[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 February 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 14:08:19 -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. 

You can listen to this news online:

MP3 audio stream:


Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:


Get this podcast in iTunes:

 <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Description: Subscribe in

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:



Welcome to Handiham World!  

Take a video tour of the KA0PQW ham shack

Description: Matt with hand microphone, refected in the shiny roof of Gordon
West's car. Taken at a CA radio camp.

Larry, WD0AKX, paid a visit this week to Matt Arthur's ham shack to help
with some equipment maintenance. He brought along his HD video camera and a
handheld microphone, and he and Matt did a video tour of the KA0PQW station.
The last scene shows the antennas. Look for Matt's Courage North sweatshirt
and listen for a mention of Courage Center's Handiham program. 

The tour, available in both YouTube video and in MP3 audio from the Handiham
website, lasts about nine minutes.  Matt describes all of the equipment in
his ham shack, which also has some audio equipment for his radio show, which
is done on a non-amateur radio feed. The impressive setup includes a
repeater!  Matt knows the layout of the shack very well, and is of the
opinion (which I share) that we should all know enough about our operating
area to use the equipment independently.  Furthermore, a system of "a place
for everything and everything in its place" serves the efficient amateur
radio operator well, because when things are where you expect them to be you
can grab that first spot in the DX pileup or quickly silence a radio when
the phone rings.  In an emergency, you certainly want to concentrate on
communicating, not on trying to find a microphone or an accessory in a pile
of clutter. Since Matt is blind, he needed to develop his own system of
knowing where things are in the ham shack. Being organized in this way is a
discipline that we can all use to be better amateur radio operators. 

Visible in the video, but not mentioned in the audio, is the electrical
breaker box in one corner of the room.  There is also a basement window,
which lets in some natural light.  The repeater rests on some 2 by 4 boards,
lifting it above the basement floor. 

Ready for a tour?  Those of you listening to the audio podcast can just keep
listening, because we will go right to the audio tour. If you are reading
the HTML version, you can follow the link to the story on Handiham.org,
which has embedded video. 

Link to the video version: 

Link to the audio version:

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


Update! Solar activity increases

MAJOR FLARE: Earth-orbiting satellites have detected the strongest solar
flare in more than four years. 

At 0156 UT on Feb. 15th, giant sunspot 1158 unleashed an X2-class eruption.
X-flares are the strongest type of x-ray flare, and this is the first such
eruption of new Solar Cycle 24. The explosion that produced the flare also
sent a solar tsunami rippling through the sun's atmosphere and, more
importantly, hurled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth. This raises the
possibility of geomagnetic storms in the days ahead. Visit
http://spaceweather.com for images and updates.

The CME is expected to reach Earth tomorrow, on February 17. 

(Information from Spaceweather.com)


Troubleshooting 101: No audio from radio speaker

Description: Small tools and wire

The sound of silence is something we don't want to hear when we are
expecting to make a contact on the ham bands! It will probably happen to you
at some time in your ham radio career. You turn on the radio and hear...
Nothing!  Even cranking up the audio gain control does nothing.  There is
perfect silence.  What do you do now?  Call the nearest repair facility?
Call Handihams?  Give up and buy a new radio?

No, you don't do any of those things.  It is probably something really

The very first thing to do is to make sure the radio is powered on.  Don't
laugh!  Some equipment, such as basic QRP single-band transceivers, don't
have lighted frequency displays, and maybe no frequency displays at all.
Blind users may not be able to see any frequency display anyway. Sometimes a
relay click or other audible indication will give away whether the rig is
turned on or off. If you are satisfied that the power is on, the next thing
to check is the squelch control.  Most radios have this control, often in a
concentric potentiometer arrangement shared with the audio gain control.
When the squelch control is set too high, it may take a great deal of signal
to "break squelch", so no sound comes out of the speaker.  In HF operation,
the squelch should be turned way back so that you can hear the faintest
signals. If turning down the squelch solves the problem, you are good to go.
If there is still no sound, are you sure you unplugged any headphones that
might have been plugged into the "phones" jack?  On most radios, plugging
anything into that jack will mute the speaker.  Are you really certain there
is no sound?  What about a faint hiss?  If that is the case, the radio's RF
or IF gain controls may have been turned down.  Check both to make sure that
they are in their normal position settings.  As silly as it sounds,
sometimes a disconnected antenna can be the problem.  Generally you can
still hear some background hiss, however.  Make sure that any antenna
switches you have are set to the right positions. 

Still no audio?  Now you have to assume something else might be wrong. A
problem that sometimes occurs in older radios is that the headphone jack
becomes dirty or defective and when the headphones are unplugged, the
spring-loaded internal "switch" inside the connector does not make contact,
rendering the radio silent. Sometimes plugging the headphones in and out
several times fixes the problem. If you can hear audio only in the
headphones and not in the speaker, the jack may be defective and might need
to be replaced. It is not impossible that the speaker itself has failed,
though this is quite rare.  If you can hear audio in the headphones but not
the speaker, it could be that the fine wire in the speaker coil has broken.
Again, replacement is the only real fix. 

Other problems that might be considered at this point, especially if no
sound is heard from either the speaker or the headphones, is a failure in
the rig's final audio amplifier. Some radios - most, in fact these days,
have a jack on the back to take audio out to accessories.  Generally this
audio is at a set level - in other words, before the final audio amplifier,
since it is not affected by the volume control. You can check this audio,
possibly by plugging in a set of amplified computer speakers.  Start at a
low volume level on the amplified speakers and work your way up.  Some newer
radios have USB connections and can port audio to computers.  Checking audio
level by that means is complicated unless you are already set up to operate
that way.  

I'm going to guess that you probably solved your audio problem with one of
the simple fixes, but if you do have to send your radio in, it isn't the end
of the world. Generally audio problems are straightforward and easily


2011 ARRL DX Contest - It's this coming weekend!

Looking for some winter fun that doesn't involve anything like boots,
mittens, parkas, emergency rations, helicopter rescues, wolves, trips to the
emergency room, or hot chocolate to thaw yourself out? Well, then - It's
time to get ready for the 2011 ARRL DX Contest! It begins with CW: Third
full weekend in February (February 19-20, 2011). Then, once your radio gear
has had a chance to cool down, it is time for the phone contest! 

*       Phone: First full weekend in March (March 5-6, 2011).
*       Contest Period: 48 hours each mode (separate contests).
*       Starts 0000 UTC Saturday; ends 2359 UTC Sunday.
*       Rules and more available here:

We hope to hear lots of Handiham members on the air! 


Avery's trivia quiz 

Description: Avery with a Collins station in the Handiham shop.

Avery, K0HLA, has issued a trivia challenge!  You won't win anything, but
you will be noted and celebrated in this very publication as a winner if you
can answer the Trivia Handiham many part question, which  is: 

                       A) Who ran the record-breaking Handiham net with the
most check-ins? 

                       B) Who was/were the net control(s)? 

                       C) How many check-ins did that net have? 

                       D) What frequency / repeater was used? 

                       E ) From what QTH or QTHs was/were the operation(s)? 
                       F ) What very prestigious organization refused the
record and why?                

The first one with the most correct parts of the trivia question wins.
Answers are accepted by email only.  No phone calls, please. 

 <mailto:k0hla@xxxxxxxx?subject=Trivia%20Question> Email your answers to:
k0hla@xxxxxxxx, and be sure to put "Trivia Question" in the subject line. 

The correct answer will appear at a later date in your weekly e-letter and


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

Today's dip into the question pool is from the current General pool. We head
for the electrical principles section for these two related questions:

G5A01 asks, "What is impedance?"

Possible answers are:

A. The electric charge stored by a capacitor
B. The inverse of resistance
C. The opposition to the flow of current in an AC circuit
D. The force of repulsion between two similar electric fields

Next, question G5A02 asks, "What is reactance?"

Possible answers are:

A. Opposition to the flow of direct current caused by resistance
B. Opposition to the flow of alternating current caused by capacitance or
C. A property of ideal resistors in AC circuits
D. A large spark produced at switch contacts when an inductor is deenergized

Are you confident that you know the difference between impedance and
reactance?  Most of us are not electrical engineers, so how can we keep
these two concepts straight? 

*       The answer to question one, which asks about impedance, is C: The
opposition to the flow of current in an AC circuit.  
*       The answer to question two, which asks about reactance, is B:
Opposition to the flow of alternating current caused by capacitance or

Don't impedance and reactance seem pretty similar?  They are both
characteristics of AC circuits.  In DC circuits, we have resistance only,
but not impedance or reactance. I think of impedance as "AC resistance"
because it takes into account a circuit's "regular" resistance, and includes
any reactance that might also contribute to the opposition to current flow
in an AC circuit.  Reactance, on the other hand, is only part of the picture
when it comes to the opposition to the flow of current in an AC circuit.  It
does not include regular resistance, only opposition to the flow of current
caused  by capacitance and inductance in the AC circuit.  To a non-technical
person, the two might still seem similar but there is a world of difference,
as you will find when you tackle your Extra Class studies!


Remote Base Health Report for 16 February 2011 as of 08:13 CST

Description: Remote Base Update

The W0EQO Handiham Remote Base HF station is functioning normally.

W0ZSW is off-line for transmit control due to a router failure, but receive
via Echolink is working.

W0ZSW is located at Camp Courage, Maple Lake, MN. It is running 100W to a
300' extended "W0OXB Special" dipole up an average 45' in the air.

W0EQO is at Camp Courage North, Lake George, MN, deep in the pines of
northern Minnesota's lake country. Underground power lines and an isolated
rural setting contribute to a quiet RF environment. The 100W station feeds a
G5RV up about 35'.

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

*       Handiham Manager Pat, WA0TDA, will be at meetings all day Thursday
and will not be taking phone calls.
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.
*       CQ, QST, & Worldradio digest audio for February 2011 is available to
our blind members. 
*       A new Technician lecture will be ready on Friday. 
*       George, N0SBU, has completed & mailed the February digest. Thanks,
George & PJ!

.         Our nets have really been running well. I have to complement our
net volunteers for doing such a great job, and our net participants for
joining us on the air often and showing such good support for our on the air
activities.  A special thanks to pinch-hitters who have stepped in when the
regular scheduled NCS could not make it. 

.         Tonight is EchoLink 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. 

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

*       We need an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES node in Rochester, MN so that
Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, can continue to check into the Handiham net. There
is no one to take on this project at the moment.  
*       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 $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.



JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

GIF image

GIF image

JPEG image

Other related posts:

  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 16 February 2011 - Patrick Tice