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 the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx You can also listen to the content online: MP3 audio stream: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! What coax should I use? Feedline loss calculator screenshot from KC7HCX.us website Question: The repeaters I want to use are all just a bit too far away for me to work with an indoor antenna or a handheld radio. I want to install an outdoor antenna so that I can use several different VHF and UHF repeaters. I already have a dual-band 2m/70cm vertical antenna, but what kind of coax should I use? I am thinking about RG-58 or RG-8X, because they are cheaper and easy to work with than the thicker RG-8 or RG-213. My cable run will be about 100 feet. Answer: Since the repeaters you plan to work are probably located in different compass directions, your choice of a vertical antenna is a good one, as long as the repeaters are not so far away that you would need a directional antenna with more gain. The directional antenna usually means an extra investment in a rotator system, a considerable expense and an additional accessory to maintain over the ensuing years. One thing you will not want to skimp on is your feedline, especially if it is to be used for VHF and UHF work, and when the feedline is going to be run for a considerable distance. A short run of RG-8X, under 25 feet, is probably acceptable for VHF work. The problem with these thin, cheaper feedlines is that they lose quite a significant amount of signal - both on receive and on transmit - and the savings in initial cost for the coax are quickly offset by the poor performance they introduce to your otherwise well-designed system. RG-58 is such thin, fragile coax that it is a poor choice for anything but temporary use or short connecting cables used in test situations. It is very lossy and should not be used over long runs, even for HF operation. Its fragility means that it can easily break. Let's take a look at the loss for a typical VHF frequency, 146.52 MHz for three common types of coax, all assuming a 100 foot run. RG-58: Power in = 100 Watts. Power out = 34 Watts. Total loss is 4.7 dB. Ouch! RG-8X: Power in = 100 Watts. Power out = 39 Watts. Total loss is 4.1 dB. Ouch! RG-213: Power in = 100 Watts. Power out = 55 Watts. Total loss is 2.6 dB. As you can see, the unfortunate truth is that all of these cables have significant loss, but the cheaper cables will end up turning most of your signal into heat. Only the RG-213 comes close to being acceptable for VHF use with a 100 foot run. Now for something really scary, let's try a 70cm frequency, 446.0 MHz, with the same cable run. RG-58: Power in = 100 Watts. Power out = 13 Watts. Total loss is 8.9 dB. Double Ouch! RG-8X: Power in = 100 Watts. Power out = 15 Watts. Total loss is 8.2 dB. Double Ouch! RG-213: Power in = 100 Watts. Power out = 32 Watts. Total loss is 5 dB. Ouch! Discussion: Even with the best of these three coax types, you are still getting less than one third of your signal to the antenna. Remember that it works the same way on receive. And why would you even bother with RG-58 or RG-8X for UHF work, when 100 Watts turns into only 15 Watts or less? Long runs of cheap, lossy cable might as well just be dummy loads! As you can see from the results we have listed, the loss per distance unit of feedline goes up when the frequency goes up. Therefore, a cheaper grade of feedline might be acceptable for use on 3.9 MHz, but far too lossy for use at VHF or UHF. Another consideration is that if one intends to use even higher transmit power levels, cheaper coax must not be used because it may arc over and fail. It is generally acceptable only for lower power levels. The results we listed are for SWR readings that are virtually perfect, 1:1. Since no antenna installation is perfect and minor mismatches occur in even a carefully-designed system, the actual loss will be even higher than what we listed. This makes using good feedline even more important. To summarize, you will have several important choices to make when you plan your VHF/UHF antenna system. You will want to decide which repeaters you want to work, their compass directions from your station, and whether you will need to choose a directional antenna or a vertical antenna. The supporting structure will add height, which is generally a good thing for effective VHF/UHF work, but also add to the length of a feedline, and longer feedline runs mean more loss. If you want to try weak-signal work on VHF and UHF, you will need a rotator and a horizontally-polarized directional antenna. Unlike repeater operation, weak signal work on SSB and CW absolutely demands good quality feedline for the lowest loss possible. FM repeater operation is less demanding, and will require vertical polarization. You may be able make your horizontally-polarized system work for repeaters, but your vertically-polarized antenna will not be effective for weak signal work on SSB and CW. Our recommendation is to use good quality feedline for every installation, avoiding higher loss coax except for short connectors and temporary use in sort runs. Resources: Are you wondering how we calculated the loss for examples we used in this article? It was easy with the online calculator we found at the KC7HXC website! You can find it at: <http://www.kc7hxc.us/links/radio/Coax%20Calc/Coax%20Calculator.html> http://www.kc7hxc.us/links/radio/Coax%20Calc/Coax%20Calculator.html For Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Testing for Technician license? Better hurry! Happy cartoon clock If you are studying for your Technician Class amateur radio license, you had better hurry and find a testing session. You have less than two weeks before the new Technician question pool goes into effect on July 1, 2010. Once the new question pool is in effect, the test will be all new, and the old pool questions you may have been using for review will no longer be used in the actual exam. If you feel that you are ready to test, please find a VE session right away. Finding a VE session is not difficult under ordinary circumstances, but summer isn't always the easiest time, since so many potential volunteers are on vacation. Go online and look for a session, then use the session contact information to make sure that all of the listed information is correct. If you have a disability and require accommodation, please do this right away - today! Two online resources are the ARRL and W5YI websites: ARRL VEC: <http://www.arrl.org/register-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session> http://www.arrl.org/register-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session W5YI VEC: <http://www.w5yi.org/exam_locations_ama.php> http://www.w5yi.org/exam_locations_ama.php You should also contact your local radio club for information on their VE sessions. Some clubs offer special VE sessions immediately before question pool changes. _____ Find an ARRL Field Day near you! microphone Of course you have heard of ARRL Field Day, right? It's the single most fun operating event of the year for many of us, and we would like YOU to join in the fun. There is an easy to use online tool on the new ARRL website that can help you locate a Field Day event near you. Check this new resource out: <http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator> http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator Once you are on the site, head for the "List By State/Province" link. Then use the pull-down menu to choose your State or Province. The stations at public locations are listed. Note: We are looking for feedback on how accessible the system of locating public Field Day sites is to our blind members. While the site does feature an interactive map as its primary feature, the "List By State/Province" link may be a useful alternative way to locate the relevant information. Blind users please send your comments about using this page to Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx _____ Found: Bootable USB Drives - there's a free utility for that There are times that you wish you had the right tool for the job, as when you have a flat-bladed screwdriver and the screw is a hex head. Those of us who work with computers a lot know that once in a while a cranky machine just won't boot up. The cause can be a defective sector on the machine's hard drive or a failed update to the operating system or some other such thing. In this case, the right tool would be a USB drive from which you can boot an operating system that would allow you to get the machine up and running so that you can fix the original problem. Thanks to Dick, WA0CAF, who found a free utility that creates bootable USB drives, we can pass the link to you and you can download the free utility and add it to your computer toolkit. The utility is called "Unetbootin". You can find it on the open-source website www.sourceforge.net. Download link: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ Download size: 4.36 MB (Windows version) System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, or Linux Before you go ahead and download Unetbootin, you should read the article that explains the reason the utility was created and what its limitations might be. <http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/free-utility-creates-bootable-usb-d rives.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gizmosb est+%28Gizmo%27s+Best-ever+Freeware%29> You can find it at techsupportalert.com by searching for Unetbootin, or just follow this link. _____ Out there Perhaps you have been following the saga of a 10 year old Wisconsin kid whose neighbors are petitioning to get his ham radio tower removed. Curious? Find out more at: <http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/article_6a7aa8c6-78ca-11df-9b99-001c c4c03286.html> http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/article_6a7aa8c6-78ca-11df-9b99-001cc 4c03286.html Notice! If the link doesn't work, check to be sure it has not word-wrapped. Sometimes the long links spill over into the next line of email messages, and then don't work unless you know that you have to add the cut off tail of the web address to the main part of the URL. _____ Feedback cartoon dog barking at postal carrier Too cold or too hot: After reading last week's antenna article, Travis, KE7EUL, pointed out that summer may be a great time for antenna work in Minnesota, but it is too hot - even dangerously so - for such work in some other places, like Arizona. Trippy, AC8S, writes about the summer ham radio doldrums: There's nothing wrong with the bands for me. I'm having QSOs with all kinds of hams on CQ100! I hear a whole bunch of stuff on HF here! Whether it's virtual or not, it exists, and there's always someone to have a QSO with, whether CW or phone. As far as clubs not meeting during the summer, that is true, many don't, but some do. We have two clubs in our local area which meet year around. As far as station and antenna projects go, I don't have those problems. For 2 meters, I use a handheld with a telescopic antenna, and for HF, I've got CQ100 on my laptop, and my antenna is the internet, so no antennas to fix here! As far as those hams saying, "where is the net control?" Get in there and run the net, and get your feet wet! After all, that's the way you get experience, and that way, the net will be operating. As far as static crashes on HF, I don't have those problems on CQ100. If there are thunderstorms in the region, I can still operate. Now if there are thunderstorms in my neighborhood, I don't operate then, because modems can be fried by a lightning strike. I unplug the cable that goes from the modem to my phone line. So folks, there are hams out there to talk with, if you're willing to use EchoLink, IRLP, or CQ100, that's for sure! Also, Pat, what an inspection you did! Thoroughly enjoyed it! What recorder were you using to do that? The audio quality was incredible! You mentioned you have attic antennas, which ones do you have? You probably use those when you can't use the outdoor antennas, right? I'm with you, 100%, EchoLink IS ham radio, and as a matter of fact, now with the EchoLink app available on the iPhone, you now have available an iPhone HT, for worldwide use! And all I can say about the squirrel, eating the lawn chair, he/she must have a heck of a case of heartburn, with all that plastic! 73, Trippy, ac8s Pat, WA0TDA, answers: The recorder I used was an iPod Touch with the matching ear bud headset and inline microphone. You can use that same system to work Echolink or talk on SKYPE. My attic antennas are a homemade 2-meter vertical and a homemade 4-element beam, vertically polarized, and fed with coax and a gamma match. The squirrel never came back after that first luncheon of lawn chair. I guess it didn't "sit well". (Groan!) _____ How to renew your license Since we have had to cut staff hours, the Handiham System no longer offers personalized assistance with license renewals. This work was always done by Avery Finn, K0HLA, and he is now retired. Avery asks that you please not send him email related to his former Handiham office duties. He uses his email to stay in touch with family and friends, including ham radio operators he knows, but understandably does not need work-related email anymore. So what are your alternatives for license renewal? Here are four possibilities: 1. You can use the FCC's ULS website to renew. The best overview we have seen on how to do this is on the excellent new ARRL website: <http://www.arrl.org/call-sign-renewals-or-changes> http://www.arrl.org/call-sign-renewals-or-changes 2. ARRL members can request renewal assistance. We suggest visiting <http://www.arrl.org/renewals> http://www.arrl.org/renewals for a concise overview of your options. There will be a link to <http://www.arrl.org/call-sign-renewals-or-changes> http://www.arrl.org/call-sign-renewals-or-changes where you will find that you can download, fill out, and submit the NCVEC Form 605 directly to the ARRL VEC, where it will be processed for free, as long as you are an ARRL member. That assumes that you do not have a vanity callsign, for which there is an additional small fee of $5 from the ARRL VEC for processing and the FCC vanity fee of $13.40. If you do not have a vanity callsign, the ARRL VEC renewal service is completely free to ARRL members. 3. You can go to an ARRL VE session in your area, ask for help renewing, and the VE team will assist you. There will be a fee unless you are an ARRL member. 4. The W5YI Group offers an easy to use license renewal service for a fee of $8: <https://www.w5yi.org/ssl/ama_renew_form.php> https://www.w5yi.org/ssl/ama_renew_form.php Now, here is our quick overview of "do it yourself license renewal": Online: To renew your license or change an address associated with a license, go to the Universal Licensing System, http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home, select Online Filing, and do the following: 1. Login with your FRN and Password. Note: TINs (Tax Payer Identification Numbers) may no longer be used for logging into ULS, effective December 14, 2003. 2. Choose Update from the Work on This License menu on the right hand side of your License At A Glance screen. Note: For additional help with this process, click on the Common Questions that appear on most pages of ULS License Manager, or click the Help link at the top right of each page. 3. Answer the questions on the Applicant Questions page. Then click Continue. 4. On the licensee page, update your licensee address and any other relevant information by typing your information into the text boxes provided. When ready, click Continue. 5. On the Summary page review the information you have entered. If you wish to make additional changes, click the Edit button next to the section of your application you wish to Edit. You will be able to return to that page of the application. Make the desired change and select the Return to Summary button. 6. When ready to submit your update to the Commission, choose the Continue to Certify button. 7. After reading the certification, enter your first and last names and title if appropriate in the boxes at the bottom of the page. You MUST sign the application. When finished choose the Submit Application button. 8. From the ULS Confirmation screen, we recommend you print a copy of your application and/or the Confirmation screen itself from your web browser. Note: The address and contact information you have entered in CORES registration will not be automatically associated with your licenses. To change the address or other contact information on your license, you must update your information in ULS or submit Form 605 manually. Filing Manually: You may alternatively submit a paper FCC Form 605 (edition date July 2005 or later) to FCC 1270 Fairfield Road Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245 OR, you may deliver the form in person to: FCC 1280 Fairfield Road Gettysburg, PA 17325 You can request forms by calling (800) 418-FORM (3676), download the form or call our Fax Information system at (202) 418-0177. More FCC Contact Information: Phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) Fax: 1-866-418-0232 E-Mail: fccinfo@xxxxxxx _____ This week @ HQ * Joe, N3AIN, has completed his long-awaited sixth and final installment of the Kenwood TS-480SAT audio tutorial. In this final audio lecture, Joe tells us how to control the rig with a computer. If you have not listened to Joe before, you should definitely give his audio lectures a try. He not only does a good job of teaching, but his engaging style makes it fun! Look in the Manuals section under Kenwood and TS-480. If you need help finding it, email Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for the link. * The latest Technician Class study materials are arriving at Handihams. As you know, the Technician question pool changes on July 1, only two weeks from now! We are planning to teach the Technician course for our members online, in audio lecture format tailored to our members with disabilities. This Friday we will send out our final Technician audio lecture notice with links to the old audio lectures. * The ARRL Atlantic Division sponsored a free webinar about using the new ARRL web site. The webinar was on Tuesday, June 15, and I signed up, so now perhaps I can help more of our Handiham members with questions about this new ARRL resource. - Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx * The Handiham Radio Club and Volunteers mailing lists are still broken. I am investigating the outage and will let you know when the lists are back up again. * Pat, WA0TDA, and Will, KC0LJL, will be at Camp Courage on Thursday. * Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the June 2010 CQ & Worldradio audio digests for our blind members. Thanks, Bob! * We have also finished reading the June, 2010 QST audio digest and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, has completed the June 2010 Doctor column from QST for our blind members. Thanks, Ken! * Handiham members who use adapted audio can log in to members only for the digest. If you qualify for National Library Service audio books, you can get the entire issue of QST, once the issue is read and cataloged. . Shipping address for Handihams: Our shipping address is different than our mailing address, though we can still get packages and mail at either address. The thing is, it is much, much easier if packages, such as equipment donations, are sent directly to our headquarters office. This is the same address where Radio Camp will be held. Camp Courage Handiham System 8046 83rd Street Northwest Maple Lake, MN 55358-2454 Please don't call the Camp Courage number to reach Handihams. The phone at the main Camp Courage office for all departments is (320) 963-3121. However, we do not always get phone messages left at that number in a timely manner, so if you wish to leave a phone message, be sure to call: Pat: 763-520-0511 Nancy: 763-520-0512 Nancy and I will get your calls or voicemails at those numbers no matter where we are working. 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! 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. Wednesday Echolink net news - Net time is new for GMT, now that we are on Daylight Time. Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net is on the air. Please join us and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit. We are on the air Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM) or GMT: Thursday morning at 00:30 Z. _____ Supporting Handihams 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 <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 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. . By wa0tda at 06/16/2010 - 19:16 . Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment%2Freply%2F841%23comm ent-form> to post comments . Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/841> version . Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/841> to friend _____ 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.