[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 11 November 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 15:07:04 -0600

NOTICE:  This week's edition contains a short musical clip and is thus not
to be used on the air prior to editing.  

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System <http://handiham.org> . Please do not reply to this message. Use the
contact information at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

You can also listen to the content online:

Listen to an MP3 audio stream:
Download the MP3 audio to your portable player:
Get this issue as an audio podcast:


Welcome to Handiham World!

The move, part 2

Avery's old office undergoing renovation
Image: Avery's old office area showing one of our five big file cabinets
that still needs to be moved. 

We continue this week with our office move, this time moving Nancy's office
and the file cabinets. This is a big part of the move, and will likely cause
some disruption in our regular work schedule. We ask for your patience, as
phone calls and emails may take a bit longer to answer. I am still working
on a solution for our telephone system, but for now all of my phone calls go
directly to voice mail.  As calls come in, I am notified of messages left on
voice mail through an email message, so that I am able to return calls
fairly quickly. Nancy is in the office today, but is using a cubicle in the

The movers will pick up the file cabinets and some other equipment on
Thursday, November 12. Nancy plans to be in the office that day to make sure
that all of the files and equipment are accounted for, while I will be
waiting at Camp Courage to meet the movers and direct the placement of the
five large horizontal file cabinets and the other furniture and equipment in
our new office.  Depending on my schedule for that day, I do still plan to
check in to the regional PICONET on 3.925 MHz at 09:00 CST and the Handiham
Echolink net at 11:00 CST. We still need to upgrade the antenna systems, so
I will be limited to checking in to one or both nets via the Internet.  I
will try to contact Lyle, K0LR, our volunteer who maintains the Handiham
Remote Base, when he runs the PICONET as the regular Thursday morning net
control station.

We are still looking at more moving in the near future, too.  Because we
will be out at Camp Courage, we have decided that it is best to move our
equipment storage and test gear out to camp.  This means that the Handiham
repair shop at Courage Center will close and make the move, though not
immediately.  I will enlist the help of some volunteers to make sure that
the equipment is moved properly. While this decision means more work in the
short term, I think we will benefit by having everything right where we need
it. It does present a problem when people bring donations of radio gear to
the Courage Center, but we think we can simply have the gear set aside for
pick up and transport to Camp Courage as needed. We do plan to continue the
equipment loan program when we get organized again, with donated gear first
being distributed to our campers who need stations and accessories at the
upcoming Handiham Radio Camp in late May, 2010.

Since our shop volunteers were all from the Twin Cities area, we will be on
the lookout for hams who live close to our new location and who want to
volunteer to check out donated ham radio equipment before it is distributed
to our members. It should be noted that we do not repair the equipment
anymore, as we did years ago.  We check it to make sure that it is in
working condition. Only the most minor repairs are possible these days,
because the equipment is full of surface-mount devices and repairs are
generally done by a well-equipped commercial repair facility that has access
to modern instruments and a stock of replacement circuit boards. The old
method of using basic test gear to track down faults to the component level
is just not practical with the newer equipment.

So there is a lot to work out. We are making great progress, but there is
more to do. We are rolling up our sleeves and getting right to work!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 
Handiham Manager


PICONET get-together celebrates friendship, community

Long before I ever got involved with the Handiham System I was a real fan of
the 75 m band. Sure, I enjoyed chasing a little DX on the 10, 15, and 20 m
bands, especially when I first got started in amateur radio in 1967. At that
time, phone equipment was simply out of the question. Novices did not have
phone privileges and were expected to work as much CW as possible in order
to build up their Morse code speed to pass the General class license exam in
front of a stern-faced FCC examiner within one year. If you didn't pass the
license exam within a year, you were off the air. If you ask me, that was
real incentive licensing!

When I did get my General Class license in 1968, I quickly made plans to get
on the air with amplitude modulated phone. My old Knight-Kit T-60
transmitter used a screen modulation circuit to produce a feeble and
ineffective phone signal, so I still managed to work more CW than phone.  I
saved my money, which wasn't all that easy when I was in college and had
plenty of other expenses for tuition and books, and finally saved up enough
to get a  real SSB transceiver, a Heathkit HW-100. Believe it or not, that
complicated kit containing 20 vacuum tubes worked the first time. I had
carefully laid out all of the parts on our family's ping-pong table and
followed the detailed directions in the Heathkit manual very carefully.

Since I was finally able to get on single side band phone, I quickly
discovered the fun to be had on daily regional HF nets. When I learned about
the PICONET,  I quickly made it a regular part of my day whenever my busy
college schedule allowed. The PICONET is a long-time affiliate of the
Handiham System, and it has proven over the decades to be a wonderful place
to make friends and build a community on the air, goals consistent with the
values of the Handihams. The net meets daily except Sunday on a 75 m
frequency, 3.925 MHz. Its theme is operation in the "public interest,
convenience, or necessity", from which its name is derived. Traffic is
passed regularly, but most of the net time is given over to small talk and
informal visiting. In short, it is a great place to simply meet your friends
and be part of a larger community. Since the 75 m band is reliable
throughout the 11 year sunspot cycle, it has been possible to maintain the
net on a regular basis, which is important to keep regular participation
year in and year out.

Sometimes friends like to see each other in person, so the PICONET members
arrange an annual get-together. This year it was in a small town in northern
Minnesota, Perham. Although I couldn't attend myself, I was pleased to see
plenty of photos and even some video with sound available on the PICONET
website. One of my favorites was Harold, KB0ROB, who has been a long-time
volunteer examiner at the Courage North Handiham radio camps, playing the
fiddle and singing with a group of other ham radio operators at the annual
PICONET luncheon. Be sure to pay a visit to the website to hear Harold and
"The Old Friends" singing "Back on the PICONET Again" and "Buffalo Gal".

You can find a link to the PICONET website on Handiham.org
<http://www.handiham.org>  or go directly to:

KB0ROB plays the violin
Image of Harold, KB0ROB, playing the fiddle courtesy PICONET3925.com

[Short musical clip from "Back on the PICONET Again" plays in audio podcast


Logging: XMLog & Ham Radio Deluxe 

Ham radio deluxe log screenshot showing N0VOE entered
Screenshot of Ham Radio deluxe logging window, showing N0VOE entered in the
callsign field during today's Handiham Echolink net. 

Lately I have answered several queries about blind-accessible logging
programs. I usually recommend the tried and true free logging software
called "XMLog" by W1ECT, which contains several built-in accessibility
options and is easy to use. XMLog is under test by the author in Windows 7,
so it is being maintained regularly. It also allows you to import frequency
data from your rig to your computer and enter it right into the log,
providing you have an interface like a RIGblaster
<http://www.westmountainradio.com/>  set up.  You can get XMLog at:

While XMLog is primarily a logging program, many of us have a need for a
full-featured rig control program like HRD, or "Ham Radio Deluxe".  I made
the change from XMLog to HRD several years ago, and have been keeping an eye
on accessibility developments. For one thing, Ham Radio Deluxe is certainly
an accessible program for low vision users who can use a screen enlargement
program. A nice feature is that HRD can be set to announce frequency even if
the radio does not have a voice module installed! My Icom IC-706M2G has no
voice module, but if I needed to hear the frequency announced, Ham Radio
Deluxe will do the job. 

Still, there is a lot I don't know about screenreader accessibility, so I am
not quite ready to recommend Ham Radio Deluxe to our blind members who use
screenreaders like JAWS or Window-Eyes. This is where we really need your
help if you are an accomplished screenreader user and are willing to invest
some serious time in trying Ham Radio Deluxe. If HRD does prove to be
reasonably accessible, perhaps the logging function could be recommended to
our blind members as well. The logging window enters the frequency
information automatically, and even recalls stations you have worked before
once you enter the callsign. HRD includes a long list of additional features
from digital modes to DX spotting, so the challenge is not a simple one for
a beginner to learn the program.  Are there any brave techno-geeks out there
willing to give it a try and report back to me about screenreader access?
Let me know: wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 


Handiham Radio Club website

At its last meeting in August, the Handiham Radio Club decided that there
should be a Handiham Radio Club website. I have now created web space on the
Handiham site for a club website, so now I will need to hear from you about
what we will need on the site, at least for starters. I am thinking that the
club constitution and a list of officers would be appropriate, along with a
mission statement and a section for club news. I'm open for suggestions, so
either email Handiham Radio Club President Ken Silberman, KB3LLA at
kb3lla@xxxxxxxx, or Patrick Tice, WA0TDA at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 


Echolink registration Elmers needed

cartoon guy shaking fist at uncooperative computer

We have heard from a number of frustrated blind hams who are trying to get
registered in the Echolink system. If you are a blind user of Echolink and
are willing to record an audio tutorial on how to get started with Echolink,
we would be very grateful for your help. Ideally, the tutorial would cover
the most basic parts of getting started:

1.      What Echolink is
2.      What you need to use Echolink
3.      Where to find Echolink on the web and how to download it
4.      How to register for the first time with Echolink, and what the
alternative methods of registration are for blind users
5.      How to log on for the first time once you are registered

As I said, this is intended to get new users started.  We could also use
some audio lectures on how to operate Echolink once you do get it
downloaded, installed, and registered. If you can help, please drop me a
line at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 

Any kind of recording medium would be welcome, even cassette tape, which I
can convert to MP3. 



Rack-mount your radios

The rack is back - rack-mounted radio on Novexcomm.com
The rack is back showing a rack-mounted radio, image courtesy novexcomm.com.

Thanks to WA0CAF for discovering this one in the ARRL ARES E-Letter.  He
credits Rick Palm, K1CE, for the idea and information about rack-mounting.

NovexComm <http://www.novexcomm.com/>  is providing low-cost, professional
rack mounts for several popular ham radios, giving operators a source for
off-the-shelf, low cost rack mount kits. Sometimes it is necessary to
rack-mount amateur radio gear, especially in a large, complicated
installation where it would be impractical to have all of the gear spread
out on a desktop. Reach the NovexComm website at:

I have worked at a commercial radio station where all of the main
transmitting equipment was rack-mounted. The convenience of having all of
the equipment mounted for easy access to cabling is hard to beat. I can see
that a remote base installation might well be rack-mounted, too. 

On eHam: How social networking can help ham radio

Thanks to KB1QQS for a link to an interesting story on eHam about how social
networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can help amateur radio. When you
read the overview of the new ARRL website in the December QST magazine, you
will realize that ARRL is on top of the social networking trend as well.
Read the eHam article here:  <http://www.eham.net/articles/22681> 

Help with studying 

studying the ARRL license manual

Cynthia Rushton, WB3CNJ, is willing to help people studying for their
amateur radio licenses. She writes:

Could I ask a favor to request that those persons who wish to take an online
course on Saturdays be directed to me if they cannot afford to pay for other
online courses?  As long as they are willing to get on Yahoo! Messenger
(which is FREE), and pick a time (either 9 am - 11:30 am EST, or 1 pm - 4
pm, EST), I am willing to teach them.  They should also have, or be willing
to purchase,  the current manual from ARRL for their intended license
courses.  As a Registered Instructor, I can get a discount on ARRL study
materials for our course, if you do not already have your own book.

I am already helping two other physically challenged hams upgrade (one to
General, then, possibly, Extra; the other one to Extra Class). They are on
opposite sides of the USA (the first one is in AZ, the other in Baltimore,
MD), so am willing to help people, regardless of age, gender, locale,
challenges, etc.  

Oh, and regardless of the Saturday, there will always be a session of
classes (I schedule other activities for afternoons, or, preferably,
evenings, if possible).  Thank you for this consideration.  Will await


Cynthia L. Rushton, WB3CNJ  <mailto:wb3cnj1@xxxxxxxxx> 


This week at Headquarters:

Speaking of social networking,  <http://www.handiham.org/node/476> we are on

 <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/ham_mobile.jpg> We are
on Twitter!

Look for us on Twitter by searching for "handiham". We invite you to follow
us. Handiham web page posts are now "tweeted" automatically!

·         In Operating Skills:  


o    Pat, WA0TDA, reads the December 2009 QST audio digest for our blind
members. This has just been posted and special attention has been given to
time-sensitive material such as upcoming December events. If you read QST
via the National Library Service, you know that current events are often
past events by the time the audio is available. Our goal is to place blind
hams on a level field with those who get the print magazine and can read
about the current events in time to participate. 

o    Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the November "Doctor is in"
column from QST for our blind members.  

o    Volunteer reader Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the November
Worldradio & CQ digests. 

o    Login to the member section of the Handiham <http://handiham.org/user>
website and find the magazine digests in the Library. 

o    Volunteer George, N0SBU, has completed and mailed the 4-track cassette
audio digest to our blind members. 

·         Our Contact information is the same, but keep watching this space
for changes:  Email addresses will not change.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road 
Golden Valley, MN  55422
763-520-0512 (Nancy)
763-520-0511 (Pat)

·         Pat's phone number goes directly to voice mail, due to a problem
with our forwarding system. Leave a message with the best time to return
your call. 

·         Our email address (for Nancy's office) is
<mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

·         Pat can be reached by email any time at  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx or  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

·         The equipment loan program is on hold right now due to limited
staff hours. 

o    The Handiham equipment program still welcomes donations of good ham
radio equipment. 

o    We plan to distribute donated equipment to our radio campers at the
next Radio Camp session.

o    Handiham members who already have equipment out on loan may continue to
borrow that equipment. 


·         Minnesota Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage: 

Arrive Friday, May 21

Class days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

VE Exam Day: Thursday  (VE team still needed.)

Depart Friday, May 28

·         Camp Courage is west of Minneapolis.  The address is 8046 83rd St
NW, Maple Lake, MN‎.

o    The phone number of the Camp Courage office is (320) 963-3121‎.

o    If you want to receive a Camp Courage summer camp schedule, you may
call for one.  The camp schedule includes information about Handiham Radio
Camp.  If you need specific information about the radio camp or want to be
on the radio camp mailing list, you may call Nancy in the Handiham office at

o    Here is an interactive Google map showing Camp Courage:

&z=12> View Google Map 


·         VOLLI is now in service.  It stands for VOLunteer Log In, and is a
way for our Handiham volunteers to register and then enter their volunteer
hours without having to fool around with paper records.  We encourage
volunteers to create a username and password, then submit their hours spent
recording audio, doing club presentations for us, and so on. Volunteer hours
are important, because United Way funding depends in part on volunteer
hours. If you are a volunteer and need a link to VOLLI, please email me at
wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Our special thanks to my son Will, KC0LJL, who wrote the
Java code for VOLLI. He is studying in Tokyo this semester and sends a big
"hello" to our readers and listeners.

·         Volunteers, get your October hours in through VOLLI - I'll be
checking them soon!  You may also submit volunteer hours to Nancy at
<mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

·         The Friday audio lectures return  this week.  There will be new
lectures posted by early afternoon on Friday, and a notification will be
sent by email. 

·         The Remote Base at Courage North is in service. Please feel free
to use this wonderful member resource.  

·         Remote Base users who try the built-in IRB sound feature instead
of SKYPE are encouraged to send us reports on how the audio worked.

·         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. 


Wednesday Evening Echolink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net will be on the air. Please join
us and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit:


Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM)
GMT: Thursday morning at 01:30 Z.


145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul) 
Node 89680 (Echolink worldwide) 
IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) 
WIRES system number 1427

Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member, and the net is relaxed,
friendly, and informal. 

By the way, our Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we need net
control stations for the Wednesday evening net and for the Monday through
Saturday morning net. If you are in the Twin Cities, all you need is a radio
that can get on the 145.45 N0BVE repeater, and if you live outside the RF
area, you can still be net control via Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES. 


Reminder:  Handiham renewals are now 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.

·         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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

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

1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new hams on the air.

Free! 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:  <mailto: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!

Manager, Courage Handiham System
Reach me by email at:  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

·         Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

·         Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

·         Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


ARRL </p />
<p>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 11/11/2009 - 20:55

·         Login
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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 November 2009 - Patrick Tice