[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 20 April 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:43:27 -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: Kenwood TS-590S transceiver front view

My May 2011 QST magazine arrived last week, and I was pleasantly surprised
to see an excellent review of the new Kenwood TS-590S 160 through 6 meter
transceiver.  This radio is of special interest to us at Handihams because
it uses the optional VGS-1 voice chip that gives excellent access to the
menu system and the frequency display for blind users.  Some listed features

. 100 W heavy-duty design
. Built-in automatic antenna tuner ( 6 ~ 160 meters )
. USB & Serial DB-9 ports for PC connectivity
. Kenwood ARCP-590 Control Software
. Kenwood ARHP-590 Radio Host Program for VOIP
. CW Auto Tune
. Beat Cancel

Although the QST article does not assess the TS-590S from the standpoint of
a blind user, it is an excellent overview of the radio and is well worth the
read.  The article has been read for our blind members and is available in
the members only section of Handiham.org. 

Lyle, K0LR, and I have both taken a quick look at the ARCP-590 Control
Software and we think it will be blind-accessible.  Of course neither of us
has that rig, so we are hoping a Handiham member who owns one will do some
experimenting with the various accessibility features of the radio itself
and the software, and then write up the results for us to share with our
readers and podcast listeners.  

For another take on the TS-590S, check out the eHam reviews.  These reviews
are all written by users, and if you find the post by K3UL from April 19,
you will be able to read what a satisfied blind ham thinks. I'll give you
some useful links at the end of this story.

I'm going to just add a few words of my own to the discussion, because I've
noticed that some potentially helpful information is not necessarily part of
the usual review process.  I know that my blind friends will be interested
in what the front panel of the radio looks like.  Anyone familiar with
radios like the TS-440SAT and the TS-570SAT will feel right at home (almost)
with the front panel of the new 590.  Unlike the vastly different layouts of
the TS-480SAT or TS-2000, this radio is the familiar rectangular shape with
the big main tuning knob near the bottom center.  Just to the left is the
keypad for direct frequency entry or band selection. The keypad follows the
expected 3 by 4 arrangement. Buttons for the antenna tuner, power, and
attenuator (among others) are in a familiar location at the upper left of
the front panel. Below them are the headphone and microphone jacks.  I'm
beginning to think at this point that I would have to look at the model
number to make sure I wasn't sitting in front of the venerable TS-570!  On
the lower right corner, easy to find, is the audio gain control. The outside
concentric control is RF gain, as one would expect. The upper right corner
is home to the XIT/CL control, another oft-used adjustment.  Between these
controls and to the right of the main tuning knob are the adjustments having
to do with filtering, such as the notch control, noise blanker and IF
filter. Immediately to the right of the main tuning knob are the split and
M/V buttons.  To the lower left of the main knob is the usual frequency lock
button, which doubles as the fine tuning toggle. Other familiar buttons to
the immediate left of the main tuning knob are the various mode selections.
This doesn't cover everything, but it should be enough to let you know that
as a blind user, you will be in somewhat familiar territory if you have
already familiarized yourself with the TS-570, or to a lesser extent with
the TS-440. 

In a sense, radios are like other technologies in that switching between
models and brands can be a problem. Imagine, for example, what would happen
if the main controls in cars were not standardized.  If turning the steering
wheel clockwise made the car turn right in one model, but left in another,
or if the brake were a pedal in one but a button on the steering wheel in
another, you can imagine the disastrous consequences for anyone trying to
switch between cars!  So one unspoken and really significant feature in the
TS-590S is this familiar feel and standardization.  I'm just putting it out
there as one more reason Kenwood has hit a home run with this model!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Pat Tice

Now, here are the links I promised:

.         TS-590S product page on the Kenwood website:

.         Product reviews on eHam (Don't forget to look for the K3UL post.)

.         ARRL product review video:  <http://www.arrl.org/multimedia> 

.         ARRL product reviews, including the one for the TS-590S, are
available in the Members section of ARRL.org. Log in with your ARRL
credentials and browse to QST and Product reviews. We have checked the PDF
file and find that it does contain embedded accessible text for screenreader
users.  The on line product reviews are another one of the reasons I enjoy
my ARRL membership.


FCC to host Earthquake Communications Preparedness Forum

Description: FCC News

Washington, DC-The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) of the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host an Earthquake
Communications Preparedness Forum on May 3, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00
p.m. The forum will be held in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC
Headquarters, located at 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305, Washington, DC
20554.  There will be a live open-captioned video feed.

*       Read more on the Handiham website:


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

Troubleshooting 101: A frustrated CBer confounds the repair shop

Description: Small tools and wire

Our troubleshooting story this week comes from Bill, K9BV, in central
Illinois. He writes:


On a local ham discussion group, we got into sharing troubleshooting
stories, and I thought I'd share this one with you.  Publish it if you like,
or just enjoy...

Once, when I had my communications shop running, I volunteered to replace a
mobile CB customer's antenna for FREE. He had just bought the antenna from
me and claimed it was defective. If the customer would bring the car in I
would clip a new whip to tune the new antenna for him.  When the customer
arrived, I got my trusty SWR meter and proceeded to snip the new antenna
whip to arrive at the correct length. With each snip, the SWR did not
change!  So I got my own antenna off my van and had the same high SWR

Hmmm... very strange. 

I took the customer's mobile CB radio into the shop and connected it to my
base (CB) antenna and the SWR was again very high, so on a hunch I put the
mobile CB on a spectrum analyzer and found multiple spikes across the

When I told the customer the radio was the problem and I needed to try to
fix it for him, he replied, "The CB radio can't be the problem because I
just paid a shop in Danville to peak it out for me!  That's why when I
couldn't get out, I bought a new antenna from you!" 

(Groan) My regular customer had taken his CB to the Danville guy because I
had refused to "peak out" his radio for him.  It would have been a waste of
his money. I had told him his CB checked out fine, so he had gotten mad at
me and went to the Danville guy, then he "couldn't get out..," so he came
back to me. (Thanks a bunch!)

Anyway, following the correct tuning instructions in the CB service manual
cured all the "birdies" and I got the CBer merrily on his way... (Smile),
and I told him I "peaked it out" for him for no extra charge... and we were
both happy!!!

Bill -- K9BV

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


How to use the Handiham Remote Base HF station to receive via EchoLink

The Handiham Remote Base station W0EQO may be used via the EchoLink
application to operate the receiver of the Kenwood TS-480SAT transceiver.
This YouTube video explains how. You must have the EchoLink application
installed and registered via EchoLink.org. This application is free to
licensed amateur radio operators.

*       Read more on Handiham.org:  <http://handiham.org/node/1102> 


ScienceCasts: Solar Activity

There is a good basic intro to sunspot activity on YouTube, with excellent,
self-explaining audio, thanks to Science at NASA. Highly recommended, and it
doesn't matter if you are sighted or blind - you will enjoy this story!




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

Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ, Silent Key at age 100

QCWA reports that World Radio Laboratories founder Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ, has
become a Silent Key at age 100. Leo enjoyed a recent greeting from many hams
who sent him QSL cards commemorating his 100th birthday.

It is with a profound sense of loss that I report Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ became
a Silent Key last evening 4/13/2011 at 9:50 pm in the Eisenhower Hospital,
Rancho Mirage, CA.

73, Bob Roske, N0UF, President QCWA

Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, writes:

I went to a military reenactment yesterday. One of the units was a Viet Nam
Marine unit with a working AN/PRC 25 combat backpack radio. It was fully
accessible because it had detents on the knobs for frequency and band. The
6-meter ham band is available on this rig. So, this is the band that the
re-enactors use. It has a telephone-style handset. It's a brick, weighing at
least thirty pounds; and it is really cool!

Chuck Walbridge, K1IGD, QCWA General Manager, writes: 

I was checking out a CD of the spring Journal and Bob, N1BLF, has an error
in his lead-in. He states the QCWA Life Membership is $375, not the new
figure of $500. I think it would be a good idea to put a note on the pages
with the audio file noting that. Vic will contact him to make the correction
next time around. I'm going to put a label on the CDs I mail as well.

73, Chuck, K1IGD


How to find an amateur radio class in your area

Did you know that you can find an amateur radio class near where you live by
simply entering a few items into a page on the ARRL website? It's easy! Just
head for the ARRL website and browse to the education section, or use this
handy link:


ACB Radio Club

Here's a radio club you might want to consider: The American Council of the
Blind Radio Amateurs, or ACBRA. ACBRA is a special interest affiliate of the
national organization of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). The club
call is W3ACB. Find out more at the official club website:



SKYPE announces security update

Android users like me might also have SKYPE on their smart phones.  I
recently got a notification of a security risk related to the SKYPE for
Android application. SKYPE has responded quickly and just released an
updated application, which should be installed immediately.  This does not
apply to computer or iPod/iPhone users.  


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

This week we take our questions from the brand-new General Class pool that
comes into effect on July 1:

G5A03 asks: Which of the following causes opposition to the flow of
alternating current in an inductor?

Possible choices are:

A. Conductance
B. Reluctance
C. Admittance
D. Reactance

And G5A04 asks: Which of the following causes opposition to the flow of
alternating current in a capacitor?

Possible choices are:

A. Conductance
B. Reluctance
C. Reactance
D. Admittance

So what do you think?  Did you remember that reactance, which we can think
of as a kind of "resistance" applying to AC circuits, can come in two
flavors, "inductive reactance" and "capacitive reactance"? If so, you
probably picked "Reactance" as the correct choice for both questions.  


Remote Base Health Report for 20 April 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

The W0EQO Handiham Remote Base HF station is functioning normally.

W0ZSW is in service.  The new radio, a TS-480HX, and new computer are in
place.  The system now returns frequency information for our blind users,
thanks to the VGS1 speech module. 

One service note on W0ZSW is that we are experiencing trouble with the
Realtek sound system that is on the main board of the host computer. The
problem shows up when using digital modes only, not with SSB operation, so
we ask that you please avoid operating digital modes on W0ZSW until we
replace the sound hardware with a new USB system. 

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:

The following post is on the N2JEU website: I now consider the W4MQ software
to be "dead".

This is of course bad news for us, since the W4MQ software is the only game
in town when it comes to public remote base software.  However, we are
looking into ways of keeping the W4MQ software in service at both Handiham
Remote Base stations.  Users need not do anything at this point because we
do not expect to change to any other software any time soon.  You can read
the post at the N2JEU website:



This week @ HQ

*       Nancy reports that she is completing and mailing the camp
applications today.  If you are waiting for a camp application, they should
start showing up in mailboxes next week.
*       Nancy has also updated our book and audio list.  It is posted today;
log in to the member section to see the link. 
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.

*       Radios for new Technicians at Radio Camp!  I spoke with a donor
yesterday and we are pleased to announce that we will be able to provide new
Wouxun dual-band handheld radios for our campers who earn their Tech
licenses at this summer's Radio Camp.  Call Nancy today for a Radio Camp

.         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


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, 20 April 2011 - Patrick Tice