[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 10 April 2013

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2013 13:11:26 -0500

*Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday,
10 April 2013*

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
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 stream:

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RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
*Welcome to Handiham World.*RCA Victor & Superman

*[image: Allied Span Master radio from 1962]
Image: Allied Span Master radio from 1962 Allied Summer Catalog (Image and
original catalog from WA0TDA archive.)*

Last week we made a brief reference to the 1973-1974 list of Handiham
members I received from a kind lady in the mail. Looking through that list
was certainly a trip down memory lane – it is chock-full of call signs from
early on in my amateur radio career. This morning, waking up to a couple
inches of fresh snow in mid April, I got to thinking back even further than
the 1970s. April is supposed to be springtime, and as I was busy thinking
about Aprils of years past, for some reason it occurred to me that I had a
pretty vivid memory of my earliest exposure to radio.

It's only a guess, but that was probably around 1952. I was not even five
years old, but I remember sitting in a comfy living room chair next to some
shelves that my dad had built himself. The shelves held our earliest
version of an "entertainment center". There was an RCA 45 RPM record
changer that was paired with a matching RCA Victor radio. Most everything
was on the AM band in those days, but this radio even covered short-wave.
It would be quite a few years before I discovered the short-wave feature,
but I do remember sitting in that stuffed chair and listening to Superman
on the radio's AM
I suppose we got a TV set by the next year, but radio drama was still
popular for a number of years after that.

"Truth, justice, and the AMERICAN
was how Superman always began.

Radio was a pretty magical thing to a kid. Adventures from far-off places
poured out of the speaker, and the imagination knew no limits. Science
fiction dramas were magical when you created the most elaborate scenes in
your head – no multimillion dollar budget for props and digital scenery
needed! You also learned to tune around the band, and eventually how radio
reception was affected by the time of day, thunderstorms, and the power
drill dad was using in the basement. What was really fascinating was the
way really far-off AM stations could be heard after dark.  It wasn't
unusual to hear broadcasts from a thousand or more miles away on the medium
wave (AM) band.

It wasn't until I was in middle school that I started getting interested in
the short-wave bands. It was possible to get some amazing signals on the
old RCA, but it was getting pretty old and had definite limitations, among
which was limited band coverage. My parents bought me a Knight-Kit Span
Master AM and short-wave radio.  The box arrived, and dad and I deployed
the various bags of parts on an old table in the attic.  We put it together
- I still remember wondering why the instructions called for "spaghetti" to
be slipped over some of the bare wires.  We would have to go down to the
kitchen and find some spaghetti! Good thing dad knew that the instructions
were referring to the hollow insulating tubing that was packed in the parts

The radio had two tubes and was a regenerative design.  Even with only two
tubes, it is possible to achieve some impressive gain by regeneration.  The
down side is that there is some fiddling around to get the settings at
exactly the right spot to coax maximum gain out of the circuit without
sending it into a fit of noisy squeals. There were two tuning knobs on the
front panel, each of which was directly connected to the shaft of a
variable capacitor behind the front panel.  The main tuning knob provided
rough tuning and the fine tuning knob was "bandspread", or fine tuning.
You certainly needed the bandspread when the knobs were directly connected
to the capacitors and the slightest movement of the main tuning threw you
far off frequency.

The Span Master was good for a kid learning about radio.  For one thing, I
learned that short-wave listening demanded an outdoor antenna.  That wasn't
something we ever connected to the old RCA.  An outdoor antenna brought in
lots of signals and was a lot less noisy than an indoor wire antenna.
Another was that I was able to learn about HF propagation since I could now
listen across a much wider range of frequencies.  And the inside of a radio
didn't seem so mysterious after building the kit. I put the Span Master on
a shelf at the head of my bed, so that I could listen far into the night,
at least on weekends when I didn't have to get up early for school.

High school saw my interests turn to photography, but the radio was always
close by.  It wasn't until my first year of college that I decided it was
time to get on the air myself, so I studied for and passed my Novice
license exam and was issued callsign WN0TDA.  It's interesting to think
back about those old radios that intrigued me and captured my imagination -
and how they led me into a lifetime of ham radio fun and friendship.

Today the ARRL is ready to help newcomers into amateur radio with so many
more resources than we ever had back when I got started. One thing that
seems to really be coming into its own is the way amateur radio is a
"maker" activity, with building circuits, writing software, and figuring
out new modes of communication.  In some ways, the core of ham radio
remains the same kind of thrilling discovery and imagination-expanding
journey that I took with the old Knight-Kit Span Master.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
Maurice, KD0IKO, sent us an audio article, which is his review of the Super
Antenna MP-1.  Look for this in next week's edition. Ken, KB3LLA, alerts us
to an on line web seminar (Webinar) about Kindle accessibility:

   - EASI Free Webinar April 11: Kindle and Screen Readers

   Presenter: Norman Coombs, CEO EASI

   Thursday, April 11: 11 Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1 Central 2 PM Eastern

   Kindle hardware devices sometimes claim to be accessible, but that is
   misleading. They may read the e-book contents with a text-to-speech voice,
   but the user who is blind cannot navigate the device to even locate the
   desired book. However, Kindle has a PC version that provides access for
   readers who are blind. The Interface can be navigated by a screen reader,
   and the e-book content is accessed through the Kindle TTS voices. This
   Webinar will walk users through understanding the interface menus and
   explain the many shortcut keys that provide some navigation of the actual
   book. This means that thousands of e-books on Amazon have become accessible
   at last. The application is less than perfect, but Amazon eBooks are now
   available to screen reader users. You must be sure to get the right version
   of Kindle for the PC. You must get Kindle For The PC With Accessibility:


   Join the April 11 free Webinar which will demonstrate some of the
   strengths and problems of this tool. You can read more and register from:


Laurie, N1YXU, writes about the April Events column:

   - April Events by N1YXU

   Officially, welcome to Spring! We have had a little weather delay as far
   as feeling as if the season has changed. But, I’m confident the warmer
   weather will arrive shortly. There are several activities to capture your
   amateur radio interest this month. I hope you find many events that draw
   your attention. Hope to see you on the air! Until next month….

   Regards, - Laurie Meier, N1YXU
   Read the N1YXU Events Column here:

Dick Garey, WA0CAF, likes Microsoft's phone support for adaptive technology:

   - Support (in North America) for Microsoft products is available by
   calling 1-800-936-5900.

Handiham Nets are on on the air.

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

*We are 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? Who knows?  I guess we'll just have to tune in and listen!

*We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time.
Daylight Time began on 10 March. 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.  This is one hour earlier than usual if
you are on GMT, as compared with USA standard time. *

*The official and most current net news may be found at:
http://www.handiham.org/nets *
ARRL: FCC takes a look at RF exposure limits

ARRL alerts us to the FCC's plan to take a fresh look at the regulations
surrounding RF exposure limits. Rather than wade through the pages of
verbiage on the FCC site, you should instead look at the ARRL's take:

Pay special attention to the FCC's reasoning as to why a fresh look might
be necessary.  Technology has changed - that's a given.  But the agency is
also looking at regulations that are clear and apply across services
without special exemptions.  Too much emphasis may be placed on RF power
levels alone in the current system of station assessment, and not enough on
antenna placement and gain.

One thing I firmly believe is that on this - as on so many other aspects of
our regulatory environment - ARRL has my back. Their experts will be
looking closely at this proposal and interpreting it for us.  We certainly
want to be safe from hazardous RF exposure, but at the same time we do not
want complicated and burdensome compliance regulations that turn a routine
RF exposure assessment into a task so formidable that most of us will not
be able to reasonably comply.  I trust ARRL and am happy to be an ARRL
member so that I can support this kind of attention to the changes that
will affect us now and in the future.
*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 RF exposure:*

E0A02 asks, "When evaluating RF exposure levels from your station at a
neighbor’s home, what must you do?"

Possible answers are:

A. Make sure signals from your station are less than the controlled MPE

B. Make sure signals from your station are less than the uncontrolled MPE

C. You need only evaluate exposure levels on your own property

D. Advise your neighbors of the results of your tests

The correct answer is *B: Make sure signals from your station are less than
the uncontrolled MPE limits.  *You want to make sure that everyone nearby
your station will be safe, and that includes neighbors who may not know
about your antenna or when you are transmitting. People who are aware of
the RF in their environment are in a "controlled environment", but people
who are not aware of the RF are in an "uncontrolled environment".  The
expectation of you - the station operator - is one of prudence and caution
when it comes to exposing others, who may be unaware of any potential
hazard, to RF energy.

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQThe May
for our blind members is in production. April DAISY is ready for
use.  *

   - Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this
   month.  Look for these DAISY materials in the members section.
   - NEW audio is expected for May by late in the month of April.  Members
   on the Friday Notify mailing list will receive the link.

Accurate email addresses are important:

   - Recently we have received a number of application forms with bad email
   addresses.  This creates a real problem for us, because we take
   considerable time entering the WRONG information into the mailing lists,
   the website login, and our main database.  When the inevitable
   "undeliverable" comes back, we have to delete all of the previous work and
   start over again.  Please be sure that your information is correct the
   first time so that we can avoid delays in processing any forms and can
   offer you services more quickly.

*Radio Camp application packets have been mailed.  *

*Some of you have asked if we changed locations for the radio camp this
year.  The answer is no, we are still at Camp Courage on Cedar Lake.  The
confusion came about because the camp's physical address is "Maple Lake,
MN", but the camp is not on Maple Lake.  It is on nearby Cedar Lake. There
are so many lakes in Minnesota that it is easy to get confused, but it is
also easy to find a nearby lake for water recreation!  *

2013 camp dates call for arrival on July 28 and departure on August 2.  We
have confirmed that we will offer our campers who pass Technician at camp
brand-new handheld radios. Radio camp will emphasize ham radio fun and
getting on the air.

We will feature:

   - Technician beginner small group class - Get your first license and get
   on the air!
   - General Class study group for those who need a quick review before
   taking the General exam.
   - Extra Class study group for those who need a quick review before
   taking the Extra exam.
   - VE session conducted by SARA, the Stillwater (MN) Amateur Radio
   Association, on Thursday, August 1, at 1:30 PM.
   - Operating Skills small group get on the air sessions and discussions
   - ARRL update - What's new at ARRL.
   - Extra Class seminar for those with Extra Class licenses who want to
   participate in more advanced technical projects and discussions
   - Several stations to operate, including maritime mobile on the camp
   pontoon boat with Cap'n Bill, N0CIC
   - Sailing with Skipper Bill, K9BV
   - Handiham Radio Club meeting and elections
   - Dining in the nearby newly-remodeled Woodland dining hall.
   - Fun in the sun during Minnesota's excellent summer season - at Camp
   Courage on beautiful Cedar Lake!

For a Radio Camp application, email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or
call her at 763-520-0512.

*Handiham net information and news: *The official and most current net news
may be found at:

*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 callsign 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 Manager 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 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, KD0LPX, at
763-520-0532 or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

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
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Email us to subscribe:

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:

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
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc.
Include your old email address and your new address.
Return to Handiham.org <http://handiham.org/>

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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 10 April 2013 - Patrick Tice