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

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:14:46 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
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Welcome to Handiham World!  

Description: Pat, WA0TDA, holds up new ARRL Periodicals and TravelPlus CDs
Photo:  Pat, WA0TDA, holds up the new ARRL 2010 Periodicals on CD-ROM and
TravelPlusR for Repeaters CD.  Both will be available for our Handiham
members to try out at the Radio Camp in August. 

Have you ever wondered where you saw that article about the antenna that you
could build yourself and that would actually fit into your real estate?
What month's QST was it that had the review of the rig you're thinking about
buying? What's in QEX, the "Forum for Communications Experimenters"?  What
about the National Contest Journal? 

If you're anything like me, you probably subscribe to several magazines and
don't really have the time to read every article. I always go through the
contents and page through to see what jumps out at me, and in the process I
find plenty of interesting articles that I am going to read later or save
for reference.  Before I know it, the next month's magazines arrive and I am
falling behind in my reading. I'll have much more time in the winter, so the
magazines go on the shelf in my ham shack, ordered by month. Sometimes the
articles I wanted to read just never get read, and the reason is that they
are too hard to find.  It may be that I don't even recall the title of the
article or the author's name, just the general topic. True, the periodicals
search tool on the ARRL website will be helpful, but sometimes I can't
locate the article I want because my shelves are not organized as well as I
would like. 

I can see to read the print articles.  Doing this kind of a search when you
are blind can be a much more daunting task.  That's one of the reasons we
will be installing the 2010 ARRL Periodicals CD-ROM on a Windows computer
equipped with JAWSR, a popular screenreading software program by Freedom
Scientific.  The upcoming Handiham Radio Camp provides exactly the right
opportunity for us to test the accessibility of the Periodicals CD using a
screenreading computer operated by experienced blind amateur radio
operators. The idea of having an entire year's worth of QST, National
Contest Journal, and QEX, the Forum for Communications Experimenters,
available on a single CD with search capability seems a lot better than
saving print publications on a shelf - or shoeboxes full of audio tapes or
even the new flash memory digital NLS "books".  Most of us just don't have
the space to save more than a couple of years' worth of old print magazines,
and even if we do manage to keep them all in order, finding a particular
article can be a chore, so we are looking forward to exploring this ARRL CD
during Radio Camp.

One book we have never put onto tape for our blind Handiham members is the
ARRL Repeater Directory.  Think about it for a while, and you'll realize
why.  Not only would it be like reading the phone book, but it would also be
impossibly difficult to use because you could never find anything in it,
especially in audio cassette format.  Imagine back in the days of books on
tape what such a book would be like for a blind user.  It would be a box
full of cassettes, and one would have to keep them organized carefully.
Even then, who wants to listen for hours to find the right spot on a tape
that has just the repeater information you need?  The lack of an accessible
repeater directory for blind hams has been a problem, and even those of us
who can see to read a print version can find the lookups of repeaters while
traveling a hassle. That's where the ARRL TravelPlus Repeater Directory on
CD comes in handy.  While I seldom plan to tote along a notebook computer
just for repeater lookups while driving cross country, I do appreciate the
pre-trip planning capabilities of the ARRL software.  Once can print out a
list of repeaters within a user-defined distance along a planned route.
That saves the hassle of paging through a print repeater directory during
your trip.  I find it much more intuitive and easier to use, but what about
our blind Handiham members?  Would there be some features of the ARRL
TravelPlus CD that could prove useful?  That is what we are going to find
out at Radio Camp in August when we install the software on our JAWS
computer and see what we can do with it.  

Handiham Radio Camp is August 8 through 13, 2011 at Camp Courage near Maple
Lake, Minnesota. The camp repeater, W0EQO-R, is connected to the HANDIHAM
Echolink conference and the Vancouver, BC IRLP node 9008. We also plan to
have our own experimental low power IRLP node 7051 on the air. The camp
station is W0ZSW, and will be operating on the HF bands. 

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


News of Mumbai bombings arrives on Handiham net

I was surprised to hear about terrorist  bombings in Mumbai, India from
Vispi, VU2WLL, on today's Handiham Echolink net.  He says that he and his
sister are both all right. The news media have conflicting numbers of
casualties.  There will no doubt be much more information later on today as
this story unfolds.  In the meantime, our thoughts are with the people of
India as they cope with this senseless violence.  


Letters - HWN

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

Ann, K1STM, of TIPSnet writes to alert us to a need for Hurricane Watch Net

Ann says, "Here's hoping the prediction is wrong."

She forwarded an announcement from ARRL about the HWN, which stated that
"...the various organizations that assist the National Hurricane Center
(NHC) in Miami are gearing up for what forecasters are predicting to be a
very active storm season. One organization that assists the NHC is the
Hurricane Watch Net (HWN)."

You can read the ARRL bulletin, which is Special Bulletin 5  ARLX005 , on
www.arrl.org. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Hurricane
Watch Net, please visit the HWN website at http://www.hwn.org for further
information. (ARRL) 


Troubleshooting 101: Noise 1 revealed

Description: Small tools and wire

Last week we listened to a to a radio noise caused by, well, that's what you
will had to guess.  Joe, N3AIN, sent us a noise that was our challenge to
identify. If you are reading this instead of listening to the podcast,
follow this link to listen: <http://handiham.org/audio/noise1.mp3> 

We had quite a few responses, some of which hit the mark, while others were
at least good guesses:

.         Howard, WA9YBW, wrote:  "I think the noise is a faulty neon light
fixture!  If you are near businesses that use these type of signs, look for
one that is flickering periodically and this may be the bad guy.  Note the
time of day the noise occurs and see if it corresponds to when the sign is
turned "ON", some signs may be turned off at some time during the day."

.         Walter, WB6JTJ, thinks it is a bad transformer.

.         Gerry, WB6IVF, says,  "I think we have power line noise. I think
this because the frequency is too high to be a switching power supply."

.         Marshall, WA7SHU, writes, "I think the noise is coming from a
power line. I believe you could track the noise using a portable AM radio."

.         Bruce, KB8WNS, says, " am not sure but it reminds me of a noise
that I traced to a dimmer switch for a light. It is hard to believe that
anything that could produce that much interference could be safe to use. I
wondered what was actually going on inside that switch that could cause that
much noise."

.         Bob, W8ULM, says, "The noise sounds like it was heard on AM and
sounds like the noise my wireless router puts all over the bands up to 30
MHz. Short of turning it off, I have no idea of a cure but would welcome

.         Mike, KJ6CBW, writes, "I think that noise is 60-hertz caused by an
intermittent plug or broken cable, hopefully outside the radio. I'd do a
thorough check of all audio cables and exercise all plugs. If this noise is
really at 18.96400 MHz, it's a modulated 60-hertz carrier and is likely a
switching supply somewhere in the house."

.         Matt, KA0PQW, writes, "To me that is clearly power line noise.
Interestingly enough you could hear it make and break a couple of times.
Power line noise also resonates more on 17 meters than on a lot of other
I suppose it could also be something in the home, however I doubt it.  The
first thing that should be done is shut down the house power and listen on
the radio on that same frequency and see if it is still there.  Of course
you will need to power the radio on a battery. If it is still there, you
need to try to find out what direction it is coming from if at all possible.
Then find out the highest frequency where you can hear it. You will probably
want to track the noise at the highest frequency possible . If you have
something like a Kenwood TH-F6A hand held and if you use something like a
two meter 5/8 wave antenna you will be able to hear some noise on HF. The
antenna will work as a bi-directional antenna if you hold it horizontal when
tracking. This thing shouldn't be all that hard to find.  Maybe I should do
a talk on power line noise hunting."

.         Ron, AA2VM, writes, "I bet that noise is from a power line. Yes
it's from our old friend the electric company. I have heard that noise on
and off for years in my local area. My neighborhood is apparently considered
a low priority area by New York State Electric And Gas in western New York.
I have had issues several times with this type of noise. My way of solving
it was to take a small portable radio and locate the noise by walking around
the neighborhood and seeing where the noise is the loudest. It would help if
you had an S-meter of some sort on the radio, but most times, your well
trained ear is good enough. I have had this happen on a number of occasions.
Usually, the process of finding the problem isn't the hard part. In my case,
it was getting the electric company to do something about it. It takes
anywhere from a few weeks to 3 months where I live. I remember the one time
in 1990, where I reported the problem on the second of February and nothing
was done for quite a while. Finally a week or so before Memorial Day, I get
a knock on the door and a NYSEG man (see above) asks me: "Are you still
having electric noise on your communications gear?" I hadn't checked that
day yet but when I did, it was gone. I reported this to the guy and he said:
"Well I am glad to hear that. By the way, it's a good thing you reported
that. The transformer down the street (it was 2 doors down in back of my
house) was malfunctioning. In fact it was leaking PCB's." ...And they
finally got around to fixing it 3 months later???"

Joe, N3AIN, our noisemeister, reveals the source of this awful noise:  "What
you're hearing is the receiver in AM mode wide open. At its worst, the noise
is ten over S nine. At the end I turned the AF down to let you hear the
frequency. I know it's well outside any ham bands, but I tuned there because
that's one of the areas of the spectrum where it's heard best. It can be
heard on all the HF bands. According to my power company, it is insulator
noise from a pole just north of my home. 

Well, Joe says that he included the frequency announcement, but I craftily
cut that part out to avoid giving you too much of a hint.  At least two of
you, Mike, KJ6CBW, and Matt, KA0PQW, suggested that the frequencies around
the 17 meter band might be the place to look. Here is a link to the complete
audio file that includes the frequency announcement:

Time for Noise 2:

Joe's next noise is another common one, and this time I am not feeling so
mean and sneaky, so I am leaving the voice frequency announcement in the
audio so that you can hear what part of the spectrum Joe was monitoring.  If
you are reading this instead of listening to the podcast, follow this link
to listen: <http://handiham.org/audio/noise2.mp3> 

Feel free to weigh in with your best guesses.  Send them to:

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

Today we are heading back again to the Extra Class pool, which is valid
through June 30, 2012.

E4E07 asks: How can you determine if line-noise interference is being
generated within your home?

Possible answers are:

A. By checking the power-line voltage with a time-domain reflectometer
B. By observing the AC power line waveform with an oscilloscope
C. By turning off the AC power line main circuit breaker and listening on a
battery operated radio
D. By observing the AC power line voltage with a spectrum analyzer

The correct answer is C: By turning off the AC power line main circuit
breaker and listening on a battery operated radio.  Now where did we just
hear that bit of advice? 


NTS training series wraps up today

Jim, WB4LBM, has been conducting a series of NTS training sessions on the
Handiham Echolink net this week.  Today's session is number three, and it
completes the series.  Mike, W1MWB, has kindly volunteered to record and
edit the audio and provide it to us for inclusion on Handiham.org.  If you
missed the series, all three sessions will be available this Friday. Thanks
to all who helped with this summer refresher course on the National Traffic


Remote Base Health Report for 13 July 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

Both stations are operational. 

W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line as of this publication date.  

*       We noticed a little more latency in the W0ZSW station's responses
this morning. It may be a passing issue caused by heavy internet traffic.
Please let us know if you encounter any latency issues that cause the
station to be unusable.  
*       Since I have been listing status updates in several places on our
website, there must also be multiple updates when the station's status
changes.  Instead of doing those multiple updates, it makes more sense to
have a single update page and then link to it as necessary. The URL for the
status page is  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 
and that page is generated via the Drupal content management system. What
that means is that I can edit the status page from anywhere that internet is
available.  It should make keeping things up to date easier.  Pages within
the members section are static and must be maintained by using FTP from my
main computer, so that means frequent updates from anywhere would not be
possible on those pages. 
*       The following must be written into the Remote Base setup
instructions, but the demands on my time over the summer have delayed it, so
I am mentioning the change here:   Following the upgrade to an external USB
sound card on the W0ZSW machine, we have been able to use the sound client
built in to the W4MQ software. This is called "IRB Sound" and it is selected
in the setup menu on the main page when you open the W4MQ software
interface. You may now select IRB Sound instead of SKYPE, but ONLY on the
W0ZSW station.  If IRB Sound is selected on the other station, W0EQO, you
will get reports of choppy audio, so you must continue to use SKYPE with

I prefer to use IRB Sound with W0ZSW because it works smoothly and there are
virtually no runtime errors, as sometimes occur when using SKYPE.  If you
use IRB Sound you do not need to run SKYPE at all.

You can view the status page at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 


SKYPE conference

I did not get any responses to this last week.

Doug, VA3DGD, would like to conduct a SKYPE conference on
handiham.conference. Please send me your suggestions for topics and times.
Since I have to host the conference, I am going to have to restrict the
times to those I have available during my office hours. I suggest Mondays,
Tuesdays, or Fridays, preferably late morning or early afternoon.  Send your
replies with time & topic suggestions to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Maximum
participants = 10. 


This week @ HQ

*       I will be at Camp Courage on Thursday 14 July and out of touch by
phone and email. 
*       Lyle, K0LR, has completed the portable IRLP node (number 7051) for
us to use as a training tool at Radio Camp.  I am loading remote base
software, SKYPE, and Echolink onto our JAWS computer to set up as a camper
*       The new General Audio lecture series is underway, and lecture two is
on line. Our second lecture covers digital modes such as RTTY, PSK31, and
MFSK16. We tell you some interesting historical facts and listen to what a
PSK31 signal sounds like. After that, we go over some of the possible exam
*       The audio magazine digest:  Worldradio, CQ, QST, and AMSAT Journal
audio is available for our blind members.  July audio is  posted for CQ,
Worldradio, and QST.  
*       Last call!  Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13
August, 2011.  

*       Handiham Radio Camp to feature Wouxun radios for our new
Description: Wouxun HT
Come to Radio Camp, get your first license, and go home with a new radio. If
you are a Handiham member and are studying for your Technician level amateur
radio license, you should consider attending Handiham Radio Camp, which will
be a wonderful opportunity for you to review what you have studied and take
the exam in a completely accessible environment. Our campers who earn their
Technician Class Amateur Radio licenses at camp will be presented with
brand-new dual-band handheld radios, thanks to the support of a generous
donor. The radios are by Wouxun, and operate on the 2 m and 70 cm bands,
which are the most popular repeater bands. Since these radios also include
voice prompts in plain English, they are especially preferred by blind

Wouldn't it be wonderful to attend Radio Camp and then go home with a
brand-new radio? 

We sure think so! If you are not a Handiham member and are interested in
joining us, here is a link to request a membership application:

If you are already a Handiham member and would like a radio camp
application, call toll-free 1-866-426-3442 and request a camper application.
You may also download the application package or contact us by email to ask
a question or request a camper application:

*        <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mn_camp_2011_cover.pdf> Download
the camp cover letter in PDF 
*       Download a self-extracting zip file with the complete radio camp
application package <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.exe> , or 
*       Download a zip file with the complete radio camp application package
<http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.zip> . 

*       If your email program does not display links, go to our website:
Although you may not live nearby Camp Courage, we do pick up campers at the
Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. Campers come from anywhere and
everywhere, so even if you live far from camp you will have the opportunity
to join us for this fun and unique session. All campus buildings are modern
- although we are a camp, no one sleeps in a tent or has to eat beans out of
a tin can! Our facilities are modern and include wireless Internet access
and modern construction. All facilities are wheelchair-accessible.

Handiham Radio Camp 2011 is at Camp Courage - Woodland Campus - August 8-13,
2011 and serves Handiham members ages 16 and older. 

Enjoy an experience of Ham radio fun and learning. Make new friends while
building an on-air community that continues after you leave Radio Camp. Get
a first Ham radio license or upgrade a current one, or learn new operating
skills. Keep abreast of the latest technology, including assistive
technology. Wireless internet access is available. Instructors are
experienced amateur radio operators from throughout the nation. Trained
staff members provide personal care assistance. And, we leave plenty of time
to take a break from studying and enjoy traditional camp activities.

.         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 $12 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 $36.

.         Lifetime membership is $120.

.         If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable
sponsored membership.

.         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 July 2011 - Patrick Tice