[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 18 May 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 13:44:04 -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!  

HamventionR 2011 - Visit the Handihams!

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/75> Description: Handihams at Dayton

Handihams planning for Dayton HAMVENTIONR.

Image: Pat, WA0TDA, peeks out from behind a display at the Handiham booth
during a previous Hamvention.

It is hard to believe that it is the month of May already, and that means
that it is nearly time for the biggest and best ham radio get-together,
Hamvention(TM) in Dayton, Ohio. Thanks to support from a generous donor,
John Hoenshell, N0BFJ, who underwrites much of the expense, we are once
again able to have a booth on the Hamvention floor. If you are planning to
attend, and we certainly hope that you are, please stop by booth SA0330 and
pay us a visit. SA=Silver Arena. Hamvention begins on Friday, May 20th and
runs through the weekend of the 21st and 22nd.

As you might expect, we are busy getting ready for the big show.

When you stop by the Handiham booth, you will be able to sign our guest
register. We always have a few extra chairs if you want to sit down and talk
with us for a while. If you are a wheelchair user, you will find that we
always place our display table at the very back of the booth, which allows
you to bring your wheelchair into our area and get out of the main traffic
stream in the aisle.

Ken, KB3LLA, Handiham Radio Club President, will be at the booth whenever he
isn't out somewhere on the show floor finding out about all the new amateur
radio gear. I will be there, as will Handiham volunteers John Hoenshell,
N0BFJ, Larry Huggins, KA0LSG, and John Pedley, N0IPO. If you hang around too
much, we will put you to work as a greeter and Handiham representative!

So consider the welcome mat out and waiting for you. We hope you can stop by
and see us in person, but if not, we are going to try to get on the Handiham
EchoLink Net on Saturday and on the same node and frequency at other times
throughout the day on Saturday. This all depends on whether or not we are
able to get a reliable Internet connection, so no promises.

I hope to see you there!

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager

The official Hamvention website is here:


Strap on your tool belt! It's time for... 

Troubleshooting 101: Lousy mobile reception.

Description: Small tools and wire

When I bought a new car in 2005, I ran into a problem I hadn't anticipated.
The car is a Honda Civic Hybrid, and the battery for the Hybrid drive has a
ventilation system behind the back seat. Since that prevents the seat back
from folding down as it does in the standard model, I found that I couldn't
easily run coax from my mobile 2 meter radio along the carpet and through
the seat back to the trunk.  My plan had been to use a trunk mounted
antenna, perhaps a 5/8 wave magnetic mount, which would be positioned on the
trunk lid. 

So it was back to the drawing board.  I settled on a "through the glass"
antenna, a quarter wave 2m/70cm unit that I positioned near the top middle
of the rear window, away from the embedded defrosting wires. I ran the coax
from the front of the passenger compartment to the side of the back seat
then up behind the plastic trim to the capacitive coupler on the inside of
the window, just opposite the already installed antenna.  Both are held to
the glass by powerful adhesives. The installation was completed by hooking
up the radio and tuning the system for maximum output with a small screw in
the capacitive coupler. 

It worked passably well for nearby repeaters, but I noticed that the
received signal seemed to fall off more quickly than one would expect when
driving away from the repeater site. For the past 5 years, I noticed that
receiving was almost always a problem, though other stations could hear my

Finally last week I'd had enough of this problem and decided to put a mag
mount quarter wave antenna on the roof of the car and run some comparison
tests.  This was timely, as my XYL had used the car for a day trip earlier
and had complained about the annoying wind noise from the existing through
the glass antenna.  To cut to the chase, it was a night and day difference.
The performance of the mag mount was very good, and the existing through the
glass model was poor to very poor.  I decided to remove it altogether and
just use a mag mount instead.  

I cannot say for sure if the through the glass antenna had deteriorated over
the years, which may have contributed to the overall poor performance.  But
I can tell you that after relating this experience to others on the air, I
heard plenty of similar stories about bad experiences with through the glass
antennas.  One potential problem is that window glass can contain metallic
elements that can reduce the antenna's efficiency. While I would not say
that you should never consider a through the glass model, I can say that
this one did not work well enough for me. There were also other problems,
such as the adhesive pulling away and the antenna periodically folding
itself down against the window glass, making an annoying vibrating sound
until you could pull off the road to fix it. I suggest using some other kind
of antenna system if you can, but if you do use a through the glass model,
be sure to install it on a window with no metallic elements in the glass and
follow all directions to the letter. 

Send your ideas about troubleshooting to wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for possible
inclusion in next week's edition of your weekly e-letter.



Description: Dog barking at mailman. Jasper loves our mail carrier - she
gives him a treat when she stops by!

Avery's QTH returns this week in our correspondence!

Avery says: "Welcome to my humble QTH."

Amateur ( Ham ) Radio has been called the "King of Hobbies" by many people.
The reason is because there are so many things that can be done with the
hobby and if you look at all the major countries around the world you will
find many people interested in Amateur Radio. People from heads of state
right down to the kid down the block are in the hobby and people from very
young to very old. There seems to be no boundaries other than a person must
pass a test issued by the country they live in. Almost anywhere a Ham goes
and sees a ham antenna if they go up to the door and knock on it they have
made a friend for right away they both have something in common to chat

Gosh ! if you go to some of the larger radio clubs you find the club may be
divided into groups. Those that like to contest. Those that like to build
and experiment. Those that like to do PR work , like do parades, marathon
races, and other public events. Some may like to teach Amateur Radio. Those
that like to be VEs and give the exams. Those that like to keep the repeater
up and running. Some may be interested in putting on Hamfests. Those who
take part in the Skywarn programs., watching for and reporting tornadoes.
Then there are those that take part in other Emergency programs. Then there
is that very rare person that is involved with everything the club does. It
is as if there is something for everyone and indeed there is from the new
comer that just received a license to the old timer that has been around
Amateur Radio since the days of the dinosaurs.

A Stamp collector may use ham radio to collect stamps off of QSL cards from
people they have talked to around the world. I am sure that rare DX card may
have a similarly rare stamp too. Some interested in learning Geography,
culture, or language can use Ham Radio too for what better way to learn than
to talk to people from that part of the world? Some schools use Ham Radio as
a way to motivator kids and get them interested in different subjects. Think
about it. In order to pass a license exam a person must learn some math and
electronics along with rules and regulations. Most kids hate math but all of
a sudden it becomes a neat tool and fun to work with as they try to figure
out the lengths needed to build an antenna. After they pass their exam and
get on the air they can chat with people around the world and what better
way to learn is there. High Tech ? Well, when they are talking to the
International Space Station asking questions of the people on board and
receiving answers as it is moving overhead it is a bit hard to find anything
more High Tech.

The mention of the "King of Hobbies" brings up the "Royal Game of Chess"
Without going way into it Chess goes far back in history and has been played
by many people over the years it has been around. But, how many have played
chess over the Ham Radio and using International Morse Code? It is a lot of
fun. If you have not tried it why don't you? Of course you don't have to use
Morse Code as there are so many other modes now , even that thing called a
microphone. Hay ! with EchoLink you could play chess with someone half way
around the world or just next door on simplex.

What new and different way have you found to use Amateur ( Ham ) Radio the
"King of Hobbies"?

For now and until next time 73 & DX de K0HLA Avery 
(CW forever !)


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

This feature will return next week.  


Remote Base Report for 18 May 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

The W0EQO & W0ZSW Handiham Remote Base HF stations are functioning normally.

Please report any problems to:  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 


This week @ HQ

*       We are at Hamvention 2011, so I will be out of the office through
Monday, May 23, returning to the office on Tuesday May 24.  I will have very
limited time to access email or phone messages. If you can please keep all
messages to a minimum length and to the point, that would sure help.
*       Handiham membership has gone up slightly from $10 to $12.  We have
not increased dues in many years. 
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.

*       Handiham Radio Camp to feature Wouxun radios for our new
Description: Wouxun HT
Come to Radio Camp, get your first license, and go home with a new radio. If
you are a Handiham member and are studying for your Technician level amateur
radio license, you should consider attending Handiham Radio Camp, which will
be a wonderful opportunity for you to review what you have studied and take
the exam in a completely accessible environment. Our campers who earn their
Technician Class Amateur Radio licenses at camp will be presented with
brand-new dual-band handheld radios, thanks to the support of a generous
donor. The radios are by Wouxun, and operate on the 2 m and 70 cm bands,
which are the most popular repeater bands. Since these radios also include
voice prompts in plain English, they are especially preferred by blind

Wouldn't it be wonderful to attend Radio Camp and then go home with a
brand-new radio? 

We sure think so! If you are not a Handiham member and are interested in
joining us, here is a link to request a membership application:

If you are already a Handiham member and would like a radio camp
application, call toll-free 1-866-426-3442 and request a camper application.
You may also download the application package or contact us by email to ask
a question or request a camper application:

*        <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mn_camp_2011_cover.pdf> Download
the camp cover letter in PDF 
*       Download a self-extracting zip file with the complete radio camp
application package <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.exe> , or 
*       Download a zip file with the complete radio camp application package
<http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.zip> . 

*       If your email program does not display links, go to our website:
Although you may not live nearby Camp Courage, we do pick up campers at the
Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. Campers come from anywhere and
everywhere, so even if you live far from camp you will have the opportunity
to join us for this fun and unique session. All campus buildings are modern
- although we are a camp, no one sleeps in a tent or has to eat beans out of
a tin can! Our facilities are modern and include wireless Internet access
and modern construction. All facilities are wheelchair-accessible.

Handiham Radio Camp 2011 is at Camp Courage - Woodland Campus - August 8-13,
2011 and serves Handiham members ages 16 and older. 

Enjoy an experience of Ham radio fun and learning. Make new friends while
building an on-air community that continues after you leave Radio Camp. Get
a first Ham radio license or upgrade a current one, or learn new operating
skills. Keep abreast of the latest technology, including assistive
technology. Wireless internet access is available. Instructors are
experienced amateur radio operators from throughout the nation. Trained
staff members provide personal care assistance. And, we leave plenty of time
to take a break from studying and enjoy traditional camp activities.

.         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

*       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


Sponsored membership change: 

In the past, we have offered sponsored memberships to applicants who could
not afford our small membership fee.  This was because we did get calls from
people whose means were so dire that - at least they said - they could not
afford to pay anything at all.  We have continued this tradition over the
years, but now are changing it to a much more restricted model. Before I
tell you what that is, I want to let you know why we have decided to make
the changes.

If there is any one thing that stands out about members who have joined us
with sponsored (free) memberships, is that they tend to not be successful in
the program.  Whether it is because they have gotten the membership for free
and have nothing at stake in learning amateur radio or whether they have
some other reason not to study, I cannot say.  In the past, many had renewed
their memberships for free year after year but were doing nothing to make
progress.  Some expected to join us and immediately receive free books and
tapes, but were disappointed to learn that they needed to pay for those
things. Others joined to get free ham radio equipment.  I'll never forget
one guy who joined for free and then literally placed his order for a
brand-new transceiver, which he expected us to ship him for free.  Another
guy sold the loaned equipment we had sent him then asked for more. That's
why we tightened up the equipment program years ago. 

The old saying goes, "There is no free lunch."

There is no reason that Handiham supporters should carry others who not only
do not pay even a small membership fee but who take lots of staff time and
resources while not making progress in the program. Our fees are so low that
anyone can afford them.  While I can't promise that we won't raise fees
again, I can say that we offer a pretty good value for the small membership
dues that we ask. When a person wants everything for free, it is a good
indicator for me that the person is not really serious about amateur radio,
which, after all, is an activity that is going to cost some money.
Expecting ham radio to be completely free is like inheriting a car from your
dad and then complaining to him because gasoline costs money!

So here is what we are doing:

1.      The sponsored membership is limited to 90 days and is non-renewable.
If someone is truly desperate and cannot afford $12, they can at least hit
the books and get their Tech license in that time.  The days of taking years
to get a Technician license while sitting on free Handiham memberships are
2.      Sponsored members will have no access to the remote base stations.
If they are joining to get a license or upgrade, they should be studying and
not playing radio. This should help them focus on what is important - the
3.      Sponsored members will have no access to member services other than
study materials for the reason given above. That includes radio camp and
anything having to do with equipment. 
4.      In order to continue services, sponsored members will be expected to
join as regular members at the end of 90 days. 

I'm not a psychologist, but I do agree with Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, who
retired from her long service as Handiham Educational Coordinator.  She
maintained that people who asked for everything for free would not have
anything at stake when they simply got what they asked for.  In those days,
I recall her telling me that she would ask if the prospective member smoked,
and if they admitted that they did, she would suggest that they give up
their expensive habit and put the money toward a Handiham membership and
saving for their own station equipment!  We all know that success in amateur
radio does require some effort. Everything in life cannot be given to us, or
we will never learn to appreciate that which we build by our own effort and
dedication to a goal. 


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 $12 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 $36.

.         Lifetime membership is $120.

.         If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable
sponsored membership.

.         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, 18 May 2011 - Patrick Tice