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

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 15:14:53 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
<unsaved://Untitled_1.htm#Contact> , or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. 

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Welcome to Handiham World!  

Description: Fukushima nuclear plant prior to earthquake, photo courtesy
Wikimedia Commons, licensed under GNU. 
Photo: Fukushima nuclear plant near Okuma, Japan before the earthquake and
tsunami damage. View shows three cooling towers and one of the reactor
buildings with ocean and docks to the right of the picture. Image courtesy
Wikimedia Commons, from Wikipedia. 

The unfolding tragedy in Japan is front and center in our minds this week.
I talked with long-time Handiham volunteer Mark Booth, WA0PYN, earlier this
week.  He had already handled a couple pieces of health & welfare traffic on
20 meters.  ARRL is keeping us up to date on its website, so there is no
need to go into detail on events that are already being covered at ARRL.org.
Rick Palm K1CE, edits the ARRL ARES E-Letter, which refers amateurs to the
ARRL.org story "Japan Asks Radio Amateurs to Keep Frequencies Clear As
Country Goes into Recovery Mode after Devastating Earthquake".  Information
about the operations of the JARL HQ station JA1RL and the list of
frequencies are found in that ARRL story.  We suggest checking ARRL.org
periodically for updates. 

Some of our members who check into the daily Handiham net have been asking
about Shinji, JA7QHM.  I have not heard from him and would appreciate any
news if anyone else has contacted him recently. Shinji had regularly checked
into the Handiham net, but usually in the summertime when Daylight Saving
Time is in effect. This makes the timing a bit easier as he doesn't have to
stay up so late.  I called him on Skype this morning but there was no answer
or voicemail message. 

As long as I mentioned DST, I might as well remind everyone that the
Handiham net stays true to local time.  That means the difference between
GMT and Minnesota time becomes 5 hours instead of 6. Since we are west of
Greenwich about 1/4 of the way around the globe, GMT is always ahead of us.
By the time the Handiham net is getting underway in the late morning in
Minnesota, it is already late afternoon in Europe. You might think that it
would be easier to stick to UTC, or "Coordinated Universal Time", which is
the same as what us older guys refer to as "GMT".  We tried that years ago,
but the confusion about the net made the "tech support" just about
impossible.  We gave up on that and returned to keeping the net at local
time, which means that it shifts one hour relative to UTC (GMT). 

Since today is Wednesday, that means we also have the evening net to think
about.  We meet once again at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM), which is
at 00:30 hours GMT, or just after midnight in Universal Time.  If you are in
Europe, that makes it slightly easier to check in because you don't have to
stay up quite as late.  

All of this reminds me that we are such a worldwide system, email remains
the tried and true way to touch base for many of us.  It's a great way to
work around all of these time shifting issues.  I'm not sure if all of you
knew about it, but my son Will, KC0LJL, spent a semester studying in Japan
last year and made many friends there.  We also had quite a parade of
Japanese exchange students though our home over the past year, so obviously
we have an interest in keeping track of how they are doing. Facebook has
been a great contact tool and, as ARRL points out, internet connectivity has
remained good in most of Japan. We are considering a Handiham group under
the wing of Courage Center's Facebook page.  Although I prefer email to
using Facebook for individual messages, I know that this new media is more
and more in the news these days and sometimes general interest stories in
ham radio might be better covered in a Facebook forum.  ARRL is on Facebook,
as are many ARRL and Handiham members. It's something to think about for

Finally, the Japanese situation includes a nuclear reactor emergency. This
is bound to create a new awareness of communications preparedness related to
ARES training.  Some time back, a local ARES group here trained with other
emergency services personnel in a mock nuclear plant scenario.  It will be
interesting to see what new procedures might come about as we learn more
from following the news and response to the Fukushima nuclear plant damage.
Communications technology and procedures are always changing to meet new and
different challenges. 

ARRL members who wish to receive the ARRL ARES E-Letter may manage their
mailing lists directly from the member section of ARRL.org. 

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


ADA Changes in Effect

Description: Cartoon familiy holding hands, one family member using

Revised regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
took effect yesterday, March 15, 2011, the Department of Justice announced.
The revised rules are the department's first major revision of its guidance
on accessibility in 20 years.

The regulations apply to the activities of more than 80,000 units of state
and local government and more than seven million places of public
accommodation, including stores, restaurants, shopping malls, libraries,
museums, sporting arenas, movie theaters, doctors' and dentists' offices,
hotels, jails and prisons, polling places, and emergency preparedness
shelters. The rules were signed by Attorney General Eric Holder on July 23,
2010, and the official text was published in the Federal Register on
September 15, 2010.

New documentation related to the changes is available today, March 16, on
the ADA website:  <http://www.ada.gov> 


Description: TYT TH-UVF1 VHF/UHF HTTH-UVF1 VHF/UHF HT tutorial help needed

The TYT TH-UVF1 VHF/UHF is a new dual band handheld radio in the price range
of $120 that is of interest to Handiham members who will appreciate its
voice prompt feature. We are looking for users of this radio who are willing
to write up a simple user guide that could be easily navigated by blind
users. The guide can be a text or Word document, and we can convert it to
spoken word DAISY book format. 

Another really useful thing is an audio tutorial of how to use the radio. If
anyone has one of these radios and is willing to teach how to use it into a
microphone, we would sure appreciate it!

We can accept MP3 files, cassette tape audio, CD audio, just about any way
you can get audio to us if you are willing to help with this project. 

Please email me if you can help.  


Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager


Troubleshooting 101: Can't bring up repeater

Description: Small tools and wire

It's happened to me before, and I know it happens to other repeater users,
too.  I can hear the repeater (let's say it's a two meter machine) and the
audio seems nice and clear, but when I throw out my callsign to join a
conversation or bring up the repeater to see if I can find someone else who
might be listening, I find that the repeater does not respond.  What could
be wrong?

This calls for a bit of thoughtful troubleshooting.  

*       Does the repeater input require a subaudible tone?  If so, there is
always the possibility that you are either not transmitting a tone or that
you are transmitting the wrong tone. Don't assume that just because you are
transmitting a tone that it is the correct one.  I remember a time that I
was driving through Illinois and heard a strong 2 meter repeater.  At a rest
stop, I programmed my radio, following the repeater directory information as
to offset and tone.  I still could not contact that repeater and later
learned that the repeater group had changed the tone but that the
information about the change had not made it into the repeater directory. I
had the wrong tone!
*       Always check the volume control.  My transceiver usually comes on
when I start the car, and if my wife drives my car she turns the volume
control on the radio all the way down. This can lead to embarrassing moments
in ham radio if I assume that no one is coming back to my calls on the
repeater when in fact someone is trying to answer me but cannot be heard
because my audio gain control is set to minimum.  This is especially easy to
have happen in the car because the driver is looking at the road and not at
the radio (hopefully.)
*       Check your transceiver's output power.  Most radios have at least
three levels: low, medium, and high power.  It may be easy to hear the
repeater's signal many miles from the repeater site, but difficult to access
the machine with the lowest transmit power setting on your radio. Bump up
the power and try again.
*       Are you using the correct offset?  Not all repeaters follow the
conventional offsets. 
*       Generally antenna problems will also be noticeable on receive, but a
damaged antenna or bad feedline may still collect enough received signal to
hear the repeater but still not allow for efficient transmissions. Check the
antenna and feedline.
*       Can you think of any other ways to troubleshoot this problem?  Be


ARES E-Newsletter now in audio version

The popular ARES Audio E-Newsletter, edited by Rick Palm K1CE, is devoted to
news about ARES, RACES, training programs, simulation exercises and news
about served agencies. It is now available in audio format, voiced by Tony
Riggs, W1FHN; audio script written by Al Brown, KZ3AB. 

Several of the monthly editions are archived following the most recent
month's version. Check the audio ARES E-Newsletter out:



Website makes letter writing regarding HR-607 easy

Richard Haltermon, KD4PYR, has created a website that makes it very easy to
develop a letter for your Congressional representative regarding HR-607 (the
bill that would sell off 420-440 MHz). This is as easy as it gets folks!
Just enter your callsign and it does the rest.

Bill Morine, N2COP, writes:

"...we used Jim Weaver's software http://www.kd4pyr.net/hamletter.htm to
generate HR-607 letters this past weekend at the Charlotte Hamfest, and it
worked wonderfully."

Please get this info out to clubs and groups.


Send then to: 

John Chwat 
Chwat & Co. 
625 Slaters Lane 
Suite 103 
Alexandria, VA 22314


Live audio/video feed from NHK Japan

Watch and listen live to Japan NHK TV with 24 hour coverage of the
earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. 



Wheelchair accessible: Department of Energy Finalizes $50 Million Loan for
Vehicle Production Group

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the
Department of Energy finalized a nearly $50 million loan to The Vehicle
Production Group LLC. The loan will support the development of the
six-passenger MV-1, a purpose-built wheelchair accessible vehicle that will
run on compressed natural gas. The vehicle will be produced at the
Mishawaka, Indiana AM General Plant.

Read more at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1060> 


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

Since disaster communication is in the news, here is a practical question
from the Technician pool:

T2C06 asks, "Which of the following is common practice during net operations
to get the immediate attention of the net control station when reporting an

The possible choices are:

A. Repeat the words SOS three times followed by the call sign of the
reporting station 

B. Press the push-to-talk button three times 

C. Begin your transmission with "Priority" or "Emergency" followed by your
call sign 

D. Play a pre-recorded emergency alert tone followed by your call sign

I hope you picked answer C: Begin your transmission with "Priority" or
"Emergency" followed by your call sign.  This is the most direct, concise,
and clear way to alert everyone on the frequency that there is emergency
traffic waiting and which station is calling it in.  Remember, an emergency
is not the time to be experimenting with non-standard techniques or other
informal practices.  Stick to the correct procedure so that you save time
and avoid confusion. 


Remote Base Health Report for 16 March 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

The W0EQO Handiham Remote Base HF station is functioning normally.

W0ZSW is out of service for the time being.  

*       IRB Sound has been disabled, but Echolink and Skype sound are
functioning normally. We do not recommend the use of IRB sound for either
*       Network problems have been fixed for now. 
*       Maintenance has been done on the control computer. 
*       Audio settings have been tweaked to fix a low modulation condition.
*       Thanks to Lyle, K0LR, John, KC0UHY, Justin, KD0IQV, and Mike, KD0KYA
for help with the station this week. 

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'.  W0EQO location information has been added:

W0ZSW is located at Camp Courage on Cedar Lake about an hour west of
Minneapolis, MN. W0ZSW location information has been added:

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

*       George, N0SBU, reports: PJ and I were able to finish making up the
March tape digest. The March digest will be mailed along with the April
digest for our blind members who do not have computers.  
*       The Handiham System will have a table at Midwinter MadnessR on
Saturday 26 March 2011.  Stop by and say hello at this friendly hamfest
sponsored by our friends at the Robbinsdale ARC. Hamfest details are at
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.
*       CQ, QST, & Worldradio digest audio for March 2011 is available to
our blind members. QST for April is now in production.  
*       The Technician lecture series is now complete.  It may be downloaded
as individual files by our members with disabilities for their use only.
Because of the size of audio files, we cannot offer the entire series as a
single download.  I will consider an MP3 CD version if there is enough

.         Our nets conform to daylight time in the United States. This
shifts the nets one hour if you go by GMT.  In the summer, that means the
difference between Minnesota time and GMT is -5 hours.  If the net starts at
11:00 CDT, the time by GMT is 16:00. 

.         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

*       I am about ready to give up on this, but here's one last request! We
need an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES node in Rochester, MN so that Sister
Alverna, WA0SGJ, can continue to check into the Handiham net. 
*       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.

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, 16 March 2011 - Patrick Tice