[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 10 November 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 06:58:10 -0600

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. 

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Welcome to Handiham World!  

In this edition: 

.             What's Avery doing now?

.             Operating Skills: EchoLink help & tips

.             Daisy frequency chart comments requested

.             How does 3.970 MHz sound for a new net?

.             Dip in the pool features two questions this week

.             Experts & officials meet to discuss solar storms

.             Helmetcam heads to Mississippi

.             Remote base progress report

.             "Get a Job!" Seriously, here is a job opening.

.             Phone number for this podcast - call & listen if you don't
have access to a computer.

.             This week at HQ

.             Supporting Handihams


Welcome once again to my humble QTH:


Description: Avery visits Handiham HQ in October & uses the station.

To many of my friends, retirement means being more active than ever and
being involved in more things than while they were in the work force. Some
of my other friends just sit around all day with nothing to do except watch
TV, listen to the radio, or read. For me it has been a little of both. I am
hunting for another job just for something to do to keep active with people
on a more daily basis. Also, I have been meeting with several of the people
I went to high school and grade school with so very long ago. We are
planning a 70 year, weeklong, Birthday Bash because we will all turn 70 at
the same time, plus or minus a couple months. Many will be flying in from
all over the world. Once a month we have a lunch for those who happen to be
in town at that time. 

Because of my interest in Amateur Radio Since 1956, when I first became
licensed, I have never been lacking any friends and have always had
something to keep my interest. There is always new technology to keep up
with. In fact, I have attended several local ham radio events and do a
considerable amount of listening both on and off the ham bands. I also check
out many of the ham radio web sites to see what is new and what various
clubs are doing. Of course I have been checking out the Handiham web pages
too. I have been out to the new offices and visited with Pat and Nancy a few
times too. Pat & I have worked on a couple Handiham projects as well. 

Which brings me to this: Although my rigs consist of a Yaesu FT-100 & VX7R ,
a Kenwood TS-50 with the automatic antenna tuner, an Icom IC-T7H HT, I also
have and use a couple of HT scanners , a Bearcat R4020 and a Radio Shack
Pro-96, which I use to listen to many things both on and off the ham bands.
They scan pretty fast so I do not miss very much and I catch most of the
VHF/UHF nets and things going on. Many times I am listening to the Handiham
net on the scanner and go to jump in only to notice that there is no push to
talk switch on the scanner. 

One subject of interest to me is the question of a 75/80 meter Handiham net
and where on the band to have it. 

My suggestion was, half kidding, to have a slow speed Handiham CW net on 75

How about it? What do you think? 

I would volunteer to be ONE of the net controls if we have some others that
would help. 

I know, I know...  The requirement for CW has been dropped. But here is the
funny thing about that. More and more people are learning the code just for
the fun of it. And, some people cheat using computers to translate the code
so they don't even need to know it. If you think about it, there is plenty
of room in the CW part of the band for a net and the range would be greater
using CW than on SSB so people from outer areas would have a better chance
of checking in. 

And, Yes! I know Handihams has a Slow Speed CW net on 7112 Friday Mornings.
However Paul, the net control, is on the East Coast and as many times as I
have tried to check in from Minnesota no one has heard me. Another slow
speed Handiham CW net for those of us on "THIS" side of the Appalachian
Mountains might be what is needed. 

What do you think? Please send your ideas , suggestions, wishes to be a
volunteer CW net control, etc. to Pat at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx  and he will pass
on the information to me.

So, until next time...

73 es DX de K0HLA Avery


Operating Skills:  Echolink -  Help! EchoLink doesn't work!

Description: Echolink screenshot

All of us have had computer problems from time to time. It just seems to be
the nature of the beast when you are dealing with something as complicated
as computers have grown to be. True, a great deal of effort has gone into
making them more user-friendly, but they can still be terribly confounding
when you step just a little bit outside known territory and start working
with specialized amateur radio software like EchoLink.

When you buy a new computer, at least a name-brand computer, it is quite
likely that it comes with a phone number to call for tech support. If you
have occasion to call a tech support number, you may end up talking with a
representative, a person who has been trained in the specialty work of
answering questions about that brand of computer and the software that was
bundled with it.

If you are a blind person using a screen reading program, you may have had
to call tech support at the screen reader company. These representatives
will be trained in solving the usual problems that one might encounter when
using the screen reader with typical programs like e-mail clients, web
browsers, and office applications.

Ah, but now you want to install some ham radio software, perhaps the
extraordinarily useful EchoLink application. You have to know a thing or two
about computers and the Internet in order to be able to download the
software and get it installed and registered. Since the EchoLink application
is free to any licensed amateur, and since it is an effort made possible by
volunteers, there is necessarily very limited tech support. You should not
be surprised that there is no telephone number listed on the EchoLink
website. In fact, there is no one at EchoLink to answer your telephone
questions on an individual basis. Instead, there are excellent and very
comprehensive help files that are kept up-to-date and that are accessible to
anyone. This makes sense, because there is no budget within this volunteer
organization to staff a phone bank to answer tech support questions,
although there is a place on the EchoLink website to submit questions -
provided you have already thoroughly examined all of the existing help files
and were unable to find the answer on your own.

So what do people do when they can't find a phone number on the EchoLink
website? Well, at least some of them call Handihams instead. And guess what?
We generally can't help, either.

It's not that we don't want to be helpful - we do - it's just that the
problem is that every computer system is different. Since we are not
standing next to you and looking at your computer, we have no idea if you
have your microphone plugged into the line input instead of the microphone
jack or whether you have set up your Windows mixer correctly. We don't know
how your router's firewall is configured. We don't know what your forgotten
password is.

So the bottom line is this: You have to take the bull by the horns yourself
when you are working with ham radio software. If you absolutely, positively
have been through all of the carefully written and logical help pages on the
EchoLink website and are still not able to resolve the problem, then it is
time to get some local help from your area radio club. You should not be
embarrassed to admit that you are stumped about EchoLink. After all,
EchoLink is not a simple word processor or e-mail client. It does require a
validation process that is unusual in order to verify that you are in fact a
licensed amateur radio operator. Once that is accomplished, it can be
challenging to adjust firewall settings to EchoLink's liking. Configuring
the sound settings can be an unusual task that many computer users will not
have attempted before installing EchoLink. Learning your way around the
EchoLink application with keyboard shortcuts can also take some time.

But it is time well-spent!

Believe me, you will be happier using EchoLink if you learn as much as you
can about its installation, configuration, validation, and operation as you
can. Sure, you might need some help when you're getting started. But taking
ownership of the process is essential so that you will not need to call for
help again when something changes on your computer.

Here are some tips to make EchoLink easier:

1.      Be ready to get validated in EchoLink without a problem by having
your original amateur radio license safely stored where you can locate it
for the validation process. We suggest making a paper file dedicated to your
FCC license and all correspondence related to it.  That way if you need to
send a FAX or upload a copy of your license as part of the validation
process, you will know where to find your original license. 

2.      Start a paper file or a special computer folder for all of your
EchoLink password information and correspondence.  If you ever need to
reinstall EchoLink or if you forget your login credentials, this can be a
real time-saver!

3.      Take some time to learn your way around the EchoLink website. It is
a well-organized site that is easy to navigate with a screenreader or a
mouse. There are almost no graphics and the ones that are there are not
essential to understanding the information.

4.      Resist the temptation to rush into EchoLink operation without
reading the installation and help files. Be patient and read the information
on the website.  Carefully follow the directions.

5.      Take some time to learn the EchoLink keyboard shortcuts. There are
links to them on the Handiham and EchoLink websites.

6.      Proceed logically.  Because EchoLink requires that several systems
all be working perfectly, take things one step at a time. Work your way
through any firewall and router settings before tackling the sound settings.
After all, you will want to be able to connect to the EchoLink Test server
before you can test the sound levels. 

7.      Don't get discouraged. You are not the first one to run into a
problem.  Go back to the help files. If you can't find it there, it might be
time to ask a fellow radio club member to take a look at your setup.
Consider making use of Internet discussion forums. As like as not, there is
another person out there who has had the same problem and found a solution.
Lists like Blind-Hams or the eHam forums may be places to investigate. If
you do have to ask a question on a list or through the EchoLink question
submission page on the EchoLink website, be sure to provide enough
information about your setup to help readers understand the nature of the
problem. For example, you will want to include details about your operating
system and hardware, as these are pertinent to the question. The EchoLink
question page will guide you to some extent through pull down selections.

8.      If you still have an occasional problem, such as not getting the
transmit-receive to toggle correctly, guess what? This is not an uncommon
problem, and simply just happens from time to time. Sometimes computer
glitches simply happen, so yes, you should check to see if a problem is
caused by something you did, but remember that sometimes things just happen!

9.      Listen on the connection before you transmit. This is what we
already know we should do when using a radio, and it is important on
EchoLink, too. 

10.  Learn to manage the delay.  Unlike regular on the air exchanges, the
EchoLink system always has what computer networking specialists call
"latency". What latency means is that there is some delay in the system, so
that when you are turning the conversation over to the other person, or
picking up the conversation from the other person, you have to force
yourself to wait just a little bit longer than seems natural before keying
the microphone.  Latency is unavoidable because the system is sending data
packets over sometimes long and complicated routes. The "propagation" can
change, increasing or decreasing the latency, so that some days there may be
almost no delay and other days it may be very noticeable.


Plain text frequency chart DAISY format - your feedback needed!

I have completed my latest revision of the ARRL Frequency Chart and
converted it to DAISY format for our blind users. Some of the changes
include going through the text manually to make changes that allow the text
to be read more clearly with a synthesized voice and removing tables that do
not convert or read correctly. Now I want to put it on line, but I need your
advice as to what is best. My options are to put all the uncompressed files
for the book in a single directory or put a single zip file in a single
directory. What is the easiest way to navigate & download? At this point, I
have some directories with all the files, others with DNA files used to
rebuild books created with IRTI eClipsewriter, and zip files in others. A
zip file might make it easy to just grab the entire book, but I wonder if
there is going to be too much tech support explaining compressed files to
end users.

At this time, I have a zip file here:

I could also make it a self-extracting zip file.  Would that be a better
choice?  Any and all feedback on what would make it easier to use would be
most welcome.

Your thoughts?  Please send them to:

 <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 


How does 3.970 MHz sound?

Description: FT-718 rig

An Alabama station suggested 3.965 MHz, 7:30 PM Central Time, following the
Alabama Net. He also suggested an alternate of 3.970 MHz.  I listened to
both on a Monday evening and could clearly hear the Alabama stations as
early as 6:30 PM here in the Upper Midwest. At around 7:40 PM, there were
still stations from the Alabama Net on 3.965, so I listened for a while on
3.970, which was reasonably clear.  

So let's start listening on and around both of those frequencies and logging
results. It may very well be that we can find a clear net frequency in the
General Class band after all.

Please e-mail me this week with your frequency and time suggestions,
frequency reports, and other suggestions about the net.


Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 


A dip in the pool

I thought it would be fun to pick a question out of the question pool and
see how many of us can remember the right answer. Today there are two
related questions from the Technician pool. Ready? Here we go:

T8C09 How might you obtain a list of active nodes that use VoIP? A. From the
FCC Rulebook B. From your local emergency coordinator C. From a repeater
directory D. From the local repeater frequency coordinator T8C10 How do you
select a specific IRLP node when using a portable transceiver? A. Choose a
specific CTCSS tone B. Choose the correct DSC tone C. Access the repeater
autopatch D. Use the keypad to transmit the IRLP node 

Did you pick answer C, From a repeater directory? That's the right choice,
but keep in mind that not all nodes are listed and they are always changing.

For the question about IRLP, did you pick answer D, Use the keypad to
transmit the IRLP node?  Yup, that's how you do it!

Bonus:  What does IRLP stand for? 

Answer: Internet Radio Linking Project
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Radio_Linking_Project> .  The "R"
does not stand for "Repeater". There are free-standing IRLP simplex nodes
called "micro nodes <http://micro-node.com/> " that you can set up yourself
without any knowledge of Linux. You can find out more about IRLP on the
official IRLP website:  <http://www.irlp.net/> 


Should we be worrying? Experts & officials meet to discuss solar storms

Description: Solar WX News

NASA Science News for Nov. 8, 2010 reports that, "Prompted in part by a
recent increase in solar activity, more than a hundred researchers and
government officials are converging on Helwan, Egypt, this week to discuss a
matter of global importance: storms from the sun."




Helmetcam heads to Mississippi for a grand tour of ham radio manufacturing

Description: W5KUB Helmet Cam

Did you ever wonder how ham radio equipment is manufactured? Here's your
chance to see for yourself! Go on the road with the W5KUB Helmetcam for a
live Web Broadcast of MFJ, Cushcraft, Hy-gain, Ameritron, Mirage, and
Vectronics at:

 <http://w5kub.com/> http://w5kub.com/

Join the tour on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 1400 UTC. Go behind the
scenes! This is a live broadcast showing all their plants, engineering,
design, manufacturing, etc. Talk to other hams in 150 countries using our
chat room or ask key people questions. Hear from Martin F. Jue, K5FLU, the
president of these companies.

This is an all-day event, and we will be giving prizes to lucky people
logged in. Help us spread the word about http://w5kub.com/. This site is up
365 days per year showing recorded video when we are not live at ham events.

We will also be broadcasting our drive live (200 miles) from Memphis, TN to
Starkville, MS on the Monday Nov 15 starting about 2pm central or 2000 UTC.

See if you can guess where we are!



Remote base progress report: 10 November 2010

Description: Kenwood TS-570

Last week I continued the preliminary setup and testing of the TS-480HX.
Today I will work on the computer interface.  Both stations are functioning
normally, but W0ZSW may be off line during testing. 

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

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. 


"Get a job", says Handiham Radio Club President KB3LLA:

Description: Radio with Braille Book
It's for a Braille Program Specialist at the Library of Congress in the
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped office.
It's a GS-12, so starting salary is a little below $75,000. It's permanent
and full-time. The vacancy announcement number is 100149. It's open until
December 21. I will put the link to the USAJobs description at the bottom of
my message.

Here is a short piece from the summary of the job, but there is a much
longer description of duties provided, which I haven't copied: "The Braille
Program Specialist reports directly to the Chief, Materials Development
Division, and serves as an expert on matters pertaining to Braille policies
and procedures. Plans and implements internal programs and field operations
for the Chief, Materials Development Division and the Director, National
Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Working
independently, the incumbent receives guidance in matters impacting policy.
Uses LC and NLS policies to analyze and recommend internal and external
procedures relating to the production and distribution of Braille materials.
The incumbent utilizes a broad professional knowledge of and experience in
the area of Braille."

Here is what they list as required qualifications. There are
double-asterisks attached to two of them, which I assume means they're

.         Applicants must have had progressively responsible experience and
training sufficient in scope and quality to furnish them with an acceptable
level of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the
duties of the position without more than normal supervision.

.         Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing.

.         Ability to read, write and interpret BANA approved literary
Braille code.**

.         Ability to provide program management advice and assistance.

.         Demonstrated knowledge of specialized assistive technology for use
by blind individuals. **

.         The ability to advocate for and promote Braille literacy.

.         Ability to analyze organizational and operational problems and
develop solutions.

There are no other former qualifications specified, though there may be
implied experience in some of the job duties I haven't listed. The position
is located at the Library of Congress Annex at 1291 Taylor Street NW, which
is possibly not the best location in the world. It's about a half mile from
the Georgia Ave-Petworth stop of the Metro green line.

And here's the link to the full announcement:

.mc_n=125> &aid=91536332-61110&WT.mc_n=125


Call by phone to hear the latest Handiham Podcast

Description: Two older ladies, one showing the other a portable phone

Picture: Two ladies, one showing the other a portable phone. "Look at this;
I can get the Handiham podcast on my phone. I don't even need a computer!"

Podcast Information

Podcast Name: handiham - ham radio for people with disabilities

Phone Number:
+1 (360) 526-6243

RSS Feed:


Ham radio for people with disabilities. A weekly podcast from the Courage
Handiham System, http://handiham.org. Ham radio topics, including accessible
equipment, blind ham radio, events, policy in the Amateur Radio Service,


This week @ HQ

*       This week's Friday Technician audio lecture will be on the subject
of making that first contact on the air, and what information is typically
*       You may notice some formatting differences in today's issue. For
about 12 years I have been using the Microsoft FrontPage web authoring
software, first the 1998 version and for the past decade the 2000 version.
Today's edition is composed using Microsoft Expression Web, which has more
modern HTML cleanup and compliance tools. FrontPage will still be used for
part of the website maintenance, but it has an annoying habit of suddenly
deleting all kinds of work if I used the CTRL-Z command, and I've had it
with losing work. Your comments on web accessibility are always welcome.
*       I am at Handiham Headquarters at Camp Courage on Wednesday and will
be away from the telephone most of the day, working on projects.
*       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

*       Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your change 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 - 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&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

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

.         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.



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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 10 November 2010 - Patrick Tice