Handiham World for 13 January 2010 <http://www.handiham.org/node/445> Handiham World This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System. 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: MP3 audio stream: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham Welcome to Handiham World! Sadly, the big news today is the earthquake disaster in Haiti. I wanted to get this right up front, as the Salvation Army net is active on 14.265 MHz, which is the regular Handiham 20 meter net frequency. As always, all Handiham activity on the frequency will cease whenever the Salvation Army is running emergency nets. We will soon be choosing a new 20 meter net frequency and time anyway, so that we will not run into any conflicts with the Salvation Army net. More about new net frequency proposals later. The earthquake disaster in Haiti is unparalleled in our lifetime. We are told from the news reports that nothing of this magnitude has occurred on the island since the 1770s. I will be providing you with some amateur radio links later on in this edition, because amateur radio is often the most reliable form of communication at times when widespread disaster causes communications infrastructure failure. Unfortunately, this earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, the largest city in Haiti and one with a very high population density. Many of the buildings in Haiti are constructed of concrete that is not reinforced in the way modern building codes would require in first world countries. Haiti, the poorest Third World country in the Western Hemisphere, already suffers from poor utility services and overcrowding. You can imagine the effect of a magnitude 7 earthquake in such a place. Unreinforced concrete buildings came tumbling down, trapping people. Because the earthquake came late in the afternoon on a winter day, there would be little daylight remaining to assess the disaster and begin recovery efforts. Because of this, it is expected that much more information will be available now that the sun has risen on a new day in Port-au-Prince. It was in the mid-1970s that my friend Don Newcomb, W0DN, and I decided on the spur of the moment to take a short trip to Haiti, a place that I had never been. I was living in the Caribbean at the time, and Don was visiting me. Since I was teaching school and had a break, the short trip to Port-au-Prince would be fun. Also, Don could speak French. That would certainly prove to be valuable in French speaking Haiti. A year later, Don and I would form the antenna company known as Butternut Electronics, but of course that is another story! Even the plane ride to a Third World country can be memorable. The old airplane that carried us to Port-au-Prince leaked oil from the engines, and I remember watching the streaks of oil trail across the wing that I could see through the window. As is traditional, everyone cheered and clapped when we landed safely. Neither of us brought along any ham radio equipment on the trip, as we didn't want to deal with import or customs problems. Our short visit was mainly in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. I do still remember the concrete buildings, most of which do not exceed three or four stories in height. Nonetheless, I am glad that I did not know about the unreinforced construction and the possibility of earthquakes while I was visiting. Had I known, I guess I would have been pretty nervous! In fact, we had a wonderful short visit, typical tourist stuff, and I bought an oil painting showing a Haitian market scene from a street vendor. I still have that painting on my wall today. Of course as a tourist I had to see the presidential palace. This morning, watching the scene of devastation on television, the collapsed presidential palace brought back that same sick feeling that I recall watching the video of the World Trade Center towers falling on 9/11. I had seen both places and was struck by how fragile even seemingly iconic buildings can be, toppled by disasters that we seem unprepared to deal with and that are more or less unpredictable. My heart goes out to the people of Haiti. That is why as amateur radio operators we should always be ready for an emergency. Monday morning quarterbacking does no good when communications infrastructure fails and we need to make way for emergency communications traffic. The next emergency could come anywhere at any time. Will you be ready? For Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Earthquake emergency links and information SATERN: As mentioned before, all Handiham net activity on 14.265 MHz is cancelled until the earthquake emergency is past. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) has been activated on that frequency. More information on SATERN is at: <http://www.satern.org> http://www.satern.org The latest information on that website is: Full Alert Level DELTA III for Haiti Earthquake Emergency. All nets active. 14.265 MHz Primary Daytime. 7265 and 3977.7 KHz evening and night. Listening on 14.265 MHz this morning, I did hear discussion of other frequencies. Echolink: There is also an emergency net on Echolink: IRESC, the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition, has declared a "Level 3" activation. They are asking that IRESC members report to the *IRESC* Echolink conference and also monitor SPARK. IRESC particularly requests assistance from French speakers. All members who can take net control station duty are requested to register a slot on the NCS CALENDAR and monitor the NCS LIVE text conference on IRESC SPARK. You will find the IRESC conference at node 278173. You may use the search function in Echolink to search for IRESC, as I have done in this Echolink screenshot: Echolink screenshot showiing search box with IRESC highlighted. Be prepared to look for awhile, as the search function does bring up quite a few stations that are already connected to IRESC. Of course you will want to find the conference node itself, not just connected stations. In the search, I noticed that W1AW was connected to IRESC. Please be sure that you know what you are doing if you connect, so that you do not disrupt emergency communications. This is not a casual net or a place to practice - it is a real net with real traffic. It is not the place to learn how to run Echolink! If you are willing to take traffic and are a practiced operator, you may wish to connect and check in. From the CQ / WorldRadio Online Newsroom: All radio amateurs are requested to keep 7045 kHz and 3720 kHz clear for possible emergency traffic related to today's major earthquake in Haiti. International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region II Area C Emergency Coordinator Arnie Coro, CO2KK, reports that as of 0245 UTC on January 13, nothing had been heard from radio amateurs in Haiti, but that the above frequencies were being kept active in case any Haitian hams manage to get on the air, and in case of other related events in surrounding areas, including aftershocks and a possible tsunami. The following is from an e-mail from CO2KK: A few minutes after the earthquake was felt in eastern Cuba's cities, the Cuban Federation of Radio Amateurs Emergency Net was activated, with net control stations CO8WM and CO8RP located in the city of Santiago de Cuba, and in permanent contact with the National Seismology Center of Cuba located in that city. Stations in the city of Baracoa, in Guantanamo province, were also activated immediately as the earth movements were felt even stronger there, due to its proximity to Haiti. CO8AZ and CO8AW went on the air immediately with CM8WAL following. At the early phase of the emergency, the population of the city of Baracoa was evacuated far away from the coast, as there was a primary alert of a possible tsunami event or of a heavy wave trains sequence impacting the coast line at the city's sea wall ... Baracoa could not contact Santiago de Cuba stations on 40 meters due to long skip after 5 PM local time, so several stations in western Cuba and one in the US State of Florida provided relays. CO2KK, as IARU Region II Area C Emergency Coordinator, helped to organize the nets , on 7045 kHz and also on 3720 kHz, while local nets in Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa operated on 2 meters. As late as 9:45 PM local time, 0245 UTC, we have not been able to contact any amateur or emergency services stations in Haiti. Amateurs from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela were monitoring the 40 meter band frequency, that I notified to the IARU Region II executive Ramon Santoyo XE1KK as in use for the emergency, requesting that 7045 kHz be kept as clear as possible ... We are still keeping watch on 7045 kHz hoping that someone in Haiti may have access to a transceiver and at least a car battery to run it. All information that has so far come from the Cuban seismologists tell us of a very intense earthquake, and also of the possibility of other events following. Following the advice of the geophysicists, we are keeping the 7045 and 3720 kilohertz frequencies active until further notice The editors of CQ and WorldRadio will keep these lists updated with additional information as circumstances warrant. Thanks to Avery, K0HLA, for passing this CQ bulletin on to me. Update From the CQ / WorldRadio Online Newsroom: Some ham radio activity from Haiti is beginning to be heard, following yesterday's devastating earthquake. Father John Henault, HH6JH, in Port-au-Prince, made contact late Wednesday morning with the Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net (IATN) on 14.300 MHz, the IARU Global Centre of Activity frequency for emergency communications. Based on relays monitored at W2VU, Father John reported that he and those with him were safe, but had no power and no phone service. He was operating on battery power and hoping to get a generator running later in the day. He asked the station copying him, William Sturridge, KI4MMZ, in Flagler Beach, Florida, to telephone relatives with information that he was OK. The following frequencies are in use for earthquake-related traffic and should be kept clear unless you are able to provide requested assistance: 14300 (IATN), 14265 (SATERN); 7045 (IARU Region II) and 3720 (IARU Region II) kHz. Additional frequencies may be activated on different bands at different times of day, so be sure to listen carefully before transmitting to make sure you are not interfering with emergency traffic. We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. _____ Digital modes in Ham Radio Deluxe Screenshot of Digital Master 780 in superbrowser mode shows several station streams. Although I've dabbled a bit in the digital modes, it has been awhile since I did any listening - or looking - at PSK31 signals or SSTV, slow scan television. These are modes that deaf and hard of hearing operators can appreciate. In fact, one can operate PSK31 without having to hear anything at all. A profoundly deaf operator can have a good time working DX or just having casual conversations via PSK31. The ability of PSK31 to get through during poor band conditions is amazing, doing even better than CW. Low power operation, well under 100 watts, is the norm. Since I use Ham Radio Deluxe as a rig control program, I decided to try the associated digital mode software Digital Master 780, available from the Ham Radio Deluxe website at no charge. Setup was straightforward since my HF rig was already connected to my computer. The software provides an excellent mode in which to monitor PSK31 stations that fall within your receiver's bandwidth. On 14.070 MHz, I use the USB setting to see six or more data streams at one time. PSK31 uses very little spectrum, and many stations can "share" a single frequency. I would not recommend Digital Master 780 to our blind Handiham members at this time. This is not because it is not accessible with a screenreader, but because I know of no screenreader users who have tested it. From what I can tell about the main window, there are plenty of keyboard commands, such as shift-F9 to find the next station in the receiver pass band. That is at least a good sign that a program might be accessible. If anyone has tried this software with a screenreader, let us know about it. I have recently heard from Damian, SP9QLO, who has some comments for blind users. _____ Letters: DigiPan: Since I am a private beta tester of Window-Eyes, I've tested whether it can work for blind hams with DigiPan. I used a simple setup for my test. I just took a headset usually used for SKYPE and put it next to the receiver's speaker. It was enough to receive stations transmitting PSK31 on the 20 meter band. I was able to tune to the signal manually. It's easy, like tuning a guitar. I believe it's a good first step for the beginner. I've found DigiPan accessible enough to work with it. All you need is a virtual mouse which is provided by any good screenreader. Just share it with you to encourage other blind hams to experiment with digital modes. Damian, SP9QLO Avery speaks up I have to make comment on yesterday's (Tuesday's) Handiham Echolink Net. It was very refreshing to say the least. It was a perfect example of how a net should be run. Paul, KD0IUA deserves some congratulations on a job well done. In fact, it was 100 times better than well done. It was perfect. 73, Avery, K0HLA _____ Another big sunspot group courtesy Cycle 24 Another big sunspot group courtesy Cycle 24 There is another large sunspot group, number 1040, facing Earth today. This spot group is part of the new solar Cycle 24, which is now well underway. Amateur Radio operators are looking forward to ever-improving HF propagation over the coming years, thanks to Cycle 24. Image: SOHO _____ This week at Headquarters: · Overload! Since we are short-staffed due to the shrunken budget, I am seriously overloaded and am not able to keep up. Please help me out by only calling or sending emails that are really necessary. If you can ask a question by email, it is usually easier than playing telephone tag, so I do prefer email. On the other hand, emails that are not about ham radio related subjects are clogging my inbox and preventing me from getting through my messages in a timely manner. If you have emailed me about something for the weekly e-letter, those emails go into a special folder and are examined later on as I put each issue together. I regret that I cannot always reply to each one, though I do try to do so. I like getting these email messages and enjoy sharing the things you find to share with our readers and listeners. Another way to help us out is to check the website before reaching for the telephone. If you do call, you may reach Nancy at 763-520-0512 and me, Pat, at 763-520-0511. Our hours are Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. · Fundraising disaster! A donor called to let me know that the zip code on our year-end giving envelope that was inside the print edition of the Handiham World is wrong. The correct zip code is 55422. That means that the hard work we did on the year-end mailing is wasted and will result in giving envelopes being returned to the sender as undeliverable. We do not design or print the giving envelopes at Handihams, so it is not our error, but it still affects us because the year-end Handiham World print edition does contain our year end appeal. It is too early to say how this will affect donations, but I fear it will not be good. You can still donate to support us, but send your gifts directly to Nancy's attention: Courage Handiham System Nancy Meydell 3915 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, MN 55422 We apologize for the inconvenience. · 14.305 MHz will be our proposed 20 m net frequency. All stations are asked to monitor this frequency throughout the day preferably afternoon and evening, and suggest a time to run the net. Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx and put "20 meter net" in the subject line. · Technician 2010 is available with only correct answers: The new Technician question pool is effective on July 1, 2010. George, N0SBU, has completed editing out the wrong answers, so we now have the pool available with the questions listed, followed by only the correct answers. Many of our students find this to be an easier way to study directly from the question pool. Links are sent in the Handiham-Notify mailing each Friday or Saturday. Ken, K5OFC, is recording the pool in MP3 format. We will inform you when it is ready. · 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! · Ken Padgitt has completed the January 2010 Doctor Is In column from QST for our blind members. · Get the four-page year-end Handiham World print edition in audio read by N1BLF, or in PDF, available right now as a download. · Get the Handiham World PDF download: http://www.handiham.org/files/hhw_winter_2010_final.pdf · January 2010 QST & Worldradio audio digests are available for our blind members. · Get the Handiham World Year-End Edition in audio, read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF: http://handiham.org/files/hhw_print_winter_2009_2010.mp3 · Volunteer reader Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the Winter 2009-10 QCWA Digest. · Log in to the member section of the Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. · 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) Our email address (for Nancy's office) is hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Pat can be reached by email any time, including nights and weekends, at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx Minnesota Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage: Arrive Friday, May 21. Class days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. VE Exam Day: Thursday. Volunteer Examiners arrive in the morning to visit with campers and eat breakfast together with campers, volunteers, and staff. Depart Friday, May 28. Cost of Radio Camp: The cost of Radio Camp depends on your ability to pay, so anyone can afford to attend. Ask for an application. · Camp Courage is west of Minneapolis. The address is 8046 83rd St NW, Maple Lake, MN 55358. · The phone number of the Camp Courage office is (320) 963-3121. · 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. Volunteers: 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 user name 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. Volunteers, get your hours in through VOLLI. You may also submit volunteer hours to Nancy at <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Remote Base Status The Remote Base at Courage North is in service. Please feel free to use this wonderful member resource. 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. Echolink net news Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net is on the air. Please join us and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit. Since we are looking forward to the New Year's holiday, we have at least two days when the daytime Echolink net may or may not be on the air. Finding net controls for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will be a challenge. I would like to encourage the nets to go on normally those days, and if there is no net control station, please just feel free to hang out on frequency and have an informal chat and wish each other a happy holiday season, whichever holiday you are celebrating! We are on the air Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM) or GMT: Thursday morning at 01:30 Z. Daily except Sunday at 11:00 hours Minnesota time (17:00 GMT) 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. Supporting Handihams 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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or email: 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. 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 <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! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handiham System Reach me by email at: patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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 01/13/2010 - 20:24 · Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/667%2523commen t-form> to post comments · Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/667> version · Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/667> 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.