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

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 13:52:41 -0500

*Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 10
July 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: Computer open for repair on basement table.]

Here in Minnesota we have a Norwegian phrase that combines surprise, "oh,
boy", "wow", and "Gee, I didn't expect THAT to happen", and it's simply "uff
da <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uff_da>".

As you know, last week we had the United States Independence Day holiday on
July 4.  We closed the Handiham office that day of course, and like many
other folks in Minnesota (who live for the fine weather of a Minnesota
summer), we decided to make a long weekend out of it and take Friday off.
That gave me a perfect time to enjoy getting outdoors with my family and
also getting some things done around the house and garden.

One thing I thought I'd have no problem getting done was to tend to my
increasingly dysfunctional main computer, which was by now loaded down with
years of old files carried over from previous computers and old
installations of Windows.  A complete reinstall of Windows 8 would do the

Well, it did make the computer run great, but I underestimated the
potential problems with some of that old software I was still using.

"Uff da!"

Microsoft FrontPage 2000 refused to install on the new OS. I guess that's
not surprising since if it was called "2000" it must be almost 14 years
old.  Who uses software that old anymore?

I do.  Or did.  But taking this as a sign that it is time to figure out a
new web authoring tool is pretty much inevitable.  Since I have been
maintaining our website with FrontPage, I now need to figure out what will
replace it.  I have Microsoft Expression Web, which is a current software
release, but it is quite different than FrontPage, which means that your
dedicated web editor (me) will probably mess up here and there in the
process of maintaining handiham.org.  I hadn't wanted to spend time in the
basement working on the computer, but it did turn out to be an okay
activity when the temperature outdoors hit 90 degrees F and humidity went
up to jungle steamer levels.

One thing that you need is a solid file backup system, which I have.  That
way you can reinstall your computer's operating system or even put a new
computer into service and then recover your files. In Windows 8, there is a
new feature called "File History".  This is different and more
user-friendly than the old "System Restore", but only if you don't expect
to recover the software installations that had been on the old
installation.  The idea behind this is that you will not lose personal
files but that you will do a complete reinstallation of all of your
software.  The result will be a computer that is reinvigorated with nice,
clean installations instead of old junk that has been modified or
corrupted.  The down side is that you have to reinstall a lot of software,
and I was surprised (uff da) at how big a job that really would be. You
have to have your installation disks and those pesky software keys or
serial numbers.  This is not a job for the faint of heart.

On the other hand, it isn't something that need be done all at once. I just
picked out the software I needed the most and started reinstalling.  Some
software is available on the web. One of the first things to bring back
into the fold was the Handiham Remote Base software, which installed
perfectly on the first try.  Interestingly enough, though Skype is now a
Microsoft product, it is not included with Windows 8 and must be downloaded
and installed.  Since Skype is used for remote base audio, it was among the
first programs to be downloaded and installed.  An interesting side note
for those of you upgrading to Windows 8 is that there is a "Windows 8 mode"
Skype and a "Skype for desktop".  For remote base use, since my computer is
not a tablet-style with a touch screen, I prefer the familiar "desktop"
version.  It looks and behaves like versions running on older operating
systems like XP.

In a new installation you have to allow the W4MQ remote base client to
access Skype.  This is explained in the remote base setup pages, in case
you have forgotten how this works.  Dependencies in software are very
common, and you will find them in many other installations as you continue
with your project.

Another "uff da" moment came when my nice new Skype was running perfectly
and I turned on my Icom IC-7200 transceiver.  The radio is connected to my
computer with a USB cable that I'd rescued from a defunct printer. I had
been using this cable in the old installation to control the radio with Ham
Radio Deluxe and to even put it on the internet with the W4MQ host
software.  With these new radios, the USB connected cable also ports the
audio, acting like another sound card.  Skype decided that it would use the
radio's audio for both input and output.  That would have made for some
interesting results if I had received a Skype call just then - the caller
would be greeted by whatever the radio was receiving!  The fix is to use
the Skype options to set the audio input and output to the correct devices
while all devices are connected and operational.  Save and you are now good
to go!  I haven't decided whether I'll reinstall Ham Radio Deluxe, so that
can wait until later.

Since the PC is "standard operating equipment" in the typical ham shack,
some planning for how the computer is to be used must be part of the
equation.  I have tended to gravitate toward the lazy man's approach of
installing everything on a single machine. From callsign lookup to logging
and rig control, one box did it all.  This is probably okay, but not
necessarily when that same computer also runs a huge mess of other non-ham
related software.  Pretty soon you have too many operations going on in one
machine and your systems become more vulnerable in a failure.  Since part
of good ham radio "best practices" is to be ready for any kind of
communications emergency, it makes sense to distribute the computing among
several different devices.  If you have an IRLP micronode, it will be a
separate system running Linux. If you require portability, a notebook
machine will be able to go along for the ride.  If one system goes down,
you might want to have another ready to step in.  I can't imagine my ham
shack without a computer - several computers - available and ready to go at
a moment's notice.

Even Field Day is computerized.  My club's Field Day used laptops for
logging at each of our stations.  The logging machines are dedicated to
that purpose, so that they will do one thing and do it well.  That is the
virtue of having some computing devices dedicated to specific ham radio
functions.  Of course there is some balance required here.  You cannot have
a separate computer system for every purpose - that would be wasteful.  But
you can build in some redundancy as you plan your computer system by
perhaps having one machine "mostly" devoted to ham radio.  Back it up
regularly with whatever backup strategy you prefer.

If something happens to your ham shack computer, just say, "uff da" and get
on with the restoration!

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator
Summer studies: More important than you think.

[image: Pat with headset microphone & Extra Class License Manual from ARRL]

The Handiham audio lectures are up and running, making for some good times
listening and learning while you sit in a lounge chair on the patio sipping
a lemonade.  All of our Technician (beginner) and General lectures are
available for download or streaming from the members section, and they can
be downloaded and placed on your portable MP3 device. The Extra Class
lecture series is underway and I've completed 38 of them so far, which is
more than in either of the other lecture series. The reason for the larger
number is that the Extra Class material is more difficult and thus requires
more explanation.  I know that there are ways to simply memorize the
questions and answers from the pool, and I even know some Amateur Radio
operators who have done just that - and who have successfully passed the
Extra Class exam.  Yes, they are credentialed "Extra Class", but in
reality?  Not so much, since they do not grasp the basic concepts behind
the questions they were asked on the exam.

As your instructor - and as my fellow instructors will agree - I must say
that you are better off studying the concepts behind the questions.  That
is why the audio lecture series for Extra takes a fair amount of time to
complete.  Sometimes a concept covered by a couple of pages in the license
manual takes at least a half hour to explain!

Not, mind you, that even an intensive course covering concepts will lead to
a deep understanding.  Sometimes that must come from experience. Think of
it this way:  A ham ticket is like a diploma; it doesn't guarantee that you
know everything in your field, it simply means that you are qualified to
continue learning.  Frankly, it is hard to launch into ham radio if you
know little or nothing outside the memorized answers to the questions from
the pool.

There is so much that you need to know, even if you are studying for your
first license or upgrading to General!

   - How do I design and install an antenna?
   - What happens if I get RF in the shack?
   - Why don't I hear stations on 15 meters?
   - Why won't that DX station answer me?
   - How do I diagnose a high SWR reading?
   - How do I tell if the six meter band is open?
   - Where is that interference coming from and how do I get rid of it?
   - Do I need special permission to operate my radio in Canada?
   - How do I locate a bad component?
   - What power supply do I need?

These are all questions that you will have at one time or another, and they
are not answered directly in the question pool.  You learn the answers by
rolling up your sleeves and experiencing some real hands-on Amateur Radio.
You'll get help along the way from reference books like the ARRL Handbook
and many other publications as well as from reputable websites.  Your radio
club probably has programs on technical and operating topics, and you can
learn with a more experienced operator at your side on Field Day or during
a public service training exercise.

But a word of caution is in order:  Launching into your lifetime of ham
radio learning - especially the Extra Class -  is harder if you don't
understand the concepts behind radio theory, operating, and safety.  To
bring this conversation full circle, that is why I believe that you need to
keep studying this summer. Don't pooh-pooh the hard stuff thinking you will
never need to know it.  Those concepts can provide your "aha moment" when
you are doing an antenna assessment for your own system or that of a fellow
radio club member.  Knowledge is also power when it comes to getting
equipment working.  One Handiham member recently told me that he and a
fellow ham quickly repaired the antenna connector on an HT, saving up to
$100 in shop fees at a repair center!

One final thought about the Extra Class.  It is the highest license class
and it should mean that its holder knows a good deal about Amateur Radio
and can assume a leadership position in club projects.  It should mean that
the holder can solve problems and can manage a station independently.  My
goal as an instructor is to launch you into your Extra Class with enough
knowledge and confidence to carry on as an Amateur Radio leader.

Someday you will be sharing Amateur Radio with others, leading initiatives
in your club and community, and setting a good example with your
thoughtful, efficient, operating skill.
Bulletin Board

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
ARRL says no to encryption petition

In ARLB016, arriving in our inbox on Tuesday afternoon, the *ARRL is
calling on the FCC to deny a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11699) seeking to
permit the encryption of certain amateur communications during emergency
operations or related training exercises. Don Rolph, AB1PH, of E Walpole,
Massachusetts, petitioned the Commission in March to suggest an additional
exception to ยง97.113, which currently prohibits "messages encoded for the
purpose of obscuring their meaning." *

The bulletin continues:

*"While Mr. Rolph has concisely stated his argument, it is ARRL's
considered view that there is no factual or legal basis for the assumption
that encryption of transmissions...is necessary in order to continue and
enhance the utility of Amateur Radio emergency and disaster relief
communications," the League said in its comments, filed today with the
FCC.  *

Those of our readers and listeners who have examined the petition will
recall that its basic argument is that served agencies (in public service
communications scenarios) will find Amateur Radio less useful should it be
necessary to send messages containing HIPAA information, since that
information could not be encrypted due to restrictions in Part 97.  HIPAA
relates to private medical information.  The League's position is
essentially that Amateur Radio  must remain useful to served agencies, but
that it is also important to avoid burdening volunteer communicators with
more regulation:

*"It is just as important to insure that regulatory impediments to that
volunteer work be minimized to the extent consistent with the nature of the
Amateur Radio Service."  *

The ARRL leaves the door open to reconsider should there be a demonstrated
need, but points out that such a need has not been shown to exist.
It's a 50 amp automotive circuit breaker

[image: Gel cell battery detail with attached circuit breaker]

One of our readers asked what kind of circuit breaker was used on the
UB12750 gel cell battery pictured at the Stillwater Amateur Radio
Association ARRL Field Day location. The answer is "50 amp automotive"
according to Henry, K0HAS.
OrCam pops up on Blind-Hams list

[image: Screenshot of YouTube showing OrCam on pair of regular

I try to stay caught up with AT - Assistive Technology - but I can't always
read every tech column and sometimes (especially in the summertime) I get
lazy, uh, a bit behind in my reading. That's why I was excited to find a
post and discussion on the list about a wearable camera that photographs
and interprets what it "saw", turning the output into spoken word audio.
Yes, I know that this is not the first such project, but it does finally
have the form factor that (in my opinion) will actually work for most
users.  Instead of being part of a special hand-held camera that one must
pull out of a pouch or pocket, turn on and point at the object to be
recognized, the OrCam is a small, light camera with earpiece that attaches
on the bow of a set of regular eyeglasses.  The accompanying YouTube video
has very good accompanying audio, so it is worth checking out even if you
cannot see the video part.  Listen for the part when the woman in the video
opens the fridge and points her finger at a bottle of cranberry juice.  The
device is watching for finger pointing gestures and responds with a voice
saying "Ocean Spray cranberry juice".  That's not what she is looking for,
so she points to the right and finds the soy milk.

Of course a video is one thing and a real life experience is another.
Having learned much from my blind friends and Handiham members over the
years, I am enthusiastic as all get out about new stuff like this,
especially since it is so small and unobtrusive that it's even possible
most people would not even notice you are wearing it.  On the other hand, I
look at that fridge full of other stuff besides cranberry juice and think
to myself how it isn't that simple to point directly to what you want on
the first try.  In fact, the woman in the video first points to the
cranberry juice, hears the response, then points to a box of soy milk and
selects that item.  You would have to sort of know where things are to
really use OrCam the way it is used in the video.  In real life, your kids
will move everything around and put things back in a different place every
time, making that fridge a bit more difficult to navigate.

You will also have to learn to "look" in the direction of the item of
interest. The face recognition is not going to work well unless you train
yourself to look in the direction of the voice and hold your head up
straight - your mom always told you to stand up straight anyway, and now
you know why!  This may not be as easy as it sounds for everyone.  Some
people walk and sit with their faces pointed downward.  Perhaps that is a
defensive posture or just what seems natural to them, but it sure wouldn't
be optimal for the wearable camera, which points the direction that the
wearer faces.  It looks to me like the poised young woman in the video has
no problem pointing her face toward the item of interest, whether it is a
crossing signal, a face, or an item in the fridge.  I suspect that a new
user will have some learning to do in terms of maintaining the correct
camera angle.

The price class is $2,500.  This seems pretty reasonable as specialized
assistive technology goes.  The website is at:

If you plan on ordering one, we would like to hear from you about your
experience from ordering to wearing and using the OrCam.
What callsign lookup site do you prefer?

Recently a member asked me that question, reminding me that the site I
recommended  in the past was very blind-friendly.  That site is the WM7D
site, which you will find here:

This site cannot be considered a replacement for QRZ.com, though - it is a
very basic lookup site while QRZ has many customizable options and extra
features. I use both!
Radio Camp Registration is Closed

[image: Sun sets over Cedar Lake at Camp Courage]
*The sun sets over beautiful Cedar lake at Camp Courage, as seen from the
Woodland campus, where we will have 2013 Handiham Radio Camp starting on
Sunday, July 28.  Look for us on the air, using callsign W0ZSW and our
personal callsigns. Radio Camp registration is closed, since the June
deadline has passed.  If you missed camping with us this year, we hope to
at least talk with you on the air and perhaps be able to see you at camp
next year. *

*Camp Notes:*

   - We will be taking part in the Handiham nets, and Net Manager Matt
   Arthur, KA0PQW, will be at camp.
   - We will also be monitoring the camp repeater, which is connected to
   the *HANDIHAM* conference on Echolink node number 494492.
   - We plan to check into the regional 75 meter PICONET whenever possible.
   - Our open VE session is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, 1:30 pm in
   the basement of the Woodland dining hall.  The site is wheelchair
   accessible and volunteer readers will be available.  Our VE team, led by
   Shel Mann, N0DRX, is experienced with radio camp VE sessions. The VE
   session is listed on the ARRL website:
   - In case you are wondering, the exam fee in 2013 is $15.00 (for one
   attempt at all three license elements). If a candidate fails an element at
   an exam session and wants to re-test for the same element, an additional
   fee will be required.
   - We don't make schedules (skeds) for on the air contacts because the
   camp day is quite dynamic and this often does not work out. If you know
   someone who is going to be at camp, please feel free to contact them
   directly for a schedule. We do not give out camper information from the
   Handiham office.
   - We may or may not have time for a weekly eletter and podcast at camp.
   Historically, I have just been way too busy to produce the issue!

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 VE sessions:*

Question E1E11 asks: "What must the VE team do if an examinee scores a
passing grade on all examination elements needed for an upgrade or new

Possible answers are:

A. Photocopy all examination documents and forward them to the FCC for

B. Three VEs must certify that the examinee is qualified for the license
grant and that they have complied with the administering VE requirements

C. Issue the examinee the new or upgrade license

D. All these choices are correct

If you are a VE, you certainly know that answer B, Three VEs must certify
that the examinee is qualified for the license grant and that they have
complied with the administering VE requirements, is the correct one.
Recently I was reminded of how important it is for the Volunteer Examiners
to pay attention to detail when the FCC bulletin listed a license downgrade
after a VE team mistakenly listed his elements passed incorrectly. The
fellow received a General ticket, but had only passed Technician.  It
wasn't his fault - but the VE team should have been more careful.

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQW0EQO & W0ZSW are on line.

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

Both stations are on line as of this morning. We are not expecting any
outages, but band conditions are disappointing lately.  I do hope to
re-hang the W0ZSW antenna soon.  Absorption is very high on 160, 75, and 40
meters during the day. Try these bands after dark for the best results.

   - Remote Base operating tip:  If switching from one station to the
   other, be sure to log off the station you are on, then wait for at least 30
   seconds before logging on to the other one. This can prevent timing issues
   with the software.
   - Remote Base operating tip:  The antenna may not be tuned until you
   transmit some RF, thereby activating the LDG AT-200PRO autotuner. This can
   make the band seem dead at first. Be sure to identify all transmissions.
   - Remote Base operating tip:  If you are interested in working PICONET
   on 3.925 MHz, W0EQO often works best because of its northern Minnesota
   location.  In the summertime, there is a barrier between northern and
   southern Minnesota on 75 meters during the daytime.  Up here in Minnesota,
   we call this "the iron curtain" because it seems to really block the
   north-south propagation. Most of the PICONET net control stations seem to
   be up in the northern part of the state, so you will hear them best on
   W0EQO.  In the winter, with its shorter days, 75 meter propagation
   north-south returns to normal.

How does this look?

If you have comments on this edition of the weekly eletter in HTML format,
the first one produced completely in Microsoft Expression Web, please let
me know.  I am looking for odd or incorrect rendering or other problems.
Send reports to handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

*Practice Exams:*

   - *Did you know that we have a listing of practice exam websites?  Here
   it is:
   http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/28 *

*The July 2013 
for our blind members is ready for use in the DAISY section after
you log in.  NLS cartridges for July have been mailed. *

*[image: Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer]
Don't care to download 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. *

*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.
   - QCWA Journal for JUNE 2013 has been added today in MP3. QCWA members
   may also access this audio from the QCWA website <http://www.qcwa.org/>.
   Just follow the link in the page header. The July issue of QCWA Journal has
   not been released yet, so we do not have it.
   - 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, 10 July 2013 - Patrick Tice