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: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ 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 hallway. 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: www.piconet3925.com 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 edition] _____ 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: <http://www.xmlog.com> http://www.xmlog.com 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. _____ Elsewhere: 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: <http://www.novexcomm.com/> http://www.novexcomm.com/ 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> 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 replies. 73, Cynthia L. Rushton, WB3CNJ <mailto:wb3cnj1@xxxxxxxxx> wb3cnj1@xxxxxxxxx _____ This week at Headquarters: Speaking of social networking, <http://www.handiham.org/node/476> we are on Twitter! <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 1-866-426-3442. o Here is an interactive Google map showing Camp Courage: <http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=camp+courage+ maple+lake+mn&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=41.496446,93.076172&ie=UTF8&hq=cam p+courage&hnear=Maple+Lake,+MN&ll=45.271066,-94.056286&spn=0.084565,0.145912 &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: When: Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM) GMT: Thursday morning at 01:30 Z. Where: 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 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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 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 toll-free. 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> 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: <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 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 <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/606%2523commen t-form> to post comments · Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/606> version · Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/606> to friend _____ 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.