This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. You can listen to this news online: MP3 audio stream: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this podcast in iTunes: <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Description: Subscribe in iTunes RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! How do you learn to operate a new radio? Or look up something about a radio you've already owned for years? Description: Pat, WA0TDA looks at his Yaesu VX5R manual. One of the most popular services that the Handiham System used to offer was audio tape versions of equipment manuals on cassette tape. We have a few of the old manuals still available in that aging format, but let's face it - most people would rather forget how awful finding anything in an audio tape reference book can be. Sometimes the manuals were long, and that meant multiple tapes. Which one had the part about setting the memories? And even then, which track would it be on? We now take the approach of recruiting a blind user who can teach the radio from a blind perspective. An audio file (or series of files) can be a lot more helpful to another blind user, since learning from a blind teacher pretty much eliminates all the usual dumb mistakes sighted people like me make when we are trying to get a point across. Thankfully, the radio manufacturers are making equipment support documents like instruction manuals available in accessible PDF via website downloads. The accessible PDF isn't perfect, but it does contain embedded text that can be searched. This puts the blind (or sighted) operator in the driver's seat when it comes to finding the part of the manual that one wants. The next frontier is to figure out how to make these manuals into a somewhat easier to navigate DAISY format. As we contemplate what our blind and sighted Handiham members really want, I thought it would make the most sense to simply ask: So here's my question to you: How do you use equipment manuals, and what can be done to make learning about a radio easier? Let me know so that we can figure out where to go with this next new frontier. Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham System Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ New General Class Question Pool Released 2011 Element 3 General Class Question Pool The Question Pool Committee of the NCVEC hereby releases into public domain the 2011-2015 General Class, Element 3, Question pool. This pool becomes effective for all Element 3 examinations to be administered on July 1, 2011 and remains valid until June 30, 2015. We noticed that the text version on the NCVEC website returns question marks for quotes, so we have a corrected plain text version available on the Handiham website. Please feel free to download it and look it over: http://handiham.org/local/downloads/general_2011-2015.txt We will be producing a special version without the distracters for our Handiham members who prefer to use that type of question pool format for study and review. A DAISY version will also be available at some future date. Link to download page at NCVEC: http://www.ncvec.org/page.php?id=358 _____ 3.715 MHz test was a real flop Description: FT-718 rig Several of us were listening in hopes of starting a roundtable on the Advanced Class frequency 3.715 MHz plus or minus QRM at around 30 minutes into the evening Echolink net. It became obvious that the band was really long, and the frequency just didn't work. One station suggested that a 160 meter frequency might be tried, but the problem with that band is that many operators don't have a 160 meter antenna. Please e-mail me this week with your frequency and time suggestions, frequency reports, and other suggestions about the net. 73, Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ A dip in the pool The new 2011 General Pool has been released. I see that there will be five questions on the new exam, which will be in effect as of July 1, on the topic of operating practices. I like to call this "the operating skills" section of the pool: SUBELEMENT G2 - OPERATING PROCEDURES [5 Exam Questions - 5 Groups]. Today we will take a peek at a typical question from G2A - Phone operating procedures; USB/LSB utilization conventions; procedural signals; breaking into a QSO in progress; VOX operation. G2A06 asks, "Which of the following is an advantage when using single sideband as compared to other analog voice modes on the HF amateur bands?" The possible answers are: A. Very high fidelity voice modulation B. Less bandwidth used and higher power efficiency C. Ease of tuning on receive and immunity to impulse noise D. Less subject to static crashes (atmospherics) Of course you answered "B - Less bandwidth used and higher power efficiency", right? I picked this question for a couple of reasons. The first is to illustrate that the possible answers are trimmed down to be short and to the point. This will be helpful to candidates with disabilities who might have to have the exam read to them. It is easier for everyone, blind or not, to take a multiple choice exam that has been designed with clear, concise choices instead of long, rambling choices. The idea in any exam should be to test for real knowledge of the topic without having the exam's wording get in the way. A second reason I picked this question is to address the learning that should form the foundation of practical knowledge for the concept of SSB, or single sideband operation. If you are teaching a General Class course, it is important for your students to know that there is more to the learning process than memorizing the answer "Less bandwidth used and higher power efficiency". You will certainly want your students to know that SSB signals do not include both sidebands and the carrier portion of the AM signal. This is essential to understand why the SSB signal can be so much narrower than a full AM signal. And you will definitely want to talk to your class about why it doesn't make sense to amplify an unnecessary carrier before sending your phone signal out onto the airwaves! Over the years I have run across operators, some who even hold Extra Class tickets, who have little practical knowledge of many amateur radio concepts and practices. Believe me, this shows when they have no clue as to how to logically troubleshoot a problem or when they make embarrassing operating errors while on the air. That's why I want to address ham radio instructors everywhere and pass along the message to please take the time to explain concepts behind the questions when you teach your courses. This is even more necessary these days, when there is no Novice class license being offered to help new hams learn gradually and by hands-on experience as they picked up operating skills in the past. I must remind our "vintage" hams - guys like me who have been in amateur radio for decades, that the newbies will have entered radio through the Technician license, and will have little or no HF operating experience when they upgrade to General. Let's be sure we take the time to explain the basics, so that we can help our new HF operators be the very best they can be. Here's a question that isn't in the pool, but perhaps it should be: Q. What is your job as an amateur radio instructor? A. To help new operators be successful. Remember, kindness and patience in teaching newbies the concepts behind the questions will pay off with successful HF operators! _____ Handiham Radio Club Notes By Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, Handiham Radio Club President Spacelog! Description: Apollo 11 patch with eagle landing on moon, crescent Earth in background. Credit: NASA. Read the entire copyright notice and see the larger image file on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apollo_11_insignia.png This cool patch shows an eagle landing on the cratered surface of the moon with a crescent Earth in the black background of space. "Apollo 11" is lettered across the top. This was the mission that made the first moon landing. Image credit: NASA, via Wikipedia. Here is a new website where you can read the stories of early space exploration right from the original NASA transcripts. These are now open to the public in a searchable, linkable format. I tried Spacelog and quickly got hooked. Find out what went on during the nail-biter of a mission, Apollo 13. Explore where - yes - SOME men have gone before, and do so right from your computer. 3, 2, 1, blast off to: http://spacelog.org/ _____ In your mailbox soon... Description: Handiham World Screenshot Update! Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed reading the year-end Handiham World print edition into MP3 audio format for download at the following link: http://handiham.org/local/downloads/hhw_winter_2010.mp3 If you would like a PDF version, you can download that as well. It has accessible embedded text: http://handiham.org/local/downloads/hhw_winter_2010.pdf Download hint: If you want to download a file to your hard drive, you may need to right click the link and choose "save target as" before continuing. If you simply click the MP3 link and nothing seems to happen, it is probably because the file is downloading in the background to a temp folder and it will play once the download is complete. This is likely the case if you have installed Apple QuickTime and the file is configured to download and play from the browser window. Now, as we approach the end of the year, a new print edition of Handiham World will soon be arriving in your mailbox. It has Handiham news, but it also contains that all-important giving envelope. Please consider using the giving envelope to send your tax-deductible gift in support of the Handiham System again this year. As I said, it has been a challenging year for nonprofits. Our parent organization, Courage Center, has worked hard to be as efficient as possible, and all of us have had to work very hard to provide a high standard of service. That includes the Handiham program, which has seen its share of belt-tightening over the past year. If you support what we do it really is critical to step up to the plate at this time of year and use that giving envelope. We really appreciate it, and thank all of our members, volunteers, and supporters. Note: If you get more than one copy at the same address, please let us know so that we can correct this error and save mailing costs. _____ Live & Learn Do you use JAWS and wish there was an easy way to learn more about using this software? You need JAWS training. Freedom Scientific is offering some free webinars on line. Here is the link: http://www.freedomscientific.com/Training/e-LearningEntrance.asp#FreeWebinar These are easy because you don't have to go anywhere for them. Just log on from home! _____ Remote base progress report: 08 December 2010 Description: Kenwood TS-570 Both stations are functional. Report problems to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Would you like to try the station right now? If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the radio, you can search for W0ZSW-L, node 524906, and connect. Entering a frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. Don't forget about our station at Courage North, in far northern Minnesota's lake country. If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the radio, you can search for W0EQO-L, node 261171, and connect. Just as with the other station, entering a frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. _____ On the air December Events by N1YXU I trust that each of you is enjoying the holiday season. Our house has been very busy with folks coming and going during multi-day, multi-operator contests. Our busy days will soon turn to preparations for the holidays. In the midst of the hustle, I hope that each of you will be able to take time to relax and appreciate the traditions that your family celebrates. In this month's events information, you will find several activities that should capture your interest. Until next month.. Regards, - Laurie Meier, N1YXU n1yxu@xxxxxxxx Read the events column: <http://www.handiham.org/node/991> http://www.handiham.org/node/991 _____ KN4AQ: A Ham's Night Before Christmas ARVN's KN4AQ presents a nifty take on the old chestnut "A Night Before Christmas" poem by Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863). Wonderful video editing, great nostalgic graphics from vintage QST, and the well-written text. Very good sound for our blind Handiham members, too. The YouTube site uses Adobe Flash. Find it at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/989> http://www.handiham.org/node/989 _____ This week @ HQ * The Handiham office will be closed every Friday through the end of the year. We will still release the Audio email unless we notify you otherwise. * CQ digest audio for December has been completed by Bob Zeida, N1BLF, and is available to our blind members. * Don't put it off! General Class students had better study faster. The NCVEC Question Pool Committee has completed the new General Class pool, which will be effective on 1 July 2011. We have heard that the pool questions are more difficult, and there are more total questions in the new pool. Our advice to those of you who have been dragging your feet about getting your General Class upgrade is to get busy right now and pass that General! If you wait too long, you will have to go through the new pool and take a harder exam. * Update! Once the new 2011 General Pool is released, we will begin working on getting it into the most accessible format possible. George, N0SBU, has agreed to help us by editing the pool down to include only the correct answers, which is not meant to replace the regular NCVEC pool, but to be helpful as a study guide for our members who use screenreaders and who appreciate a shorter pool for review. * New General Class audio lectures tied to the 2011 pool will begin in the summer of 2011. ARRL and W5YI study materials should be ready in the Spring, probably by Dayton HAMVENTIONR. * I've asked Santa for a new ARRL Handbook, which is quite a good deal now on the ARRL website <http://www.arrl.org/shop/The-ARRL-Handbook-2011-Hardcover-Edition/> . I'll write up some notes about accessibility once I get a chance to look the book over - and the CD, which contains the PDF contents of the book. * A big thank you to our net control stations for "saying yes" and volunteering for this leadership role. We really appreciate your help and everyone has noticed that the nets are running more smoothly than ever. . Tonight is net night. The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +6 hours, or 01:30 GMT Thursday morning. EchoLink nodes: KA0PQW-R, node 267582 N0BVE-R, node 89680 HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.) Other ways to connect: IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) WIRES system number 1427 * We need an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES node in Rochester, MN so that Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, can continue to check into the Handiham net. Chris, KG0BP, has shut down his node because he has moved to the Twin Cities. * 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 - Year-end is a critical time. Description: graphic showing figure using wheelchair holding hand of standing figure Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage Center's secure website. It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you need to use the pull-down menu to designate your gift to the Handiham program. . Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website: https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294 <https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344> &srcid=344 . Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down Designation menu to select "Handi-Hams". . Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift is a tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information. This would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example. We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and we plan to continue doing just that in 2010. _____ Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Handiham Membership Dues Reminder: Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we need you to keep our program strong! You will have several choices when you renew: . Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal date is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for one year. . Join for three years at $30. . Lifetime membership is $100. . If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for the year. . Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities. . Discontinue your membership. Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. Your support is critical! Please help. The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532 or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities. Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free.1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new hams on the air. Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date with ham radio news. You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> . Email us to subscribe: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> : . Beginner . General . Extra . Operating Skills That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handiham System Reach me by email at: patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ Description: ARRL Diamond logo ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide. Please contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you fill out the paperwork! The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.