[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 07 September 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2011 15:36:44 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
<unsaved://Untitled_1.htm#Contact> , or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. 

You can listen to this news online.   

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Welcome to Handiham World!

I don't know how it is for you, but in our household Labor Day here in the
USA marks the unofficial end of summer.  Yes, I know that by the calendar
September is still really a summer month. Autumn isn't official until
Friday, 23 September 2011.  But if you are an early riser like me, you can
notice quite a difference week to week as the morning daylight retreats and
it is really quite dark when you make that first pot of coffee or take the
dog out.  


Description: analemma: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or
modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License,
Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A
copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free
Documentation License.

Image: The analemma as depicted for the northern hemisphere.  A typical
globe of the world has an analemma to help describe the Earth's progress
through its seasons. 

The reason for this quick change in daylight hours is, of course, that the
Earth is reaching that portion of its orbit around the Sun where the tilt of
its axis favors direct sun over the equator instead of here in the northern
hemisphere.  We call this the Autumnal Equinox, and it means that our
daylight hours are roughly equal to our night time hours - depending on
location, of course.  If you look at the analemma on a globe of the world,
you can see that it looks like a rather tall figure "8", with the very top
of the 8 representing the summer solstice in the north and the very bottom
representing the winter solstice in the north (or summer solstice in the
southern hemisphere.)  The center of the 8, where the lines cross,
represents the two equinoxes, autumn and spring. The thing about the length
of the days is that as we make the trip around the top of the figure 8 the
days are long and there is little change, but once we start our wild ride
down the steep slope of the 8, the roller coaster really seems to speed up
and the days get shorter fast!  

For amateur radio, this has some interesting implications.  Since the days
are getting shorter, there is less direct sunshine, which in turn means less
absorption on the lower HF bands like 160 and 75 meters.  Those bands are
also hard to use in the high summer months of July and August because of the
thunderstorm static.  Thunderstorms are ultimately driven by sunshine that
heats the ground and builds huge clouds from rising air. The jet stream
pulls storms through the upper Midwestern United States all summer long,
creating a cacophony of noise on the HF bands. As the sun appears to retreat
to the south at this time of year, the storms and RF noise also retreat.
This makes the HF bands much more useful.  During the winter months the long
nights will mean better conditions for long-distance contacts on 160, 75,
and 40 meters. If you have not considered getting on these bands, you might
think about it now while the weather is still pleasant enough to allow for
some serious antenna work. Most of us use either simple wire antennas or
verticals for these bands because of their wavelength and the obvious
problems one encounters constructing directional antennas for such
frequencies. A one half wave dipole for 3.9 MHz would be around 120 feet
from end to end, which makes it pretty impractical to try to put on a tower
and rotate!

So what that means is that for a few bucks and a little elbow grease, you
can get on the air and have an antenna that isn't that different from what
everyone else is using.  This is certainly not the case for highly
competitive bands like 20 meters, where some stations are equipped with
large directional antennas on tall towers.  You will get a chance to be as
competitive as you like on the lower frequency HF bands, but you have to get
your antenna work done now!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


Help us win the Dr. Dave Challenge!

Thanks to everyone who has helped us with donations to the Dr. Dave
Challenge so far.  I don't have an update this week due to the high volume
of phone calls and the holiday weekend. 

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!


W0GLU License Plate

Description: W0GLU amateur radio license plate - Minnesota circa 1971- Gift
of Miriam Kiser.

This vintage automobile license plate was issued to Rex Kiser, W0GLU, in
1971 by the State of Minnesota. It has renewal stickers for 1972 and 1973.
Rex is now a silent key, but had literally decades of volunteer experience
for the Handiham program. The license plate was a gift to us from Miriam
Kiser, Rex's wife.

Rex's specialty was repairing and modifying amateur radio equipment for the
use of our members with disabilities. He soon became our crew leader, taking
charge of shop activities. Back in the early days, the modifications to
equipment included mounting clothespins on band-switch knobs so that people
with muscle weakness could get enough leverage to change bands by
themselves. The Handiham System also kept a "fleet" of loaner CW
transceivers, Ten-Tec Century 21 models. These would be modified by Rex and
his crew for use by blind hams. The mod included cutting away part of the
plastic bezel covering the radio's frequency display dial and putting
tactile bumps on the dial to mark frequency intervals. The blind user could
put his or her fingertips through the hole in the bezel and feel the raised
markings on the frequency display dial. This was about as analog a frequency
display as you can get! It was only in later years that frequency displays
started going digital and the door began opening to voice frequency

In later years, Rex and his crew installed voice modules in radios like the
venerable Kenwood TS-440SAT, a very popular radio that appeared in the late
1980's. The VS-1 speech module made it the most blind-friendly HF radio of
its day, and the built in automatic antenna tuner in the SAT version freed
blind users from the hassle of fiddling with manual tuners. Needless to say,
Rex and his crew knew these radios inside and out!

W0GLU was also a regular net control station on the PICONET, which meets
daily except Sundays on 3.925 MHz. I would describe Rex as a well-rounded
ham radio operator who enjoyed many aspects of radio and electronics.
Injured serving his country during WW2, shrapnel pierced his spinal column
and he never walked again. That didn't keep Rex from driving his own car and
maintaining his considerable upper body strength. I was surprised when he
decided to take up adapted skiing with his disabled vets group, but I
shouldn't have been. As I said, Rex was a well-rounded guy, interested in
helping others by volunteering and in living a good and worthy life.

Rex Kiser, W0GLU - A great ham radio operator who inspires us still.

Description: http://handiham.org/images/rex1.jpg
Image: Rex poses for the camera in the Handiham repair shop. 



Description: dog barking at cartoon mail carrier

Chris, KG0BP, sent a link. He says, "See the ad for the digital multimeter
that links wirelessly to an iPhone.  It can speak the measurement, so it may
be an accessible multimeter."

Ken, KB3LLA, sent a link. Did you know there is an American Legion Amateur
Radio Club?  There is, and they have a great website:

George, N0SBU, writes: "I took a blank tape and put some audio on all 4
tracks using the OLD recorder, and all 4 sounded fine to me. I will assume
the OLD recorder is working fine and I can use it again."

73 from N0SBU, George,  The second base umpire of Hugo!

Editor's note: Well, we will see how it works.  K0CJ has agreed to look at
our old recorder to see if it can be fixed. 

Mike, KJ6CBW, writes: "got the IPhone Echolink App working. I listened to
W0ZSW and noted many drop outs. I think a blind person really familiar with
the IPhone could use this App, but you'd better have steady fingers! I used
my Braille Sense, and found it very easy to use."


Low Cost Internet Provided by Comcast to Low Income Families

We found out about this special low cost Internet service from one of the
assistive technology mailing lists. Since Internet access is a useful thing
to have if you want to run ham radio programs like EchoLink or to look up
callsigns or use the Handiham remote base stations, we are passing on the

How to qualify:

To qualify for $9.95 a month Internet service and a low-cost computer, your
household must meet all these criteria:

1. Be located where Comcast offers Internet service 
2. Have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the
National School Lunch Program 
3. Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days 
4. Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment 

How to apply:

1. Call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) to request an application 
2. We will mail you an application. Complete and return it, along with lunch
program documents from your child's school 
3. We will notify you by mail about the status of your application. Allow
7-10 days for a response

How to get connected: Once you are approved, we'll mail you a welcome
package with everything you need to set up your Internet service and receive
our free Internet training. If you choose to purchase a low-cost computer,
your welcome package will provide details.

Comcast's website about the program in English:

There are also instructions in Spanish available on the website. 


New layout of the ARRL/QST Product Reviews overview:

Hans, PA1HR, has made an accessible table of QST product reviews that can be
searched and navigated with a screen reader:

It provides basic stats.  For the complete reviews, please log into your
ARRL member account and search for the product review of your choice. 


ACB-Google survey

The survey, developed jointly by Google and the American Council of the
Blind, will gather data about technology use and needs in the blind
community. Respondents will be able to complete the survey by either
telephone or web. Survey data will be used to better understand how blind
users interact with the web, which assistive technologies they find most
useful, and how they make decisions about whether to switch or upgrade

It is available through mid-September, so now is the time to take it:

(Thanks to W6KHS for the reminder.)


Troubleshooting 101: Intermittent madness!

Description: Pat and giant alligator

All of us have had problems with intermittent circuits from time to time.
At first the radio works fine, then it doesn't, then it does again, then the
problem seems to go away for a week, finally showing up on the morning of
the big DX contest.


Here's the scenario, one that actually happened to me.  I was tuning around
on 20 meters, and found a nice clear spot on the band.  After listening for
a while, I threw out my callsign and when the frequency seemed clear, I
called CQ.  Imagine my surprise to hear some guy scolding me for calling on
top of a QSO that was already in progress!  I apologized, and tried to
figure out what I had done wrong.

But I hadn't done anything wrong!  I had listened for a reasonable period of
time, thrown out my callsign, and waited again to assure myself that the
frequency was not in use. What had happened was that my Yaesu FT-747GX
transceiver had, unbeknownst to me, developed an intermittent that had
silenced the receiver enough to make me believe that the frequency was clear
and caused that embarrassing dust up with another operator. 

How in the world did I find out what had gone wrong?  Email me at
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for possible publication in next week's edition. 

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


A dip in the pool

G1B08 asks us: When choosing a transmitting frequency, what should you do to
comply with good amateur practice? 

Your possible choices are:

A. Review FCC Part 97 Rules regarding permitted frequencies and emissions. 
B. Follow generally accepted band plans agreed to by the Amateur Radio
C. Before transmitting, listen to avoid interfering with ongoing
D. All of these choices are correct.

So what do you think?  They are all pretty good ideas, so the correct answer
is D, All of these choices are correct. Remember that when you take a
multiple choice exam, you should always read through all of the possible
answers, not just jump on the first correct one.  Learning strategies like
this will help you take a multiple choice exam more efficiently and will
assure you of a higher score. 


Remote Base Health Report for 07 September 2011

Description: Kenwood TS-480 transceiver, used in both remote base stations.

Both stations are operational. 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@xxxxxxxx is 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:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 


This week @ HQ

Description: Handiham headquarters at Camp Courage, Maple Lake Minnesota

*       The tape digest was going to be delayed or not published at all this
month because our 4-track recorder had stopped working. George reported that
he has found an old recorder that seems to be working, so we hope to get the
September digest out soon. K0CJ (CJ) has volunteered to take a look at the
broken machine to see what can be done.

*       CQ Digest audio will not be available for a while due to a change in
Bob Zeida's reading schedule. Bob, N1BLF, had a fall and is recovering. We
wish him a speedy recovery. 

*       Matt, KA0PQW, has completed the third Wouxun audio tutorial.  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    

.         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 morning. 

EchoLink nodes: 

*       KA0PQW-R, node 267582
*       N0BVE-R, node 89680
*       *HANDIHAM* conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred
high-capacity node.)

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. 

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, 07 September 2011 - Patrick Tice