[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 20 January 2010 (early edition)

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 14:44:06 -0600

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
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Welcome to Handiham World!

Net or not?

TS-2000 HF station

We have been urging our readers and listeners to monitor 14.305 MHz for
activity before we begin a new Handiham HF net on that frequency. I have
heard some stations on 14.305 in the early afternoon Minnesota time. Lyle,
K0LR, suggests that an afternoon time might find the band conditions being
"short", meaning that we could possibly get more stations checking in from
the United States.

If we were to look at evenings, I think the band has been dead as often as
not, so we cannot wait until it is too late in the day. During the morning
hours the band is open, but the skip is longer. As I write this at 09:30
local time, I hear a Spanish-speaking station on 14.305. 

As important as band conditions is the question of when our members can get
on board with the net!  It does not matter if conditions are perfect if
everyone is working at their jobs or otherwise busy and can't get on the
air. The original net schedule was set up for 9:30 in the morning Minnesota
time, but most of us are busy at that hour.  I'm not saying that we should
keep the morning hour schedule, but nothing kills a net like bad timing!
Before we decide to just keep the 9:30 morning hour but shift frequency from
14.265 to 14.305, let me know your thoughts.  One successful Friday evening
schedule we used to keep was on 17 meters, and I can't call it a net,
because the informal gathering started by Alan, K2WS, was a "non-net get
together", as Alan always reminded us. After all, the unofficial rule is
that nets do not belong on 17 meters, at least not formal nets.

20 meters is different and nets are all right, even scheduled formal nets.
Can we narrow it down to daytime or evening?  And what day?  Monday?
Friday?  Saturday or Sunday? Remember, we want to pull in working folks, so
scheduling it in the middle of the work day may not be the best idea.

One of our repeater hosts, Chris, KG0BP, mused that we might not really need
a daily Echolink net if net control stations are too hard to find. So what
about that?  Do we add a few HF nets and pare down the daily Echolink

Also at this time we are asking for HF net control volunteers. You will need
at least a General Class license and an HF station with a 20 meter antenna. 

George, N0SBU, has pointed out that once nets are suspended for the summer
as many clubs do with their nets, it is usually pretty difficult to get
those nets going again. The lesson to be learned from that is to keep your
nets running!  Taking time off or reducing your net schedule means that you
may never get those times and frequencies back again.  George would also
like to see the Wednesday night Echolink net be used more often for training
purposes, maybe every Wednesday night.

A couple of you thought that having the Echolink nets every other day,
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, then on Saturday would be enough activity to keep
things running. 

Every net needs to have a critical mass of users. This is a basic truth:  If
you don't have enough regular participants checking in, you will not keep
your net running. That means paying attention to having the net on at a time
when you can get people away from whatever they are doing and to the radio.
Band conditions, in the case of HF at least, have to be suitable. If band
conditions are not right, you may have few check-ins no matter how
convenient you make the time and day. 

Another concern is that we have competent net control stations.  Every time
a net is poorly run, we lose some stations who either give up while waiting
to check in or simply get annoyed by the poor operating practices they
encounter on the net. Every net has this challenge, too, not just ours. I
have heard some terrible operating on HF nets whose participants were
long-time license holders and whose net control station held a higher class
of license. 

As we continue with our planning for nets, keep these handy net control
practices in mind:

*       Begin your net with a preamble explaining the purpose of the net,
who may check in, and anything else about how the net will be conducted.
This is the time to tell participants if the net is formal or informal and
whether you need to be a net member to check in.  The end of the preamble is
the place to tell stations how to check in, namely, "Check in with your
callsign only", or other appropriate instructions.
*       Call for stations in this order:

*       Stations with emergency or priority traffic 
*       Mobile stations 
*       Portable stations 
*       Stations on "short time" 
*       Stations with announcements of interest to the net 
*       General check-ins (and limit the crowd by geography, type of
technology used to check in, callsign area, or whatever.)   Example:  "I
will now take check-ins from stations outside North America." or "I will now
take check-ins from repeaters only."

*       Be sure you have firm control of the net. Do not allow stations to
simply give their callsigns and then start rambling on about the weather,
their computer problems, and how their dog has fleas. Make it clear that
stations checking in must give their callsigns and be recognized before the
net control allows them to have their say!  Do not let stations grab the air
and take over.  Net control stations should do the controlling.  
*       You can make the net more interesting if you have a net topic.
Sometimes the net will enjoy discussing a topic introduced by one of the
stations checking in.
*       Don't forget to call often for stations throughout the net time.
Always allow enough time for emergency check ins to get your attention. You
never know when the system may need to pass emergency traffic.
*       Be patient but firm, and always polite. Insist that everyone use
their callsigns. This will help everyone keep track of who is on the air.
*       When the net winds down, thank the participants and the repeater and
system owners, and mention when the net will be on again, then sign off. 


For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx



Why is camp good for you?

Why is camp good for you?

Nature Deficit Disorder, that's why!

From Courage Center's AT Bytes newsletter, which is edited by Jeni Mundl,

"Children’s 'nature deficit disorder' is a growing health threat. Children
today are spending less time in direct contact with nature than did previous
generations. The impacts are showing up not only in their lack of physical
fitness, but also in the growing prevalence of hyperactivity and attention
deficit. Studies show that immersing children in outdoor settings — away
from television and video games — fosters more creative mental activity and

Minnesota Radio Camp is May 21 - 28, 2010. Of course our Radio Camp is for
adults, and you have to be at least 16 to attend, but who says that even
grown-ups can't get "nature deficit disorder"? Email us for an application
before it's too late and you forget what trees look like!


Questions about camp? Please email Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx


Old sunspot 1039 to serve up solar weather

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/189> Solar WX News

Space Weather News for Jan. 19, 2010 is reporting some solar activity on the
side of the sun facing away from Earth:

"FAR SIDE SOLAR ACTIVITY: Over the past two days, NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft
has detected two eruptions from an active region just behind the sun's
eastern limb. The source of the blasts appears to be old sunspot 1039. The
sun's rotation will begin turning the spot toward Earth this week, so there
could be some Earth-directed solar activity in the offing."

There is no way to tell at this point what effect the upcoming activity will
have on terrestrial radio communications. As always, we recommend visiting
http://spaceweather.com for movies and updates.


W3BE'S BE Informed! 

You have never visited a website quite like the one maintained by John B.
Johnston, W3BE. The W3BE motto is "Read the rules - Heed the rules", and he
covers FCC Parts 0, 1, 2, 17, 97 and 214.

But that's not all, folks. Take this interesting question, for example: SOS!
MAYDAY! Please help. I've just been elected president of our radio club.
What should I do? W3BE answers it with wit that will have you laughing out
loud. But then you think to yourself, "Hey, that's sort of true."

John writes the rules & regs columns for Worldradio and the QCWA Journal.
If you read those columns, you know that he is a detail-oriented person who
wants to help us understand what the rules really say and what they mean.
Recently he has been reading and making notes on the new Technician question
pool release that goes into effect in July, 2010.

Question about the amateur service rules? e-mail john@xxxxxxxxxxxx 

Ready for some reading?  Visit the great W3BE website:

http://www.w3beinformed.org <http://www.w3beinformed.org/> 


Audio from Haiti via Ham Radio

Hatian market scene from oil painting

Image: Haitian market scene - original oil by J. N. Joseph, courtesy WA0TDA

HH2JR, Jean, in Port au Prince, Haiti was QRV* on 20 meters SSB making phone
patches with W3ZU, Fred. They started out on 14300 and then moved to 14313.
K3VR, Brian, made a recording which can be heard at:


There are some very dramatic details and you can hear the emotion in Jean's
voice, especially at the end of the recording.

Thanks to W3UR for info. 73 Mike N5MT

*QRV means "Are you ready?"

Find out more about the amateur radio shorthand known as "Q Signals":


From the ARRL website: "Eight members of the Radio Club Dominicano (RCD) --
the Dominican Republic's IARU Member-Society -- and Union Dominicana de
Radio Aficionados (UDRA) arrived in Haiti on Friday, January 15, to install
an emergency radio communications station and a mobile station. Shortly
after they arrived, the hams returned to the Dominican Republic for safety

Read more on ARRLweb:




The "I-Tell" found by Ken, KB3LLA: 

"A unique, innovative and exciting product, which enables your existing iPod
to announce your stored artists, album titles, song titles and audio books.
The I-Tell simply plugs into your iPod and your earphones plug into the
I-Tell; you then control your iPod through the controls on the I-Tell. The
unit also includes a removable belt clip. You can connect other devices such
as a radio transmitter or charger to your iPod whilst using the I-Tell. The
I-Tell has 5 main control buttons which work in a similar way to an iPod,
with 2 additional buttons to control the volume. The unit has an additional
setup menu, which enables you to choose the voice style, voice speed and the
gaps between words. The unit requires no batteries as it is powered by the
iPod. Compatible with most iPod’s which have a docking connector."

The product is marketed by Cobalt Systems in the UK:


The NFB Blind Driver Challenge found by Jerry, N0VOE:

"What is the NFB blind driver challenge? The NFB Jernigan Institute
challenges universities, technology developers, and other interested
innovators to establish NFB blind driver challenge teams, in collaboration
with the NFB, to build interface technologies that will empower blind people
to drive a car independently. The challenge is not the development of a car
that drives a blind person around. The challenge is a car that has enough
innovative technology to convey real-time information about the driving
conditions to the blind so that people who possess capacity, an ability to
think and react, and a spirit of adventure, in addition to having the
characteristic of blindness, can interpret these data and maneuver a car

Read more on the NFB website: 


NVDA support mailing list, found by Dick, WA0CAF:

NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open source screen reader for
the Microsoft Windows operating system. There is now a support e-mail list
for the open-source screen reader NVDA.  To join, send a blank message to:

You may visit the NVDA website if you wish to download and begin using NVDA:



This week @ HQ

·         14.305 MHz will be our proposed 20 m net frequency. All stations
are asked to monitor this frequency throughout the day preferably afternoon
and evening, and suggest a time to run the net. Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx
and put "20 meter net" in the subject line.

·         Pat, WA0TDA, will be working on organizing and clean up in the HQ
office on Wednesday, January 20. He will be away from his desk most of the
time that day.

·         QST audio digest is available for our blind members. The February
2010 audio is posted on members only.

·         Technician 2010 is available with only correct answers: The new
Technician question pool is effective on July 1, 2010. George, N0SBU, has
completed editing out the wrong answers, so we now have the pool available
with the questions listed, followed by only the correct answers.  Many of
our students find this to be an easier way to study directly from the
question pool. Links are sent in the Handiham-Notify mailing each Friday or
Saturday. Ken, K5OFC, is recording the pool in MP3 format.  We will inform
you when it is ready.

·         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!

·         Ken Padgitt has completed the January 2010 Doctor Is In column
from QST for our blind members. 

·         Get the four-page year-end Handiham World print edition in audio
read by N1BLF, or in PDF, available right now as a download.

·         Get the Handiham World PDF download: 

·         The January 2010 Worldradio audio digest is available for our
blind members.

·         Get the Handiham World Year-End Edition in audio, read by Bob
Zeida, N1BLF: 

·         Volunteer reader Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the Winter
2009-10 QCWA Digest.

·         Log in to the member section of the Handiham website and find the
magazine digests in the Library.

·         Our Contact information is the same, but keep watching this space
for changes: Email addresses will not change.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
763-520-0512 (Nancy)
763-520-0511 (Pat)

Our email address (for Nancy's office) is

Pat can be reached by email any time, including nights and weekends, at

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.


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

Remote Base Status

The Remote Base at Courage North is in service. Please feel free to use this
wonderful member resource.

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. 

Echolink net news

Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net is on the air. Please join us
and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit. Since we are looking
forward to the New Year's holiday, we have at least two days when the
daytime Echolink net may or may not be on the air. Finding net controls for
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will be a challenge. I would like to
encourage the nets to go on normally those days, and if there is no net
control station, please just feel free to hang out on frequency and have an
informal chat and wish each other a happy holiday season, whichever holiday
you are celebrating!

We are on the air Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM)
or GMT: Thursday morning at 01:30 Z.

Daily except Sunday at 11:00 hours Minnesota time (17:00 GMT)


·         145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul)

·         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.

By the way, our Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we need net
control stations for the Wednesday evening net and for the Monday through
Saturday morning net. If you are in the Twin Cities, all you need is a radio
that can get on the 145.45 N0BVE repeater, and if you live outside the RF
area, you can still be net control via Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES.

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&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

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 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:

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!


Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at: 

Nancy, Handiham Secretary: 

Radio Camp email: 

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 01/19/2010 - 20:37 

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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.


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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 20 January 2010 (early edition) - Patrick Tice