the interrupters, but by then of course the
station and computers would be ruined. This is not something I care to think
about, but it is nonetheless a possibility. I had considered the possibility
of a leak like the one we had to be extremely remote, and perhaps I was
right. Nonetheless, had the leak occurred over the ham shack it would've
meant many thousands of dollars of damage instead of a soaked chair cushion
and a few feet of wet carpet.

What to do? Well, moving the ham shack and home office would be a major
undertaking and a huge disruption in my work schedule. It wouldn't be
impossible, but it would be expensive and difficult. For now, the best I can
do is to turn the main water valve for the entire house to the "off"
position whenever we leave on vacation or for any kind of extended multi-day
trip. This is something I have always done anyway, and while it is not a
perfect solution, it does prevent damage from leaks that might occur when no
one is home and when damage can be severe due to the fact that no one is
around to discover the leak. Long ago, when I worked in an appliance store,
we recommended that our customers who were leaving on vacation turn off the
water supply to their washing machines because the hoses that fed the
washing machine might burst and cause flooding in the basement. Turning off
the whole house valve takes care of that problem.  Keeping equipment off the
floor is another good idea.

We are used to thinking about protecting our amateur radio equipment and its
associated computer equipment from lightning damage, but we cannot ignore
the threat posed by water!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager
We are headed into part 4 of our end-of-summer good read, but first...[image:
Dr. Dave climbs the tower]Help us win the Dr. Dave Challenge!
Thanks to everyone who has helped us with donations to the Dr. Dave
Challenge so far.  Thanks to Don, W0JBX, and Paul, WR1X, for your help. We
are almost 1/5 of the way toward our goal.

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!
Late Summer Reading: Becoming a Ham (Part 4)

I know that some of our readers are shy about using the remote base
stations.  Well, wait until you hear what W3DD tried in 1936 if you think
this new-fangled remote operation is a passing fad!
[image: code key]

Becoming a Ham - Part 4

By T. A. Benham (SK - formerly W3DD, a callsign which has been reassigned.)

To perk up the late summer ham radio doldrums, the Handiham System proudly
presents its summer serial, a story about one man's experiences in the field
of radio, starting with the first commercial station in the United States,
KDKA in Pittsburgh. Tom Benham, now a silent key but who most recently held
callsign W3DD, was a ham radio pioneer, and being blind didn't even slow him
down! Join us now as Tom's narrative takes us back in time to the early 20th
Century, and his attempt to operate his station by remote control.

*W3DD Transmitter sparks interest at the FCC*

There was another ham radio project that Sandy and I worked on. In
September, when I got back to Haverford, I wanted to have a receiver in my
dorm with a remote control system to operate the transmitters at home, about
a mile away. At that time, such a thing was not available commercially. I
knew the FCC would have to know about the operation, especially since it was
an unusual idea. I had written to them asking for permission and they wrote
back that I would have to submit a schematic diagram along with an
explanation of how it was to work. So Sandy and I worked on the design over
the summer. My idea was to rent a dedicated line from the telephone company
with one end in my dorm and the other at my house. Such a line would go from
my end through a patch panel in the central office and end at Mother's
house. It would be connected at all times and could be used anytime without
having to get the operator involved. In 1936, this was quite a novel idea. I
had two transmitters, one operating on 40 meters and the other on 80 meters.
I wanted to be able to turn on one or the other and key it for sending the
code. What we worked out was briefly as follows: There would be two wires
going from one place to the other. If I used one wire and ground, I would
have one circuit for one of the transmitters and the other wire and ground
would make a circuit to control the other. Of course, at this point, I
didn't know the resistance of the wire nor did I know the resistance of the
ground return circuit. We had to design assuming these quantities to be
letters, R1 for one wire, R2 for the other, (it would be reasonable to
assume that the two wires would have the same value of resistance). "Rg"
would be the resistance of the ground circuit between the two ends. Each
circuit had to do three things: 1) turn on the heaters of the tubes 2) turn
on the high voltage system. 3) key the transmitter to make it produce dots
and dashes. If we made a circuit consisting of a DC supply, perhaps 12
volts, three relay coils in series and a series of resistors of the correct
value with each resistor having a switch in parallel with it, it might work
as follows: With all switches open, nothing would happen as no current could
flow. Close switch 1 and a sensitive relay would close, perhaps a current of
10 milliamperes. This would turn on the heaters. After a minute to give time
for the heaters to get hot, close the next switch and short out its resistor
and allow the current to rise to perhaps 30 milliamperes and close the
second relay which would turn on the high voltage. Then, when the code key
was pressed, it would short out the last resistor and increase the current
to perhaps 60 milliamperes, closing the keying relay. There was a possible
problem with the first relay because it was intended to operate at 10 ma and
I was going to force 60 ma through it in order to operate the keying relay.
I had to find out whether the first relay could withstand the extra current.
As it turned out it could. Though I had two similar circuits, I needed only
one 12 volt supply. Another idea developed that would save a relay. The
keying relay could be common to the two circuits but it would have to have a
pair of contacts on it, one pair for the 40 meter and the other for the 80
meter transmitter. Calculating the values of everything took a while. We
sent a copy of the design to the FCC for approval. When I got home from
Germany, a letter was waiting saying the thing wouldn't work, but if I
wanted to go ahead, I could use it. When I finished the system and tried to
use it, the resistance of one wire was about 80 ohms. I discovered this by
connecting the two together at the house end and then measuring the
resistance from wire to wire and dividing by two, down and back. Then I
connected the house end of one of the wires to ground and measured the
resistance between the other end of that wire and ground at the dorm and
subtracted the resistance of the wire. This showed the ground resistance
between the two points was 160 ohms. That meant the ground plus wire
resistance for one side of the system was 240 ohms. However, when I tried to
run the relays, they buzzed and chattered. I wondered why, so I got an
amplifier and connected its input between a wire and ground. I heard from
the speaker a tremendous hum which turned out to have a frequency of 25
Hertz. That made the penny drop. The nearby railroad at that time was using
25 Hertz voltage to run the electric trains. I was picking up interference
from that source. When I designed and inserted a suitable filter, all went
well and everything worked according to plan. I used the system for the two
years remaining as a student.

*To be continued...*

[image: dog barking at cartoon mail carrier]

*Tom, WA6IVG, writes:*

Tom Benham leaves us with a question from the recent series. He says his
second FCC interaction, the pink ticket, was caused when the second harmonic
of his transmitter interfered with a "commercial" station.  Challenge the
readers to explain how this might be possible on what frequencies. Sadly,
Tom's not readily available via standard communications media at any rate,
to give us the correct answer, so some knowledgeable speculation may have to
do. Thanks for publishing Tom's stories, please continue with as many of
them as are available. I've suggested to Lee that they would make a good
book, hope she can manage that.

Tom Fowle WA6IVG

*Pat says:  How about it, readers & listeners?  How might the interference
to a commercial station be possible?*

*In a special letter to ARRL members, Mary Hobart, K1MMH, writes: *

I am pleased to send you the link to the most recent version of Spectrum
Defense Matters, the newsletter that provides you with an update on how ARRL
is working constantly to protect our Amateur Radio frequencies. Your
feedback on this issue-and others in the on line archive-and the information
there is welcome.

Here's the link to the September 2011 issue:



Mary Hobart, K1MMH
ARRL Chief Development Officer

*Pat says:  My local ARRL-affiliated radio club has long supported the ARRL
in the defense of our spectrum space. Read more about this good work and I
think you will agree that it is a worthy cause.  Why not suggest that a
"pass-the-hat" donation to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund be part of your
next club meeting? *

*Barb, K1EIR, writes in response to our query about a good resource for
Echolink questions:*

Enjoyed the newsletter as always. I remember the Knight-Kit. I used a DX-100
for years and started in ham radio in 1958, getting my General Class license
in 1959. It sure was fun! I never knew Tom Benham personally, but he was
quite a guy and started Science for the Blind years ago. As for EchoLink,
they can email the man who started it, John, k1rfd@xxxxxxxx or they can join
the blind-hams mailing list. Put blind-hams subscribe in the subject field
and send to listserv@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Hope this helps.

Barb, K1EIR

*Meteor scatter propagation alert - Draconid shower:*

NASA Science News for Oct. 4, 2011 reports that Earth is heading for a
stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. A close encounter with the
comet's fragile debris could spark a meteor outburst over parts of our
planet on October 8th. Read more at:
Troubleshooting 101: Autotuner won't match a wire antenna.

[image: Pat and giant alligator]

*This week we take a look at a very common problem, an antenna that can't be
matched by an automatic antenna tuner.*

You are running a late-model radio with a built-in automatic antenna tuner.
Your new wire antenna, fed with twinlead or open wire line and a length of
coax for part of the distance, tunes on 40 through 10 meters but not on 75
meters when used with the automatic tuner.  You know that other operators
using similar antennas can operate on 75 meters, so what might be wrong and
what can you do to correct the problem?  This might be good to know when
Field Day rolls around again next June!

Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager
CQ Magazine goes digital

Beginning with its November issue, CQ is offering a digital edition, which
will supplement, not replace its current print edition. CQ's digital issues
will be viewable on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Android (2.0 or higher).
The service is hosted by the Zinio e-magazine hosting business.

CQ joins its sister publication, Worldradio Online, in the move to the Zinio
pay-for subscription service. Both publications will begin this new service
with the November issue. CQ will continue publishing the traditional print
version along with the digital one, while Worldradio will be available only
as a digital offering.

CQ website: www.cq-amateur-radio.com

Worldradio website: www.worldradiomagazine.com/
Remote Base Health Report for 05 October 2011

[image: Kenwood TS-480 transceiver, used in both remote base stations.]

*Big news: We will be taking over the hosting and updates for the W4MQ
software, thanks to Stan, W4MQ, who has generously offered his software code
and assistance. Here is the updated page:

*We have posted the links to the client software, but not to the host
software.  Please email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx if you need that link. We hope
to add it and more support information to our pages soon. *


   *W0ZSW is on line. *

   *W0EQO is on line. *

We attempt to post a current status report each day, but if you notice a
change in either station that makes it unusable, please email us immediately
so that we can update the status and look into the problem:
wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxx the best address to use.  Please do not call by
phone to report a station
outage unless it is an emergency. Email is checked more frequently than the
phone mail in any case.

W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line as of this publication date.  Users may
choose IRB Sound on the W0ZSW station if they prefer it over SKYPE. The
W0EQO station does require SKYPE, however.  IRB Sound on W0EQO has been
noticed to have dropouts on transmit.

You can view the status page at:
This week @ HQ

[image: Handiham headquarters at Camp Courage, Maple Lake Minnesota]

   - *Nancy & I will be out of the office most of Thursday 6 October 2011.
   The Handiham office will be closed on Friday.  Phone calls and messages will
   be answered at the soonest opportunity on Monday.
   - *There will be no new audio lecture for General on Friday. *General
   Class students are asked to review on their own or take some practice exams
   at http://aa9pw.com/. If you are blind, be sure to select the "no
   figures" option. *
   - *Dates for Radio Camp 2012* are Saturday, June 2 - Friday, June 8,
   2012. This will be earlier than usual so that we can test for Extra under
   the existing question pool, which expires at the end of the last day of
   - *George, N0SBU, has mailed the digest tapes.
   - *We have had a number of calls about audio download and audio playing
   issues.  *You may have noticed that we provide two different links, one
   ending with a file extension "m3u" and the other in "mp3".  If you try to
   download and play the m3u file, you will notice that it downloads instantly,
   because it is not an audio file at all but a simple text file that tells
   audio player software installed on your computer to stream the real audio
   file, which is the one with the mp3 file extension.  The actual audio file,
   the mp3, is much larger and takes some time to download, especially on a
   slow internet connection. That is why we provide the m3u streaming file, so
   that the computer will begin playing the stream of audio as it is still
   loading so that you don't have to wait.  If you download the m3u file onto a
   portable device, it probably won't work.  However, that is why the two links
   are labeled as follows:
   Via MP3 stream:

   Download the e-letter via accessible MP3:

*So be sure you are downloading the one from the DOWNLOAD link.  *

If a downloaded file is complete, it will play all the way through to the
end UNLESS there is some process interrupting the playback.  If you have for
some reason interrupted the download, the file will quit playing midstream.
If you are steaming the audio as it downloads, the audio buffer may get
emptied out before the internet connection can get caught up. In that case,
the audio will pause until your internet connection either resumes
downloading or until the audio is stopped and started again.  These are all
common problems with internet media over which we have no control. You will
observe such buffering problems at times when the server is busy and the
file cannot download ahead of the buffered content. If that happens it may
be necessary to try again later.

   - *Matt, KA0PQW, has completed a fourth Wouxun audio tutorial.  This
   latest one talks about the charger and some other side notes.  *The
   series is here:
   1. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/01-wouxun_ht.mp3 *
      2. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/02-wouxun_ht.mp3   *
      3. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/03-wouxun_ht.mp3 *
      4. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/04-wouxun_ht.mp3

   *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

   *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 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 - 2011.

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:

   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

   Join for three years at $36.

   Lifetime membership is $120.

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

   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.

Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at





   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:


[image: 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

*hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  *

Other related posts:

  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 05 October 2011 - Patrick Tice