[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07 August 2013

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 15:07:57 -0500

*Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07
August 2013*

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Kenny Handiham
System <http://handiham.org/>. 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:

Get this podcast in iTunes:

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
http://feeds.feedBurner.com/handiham <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham>
*Welcome to Handiham World.*

 [image: TS-590 set up for testing as a remote base station]
Image: The Handiham TS-590S was set up for a two-week remote base test. In
this photo, it shares the operating desk with an Icom IC-7200 and an
IC-706M2G.  Now back from its duty at Radio Camp, it is on its way to N3AIN
for assessment and the creation of an audio tutorial. *
Deciding on a new radio soon?  Consider the Kenwood TS-590S, but think
about the other good options out there.

Let's start by saying that this is not another rig review.  You can get
reviews from QST and CQ and plenty of opinions, educated and otherwise, on
the internet. There are loyalties to brands that transcend individual
models and that can lead to recommendations for one rig over another even
though the well-meaning advice is wrong.

It has been said that if a dozen amateur radio operators are asked which
radio or antenna is best, there will be a dozen different opinions!  I have
been asked for radio and antenna advice many times over my ham radio
career, especially in the past couple of decades working in the Handiham
office.  It can be hard to stay open-minded when you prefer a particular
manufacturer's products, but that is what I - and you - have to do when
someone asks you for advice, especially if they are a newbie.

Think about it: What is right for you is not necessarily going to be the
best for the next person. Even though all of us profess to know this, when
it comes right down to giving direct advice on the spot we all tend to
revert to what we know and with what we are most familiar.
What is the best way to give the right advice?

Start by listening.  When you are asked for rig buying advice (especially
when the question comes from someone who has just passed their General
exam) you should find out more about them and their situation.  Here are
some questions you can ask to get them talking:


   *Do you have an HF radio already and have you been listening or
   operating on the HF bands? * If they have upgraded from Technician, they
   may have actually used a borrowed radio, an older radio, or a remote base
   internet radio to operate within their Tech privileges or simply to tune
   around and listen. This can be a starting point to help you understand if
   they are getting a feel for how the HF bands work.

   *Do you have space for an antenna?  Tell me about your plans for a ham
   shack.  *This one usually opens up the floodgates for lots of good
   information. Be sure to find out early on in the conversation, because if
   the answer is that they live in an apartment without a yard, there is no
   point even talking about radios until you investigate the antenna options.

   *What kind of operating do you want to do?  *The world is open to new HF
   operators, but they may not be interested in some modes of operation - or
   perhaps they don't even know what to be interested in because they have not
   been exposed to the many ways amateur radio can be used. In any case, this
   question can solicit at least a few good starting points, and we all know
   that interests evolve as we learn more about radio and operating.

   *Do you have any special needs?  *If an operator needs large controls or
   built-in speech, this is the time to find out.  There is no point
   recommending radios that do not meet the assistive technology needs of the

   *What is your budget?  *Ah, yes.  The budget is the place where dreams
   go to die.  Or is it?  Maybe and maybe not - but we never know until we
   pose the question.  Remember that a newcomer to amateur radio may have
   little experience shopping for new hardware and thus have no idea what
   things cost. I have learned to ask this question when working with
   advice-seekers, if only to help focus the conversation on what is realistic
   for them.  It is called "managing expectations", and you have to do it in
   order to provide advice that is reasonable.

If you have asked these questions, you are now ready to either do some
research or to make recommendations right away if you feel confident that
you already know what to say.

Most often I am asked for rig buying advice by blind ops who have either
recently upgraded a license or who have just earned a Tech license and who
want a radio that they can "grow into" when they do eventually pass
General. Because we have gone through the questions, I can offer some solid
advice.  If they require full speech access, I am going to point them to
late-model Kenwood radios with the latest "voice guide" technology. If the
budget is a major factor, I may suggest a TS-480SAT instead of a TS-590S.
If they need only speech frequency readout and require bigger buttons, I
may mention the Icom IC-7200 with its built-in speech and easy to learn
front panel.  If the antenna possibilities are really limited, we will go
ahead and discuss options that may include external antenna tuners that can
manage much higher SWR levels than the tuners built into radios like the
TS-590S. Some radios, like the IC-718, IC-7200, and Kenwood TS-480HX, do
not have internal antenna tuners at all.  Depending on the antenna
possibilities, it is time to discuss whether an antenna tuner is even
needed. Some antennas tune nicely without them while others require
"tuning".  The discussion about antennas can be a marathon in itself,
usually building on what you learned from the *What kind of operating do
you want to do? *question.  Years ago in the era before automatic antenna
tuners, manual tuners were common and so were devices that help blind users
measure RF output by sensing levels.  Several manufacturers designed and
marketed talking meters, none of which are available today. It makes more
sense for me to recommend a wide-range autotuner like the LDG models that
tune when they sense RF.  They are easily installed between the radio and
the antenna, and make a bit of a racket the first time they are tuned to a
given frequency.  After that, a barely audible (but highly satisfying)
click lets one know that the frequency previously tuned has been
successfully recalled in the tuner's memory. It's the sort of thing that
makes external talking meters unnecessary.
It can be hard to tell a newly-upgraded ham that their QTH is just not a
going concern for HF operation.  What can you suggest when they have no
place to put up any kind of practical antenna system?


   One route to follow is that of stealth or indoor antennas. These are
   usually far from ideal, and if they are physically close to shared walls in
   apartment buildings they may have to be operated at very low power levels
   to avoid interference with other electronic devices and to stay compliant
   with RF exposure rules.  Nonetheless, you can recommend low-power modes
   like PSK-31 and CW for frequencies of 14 MHz and higher, since these will
   allow for shorter antennas.

   Another is to suggest mobile and portable operation. If the family owns
   a vehicle, going mobile can provide a rich ham radio experience. Portable
   operation will require lightweight, easy to deploy gear.

   Remote base internet operation can be suggested as a way to round out
   the options for a person with limited antenna space.

If you follow this tried-and-true method of listening and asking the right
questions, you are going to be a big help to newcomers to amateur radio and
those who are new to the HF bands!

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator
Practical radio

[image: pliers and wire]

Have you ever put up a wire antenna, using trees to support one or both
ends, and then had it break in a windstorm?

It can happen, that's for sure!  A carefully installed dipole can bite the
dust when the wind bends the tree branches far enough to break the wire,
supporting cable, or insulators. You can avoid this problem for most storms
by allowing for a bit of slack in the wire antenna when you install it. The
slack will not affect the overall operation, but it will allow the tree
branches to move around, tightening the wire up a bit without stretching it
to the breaking point. Even really solid-looking trees move around in a
strong wind, so always allow this slack.  Another trick is to use
compression insulators instead of the usual "dog bone" insulators - the
kind that have holes one each end for the wire.  Compression insulators are
different in that you loop the end of the antenna through one set of holes
and the supporting cable or rope through a second set that actually passes
through the first loop of antenna wire.  When stress is applied as the
antenna is stretched, the compression insulator is not pulled apart, as the
two loops of antenna wire and support cable are actually compressing the
insulator. These are sometimes called "egg" insulators.  If you use a
tie-off cable that is a little stretchy and thus more forgiving of stress,
the antenna itself is less likely to be pulled apart.  Some antenna guys
like to skip the end insulators altogether, using non-conducting tie off
rope.  This allows for easier pulling of the wire up into the tree branches
during initial installation and makes for one less failure point. This
summer, when strong winds and torrential rain brought down a huge olive
tree that was supporting one end of the W0ZSW 200 foot double extended Zepp
antenna, the antenna wire itself was never even damaged!  Flexibility and
slack in the wire saved it from breaking and allowed the station to be
brought back onto the air shortly after the storm passed.

I guess this is one case where being a "slacker" is okay!
Bulletin Board

[image: Satellite]
NASA says the sun is ready to flip (in a manner of speaking.)

NASA Science News for August 5, 2013 reports:

"According to data from NASA-supported observatories, the sun's global
magnetic field is about to reverse polarity. This is a sign that Solar Max
has arrived."

   - VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34gNgaME86Y

Heads up! Perseids are raining down - Good news for meteor scatter fans.


Do you operate meteor scatter radio?  Space Weather News for August 2, 2013

reports that "
Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle,
source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the shower won't peak
until August 12-13, when Earth hits the densest part of the stream, the
first Perseids are already arriving. "

   - Check our favorite space and solar site, http://spaceweather.com, for
   images and updates.

CXpedition - Isle Royale on the Air - August 9 - 11

  *N8I CXpedition to Isle Royale National Park begins this Friday.*

Hello everyone,

This is to officially announce Special Event Station "N8I" for a CXpedition
to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. The CXpedition will be on August
9 through August 11. Isle Royale is listed on the U.S. Islands Awards
Program as MI001L.

Please refer to the N8I web site for all the information you will need (and
more!) to contact us:


73 - Jeff Nast, KC0MKS

Editor's note:  What the heck is a CXpedition, anyway?  I'm not going to
tell you, so take a guess and then head for the website to find out if you
are right.
Radio Camp Handiham Club Election Results

Congratulations to new Handiham Radio Club President Lucinda Moody, AB8WF.
Lucinda takes the reins from retiring president Ken Silberman, KB3LLA.

We also congratulate vice-president Linda Reeder, N7HVF, and secretary Mike
Runholt,  KC0YFV.

Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, continues to serve as Net Manager.  Our thanks to all
who serve and help our club be an asset to Amateur Radio and a resource for
its members.

Handiham Nets are on on the air daily.

If there is no net control station during any scheduled net time, just go
right ahead and start a round table discussion.

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

*We are scheduled to be on the air daily at 11:00 USA Central Time, plus
Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 19:00 USA Central Time.  A big THANK YOU
to all of our net control stations!  What will Doug, N6NFF, come up with
for his trivia question tonight?  I guess we'll just have to tune in and
listen!  Tune in and see how you do with the question this week, or just
check in to say hello. *

*We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time.
Since the nets remain true to Minnesota time, the difference between
Minnesota time and GMT is -5 hours.  The net is on the air at 16:00 hours
GMT.  *

*The official and most current net news may be found at:
http://www.handiham.org/nets *
*A dip in the pool*

[image: Pat shows off his new Plantronics USB headset!]

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the Amateur
Radio question pool, that is!

*Let's go to the Extra Class pool and examine a question about filters:*

E7C07 asks, "What kind of filter would you use to attenuate an interfering
carrier signal while receiving an SSB transmission?"

Possible answers are:

A. A band-pass filter

B. A notch filter

C. A Pi-network filter

D. An all-pass filter

If you are studying for your Extra Class exam, you will need to learn about
different types of filters. Butterworth, Chebyshev, Elliptical, band-pass,
 and notch filters are all fair game for exam questions.  You may know how
to adjust the pass-band on your transceiver, and you may have checked out
the "notch" button to find out what it does. The rest of these filters are
probably something of a mystery. You will learn about them in your studies,
but for this particular question you need to know the notch filter, which
is the correct answer. A notch filter is actually a very practical tool,
since it can remove (attenuate) a strong interfering signal, and that makes
it possible for you to hear the station you want to hear.

Incidentally, as you look at this question and the possible answers, you
can eliminate at least one "nonsense" choice, which is D: An all-pass
filter.  Obviously any circuit that passes all doesn't filter anything!
You can also cross answer  C: A Pi-network filter, off the list because
that kind of circuit is used in the final amplifier section of a
transmitter, not in the IF and AF stages of a receiver.

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.

*This week @ HQ** *

[image: W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.]

Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line as
of this morning. We are not expecting any outages, and band conditions are
improving lately.  There has been ongoing thunderstorm activity in the
Upper Midwest.  Power was restored to W0ZSW after a storm outage earlier in
the week.   Although many Twin Cities households lost power last night when
a severe storm passed through, W0ZSW was at the periphery of the storm
activity and did not lose power or sustain antenna damage.


 * *

[image: Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer]
Don't care to download Handiham materials via computer? This digital
cartridge and mailer can bring you Handiham audio digests each month, plus
we have room to put the audio lecture series or equipment tutorials on
them, too!

   - If you have trouble logging in, please let us know.
   - All Daisy materials are in zip file format, so you simply download the
   zip file you need and unzip it so the Daisy book folder can be accessed or
   moved to your NLS or other Daisy player.
   - Tip: When in the Daisy directory, it is easy to find the latest books
   by sorting the files by date. Be sure the latest date is at the top. The
   link to sort is called "Last Modified".
   - You can also find what is on a web page by using CONTROL-F.  This
   brings up a search box and you can type a key word in, such as "July".  You
   may find more than one July, including 2012, but you will eventually come
   across what we have posted for July 2013.

* *

This coming Saturday we will host an Eagle Scout project that will help us
manage our equipment storage and inventory.  This is the first step in a
complete revamping of the equipment program.  We were pleased to serve our
members who attended Radio Camp last week with equipment, but we want to
serve more members who cannot attend camp. A new system will be developed
over the next few months. In the meantime, we cannot entertain any
equipment requests because we do not have staff and resources to process
them. The revised equipment program will be announced here when we are
ready to restart it.

* *

Interested in the VE program and becoming a volunteer examiner? The new
ARRL VE Manual 2013 version is available in beta Daisy format with complete
text and 
Download 74 MB zip file and unzip to play on NLS digital player.

   - CQ for June is now available for our blind members in the DAISY
   section.  We do not have the July issue ready yet.
   - Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this
   month.  Look for these DAISY materials in the members section.

*Digital mailers are important: *If you do mail a digital cartridge to us,
please be sure that it is an approved free matter mailer. Otherwise it will
quickly cost us several dollars to package and mail out, which is more than
the cost of the mailer in the first place. We don't have a stock of
cartridges or mailers and not including a mailer will result in a long
delay getting your request back out to you.

*DAISY audio digests are available for our blind members who do not have
computers*, playable in your Library of Congress digital player.  Handiham
members who use these players and who would prefer to receive a copy of the
monthly audio digests on the special Library of Congress digital cartridge
should send a blank cartridge to us in a cartridge mailer (no envelopes,
please), so that we can place the files on it and return it to you via free
matter postal mail.  Your call sign should be on both the cartridge and the
mailer so that we can make sure we know who it's from. Blank cartridges and
mailers are available from APH, the American Printing House for the Blind,
Inc. <http://www.aph.org/>

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Catalog Number: 1-02610-00, Price: $12.00

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price:

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital

Get it all on line as an alternative:  Visit the DAISY section on the
Handiham website after logging in.

Stay in touch *

[image: Cartoon robot with cordless phone]

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 at
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call

Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone at 763-520-0511.

Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us.

The Courage Kenny Handiham Program 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.

Call 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 Handiham Weekly E-Letter in MP3
format <http://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3>
Email us to subscribe:

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Kenny Handihams!
Coordinator, Courage Kenny Handiham Program
Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

*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!*

[image: ARRL diamond-shaped logo]

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
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc.
Include your old email address and your new address.

Return to Handiham.org <http://handiham.org/>

Other related posts:

  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07 August 2013 - Patrick Tice