[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 April 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2011 15:21:07 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
<unsaved://Untitled_1.htm#Contact> , or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. 

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Welcome to Handiham World!  

Description: Cartoon people examining document with magnifying glass

Have you ever participated in a poll or survey about a product or policy?  

There are plenty of surveys out there, covering everything from political
candidates to laundry soap. They are used to help make decisions about how
to best improve and market candidates and products.  It would be unthinkable
for a company to refuse to poll its customer base about product preferences.
By querying the consumers, the company finds out what is working and what is
not, so that they can fine tune a product or service and ultimately sell
more of it.

Recently my local radio club sent out a survey designed to find out what the
club members think is most important in terms of club activities.  In all my
years of belonging to all sorts of clubs, especially radio clubs, this is
the first club I have encountered that conducts such periodic surveys.  What
a great idea!  

Some clubs are focused on a very specific mission and stray very little from
a path toward their goal, but most radio clubs at least have some
flexibility in their mission and can happily sponsor a variety of activities
that might include on the air nets, ARES training and deployment, SKYWARN,
classes in amateur radio, hidden transmitter hunts, Field Day, a club
repeater, and... Well, you get the idea.  Where the survey comes in is when
the club has so many ideas for projects that they cannot all reasonably be
given enough time and support to be successful.  While the club leadership
may decide for the entire group, it is always better to gain the confidence
and support of the membership in deciding which projects to put at the top
of the list and which might be better off tabled until some later date.  

A properly designed survey can be a valuable tool to help a club chart its
future.  It is not going to be enough to simply ask for ideas in an open
meeting.  Not every member is present at every meeting, and some members may
speak more persuasively than others, even though a survey done in private,
when each member has a chance to think about what he or she really would
prefer the club to do, might be entirely different.  Another thing a survey
can do is to lay out a variety of choices as well as to solicit original
ideas from members.  When I looked at the well-designed survey our club sent
out, I was reminded of many good and worthy projects that our club has
supported over the years.  If pressed to remember all of that stuff on my
own, I know I would have forgotten many projects, which would have made it
more difficult for me to help the club make decisions on what to do.  When I
wanted to comment on a couple of items, I found comment space available so
that I could put my thoughts down in my own words.  Our survey asked for
members to "rate" each project idea from one to five, based on whether the
item was of no importance all the way up to great importance to the member.
A couple of entries were blank, allowing each member to add a couple new
items in the rate by number list. Although I can see the survey to complete
it on paper if I wish, it was nice to see that the survey was available via
email in an accessible format.  That method also saves printing costs.  

I realize that my preferences on the club survey may not be what others
want, but I know I had my say and that it is likely at least some of what I
like will become club policy. If your radio club seems to be stuck in a rut
and lacking in direction, why not suggest that the club conduct a survey to
find out what club members would like to do for projects and activities?  It
is a great way to stimulate thinking and bring out new ideas. Everyone will
have more fun and the club and the greater amateur radio community will be
the better for it.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Pat Tice


Worldradio Online Chat tonight 

You're invited to join WorldRadio Online editor Richard Fisher, KI6SN, for
the Web-zine's monthly live online chat session. 


It's today - Wednesday, April 13 - beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time. By
reader request, our first mid-week chat. 

The session promises to be casual, friendly and lots of fun. 

We'll also be conducting some instant online polls. 

To access the chat session, click on the Cover It Live box at: 




Strap on your tool belt! It's time for... 

Troubleshooting 101: I can't connect to the HANDIHAM conference on Echolink!

Description: Small tools and wire

Last week we posed this problem:  You've been using Echolink for quite a
while now, and you feel comfortable with operating through your computer.
You have forwarded the ports and opened the firewall for the Echolink
application when you configured your wireless router.  It is usually pretty
easy to connect to the HANDIHAM conference server, node 494492, because you
have saved it to your favorites in Echolink, and it virtually always
connects without a problem in one or two tries. You like the HANDIHAM
conference because the station list appears and you know that most of the
net participants are likely to be using the same conference, so you can get
a better idea of who is around listening or planning to check in to the net.

Because you enjoy being on the go and taking ham radio along, you also take
your iPod, iPhone, or Android phone with you and have the free Echolink app
installed.  Whether you are at home using your own wireless router
connection to the internet or traveling and using the phone's data plan or a
Wi-Fi hotspot somewhere, it is easy to use Echolink when the net time rolls
around.  At first, you found that it was simple to connect to the HANDIHAM
conference server, but lately it seems as if it is becoming much more
difficult to make the connection.  Oddly enough, you can make a connection
to the Echolink test server and to one of your friends who agreed to help
you run a test, and when you use your computer to connect, there is no
problem at all. 

Can you suggest what might be wrong and what you could do about it?

It turns out that the answer is available on the EchoLink website.  As it
happens there are a couple of web pages within Echolink.org that are devoted
to users of mobile phones and portable devices like the iPod and iPad. A
networking system called "relay" is the default way the EchoLink app for
these devices connects to the Internet. However, some users may experience
the problem we have described above. 

Here is the explanation from the EchoLink website:

Are there any special limitations of the Relay networking option?

Yes. Although Relay is the default, and will generally give the best
performance, the following limitations currently apply:

*       You can initiate a connection, but you cannot receive one; stations
that try to connect to you will receive a "No route available" error
message. This means that Android or iPhone users that are using the Relay
mode cannot connect to each other.
*       Because there are only a small number of relay severs, you often
cannot connect to the same conference or conference server that another node
using the Relay mode is already connected to. This means that two Android or
iPhone users that are using the Relay mode often cannot join the same
conference at the same time.

Read more on the EchoLink site: <http://www.echolink.org/faq_android.htm> 

The advice I would give to relay users who cannot connect to *HANDIHAM*
would be to try KA0PQW-R or N0BVE-R instead.  You can also choose the
"Public Proxy" option from within the EchoLink app, or set up a direct
connection via your home wireless router.  Of course that last solution
won't do you much good when you are away from home and want to check in,
which is sort of the idea with smart phones, right?

Send your ideas about troubleshooting to wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for possible
inclusion in next week's edition of your weekly e-letter.


Gun Shot Victim Finds New Voice With Morse Code

Description: Morse Code key

Imagine getting contacted by email with the following message:

"After searching everywhere for some way for my son, Phillip, to communicate
I would like to explore the possibility of using Morse code. Phillip was a
victim of a gunshot wound to the left side of head. He is very aware of his
surroundings, basically it is the motor skills that he lost. He cannot speak
and his only usable hand (left-he was right handed) is very awkward and hard
to pinpoint his finger on a key or small button."

Read more about Phillip's journey on the "Learn Morse Code" website:



Long-time Handiham supporter Sherm Booen, W0RHT is a silent key

The amateur radio community here in Minnesota and the Handiham System have
lost a good friend in the passing of Sherm Booen, W0RHT, who became a silent
key on April 4, 2011. Sherm had supported the Handiham System since 1978,
because he wanted to share his love and enjoyment of amateur radio with
others. Sherm was inducted into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of
Fame in 2002.

Don, W0JBX, recalls his good neighbor:

It is my sad duty to announce the death of long time ham and aviation
WCCO-TV reporter Sherm Booen, W0RHT. Sherm was 97 years old , and he was a
long time neighbor of mine here in Richfield. I have met Sherm personally,
and talked to him many times on ham radio on all bands. Living only a few
blocks away from me, he had a tremendous signal at my former location here
in Richfield. I used to watch his long time TV program, "World of Aviation"
on WCCO TV here in the Twin Cities. Sherm also was a longtime Honeywell
employee, and used to pilot the Honeywell fleet of airplanes based at Wold
Chamberlain Field.

An obituary is here:



Description: Dog barking at mailman. Jasper loves our mail carrier - she
gives him a treat when she stops by!

Fargo, ND Hamfest postponed due to continued flooding

I have been asked to convey this message to Dakota Division members.

The Fargo Hamfest scheduled for 16 April has been postponed. Due to the
last-minute change in this event, this notice is going to amateurs
throughout the Dakota Division. Please pass this along to anyone you may
know who is planning to attend this event, especially if they do not have

The Amateur Radio Hamfest 2011 which was to be held on 16 April in West
Fargo, ND has been postponed to August 20, due to the continuing possibility
of flooding in the area. Please see the Red River Radio Amateurs' web site
at http://www.rrra.org for further information.
Timing and other details of the August event will follow those originally
set up for April's event. The web site has a Contact Me form you can use to
ask questions via e-mail.

Greg, K0GW
Director, Dakota Division, ARRL


RFB&D is now Learning Ally

"A Name Change Driven by our Users", is the phrase on the RFB&D website.
This 63 year old organization has been known by "Recording for the Blind"
and "Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic". Its new name is "Learning Ally",
and the change is explained on the new Learning AllyR website:

"Changing the name of a long-established national institution such as RFB&D
is not something we entered into lightly. Over the past year, we conducted
research and focus groups with hundreds of students, parents, educators,
volunteers and funders - to define the future direction of the

Many Handiham members also use the services of Learning Ally. Over the
years, as RFB&D, they have provided amateur radio publications in audio book
format. Today, the Learning Ally library includes over 65,000 publications.

Find out more about Learning AllyR services:


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

This week we take a break from the Question Pool due to time constraints.
We will return to this feature next week. 


Remote Base Health Report for 13 April 2011

The following post is on the N2JEU website: I now consider the W4MQ software
to be "dead".

This is of course bad news for us, since the W4MQ software is the only game
in town when it comes to public remote base software.  However, we are
looking into ways of keeping the W4MQ software in service at both Handiham
Remote Base stations.  Users need not do anything at this point because we
do not expect to change to any other software any time soon.  You can read
the post at the N2JEU website:

 <http://www.n2jeu.net/node/90> http://www.n2jeu.net/node/90 

Description: Remote Base Update

The W0EQO Handiham Remote Base HF station is functioning normally.

W0ZSW is in service.  The new radio, a TS-480HX, and new computer are in
place.  The system now returns frequency information for our blind users,
thanks to the VGS1 speech module. 

W0EQO is at Camp Courage North, Lake George, MN, deep in the pines of
northern Minnesota's lake country. Underground power lines and an isolated
rural setting contribute to a quiet RF environment. The 100W station feeds a
G5RV up about 35'.  W0EQO location information has been added:

W0ZSW is located at Camp Courage on Cedar Lake about an hour west of
Minneapolis, MN. W0ZSW location information has been added:


This week @ HQ

*       Nancy is back in the office.  Yippee! 
*       Reaching me by phone or email can sometimes take a while.  Yesterday
morning I had 11 calls from one non-member whom I finally contacted and
ultimately referred to another organization. It can be frustrating when the
person you are calling doesn't pick up right away, but I do want to remind
our readers and listeners that some of our activities do require
concentration on that activity and that alone - audio recording and detailed
writing projects are a couple of examples - that simply cannot be completed
when the phone keeps interrupting. Please be patient and leave a message, or
send an email explaining what you need.  Stick to the point and include any
email history in your message since I will sometimes forget what a comment
thread has included. 
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.
We expect to mail applications for camp in mid to late April. These are in
the final stages just before printing.

.         Tonight is EchoLink net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net
is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +5 hours, or
00:30 GMT Thursday morning. 

o    EchoLink nodes:

*       KA0PQW-R, node 267582
*       N0BVE-R, node 89680
*       HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity

o    Other ways to connect:

*       IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)
WIRES system number 1427

*       Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone
number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in
touch with you. You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  or
call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact


Supporting Handihams - 2011. 

Description: graphic showing figure using wheelchair holding hand of
standing figure

Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage
Center's secure website.

It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you need to use the pull-down
menu to designate your gift to the Handiham program.

.         Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website:
<https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344> &srcid=344

.         Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down
Designation menu to select "Handi-Hams".

.         Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift
is a tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information.
This would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example.

We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year
due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure
that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and
we plan to continue doing just that in 2011.


Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Reminder: Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or
join, as we need you to keep our program strong!

You will have several choices when you renew:

.         Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal
date is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for
one year.

.         Join for three years at $30.

.         Lifetime membership is $100.

.         If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for
the year.

.         Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our

.         Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible.

Your support is critical! Please help.

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532 or
email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club
program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio
Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities.
Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free.1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new
hams on the air.

Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date with
ham radio news. 

You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org
<http://www.handiham.org/> .

Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at
www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> :

.         Beginner

.         General

.         Extra

.         Operating Skills

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!


Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


Description: ARRL Diamond logo

ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide. Please
contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you
fill out the paperwork!

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is
available to everyone free of charge. Please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for
changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and
your new address.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422




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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 April 2011 - Patrick Tice