[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 06 July 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 15:42:22 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
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Welcome to Handiham World!  

...And welcome to a new era of challenges for radio clubs. 

What do I mean by that?  

Well, if you have to ask, you might not be that tuned in to your local
club's activities.  Radio clubs provide a means for you and I to get
together with like-minded folks who appreciate amateur radio and who enjoy
learning new things through club programs, keeping up their operating skills
through club nets and activities, socializing with other radio amateurs, or
being part of public service activities - to name just a few of the more
obvious ones. I know that I have learned a lot about useful things that have
helped me out in ham radio, thanks to the presentations at my local radio

Description: Greg, K0GW, gives a presentaion about grounding as a club
Pictured: Greg Widin, K0GW, ARRL Dakota Division Director, gives a club
program presentation on lightning and grounding. 

"A club is an association of two or more people united by a common interest
or goal."  Thanks, Wikipedia!  Of course we seldom think of clubs in terms
of only two people.  Usually a radio club is larger - sometimes much larger
- and there may be several distinct interest groups within the club.  The
club may own some equipment, such as special tools for antenna work, a
repeater system, a club station, training materials and equipment, and more.

The challenges:

1.    Meeting space.  If you have a club of only a few members, this isn't a
big deal.  Clubs of a dozen or fewer members have lots of choices, up to and
including private homes. Typically, a radio club will have a membership that
is too large to be accommodated anywhere but a more formal meeting space,
and that means casting about for a venue.  With a demographic that includes
aging baby boomers, a club definitely wants to have a meeting space that is
accessible to those who might use wheelchairs or who are unable to climb
stairs. You also want electricity, good lighting, and quiet space.  Internet
is a bonus, but if it is not available, it isn't exactly a deal-killer.  The
challenge is finding the space at an affordable price!  Back in the day,
meeting spaces were plentiful and free for the asking, especially to small
public service or special interest clubs like ham radio groups. Venues might
include the local school, church halls, service organization halls, and
municipal or county buildings. It is not so easy today.  The economy is
down.  Every venue is looking to raise extra cash, so the days of free
meeting space might just be in the rear view mirror!  And permanent space
with room for a club station - wow, that is REALLY hard to find these days.
I know that several clubs have either lost or given up their space for club
meetings and stations due to the press for more revenue or other activities
related to the needs of the landlord or host organization. 

2.    Apathy. This one drives club officials nuts. And it's nothing new, of
course.  There have always been club members who would rather jump out a
window than put together a club program or write an article for the
newsletter. But it's worse now than ever before, and it's related to number
three on my list, which I'll tell you about shortly.  Suffice it to say that
there are all too many hams out there who think it is a major hassle to even
join a club, much less actively participate.

3.    Overworked club members.  Yes, this one has always been around because
some club members take on way more than their share of club duties.  But the
reason it is worse than ever before goes back to the world economic downturn
that started in 2007.  As the economic woes gathered, companies and
organizations began trimming their workforces. Everyone seemed to be
affected, no matter what the industry, and those who were still working felt
lucky to have jobs.  Those who lost their jobs, ham radio operators among
them, tightened their belts and didn't spend anything extra on their radio
hobby.  Back at the workplace, those who still had jobs were doing the work
of their old job plus that of a co-worker or two, since there were now not
enough people on staff to get everything done. That meant longer, harder
hours at work, and less time for amateur radio club activities. I have been
a ham since 1967, and this is the first time I have been hearing about this
phenomenon from other hams who feel too pressed to participate in club
activities as they once did.

4.    Recruiting.  A club will fade away if it does not attract new members
to replace those who die, lose interest, or move out of the area. Yet this
aspect of club life is often left on the sidelines, going unnoticed until
all of a sudden it seems as if there is no longer a reason to have regular
club meetings. Recruiting is challenging in a world of worldwide internet
connectivity with VoIP and other activities that mimic worldwide radio

What can be done?

Remember that whatever needs doing, you do not have to do it all yourself.
Leverage the manpower you do have by using the resources available at ARRL,
which has lots of advice and ideas about clubs, club organization, and
recruiting. Let's take a closer look at each challenge:

A strategy to make meeting space more available is to make your club stand
out above and beyond the others who might be competing for the same space.
For example, if you are meeting in the county law enforcement center, you
can make a better case for meeting space because your club supports
emergency communications, Skywarn training and weather spotting, and public
service communications. You are making sure that your club's mission is
aligned with that of the meeting space owner! No matter who hosts your
meeting space, remember that it is wise to give back to your host in some
way.  If you are using a church hall for your meetings, perhaps the church
needs volunteers for a cleanup day or help at the church picnic. If you are
lucky enough to get a special meeting room at a restaurant, everyone should
buy a meal or at least spend a reasonable few bucks to make sure the
restaurant owner turns a profit.  The key?  Be the best meeting space user
you can be, and you will have more choices!

Apathy is hard to cure.  In fact, I don't even care anymore.  

Ha, ha, I am just kidding about that not caring part, of course!  I look at
the programs and activities as the "good stuff" associated with a radio
club.  The other more pedestrian activities like the business meeting don't
really interest many of us.  It's the program on the DXpedition or the
special event station that draws club members to the meetings. If your club
has apathy oozing out of every nook and cranny, I'm willing to bet that your
club doesn't host good programs.  Finding good presenters isn't a given;
the really good ones make the rounds but have limited time and resources.
Most of your club's programs and activities will ultimately come from within
the club itself, and that means finding the right club member - one who is a
really enthusiastic and positive go-getter - to do the going and getting.
By that I mean they need to observe the membership, noting what areas of
interest and expertise there are within the club.  Then they have to recruit
the guy who knows about antennas to give a talk. Apathy is something you
chip away at by slowly building your circle of presenters.  The more varied
the topics, the better.  Like the offerings on a menu at an excellent
restaurant, there will soon be something for everyone at the club meetings. 

The problem of club members who are stressed out by their work schedules
will not be solved at the radio club, but I think it is reasonable for those
members who are retired or who have a bit more time to step up to the plate
and take on some of those extra club duties. We need to appreciate that
those in their working years are trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes into
a 5 pound bag these days, and are often also raising families with all of
the obligations and demands on their time that those things require.  Yes,
those people are sometimes willing to take on club duties, but they are
subject to "burn out" if they don't get a little help. Next time you are at
your radio club meeting and something needs doing, raise your hand.  Lead by

Recruiting is vital, but how does a club go about it?  I have seen several
once active and vital radio clubs fade into obscurity and finally disband.
Others have been successful in maintaining and growing their membership
numbers.  What is the secret?

Well, there are several, really.  You have to understand the world around
you - no small feat, that.  What it means is knowing that amateur radio has
a lot of competition for hobbyists who want to experiment with electronics.
It means understanding that on line video gaming, so-called massively
multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), include elements of
world-wide communication, cooperation, competition, scoring points, and
community-building that are found in traditional amateur radio.  There is,
in other words, a lot of competition out there.  Knowing what you are up
against makes it easier to figure out how to package amateur radio and your
radio club to better draw people in.  If you want to make ham radio
attractive to anyone under 100, you'd better start thinking of some
interesting activities, outreach to school science teachers, high-profile
cooperative ventures with other groups... I think you get the idea.  My own
local club drew some university students in by participating in tracking
high-altitude balloon flights via APRS. 

Another recruiting strategy is to offer Technician courses to the general
public.  We schedule ours right after a Skywarn course in the Spring, just
before severe weather season kicks in. The classes are free, but the
participants buy their own books. Graduates are invited to join our club.
Education is one of the most important indicators of a club's health.  Show
me a club without an education program, and I'll show you a meeting room
that will soon be available for a group of rock hounds or stamp collectors.
Seriously, you have to offer classes or your club is toast.  Again, check
out the excellent resources on the ARRL website for tips on teaching and for
resources like math help. Most importantly, say "YES!" when asked if you
will be part of your club's education and training team. 

Your job?  Make getting on the air with amateur radio sound like it's at
least as much fun as World of WarcraftR. 

Go get 'em, tiger!  

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


Letters - 

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

Southern Sudan DXpedition soon....

Description: On the air

Mike Paskeuric, N0ODK, writes to inform us of a new DX entity:

From the DX Friends website:
Update! Press Release #4 DXpedition to Southern Sudan

In just a few short days, the people of Southern Sudan will declare their
independence from Sudan and will become the new Republic of Southern Sudan.
Vice President of South Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny has announced that
admission as a member state of the United Nations will take place on July
14th, 2011.

The DX Friends and the Intrepid-DX Group continue to monitor the UN General
Assembly and Security Council votes and are moving forward with our plans
for a large multi-national DXpedition to take place soon after the UN
admission occurs. Equipment has been procured and is being staged for rapid
delivery to Juba, the new capital of Southern Sudan. Team members have
applied for their visas and we are awaiting them now. We have held several
successful meetings with representatives of the Government of Southern
Sudan. We have been issued an amateur radio license for the purpose of this
DXpedition. The Government of South Sudan is very supportive of our plans to
visit Juba and to help them celebrate the birth of their new country.

We plan to soon be in the new capital of Juba and to be ready to start our
DXpedition after admission by the UN. We will have 18 operators operating
24X7 on seven active stations.

At this time, we are seeking Foundation, Club and Individual Sponsors to
help us defray the costs of carrying out this very important DXpedition.

Our official website is http://www.dxfriends.com/SouthernSudan2011/
Thank you,

The Intrepid-DX Group and The DX Friends.



Mike says: Should be a good new DX country to work!



Troubleshooting 101: Noise 1

Description: Small tools and wire

Today we listen to a radio noise caused by, well, that's what you will have
to guess.  Joe, N3AIN, has sent us a noise that it will be your challenge to
identify. If you are reading this instead of listening to the podcast,
follow this link to listen: <http://handiham.org/audio/noise1.mp3> 

Tell me what the noise was and how you would find and cure it.  We don't
have a prize or anything, but we will mention your name and callsign so that
our readers and listeners will be impressed with your troubleshooting

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

Today we are heading to the Extra Class pool, which is valid through June
30, 2012.

E4E02 asks: "Which of the following types of receiver noise can often be
reduced with a DSP noise filter?"
Your possible choices are:
A. Broadband "white" noise
B. Ignition noise
C. Power line noise
D. All of these choices are correct
The correct answer is D. All of these choices are correct. Hooray for DSP,
or "digital signal processing". 

July Events by N1YXU

Description: Events by N1YXU

I hope that you had an opportunity to participate in Field Day this year.
Our club (Orange County Radio Amateurs - OCRA) here in North Carolina had a
joint effort with a neighboring club (Durham FM Association - DFMA). All
went very well - the Q count was up from last year; everyone had a great
time; and the weather even cooperated. It was also a great learning

Please take a few minutes to read through the events that are scheduled for
July. There will likely be a some events that spark your interest.

Until next month..

- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read the events column:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1171> 


Remote Base Health Report for 06 July 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

Both stations are operational. 

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

*       Severe weather passed through the neighborhood of our W0ZSW remote
base station late last Friday, 1 July, and internet service as well as phone
service was disrupted. It has now been restored. W0ZSW has also returned to
service.  A large cottonwood tree toppled over. No one was hurt. 
*       Since I have been listing status updates in several places on our
website, there must also be multiple updates when the station's status
changes.  Instead of doing those multiple updates, it makes more sense to
have a single update page and then link to it as necessary. The URL for the
status page is  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 
and that page is generated via the Drupal content management system. What
that means is that I can edit the status page from anywhere that internet is
available.  It should make keeping things up to date easier.  Pages within
the members section are static and must be maintained by using FTP from my
main computer, so that means frequent updates from anywhere would not be
possible on those pages. 
*       On Tuesday, 5 July Lyle, K0LR, and I worked on an odd login problem
which we think was related to the internet addressing of the W0ZSW station.
Everything is working as expected right now. Please report any issues to me,
Pat, at:
*       The following must be written into the Remote Base setup
instructions, but the demands on my time over the summer have delayed it, so
I am mentioning the change here:   Following the upgrade to an external USB
sound card on the W0ZSW machine, we have been able to use the sound client
built in to the W4MQ software. This is called "IRB Sound" and it is selected
in the setup menu on the main page when you open the W4MQ software
interface. You may now select IRB Sound instead of SKYPE, but ONLY on the
W0ZSW station.  If IRB Sound is selected on the other station, W0EQO, you
will get reports of choppy audio, so you must continue to use SKYPE with

I prefer to use IRB Sound with W0ZSW because it works smoothly and there are
virtually no runtime errors, as sometimes occur when using SKYPE.  If you
use IRB Sound you do not need to run SKYPE at all.

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


SKYPE conference

Doug, VA3DGD, would like to conduct a SKYPE conference on
handiham.conference. Please send me your suggestions for topics and times.
Since I have to host the conference, I am going to have to restrict the
times to those I have available during my office hours. I suggest Mondays,
Tuesdays, or Fridays, preferably late morning or early afternoon.  Send your
replies with time & topic suggestions to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Maximum
participants = 10. 


This week @ HQ

*       I will be at Camp Courage on Thursday and out of touch by phone and
*       Lyle, K0LR, is working on a portable IRLP node for us to use as a
training tool at Radio Camp.  I am working on a JAWS computer to set up as a
camper resource. We are starting to list topics for camp discussion and
*       Field Day success! There are new users who have discovered the node
during our Field Day exercise.   Listen on the HANDIHAM conference server,
node 494492 anytime.  
*       The QST audio digest for July has some special operating events
detailed.  Find the audio digest for our blind members in the members only
*       The new General Audio lecture series is underway, and lecture one is
on line. This lecture covers HF procedures and practices, and includes a
discussion of the Frequency Chart and how the bands are laid out. There are
also some notes about calling CQ on HF, whether by phone operation or CW
(Morse code).  
*       The audio magazine digest:  Worldradio, CQ, QST, and AMSAT Journal
audio is available for our blind members.  July audio is  posted for
Worldradio and QST.  
*       George, N0SBU, and his helper PJ have produced the July 4-track tape
digest for our blind members who don't use computers.  
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.

*       Handiham Radio Camp to feature Wouxun radios for our new
Description: Wouxun HT
Come to Radio Camp, get your first license, and go home with a new radio. If
you are a Handiham member and are studying for your Technician level amateur
radio license, you should consider attending Handiham Radio Camp, which will
be a wonderful opportunity for you to review what you have studied and take
the exam in a completely accessible environment. Our campers who earn their
Technician Class Amateur Radio licenses at camp will be presented with
brand-new dual-band handheld radios, thanks to the support of a generous
donor. The radios are by Wouxun, and operate on the 2 m and 70 cm bands,
which are the most popular repeater bands. Since these radios also include
voice prompts in plain English, they are especially preferred by blind

Wouldn't it be wonderful to attend Radio Camp and then go home with a
brand-new radio? 

We sure think so! If you are not a Handiham member and are interested in
joining us, here is a link to request a membership application:

If you are already a Handiham member and would like a radio camp
application, call toll-free 1-866-426-3442 and request a camper application.
You may also download the application package or contact us by email to ask
a question or request a camper application:

*        <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mn_camp_2011_cover.pdf> Download
the camp cover letter in PDF 
*       Download a self-extracting zip file with the complete radio camp
application package <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.exe> , or 
*       Download a zip file with the complete radio camp application package
<http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.zip> . 

*       If your email program does not display links, go to our website:
Although you may not live nearby Camp Courage, we do pick up campers at the
Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. Campers come from anywhere and
everywhere, so even if you live far from camp you will have the opportunity
to join us for this fun and unique session. All campus buildings are modern
- although we are a camp, no one sleeps in a tent or has to eat beans out of
a tin can! Our facilities are modern and include wireless Internet access
and modern construction. All facilities are wheelchair-accessible.

Handiham Radio Camp 2011 is at Camp Courage - Woodland Campus - August 8-13,
2011 and serves Handiham members ages 16 and older. 

Enjoy an experience of Ham radio fun and learning. Make new friends while
building an on-air community that continues after you leave Radio Camp. Get
a first Ham radio license or upgrade a current one, or learn new operating
skills. Keep abreast of the latest technology, including assistive
technology. Wireless internet access is available. Instructors are
experienced amateur radio operators from throughout the nation. Trained
staff members provide personal care assistance. And, we leave plenty of time
to take a break from studying and enjoy traditional camp activities.

.         Tonight is EchoLink net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net
is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +5 hours, or
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

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




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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 06 July 2011 - Patrick Tice