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> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> 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> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ 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: Retirement! 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 meters. 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: <http://www.handiham.org/local/daisy/freq_chart_daisy.zip> http://www.handiham.org/local/daisy/freq_chart_daisy.zip 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. 73, Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 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/> 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." FULL STORY at <http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/08nov_iswi/> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/08nov_iswi/ _____ Helmetcam heads to Mississippi for a grand tour of ham radio manufacturing facilities 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! 73, Tom W5KUB _____ 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 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. _____ "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 essential: . 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: http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=91882013 <http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=91882013&aid=91536332-61110&WT .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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham Description: 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, more. _____ 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 exchanged. * 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 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.