[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 15 December 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 16:08:52 -0600

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. 

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Welcome to Handiham World!  

Description: Pat, WA0TDA looks at his Yaesu VX5R manual.

Last week we asked: How do you use equipment manuals, and what can be done
to make learning about a radio easier? Let me know so that we can figure out
where to go with this next new frontier. 

As you might expect, we got some interesting and insightful responses. I
will condense the main ideas down to just two different methods of making a
manual accessible.

1.      A popular suggestion was to create the manual in HTML with links
from topics listed in the contents directly to the relevant section of the
manual. So, for example, if you wanted to read about how to set a memory
channel, you would find "setting memory channels" in the contents, then
follow that link directly to the part of the manual main text that has the
instruction on setting memories.  One example of why HTML is good was sent
by Gerry, WB6IVF. He said: " I think that HTML is the best because you can
create links that are accessible by the tab key, and you can use the arrows
to move within a line and spell something or transcribe something to Braille
character by character. So in other words, if a document looked to a blind
person like a web page, I think we would find it easy to get around. Daisy
is good, but it isn't easy for everyone to use yet."   

Another writer favored HTML, but added that a special description of the
front and rear panels of the radio should be written so that blind readers
would not have to ask someone sighted to map out the location of controls
for them from the print diagrams.
2.      Some of you have Kurzweil scanners and are able to scan the print
manual, or alternatively to download the manual from a company website and
use the embedded text in the PDF version. Getting the information into the
linear system used by screenreaders is still somewhat problematic as some
items like sidebars and captions can get out of context. However, the
availability of embedded text PDF manuals is still a great advancement from
the paper-only days! A description of the panels is still needed, however.

I was surprised at this request for HTML functionality, but it really does
make a lot of sense. While DAISY does provide for at least a similar way to
navigate through a book, it is still a learning process that is new to many
users.  DAISY is built upon XML, and as such is similar to web-based
documents.  The question in coming months and perhaps years is whether the
standard for DAISY will be so well-accepted that it will be preferable to
website-like manuals designed in plain old HTML. We could try converting a
text to HTML and give it a test run, but the question will then be what to
do with users who do not have computers but who have the government-issued
NLS DAISY players. 

Time will tell, of course.  I am going to put on my prognosticator's hat and
predict that cassette tapes will really take a hit in 2011. I've always
hated the way it's so hard to find a particular part of an audio instruction
manual in a tape.  Another problem was the way adequate control layouts were
not always added by the volunteers who read the manuals. This year Sony
discontinued the venerable Walkman portable cassette player, and of course
the National Library Service discontinued support for the old 4-track
production system. RFB&D also moved forward, leaving cassette tapes behind.
At Handihams, we still get a few requests for tapes, but in 2011 these will
all be "special order", as they are no longer in stock and have to be
produced on an as-needed basis. 

The new methods of producing manuals will be HTML and DAISY.  We hope that
these can be augmented with users teaching via audio how to find one's way
around the radio and adjust the settings, as well as to use the radio's
basic functions. Actual users with experience doing these "quick start"
guides can really be helpful, not as a substitute for the manuals, but as an
added reference. 

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham System Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 



Description: Circuit board

Avery, K0HLA, who saw an article about soldering in QST, writes:

When I worked in the electronics industry, we did a lot of surface-mount
stuff and did a lot of flow soldering on a much larger scale than in the new
January 2011 QST article. 

We had special ovens and did double-sided boards. They went through on a
conveyor belt and the heaters, time, speed, etc. were all computer
controlled.  If it was too hot, the board was toast. If it was not hot
enough there would be poor connections.  A water wash at the end cleaned off
all the excess flux, then air under high pressure was used to dry off the
boards. An inspector was at each stage to check the boards before they were
allowed to go on to the next, so we had very few failures.

The first machine placed the parts on the boards at a very fast rate. The
many heads were just a blur as they went over the circuit board.  Each head
picked the part out of the tape and placed it on the board while the next
head was somewhere in the process placing its part in another location on
the board.  Of course this process was computer controlled as well. 

At the very end of the line computers checked various voltage points to be
sure everything was OK before the circuit boards went into their cases, were
boxed, and finally shipped to the customer.

Funny story: One item we built had a bunch of board-mounted BNC connectors
on it . Every single board checked bad when tested at the computer, and it
took a very long time to find out why. It seems when the boards went through
the water wash, the insides of the BNC connectors got soaked and shorted
out. The fix: Have someone at the end of the line with a high pressure air
hose blowing the water out of all the BNC connectors. Then when tested,
everything worked just fine.  

Our surface mount line could turn out many complete units in the amount of
time it would take one person to make just one solder connection. And those
machines did not take breaks, did not care if the lights were on, or how hot
or cold it was in the building.  They just kept turning out product. We had
three lines; two major production lines and one for prototypes. The only
time a machine was turned off was if it needed repairs (which was not very
often.) They ran all three shifts, 24 hours a day.  Believe it or not, the
machines were manufactured by Panasonic (The same people that made your TV)
and all the information was in both English & Japanese. Of course we set it
up for English. I think the machines were well over a million dollars each,
which is just a little more than the average ham can afford. Hi, hi. 

Howard, KE7KNN, writes:

I received a note from Jerry, N0VOE, about some poor operating on the
Handiham net.  Some operators are just jumping in without using their
callsigns. Remember that there are people out there listening to our net on
scanners or their transceivers, and we want to make a good impression. Let's
put our best foot forward on the net and use our callsigns to check in.
Remember, when the net control station calls for check-ins, all you need do
is give your callsign.  Nothing else is necessary.  Then when you are
recognized by the net control and asked to speak, you can pass along any
other information you might have. This will keep the net orderly and allow
the net control to keep track of everyone.  Thank you for your help, and we
will listen for you on the net!

Daryl, AE5WX, writes:

I know of the Handiham midday net at 11am Central Time Monday through
Saturday, and the Wednesday night net at 7:30 pm Central Time. Are there any
other Handiham nets that meet on Echolink? I'm working to update my Echolink
Nets page at http://tinyurl.com/cl439r. That page lists Echolink Nets in
U.S. Eastern Time, and UTC Time, but since I can't verify every net, not all
nets listed may be operational. The ones I have verified will be listed in
bold print. 

Shel, N0DRX, writes:

A long time county hunter recently sent the below note to me, and felt you
guys would enjoy it as I did.

"In days of old, when ops were bold and sideband not invented, the words
were passed by pounding brass, and all were quite contented." Anonymous


HF nets still in limbo

Description: FT-718 rig

Well, we are finding out that 75 meters wasn't so hot. Thanks to those of
you who dutifully listened and reported.  Some of you suggested 160 meters.
I'm game, so any discussion there?

Please e-mail me this week with your frequency and time suggestions,
frequency reports, and other suggestions about the net.  If we don't hear
anything, I am going to drop the subject until sometime next year when we
have more time to think about it. 


Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 

In other net news, The Geratol Net is looking for South Dakota hams.

The Geratol net meets every evening at 01:00 Zulu (7:00 PM CST) on 3.668 MHz
and sometimes runs from a couple hours until 11:00 or midnight Central Time.
They would especially like to have hams who have QCWA numbers; all call
formats: 2x3, 2x2, 2x1, and 1x2, would be VERY VERY welcome.  If you're not
from South Dakota, check in with them anyway!  Since the 75 meter band goes
quite long in the evening, you can expect to get in from the East Coast
quite easily. 


A dip in the pool

Today's dip into the question pool takes us to the new Technician.  This
question is about emergency situations:

T2C09 asks us, "When may an amateur station use any means of radio
communications at its disposal for essential communications in connection
with immediate safety of human life and protection of property?" 

Here are your four possible answers:

A. Only when FEMA authorizes it by declaring an emergency 
B. When normal communications systems are not available 
C. Only when RACES authorizes it by declaring an emergency 
D. Only when authorized by the local MARS program director

So what did you pick?  I hope it was "B", When normal communications systems
are not available. The operative part of this kind of use for amateur radio
resides on two conditions. The first is that it is a real emergency, one
where "immediate safety of human life and protection of property" is at
stake.  The second is that other means of communication that would normally
be used, such as cell phones, are not available.  Clearly there is some
interpretation involved here.  While most of us have the common sense to
know what a real emergency is, some people might have other ideas. I
remember a news story not so long ago about how someone got slapped with a
police citation for calling 911 when their fast food order was wrong. A real
emergency would be an accident, especially one with injuries, a fire, or a
medical emergency like a person having chest pains. Of course the second
part, which mentions "normal communications", reminds us that if a cell
phone or landline is available, that would be preferred and more efficient
in terms of delivering the message more quickly.

Yes, we all know that "common sense" isn't always so common as we might


Handiham Radio Club Notes

By Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, Handiham Radio Club President

Today Ken passes on a press release from NFB entitled "Hundreds of Thousands
of Job Listings Now Available".

Baltimore, Maryland (December 13, 2010): The National Federation of the
Blind (NFB), the nation's oldest and largest organization of the blind, is
pleased to announce that a revolutionary new feature has been added to
NFB-NEWSLINE(r), the free audible information service for the blind and
others who cannot read print due to a physical or learning disability. With
this groundbreaking job-listings feature, blind and print-disabled people
will be able to easily and independently search for job openings that match
their education, skills, and interests.

Read more:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/994> 


Pushing up Daisies...

Okay, that was just to get your attention.  I have noticed that there is a
need for teachers, therapists, and caregivers who might work with people who
are blind or have a reading disability to learn some basics about the new
reading system we call "DAISY". 

DAISY, which stands for Digital Accessible Information System, is a standard
based on the computer document language XML, and is a means of creating
digital talking books that can be easily searched like a text document but
can still be listened to like a cassette audio book.  

Well, here's the deal:  I wrote a short article on the subject that I call
"DAISY 101". You might find it useful, and if you are a DAISY user yourself,
I would appreciate hearing from you after you read the article. You will
find the DAISY book version of the article ready for download in zip file
format here:   <http://handiham.org/local/daisy/daisy101.zip> 

I found while producing this article that the production system choked on
hyperlinks.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it did an excellent
job with footnotes, which I hadn't tried before.  All of this is giving me
practice as we get prepared to offer more materials in DAISY and HTML. 

If you would prefer a plain text version of the file, it is here:

Suggestions and corrections may be sent to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 


December Events by N1YXU

Description: Events by N1YXU

December Events

I trust that each of you is enjoying the holiday season. Our house has been
very busy with folks coming and going during multi-day, multi-operator
contests. Our busy days will soon turn to preparations for the holidays. In
the midst of the hustle, I hope that each of you will be able to take time
to relax and appreciate the traditions that your family celebrates.

In this month's events information, you will find several activities that
should capture your interest.

Until next month..

- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read more about the December Events at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/991> 


Remote base progress report: 15 December 2010

Description: Kenwood TS-570

In spite of the extreme cold and snow here in Minnesota, both stations are
functional. Report problems to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 

Would you like to try the station right now? 

If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the
radio, you can search for W0ZSW-L, node 524906, and connect. Entering a
frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's
receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper
sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that
EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only
available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base

Don't forget about our station at Courage North, in far northern Minnesota's
lake country. If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to
listen to the radio, you can search for W0EQO-L, node 261171, and connect.
Just as with the other station, entering a frequency and pressing the enter
key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink
text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM,
respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on
receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control
operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. 


This week @ HQ

*       The Handiham office will be closed every Friday through the end of
the year. We will still release the Audio email unless we notify you
*       CQ digest audio for December has been completed by Bob Zeida, N1BLF,
and is available to our blind members. 
*       Don't put it off!  General Class students had better study faster.
The NCVEC Question Pool Committee has completed the new General Class pool,
which will be effective on 1 July 2011.  We have heard that the pool
questions are more difficult, and there are more total questions in the new
pool.  Our advice to those of you who have been dragging your feet about
getting your General Class upgrade is to get busy right now and pass that
General!  If you wait too long, you will have to go through the new pool and
take a harder exam. 
*       Update! Once the new 2011 General Pool is released, we will begin
working on getting it into the most accessible format possible. George,
N0SBU, has agreed to help us by editing the pool down to include only the
correct answers, which is not meant to replace the regular NCVEC pool, but
to be helpful as a study guide for our members who use screenreaders and who
appreciate a shorter pool for review.
*       A big thank you to our net control stations  for "saying yes" and
volunteering for this leadership role. We really appreciate your help and
everyone has noticed that the nets are running more smoothly than ever.

.         Tonight is net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at
19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +6 hours, or 01:30 GMT
Thursday morning. 

EchoLink nodes:

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

Other ways to connect:

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

*       We need an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES node in Rochester, MN so that
Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, can continue to check into the Handiham net. Chris,
KG0BP, has shut down his node because he has moved to the Twin Cities. 
*       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 - Year-end is a critical time. 

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 2010.


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.



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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 15 December 2010 - Patrick Tice