[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 11 August 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 12:07:13 -0500

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 online or <http://www.handiham.org/node/910#listen>
subscribe to our podcast version. The instructions are near the end of this



Welcome to Handiham World!


Operating Skills: How things have changed... and what we need to do about


Icom IC-703 QRP radio

From time to time we will feature a special operating skills essay, a short
discussion of a topic related to building better operating habits on the
air. There has always been a need to learn operating skills in amateur
radio, but a great deal has changed over the history of radio, so the skills
necessary must also follow this changing technology.

Some operating skills are very basic and one might think that they have
changed little over the years.

But remember, all of you old timers out there, newcomers to amateur radio
now enter the hobby in a much different way than you did -- or I did, for
that matter. When I got interested in radio as a teenager, the thing to do
was listen to short-wave radio. Many hours were spent listening on the air
and learning about how to operate by simply hearing stations use their call
signs, make contacts with other stations local and distant, or using those
new things called "repeaters" on the VHF band. A licensing exam for a
"Novice" license included a five word per minute Morse code exam. You were
expected to get on the air and operate, learning as you went, for a
specified time, after which you had to take the General Class exam or else
find yourself another hobby. The system promoted the learning of basic
operating skills from the beginning.

That is not the case today.

Newcomers to amateur radio today generally don't even own short-wave
receivers. Some may have listened to repeater traffic on VHF/UHF scanning
radios, but their listening experience doesn't come close to being the same
kind of experience many of us had on the short-wave bands decades ago. The
Novice Class examination is long gone from the requirements, as is any kind
of Morse code exam. Now, don't get me wrong; I am not complaining about
these changes at all. Change is a normal part of life and we all realize
that technology, including amateur radio, must change and evolve over the
years. Unfortunately, even though our licensing process and structure has
changed and technology has evolved radically, we have really not managed to
figure out a way to teach basic operating skills before our newly-licensed
hams press the push to talk button for the first time. Furthermore, the
experience most Technician Class operators will have on repeater systems
will not adequately train them in operating skills suitable for the HF
bands. This has resulted in a situation where General and even Extra Class
operators can be very weak in what we once considered basic operating

Fortunately, today we have more resources than ever to teach operating
skills. The personal computer and the Internet offer vast resources and
great potential. We can produce audio and video lectures to train people in
basic operating. Radio clubs can have websites with "how-to" links. Amateur
radio websites around the world offer help if only you can figure out how to
find it. Helpers and teachers (Elmers) can connect with a person needing
help using many different Internet tools, including e-mail reflectors,
social networking sites, and Echolink-enabled repeater systems. VoIP systems
like Skype can connect a newcomer needing some personal help in operating
skills with an experienced operator on a one on one basis. The problem is
that the application of this technology is scattered and inconsistent. Some
radio clubs might be quite aggressive in helping their new members learn how
to operate, while others do not. Some newcomers to amateur radio are able to
figure things out for themselves, while others start out with bad habits and
never seem to change.

What can you or I do about this?

Training excellent amateur radio operators begins at home. I have a mirror,
and I look at myself in it every day. Sometimes I don't like what I see and
I know that I have to make changes. The same is true with my own amateur
radio operating skills. From time to time, I need to just think about how I
am doing things and about how I might do them better. Listening on the air
to operators who really know how to conduct a net or snag a DX contact can
really show me how other operators with better skills in these areas than
mine succeed where I might not be doing so well. Listen, listen, listen.
Think to yourself about how you can change your operating technique to more
closely match that of the best operator you hear on the air.

Clubs and organizations can help, too. Offer club programs or even small
study groups that promote operating skills. Do tabletop exercises,
simulating on the air operation. Recognize good operating with awards. Use
the Internet to promote good operating by including operating articles and
tips on the club website. Develop on the air opportunities like practice
nets where club members can develop their skills. The key to helping other
people learn is to be helpful but non-judgmental. Learning takes place best
in a non-stressful situation, so beginning with tabletop exercises where the
mistakes people might make will not go out over the repeater system is a
good idea.

I would like to hear some ideas from our readers and listeners about what
has worked for you and for your local radio club as you bring newcomers into
the fold. From time to time, I will be writing one of these short essays
about some kind of operating skill. We will do our best to make a good
operator out of each and every Handiham member. Some of you may have an idea
for a unique and creative way to run a small operating skills class. Please
share those ideas with us so that we can help make amateur radio better.


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



cartoon dog barking at postal carrier

We had several comments on how DAISY is pronounced by text-to-speech

George, NT6G, writes:

Just a short note regarding DAISY. I use Voiceover on the iMac. It spoke the
word whether it was in Caps or just the D in Caps. I have been using
Voiceover for about 2 years. It appears to work as well as Jaws or
Window-Eyes. It sometimes does not pronounce words as it should, but no more
so than any other system. The neat thing is that it is included with the
iMac, so you spend no extra money for the software.

Ken, KB3LLA, writes: 

I keep Matt's tutorials and the manual for the 6A on my Victor Reader Stream
so that I have them with me when I use the HT.  Also, JAWS 11 says "daisy"
properly in all caps.

John, KC0HSB, writes: 

Just a note to say I downloaded the DAISY version of Handi-Ham World and put
it into the Talking Books folder on my Victor Reader Stream. I've only just
started to listen to it as I write this, but it seems to be playing fine.
Also, Window-Eyes doesn't seem to care if it's written as DAISY or Daisy.

And still more...

Ken, KB3LLA, also wrote to recommend a good book available from your local
NLS Library:

Standage, Tom. "The Victorian Internet" is the remarkable story of the
telegraph and the nineteenth century's on-line pioneers. It is Book Number
RC047958, a history of the invention of the telegraph, which was the
technological marvel of its time. It describes how the machine changed the
way the world operated, including its direct effects on warfare, espionage,
and love affairs. It also provides anecdotes about the inventors, hackers,
and cheats.

Editor's note: I quickly located "The Victorian Internet" in print at my
local library and signed it out.  It's fascinating!


ARRL Tech Q & A Fifth Edition accessible via Amazon Kindle

ARRL Tech Q & A 5th edition front cover

The Amazon Kindle e-book reader is popular, and many titles are available on
a wide variety of subjects from many publishers. ARRL makes several of its
book titles available on the Kindle, making it easy for any Kindle owner to
simply purchase and download these books.

One of the books of interest to our Handiham members might be the ARRL's
Tech Q & A beginner book, which uses a question and answer format along with
brief explanations about each question. The Amazon website lists the book as
available in Kindle format, and, importantly for our blind and low vision
members, the text-to-speech function is enabled. This means that for Kindles
that support text-to-speech, the book can be read in an electronic voice.

This feature is not available on some publishers' books, but ARRL has
enabled it, and thus earns our recognition and support for doing the right
thing to make its publications accessible to people with reading

The Kindle edition sells for $9.99, but of course you do need to have the
Kindle e-book reader. (The first edition Kindle does not support this
accessibility feature.)

Amazon's website is at:

ARRL may be reached at:


CME & Perseids headed our way


Space Weather News for August 9, 2010 reports that "The solar eruption of
August 7th might affect Earth after all. Newly-arriving data from the Solar
and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) show a CME heading our way with a
significant Earth-directed component. High-latitude sky watchers should be
alert for auroras when the cloud arrives on August 10th. A movie of the CME
is featured on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.";

It's August, and that means it's time for the annual Perseid meteor shower.
Spaceweather.com is reporting that "The Perseid meteor shower doesn't peak
until August 12th, but already late-night sky watchers are seeing a nice
display of shooting stars. Observers are counting as many as 20 Perseids per
hour from dark sky sites, a number that could increase 3- to 5-fold before
the week is over."

Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information.


Handiham World Summer 2010 in PDF

Summer 2010 Handiham World screenshot

Your Handiham World Summer 2010 newsletter is now available in PDF. Download
the newsletter and enjoy the articles online or print your own exact copy.
Feel free to share the content on your local radio club's website, too. Just
give us the credit for the article and include our contact information. We
always appreciate it when you help us share the word about ham radio and the
Courage Center Handiham System.

The link to the PDF version is here:


If you are blind, we also have a Daisy version that includes spoken word
audio in a special format that can be navigated by users of Library of
Congress players or other Daisy book players. You can find the links you
need here:


One thing that is missing from both the PDF and DAISY versions of the
Handiham World is the giving envelope. If you are on our mailing list, you
should receive a printed copy of the newsletter in the mail. Please look for
the giving envelope in the newsletter and help us out a bit if you can. We
really appreciate it. If you are not on our mailing list and would like a
free copy, please drop us a line at:


Of call toll-free: 1-866-426-3442


International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend

Split Rock lighthouse, North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota

How about spicing up the dog days of August with an operating event? Cool
off with the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend!

Conducted under the sponsorship of the AYR, Scotland Amateur Radio Group,
this year's event takes place on the third full weekend of August, the 21st
& 22nd.

The basic objective of the event is to promote public awareness of
lighthouses and lightships and their need for preservation and restoration,
to promote amateur radio and to foster International goodwill.

The event website states:

"So come and join us in the fun of the weekend, establish a station at a
lighthouse, lightship or maritime beacon. The more the merrier. If you
decide to join us in the fun just fill in the official online entry form
with your details. This will enable other stations to be aware of who is
participating in the event. You may also send your entry, or any questions
regarding the rules, via the Contact Webmaster link in the main menu."

You can find that link and other information about the event on the ILLW


Thanks to George, N0SBU, for suggesting this event for our Handiham members.


This week @ HQ

*       Pat, WA0TDA, says: I will be at Camp Courage HANDIHAM HQ on
Thursday, August 11 working on station infrastructure as we continue our
remote base project. I will be out of phone and email contact for part of
the day.
*       Radio Camp will be in August next year, according to current plans.
I will post dates when they are available.
*       The Book & Tape Catalog has been updated for our members:
*       What about net controls? Tonight is net night!  The Wednesday
evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central Daylight time, which
translates to +5 hours, or 00:30 GMT Thursday morning during North American
Daylight Time. In the winter, the GMT schedule is +6 hours. Connect from any
Internet-enabled computer in the world, and come out on Twin Cities repeater
N0BVE on 145.450.  If there is no designated Net Control, there will be a
simple roundtable net. Inexperienced net control stations can quickly get in
over their heads. Of course everyone needs to start somewhere to get
experience in the first place, but the Wednesday evening net is not the
place to do so. We urge our experienced net controls to take this hour, or
else to at least participate in the round table. We are open to suggestions
about how to train and certify more net controls for the Wednesday evening
net. It is especially difficult to run this net in the summer, as many of us
are out and about doing other things. I can't emphasize enough how important
it is for the person in charge of the net to know how to do that job!  This
is a job where good intentions cannot substitute for being able to keep
track of stations checking in, directing them to keep the net on topic,
being able to take charge, and keeping the discussion both civil and fair,
so that everyone who wants to participate can be included. Although we don't
have any "official" net control list as some nets do, perhaps we should.
What do you think?   

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

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.



You can listen to this news online:

MP3 audio stream:


Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:


Get this podcast in iTunes:

 <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Subscribe in iTunes

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:




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
<http://www.handiham.org/> 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: 



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.


.         By wa0tda at 08/11/2010 - 17:01 

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Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442) 

FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! 

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 11 August 2010 - Patrick Tice