This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. You can listen to this news online: MP3 audio stream: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this podcast in iTunes: <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Description: Subscribe in iTunes RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! Last week we promised: I replace my Internet router and configure EchoLink port forwarding. Will I ever be on EchoLink again? Tune in and find out! Today we begin with our "Connecting with EchoLink" segment. I see that last week has turned into "this week", and I have kept up my schedule and replaced my old Belkin-N wireless router with a hopefully more reliable D-Link DIR-655 wireless N router. Although I liked the Belkin, it had some odd quirks like simply ending its wireless transmissions when it felt like it and refusing to bring up the access screen through the browser so I could check the settings. I decided to hang on to it for a spare since it mostly works, but isn't really reliable enough to keep as a primary unit. Like most households, ours has multiple Internet-enabled devices. There is a mix of wireless and wired clients on our home network, so a wireless router these days typically has at least four LAN jacks along with the usual wireless capability. You can tell that there are two ham operators interested in technology in our household, because we have all sorts of gizmos that need Internet connectivity to work. When my son Will, KC0LJL, is home from college, it is not unusual for us to host a LAN party with a few of his friends visiting us and logging in to play online games. I've owned several wireless routers in the past, upgrading to allow for better wireless coverage or more robust security, or to add more custom configurability. So here we are at the latest choice, the D-Link DIR-655. After a lot of web research and reading user comments, especially those on Amazon.com, I settled on the DIR-655 because it had lots of configuration options, excellent wireless range, is compliant with the IEEE 802.11N standard for faster data transfer, and was reasonably priced at less than $75. I also like the D-Link products I already own. The router arrived in due course, and yes, I did open the box and read the setup directions. I suspect that most manufacturers offer a CD-based automated installation system, as D-Link does. I have configured many devices, so I elected to instead connect the router via a LAN cable to a computer and do the configuration through a web browser. My reasoning was that any kind of "typical" installation that might be configured via the CD would not suffice for my special needs, like configuring EchoLink. Typically one gets into a router by opening a web browser and typing in router's ip address, which is usually something like 192.168.0.1. This will open the main login page on the router, and you go in with the "admin" name and whatever the manufacturer says is the default password. Once, in, you will want to go through the housekeeping settings, such as setting your new password (write it down!), giving your wireless network a name, and setting the wireless security credentials. Usually the firewall settings can be left alone, but some applications, like EchoLink, will require that several ports be open. It is safe to do so, but you have to be careful to still maintain the other firewall settings. It is dangerous to turn off the firewall because it exposes your network to all sorts of bad guys with keyboards! Most routers have a "DMZ", with is a "demilitarized zone", that is outside the firewall. Although a computer on the network can be placed in the DMZ to avoid firewall issues, this is only a good idea for short term testing. I like to keep all of my computers and network devices behind the firewall. Operating systems like Windows have their own firewalls. Incorrectly setting the Windows firewall to block EchoLink can also cause a problem of course, but since I knew my machine had already been working fine on EchoLink with the old router, I would not need to mess with any Windows firewall settings. It was time to head for the "Advanced" menu on the router configuration page and choose "Port Forwarding". Description: Port forwarding rules screenshot In the screenshot above, I have entered the name of the application (EchoLink) for reference later on so that I know which app is dependent on which port forwarding rule. Under the "Ports to Open" column, I have entered 5200 in the TCP box and 5198,5199 in the UDP box. In the "Schedule" column I have used the pull-down menu to choose "Always" for 5200 and "Allow All" as the inbound filter setting for 5198, 5199. So far, so good, but we are not done yet. Since the router can forward ports only to one computer on my network, I must decide which machine will be my primary EchoLink computer. Since the one I use for the ham shack applications has an IP address of 192.168.0.100, I need to enter that address in the IP Address box. I make sure the rule is active by checking the box to its left, and I then choose "Save Settings" and wait for the router to tell me that the settings have been applied. If you are wondering where I got the port numbers, all of this information about what EchoLink requires is on the EchoLink website. Now I have to make sure that my computer will always have the same IP address when it talks with the router. Virtually all routers assume a typical user will not mind if an IP address changes from time to time. The "DHCP Server Settings" is our next stop. DHCP stands for "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol". That is fancy talk for the router being able to deal out IP addresses more or less at random within a range of addresses to all the various devices on the network. Each device on the network must have its own unique IP address. These can change "dynamically" as new devices enter the network, as might happen at a LAN party or when one switches on an Internet radio or iPod Touch. Since we have told the router to forward EchoLink ports to only one IP address, we now have to make sure that the single IP address our main EchoLink computer uses never changes in this dynamic system. Our setting here is to check the "Enable DHCP Server" box, and fill in the range boxes with 192.168.0.101 and 192.168.0.199. This allows the router to dish out IP addresses between and including those two numbers. Notice that I left the IP address of the EchoLink computer, which is 192.168.0.100, outside the range of dynamically assigned addresses. Description: Screenshot showing DHCP server settings Next, it is time to make reservations. No, we are not going out to dinner! We are going to the DHCP Reservations List, which allows us to tell the router that the IP address of the EchoLink computer is to be "reserved" just for that computer and no other. The "Enable" box is checked and the settings can be saved as before. It is now time to log out of the router and test EchoLink. Description: http://handiham.org/images/router2.jpg EchoLink can be started normally, and the "direct connect" option in setup should be enabled. The station list should come up. Locate the EchoLink Test Server and try to connect. If everything is working right, the connection should complete and you should hear the familiar, "Welcome to the EchoLink Test Server" announcement. Description: EchoLink screenshot showing test server connected. In the EchoLink screenshot, I am connected to the test server and there is confirmation text in the right side of the screen where the station list usually appears. I can toggle the spacebar to transmit and run a short audio test, in which the test server will echo what I have said back to me. This confirms that I can make connections and that my audio levels are set correctly. Since I had EchoLink working before and the router has nothing to do with the audio settings, I did not expect (nor did I find) any problems with levels. Finally, I ran test connections with other stations and nodes. This was necessary because I have noticed that in some circumstances it is possible to connect to the test server without forwarding the ports. Connections to other nodes and stations will likely fail, however, until the ports are properly forwarded. Resources that helped me with this setup were the very well-written support pages on the EchoLink website, the Portforward.com website, which lists a wide variety of routers and their configuration settings for EchoLink, and Lyle, K0LR, who gave me good advice about putting the static IP address outside the DHCP range. The Portforward.com website is one that is listed as a useful link within the EchoLink support pages. What if you have a different router? That's where the Portforward.com website will really be helpful. It gives directions that are specific to the model of router you have. What doesn't change are the EchoLink port requirements, but making the actual settings can look quite different, depending on your router. Some, like my old Belkin, had a "Virtual Servers" page where settings were made. This sounds quite complicated, but like any complex task, it can be broken down into basic, easy to follow steps. I like the idea of learning my router's setup, because that means that I will be able to make changes myself later on. I will feel good about being in charge of my own network, just as I know and control my amateur radio equipment. If something changes, I prefer to be able to diagnose the problem myself. It is something that, as radio amateurs, we should all try to do. Remember, you may be the only one available when a problem with your station or network needs attention! Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham System Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Thunderstorms make antimatter! <http://www.handiham.org/node/1018> Description: lightning NASA Science News reports that at any given moment, about 1800 thunderstorms are in progress somewhere around the globe. New observations by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope show that many of these thunderstorms may be making antimatter. It's good to know that these storms are good for something besides creating that horrible radio static ham radio operators call "QRN". FULL STORY at http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/11jan_antimatter/ You can also download the audio of this story to your MP3 device or to play on your computer. _____ Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act Discussion Description: Drawing of blind guy with cane and service dog Last week we mentioned that The National Federation of the Blind today commended President Barack Obama for signing into law the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (S. 841), which will protect the blind and other pedestrians from injury as a result of silent vehicle technology. Then we asked: What do you think? Will adding sound to quiet vehicles be effective? I stirred the pot a bit by predicting that it will not be very effective, when I said, "Remember, standard gasoline-powered cars are already so quiet that tire noise easily exceeds engine noise, and these cars will not have any required noisemaking alert system. Furthermore, the urban environment is already full of noise, which will make anything but a rather sharp, loud alert system difficult to hear. Our cities are already noisy enough without adding loud and annoying noises to the din. Obviously manufacturers will have to figure out a way to make the sound so distinctive that it stands out from many other noises even in a high decibel environment. While this alert system sounds like a good idea, the devil is always in the details and I remain skeptical that it will be effective. In the meantime, watch out for bicycles." We asked you, "Have you had a bicycle or automobile encounter? If so, what do you think about an effective sound alert system? Have you ever had a near miss while using your radio, because you were distracted?" The responses I got ranged from complete support of the noisemaker alerts to those who thought they would make no difference at all. Some comments included: * "The last thing we need in the city or anywhere is more noise. I'm sure the President was well intentioned in signing this, but all too often the people at the top who make the laws don't always see the big picture." * "With today?s technology a simple electronic and/or electro-mechanical oscillator could be installed on the silent vehicle that could and would overcome the inherent danger..." · "Afraid I have to pretty strongly disagree with you about the need for added audio to many hybrid cars. I have personal experience with several including the Prius. I've been next to several of these cars when they start moving, and unless there is gravel or other rough material under the wheels, it can be impossible to tell the car is moving. In particular, when the car is coming to a stop from a slow enough speed that the gas engine is not operating, they are basically inaudible. This is also true when they start slowly." * "If you are blind, you have the right of way and drivers must yield..." * "I hope they do better with them than they do with the noise made by street lights. I stayed with my fiancé's family in Canton MA for 2 months, and their lights make a beep beep beep sound, around every second they beep normally with a very fast sound when it's safe to walk. Problem being, when you're close to them, you can't hear the beep only when you're trying to sleep in a house with the window 30 feet from it and some of them you can hear it but only to cross on the wrong corner from which it's trying to make it safe for you to cross, the correct corner you can't hear it. Another problem is, that fast beep, with traffic noise, sounds like a distant jackhammer. Really, and I think that's just annoying enough to make it more difficult in an area that's already almost impossible to cross streets anyway." * "Have the electric cars beep or something when they are moving less than 20 mph. Not expensive, could use the 'back-up beep' module required for commercial vehicles and program trigger for any motion under 20 mph. Owners will object to having to listen to it, but they'll get used to it..." * "Wait! I got it! Put a tiny fan in these new-fangled vehicles. Give it just enough power to run one of those lovely African soccer horns (vuvuzelas). That'd do the trick, wouldn't it? (Just like those beeping traffic lights!) Finally, my personal all-time favorite response from Tom, K6FUN, who wrote, "Rocks in the hubcaps." Tom has that F-U-N callsign suffix for a reason! Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the topic. We hope for the best with this alert technology, and will wait and find out what happens. _____ Letters Description: FT-718 rig Bob, N0UF, writes: Hi Everybody, On Feb 24th QCWA Chapter 154 in West Palm Springs is celebrating Leo Meyerson's 100th birthday. For those who don't remember, Leo owned and operated World Radio Laboratories in Council Bluffs, IA for many years. So here's the plan: take a QSL card, write 'Happy 100th Birthday Leo' on it and send it to: Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ 19 Park Lane Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 Gene Pentecost, President of Chapter 154 will make sure they get to the party so everyone who attends can enjoy them. One last thing, tell every ham you know to do the same thing, QCWA member or not. Spread the word, at every radio club meeting you attend, at every net you check into. I want Leo to get hundreds, maybe even thousands of cards. Thanks & 73, Bob Roske, N0UF President QCWA _____ ISS tracker Did you know that you can listen to the packet station beacons from the International Space Station? Try it for yourself by tuning your two meter FM transceiver to 145.825 MHz simplex. Next, go to the NASA ISS Tracker website at: <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/tracking/index.html> http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/tracking/index.html The graphical display shows the location of the ISS and the projected path. A red line outlines the "footprint" of the ISS's radio coverage at any given time. When the footprint extends over your geographic location, you will begin hearing the packet bursts. Of course to decode the packets, you need to add a TNC, but it is still fun to hear the data bursts just to confirm that you are within range. The next step, if you are interested, is to visit the ISS website and learn more about how to use the packet station aboard the ISS: <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/> http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/ Can't see a graphical display? Then just tune your radio to 145.825 and keep monitoring. It won't be long before you hear the transmissions. You may also want to visit www.amsat.org for the latest information on new projects. _____ A dip in the pool Description: circuit board Today's dip into the question pool takes us to the new General Class question pool that will come into use on July 1, 2011: G3B04 asks, "What is a reliable way to determine if the Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) is high enough to support skip propagation between your station and a distant location on frequencies between 14 and 30 MHz?" Possible answers are: A. Listen for signals from an international beacon B. Send a series of dots on the band and listen for echoes from your signal C. Check the strength of TV signals from Western Europe D. Check the strength of signals in the MF AM broadcast band Well, I certainly hope you chose answer A, "Listen for signals from an international beacon". Beacon stations exist to help us determine propagation conditions, and I want to keep reminding our readers and listeners that they are out there and available. Our friends at NCDXF have a great list: <http://www.ncdxf.org/pages/beacons.html> http://www.ncdxf.org/pages/beacons.html _____ Remote base progress report: 19 January 2011 Description: Kenwood TS-570 Both stations are functional. Report problems to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 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 software. 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 * All January digest audio is posted. QST digest audio for February 2011 is in production by Pat Tice and Ken Padgitt, and will soon be available to our blind members. * Don't put it off! General Class students had better study faster. The NCVEC Question Pool Committee has completed the new General Class pool, which will be effective on 1 July 2011. We have heard that the pool questions are more difficult, and there are more total questions in the new pool. Our advice to those of you who have been dragging your feet about getting your General Class upgrade is to get busy right now and pass that General! If you wait too long, you will have to go through the new pool and take a harder exam. * A big thank you to our net control stations for "saying yes" and volunteering for this leadership role. We really appreciate your help and everyone has noticed that the nets are running more smoothly than ever. * George, N0SBU, advises that the January digest will be mailed along with the February digest. The delay was caused when one of the publications was lost in the mail so Bob, N1BLF, could not get it read in time. · Our nets have really been running well! I have to complement our net volunteers for doing such a great job, and our net participants for joining us on the air often and showing such good support for our on the air activities. · Tonight is EchoLink net night. The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +6 hours, or 01:30 GMT Thursday morning. o EchoLink nodes: * KA0PQW-R, node 267582 * N0BVE-R, node 89680 * HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.) o Other ways to connect: * IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) WIRES system number 1427 * We need an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES node in Rochester, MN so that Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, can continue to check into the Handiham net. There is no one to take on this project at the moment. * Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in touch with you. You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact us. _____ 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 <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 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 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! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handiham System Reach me by email at: patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ 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.