[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 13 January 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 14:27:53 -0600

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
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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 

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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, 13 January 2010 - Patrick Tice