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. You can listen to this news online: MP3 audio stream: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this podcast in iTunes: <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Description: Subscribe in iTunes RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ 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> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Letters 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. 73, Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 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 hope! _____ 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> 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> 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: <http://handiham.org/local/daisy/daisy101.txt> http://handiham.org/local/daisy/daisy101.txt 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.. Regards, - Laurie Meier, N1YXU n1yxu@xxxxxxxx Read more about the December Events at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/991> 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 software. 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 otherwise. * 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 us. _____ 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 <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 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: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handiham System Reach me by email at: patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ 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.