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 Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! Pat, WA0TDA, in green for St. Patrick's Day Photo: Pat, WA0TDA, with microphone, sports a green T-shirt, green beads, and a green screen background for St. Patrick's Day. Hey, if Chicago can dye a river green, we can do this! Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone. This is the first time in my memory that the Irish holiday has fallen on the same day as our weekly newsletter and podcast, so why not just use it as an excuse for a fun way to start our weekly column? I'm not sure if there are any special ham radio events associated with St. Patrick's Day, but I do know that there are plenty of parades and other civic events. St. Patrick's Day is always a big deal in cities like Boston, Massachusetts and St. Paul, Minnesota where there are historical Irish roots. Any time you have a parade or civic event there is an opportunity for amateur radio support in the form of communications. While I know of no amateur radio support for parade activities during today's activities here in the Twin Cities, amateur radio volunteers do support plenty of other worthwhile civic events. Marathons, bicycle races, walkathons, and other types of parades or large events that cover considerable territory are all candidates for amateur radio communications support. These types of activities are similar in many ways to the volunteer work that amateur radio operators do in emergencies. However, there is a difference in that many of the communications in an event are much more routine and may be structured in a more informal way than communications in an emergency where a command structure is set up under very specific guidelines. In a public service event, which is what these non-emergency activities are called, your radio club may decide to participate as a group and call for volunteers. It always helps when public service communicators have some training and experience, but public service communication may be a less demanding place to get started than in emergency communications. It all depends on the event and the person in charge of communications. Some events are so large and complicated or cover so much territory or have potential for generating emergency response-style situations that they may be looking for volunteers who are more familiar with a structured incident command system. On the other hand, some events are more easily managed with semi-formal organization and communication. While good operating practice is essential for either, you may want to get your feet wet by helping with communications at one of these smaller events in the realm of public service. Good communications basics will include knowing how to identify your station, including identification by location if that is the most efficient way to identify and it is what your group has agreed to do. This is called a tactical identification. Of course you do still have to use your FCC-issued callsign periodically as specified by Part 97 rules. A tactical identification might be something like "rest stop five". At the end of a series of transmissions and every 10 minutes you do have to use your regular callsign. There are many other things to learn about public service communications that will help you learn "on the job" as you gain experience and work toward being a capable volunteer in ARES, able to handle more demanding formal communications within an incident command structure. In many ways, amateur radio is like other learning activities. If you were to have to learn calculus or how to speak Chinese, you would not begin with differential equations or interpretation of ancient Chinese texts. You would instead choose to begin at, well, the beginning! You would start with simple concepts and easy tasks, practicing and learning incrementally, gaining knowledge every time you study or practice. Amateur radio is a huge and complicated activity when you consider all of the different licensing classes, the many different types of technology, multiple modes of operation, and extraordinary array of on the air activities. No one expects you to get your first license and be able to do everything -- and that goes for being a public service communicator. You need to start at the beginning, perhaps volunteering at an event like a St. Patrick's Day parade. Don't forget to wear green, and a reflective vest if you are on the parade route. For Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Handiham Net Update Handiham Net Update Photo: Tom, KB0FWQ, talks on an HT to access an Echolink node. The Handiham Net returns to United States Central Daylight Time. The local net (Minneapolis time) is at 11:00 am daily except Sunday. The Wednesday evening net is at 7:30 pm. If you go by GMT, the daily net now meets at 11:00 +5 hours, or 16:00 Z. The Minneapolis evening session is at 00:30 Z Thursday mornings London time. Look for the HANDIHAM conference on Echolink worldwide, or 145.450 MHz in the Minneapolis area. Where: 145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul) *HANDIHAM* Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.) Node 89680 (Echolink worldwide) IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) WIRES system number 1427 Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member, and the net is relaxed, friendly, and informal. Please send corrections & comments to: wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Website request form added in recent updates computer We have updated the Handiham.org website over the past week. One important new feature is the addition of a web form page that allows users to request things like a Handiham membership or radio camp application packet by mail. This page is found at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/729> http://www.handiham.org/node/729 Our thanks to Phil, K9HI, for helping me locate the Drupal webform module that makes this new page possible. Other changes are more subtle. For example, in the members-only section, users will notice that the link to the Handiham Remote Base station has been taken out of the main menu and moved into its own position on the page. This change was made to facilitate remote base access. Other changes are huge ones, but have hopefully been invisible to our users. The Drupal core that powers the website has been updated to the most current non-beta release for better security and functionality. Modules that give the website its look and feel as well as its special features have also been updated to the current release versions. If you encounter a problem with the website, please email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx and explain the problem. If possible, also include a link to the page with the problem. No issue is too big or small, anything from a spelling mistake to a feature that refuses to work - we want to know about all of them! _____ FCC sends national broadband plan to Congress FCC sends national broadband plan to Congress Plan Details Actions for Connecting Consumers, Economy with 21st Century Networks Washington, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission has delivered to Congress a National Broadband Plan setting an ambitious agenda for connecting all corners of the nation while transforming the economy and society with the communications network of the future -- robust, affordable Internet. The Plan’s call for action over the next decade includes the following goals and recommendations: • Connect 100 million households to affordable 100-megabits-per-second service, building the world's largest market of high-speed broadband users and ensuring that new jobs and businesses are created in America. • Affordable access in every American community to ultra-high-speed broadband of at least 1 gigabit per second at anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, and military installations so that America is hosting the experiments that produce tomorrow's ideas and industries. • Ensure that the United States is leading the world in mobile innovation by making 500 megahertz of spectrum newly available for licensed and unlicensed use. • Move our adoption rates from roughly 65 percent to more than 90 percent and make sure that every child in America is digitally literate by the time he or she leaves high school. • Bring affordable broadband to rural communities, schools, libraries, and vulnerable populations by transitioning existing Universal Service Fund support from yesterday’s analog technologies to tomorrow’s digital infrastructure. • Promote competition across the broadband ecosystem by ensuring greater transparency, removing barriers to entry, and conducting market-based analysis with quality data on price, speed, and availability. • Enhance the safety of the American people by providing every first responder with access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable public safety network. Read more at: http://www.handiham.org/node/727 _____ FCC proposes change in Spread Spectrum automatic power control requirement FCC proposes change in Spread Spectrum automatic power control requirement The FCC believes that the public interest will be served by revising the amateur service rules to eliminate the APC requirement now applicable to stations transmitting SS emission types. Several other minor changes in the rules will also be made. "We also believe that this proposed rule change will allow amateur service licensees to better fulfill the purpose of the amateur service and will enhance the usefulness of the amateur service as an experimental service, while still protecting other users from interference. We therefore seek comment on the proposed rule change." Specifically, the NPRM (FCC No. 10-38) states: "In this item, we propose to amend the Amateur Service rules to facilitate the use of spread spectrum communications technologies. In this Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM and Order, respectively), in response to a petition for rulemaking filed by the American Radio Relay League, Inc. (ARRL), we propose to eliminate the requirement that amateur stations use automatic power control (APC) to reduce transmitter power when the station transmits a spread spectrum (SS) emission, and we propose to reduce the maximum transmitter power output when transmitting a SS emission. We also make certain non-substantive revisions to the amateur service rules." Other changes relate to clarification of Novice & Technician power limitations, frequency sharing requirements, and simplification of the rules & regs. Read the entire Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here: Word Document: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-38A1.doc PDF: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-38A1.pdf Plain Text: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-38A1.txt _____ ARRL: Baby Blindness Pioneer Dr Arnall Patz, ex-W3ECV (SK) Dr Arnall Patz, ex-W3ECV -- an ophthalmologist who discovered and eliminated a major cause of blindness in premature infants -- passed away from heart disease on March 11. He was 89. In 1954, Patz proved that treating premature babies with pure oxygen could destroy their eyesight. At the time, this was the most common cause of blindness in premature infants. Read the rest of this story on the ARRL website: <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2010/03/17/11395/?nc=1> http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2010/03/17/11395/?nc=1 _____ Software hunter looking through giant magnifying glass, maybe for the perfect software Your Handiham World software hunter is on the lookout for interesting amateur radio-related software or any software that is potentially useful in the ham shack. You can help us hunt down applications that you have located, tried, or haven't tried but you wish someone would. Send suggestions to Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx along with your comments and reviews. Last week we told you about the W4MQ rig control software that is used in the Handiham Remote Base. This week we learn about a new way to take Echolink along wherever you go - it's Echolink for the iPhone. Screenshot of Echolink on Apple App Store Image: A screenshot of the Echolink "App" at the Apple iTunes App Store. Actually, you don't need to be an iPhone user to use the new Echolink iPhone application. It will also work on an iPod Touch, which uses the same operating system software. Voiceover, the Apple screen reader system, is built into the operating system for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. If you are blind, you can access the Echolink application or other applications by using this built-in screen reader. The Echolink application itself must be "purchased" from the Apple App Store. Since the application is free, the purchase price is zero dollars. IPod and iPhone users will be familiar with the software called iTunes, which you must install in order to access the store and synchronize media on your device, whether it is an iPhone or an iPod touch. Since I am not an iPhone user, I am not familiar with the accessibility of applications downloadable directly through the iPhone's built in cellular capability. However, iPhone users will find that it is possible to use Echolink anywhere that they have cellular phone coverage. If you have an iPod Touch instead of an iPhone, you can use the Echolink application wherever there is wireless Internet available. One user told me that he didn't seem to have to worry about any kind of complicated setup with port forwarding. Those of us who have installed Echolink on home computers have all run into the problem of firewalls and port forwarding. From a distance -- and even up close -- it is hard to tell an iPod Touch from an iPhone. They are physically the same size and look the same. Since they are small portable devices, users can now take Echolink portable in a way that they have never been able to before, except, of course, in the case of a user with a handheld radio accessing a nearby Echolink repeater system on the amateur radio frequencies. If you are interested in finding out more about iTunes, the iPhone, the iPod Touch, or other Apple products, please visit the Apple website: <http://www.apple.com/> http://www.apple.com/ If you already have iTunes installed on your computer and own an iPod Touch, simply connect the iPod to your computer and iTunes will open. You may use the search function in iTunes to locate the Echolink application. _____ Solar Update - Sunspot 1054 Solar Update - Sunspot 1054 Giant sunspot group 1054 is slowly rotating away from the earth and at the same time is decaying and is thus no longer a threat to Earth for any major solar outbursts. At this time several sunspots are visible on the solar disk, which is good news for amateur radio operators. We are looking for better HF propagation conditions as solar cycle 24 develops. _____ Remote Base returns to service Remote Base returns to service Update on Saturday, 13 March 2010: The Handiham Remote Base station W0EQO has returned to service. The wire antenna had fallen down. Bill, N0CIC, and Tom, KB0FWQ, got the W0EQO antenna back in the air, and as of noon today everything seems to be working fine again. It was kind of strange -- the antenna is supported by black Dacron antenna rope, which is almost indestructible. But Bill says that it broke just a few feet from the end of the antenna, where there was no chafing or anything else to interfere with it. I guess stuff happens! Lyle, K0LR, Project Engineer Bill, N0CIC, writes: I was up to Courage North Friday and fixed the ant. for the remote site. The ice took down one of the guy ropes. Had to shoot a new line up into the trees and pull up the antenna. Please let people on the Handi Ham net know the site is back up. Thanks, Bill, N0CIC Our thanks to Lyle, Tom, and Bill for their work on the remote base station. Like any other station, it does require maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience. _____ Waltham ARA Raises Funds for Courage Center Handiham Waltham ARA Raises Funds for Courage Center Handiham Submitted by k9hi on Wed, 03/10/2010 - 21:33 Members of the Waltham Amateur Radio Association recently embarked upon a project to benefit the Courage Center Handiham program, and to honor the memory of long-time member and Silent Key, Laurie Cote, KC1BN. A Cote family member contacted Handiham in November, 2009 to inform them that KC1BN had left a sizeable amount of ham equipment from his estate to the non-profit organization based in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Handiham's Manager, Pat Tice, WA0TDA reached out to Eastern MA Handiham volunteer instructor Phil Temples, K9HI. Handiham very much appreciated the generous gift from Laurie," explained Temples. "But the Handiham staff were not easily able to take possession and liquidate the equipment." That's when Temples thought to approach Laurie's home club, the Waltham Amateur Radio Association and seek their help. "I suggested to WA0TDA that it might make sense to enlist the aid of WARA to sell the equipment from Laurie's estate, retain a portion of the proceeds, and donate the remainder to the Handiham program. Pat agreed." Temples added, "I thought it would both honor an organization that Laurie admired, and afford WARA the opportunity to honor Laurie's memory." All parties were agreeable, so K9HI presented the idea at a Waltham ARA meeting in January, 2010. WARA's Vice President, John Flood, KB1FQG enthusiastically agreed; he volunteered to spearhead the project. "I'm glad that WARA is able to help the Handiham group with this project," said Flood. "I do remember hearing that [Laurie] liked the work they do. He wanted to do something like this to help Handiham." Flood spent many hours cataloging and testing equipment from Cote's estate, as well as advertising the items on the club's mailing list. The response has been very positive: to date, over $3,500 has been collected from sales, with an additional $1,000 expected in the coming weeks. "Thank you so much for your hard work on our behalf," wrote Pat Tice, WA0TDA to Flood on behalf of WARA. "I want to add my thanks for all the hard work [KB1FQG] and other Waltham ARA members have contributed to this project on behalf of Laurie's family and the two organizations," added K9HI. The Courage Center Handiham System is a national program that provides tools for people with disabilities to learn Amateur Radio and technology skills, and to earn their Amateur Radio licenses. The Waltham Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL-affiliated club, established in 1938. Its repeater site is located on Prospect Hill in Waltham, MA. _____ Courage Center Handiham System asks users with disabilities to test FCC broadband website Courage Center Handiham System asks users with disabilities to test FCC broadband website The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its beta website tool for consumers who wish to test their internet connection speeds. Service providers are not shy about making speed claims, and this tool should provide an easy way for any broadband customer to find out what their internet connection is really delivering. The website, http://www.broadband.gov/, directs users to a pop-up form, and we are interested in learning from our users who have disabilities exactly how accessible this new FCC beta tool is. Screen-reader users and voice input computing users are encouraged to email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx to report how easily the site worked for them. Please let me know if it is all right to use your callsign in our report, which will appear in the weekly podcast and e-letter. You may also want to let us know how fast your internet connection turned out to be, and whether you were pleasantly surprised or disappointed by your service provider's performance. Thank you for your help! Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ This week @ HQ * Pat will be out of the office Thursday & Friday. * New this week: Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the March 2010 CQ audio digest for our blind members. * Bob has also completed the March 2010 Worldradio audio digest for our blind members. * We have also finished reading the April, 2010 QST audio digest for our blind members. 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. · I have completed a new Extra Class lecture this week. It is number 62 and is about spread spectrum. Members sign in to the member section and browse to the Extra Class lecture series. · We need more campers! Radio Camp applications are out in the mail. It will be much easier and cheaper to travel to camp, since our new location at Camp Courage will allow you to travel by air, Greyhound or Jefferson Lines bus, or AMTRAK, and there will not be an expensive final leg of the journey to Bemidji as in past years. · 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 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 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! Minnesota Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage: Arrive Friday, May 21. Class days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. VE Exam Day: Thursday. Volunteer Examiners arrive in the morning to visit with campers and eat breakfast together with campers, volunteers, and staff. Depart Friday, May 28. Cost of Radio Camp: The cost of Radio Camp depends on your ability to pay, so anyone can afford to attend. Ask for an application. · Camp Courage is west of Minneapolis. The address is 8046 83rd St NW, Maple Lake, MN 55358. · The phone number of the Camp Courage office is (320) 963-3121. · If you want to receive a Camp Courage summer camp schedule, you may call for one. · The camp schedule includes information about Handiham Radio Camp. · If you need specific information about the radio camp or want to be on the radio camp mailing list, you may call Nancy in the Handiham office at 1-866-426-3442. Volunteers: VOLLI is now in service. It stands for VOLunteer Log In, and is a way for our Handiham volunteers to register and then enter their volunteer hours without having to fool around with paper records. We encourage volunteers to create a user name and password, then submit their hours spent recording audio, doing club presentations for us, and so on. Volunteer hours are important, because United Way funding depends in part on volunteer hours. If you are a volunteer and need a link to VOLLI, please email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Our special thanks to my son Will, KC0LJL, who wrote the Java code for VOLLI. Volunteers, get your hours in through VOLLI. You may also submit volunteer hours to Nancy at <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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 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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or email: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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 03/17/2010 - 15:04 · Add new <http://www.handiham.org/comment/reply/733#comment-form> comment · Thumbnail <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/kn0s_ant.thumbnail.gif> · Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/733> version · Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/733> 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.