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! 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 schedule? 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, KD0CFQ "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 concentration." 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! hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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: http://d.yimg.com/kq/groups/12397727/1885578730/name/Haiti.mp3 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": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_code 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 reasons." Read more on ARRLweb: http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2010/01/18/11293/?nc=1 _____ Elsewhere 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: https://secure.vvhosting.co.uk/cobolt/store/eric_viewItem.asp?idProduct=315 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 safely." Read more on the NFB website: http://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/Publications/bm/bm09/bm0911/bm091103.htm 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: <mailto:nvda-support-join@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> nvda-support-join@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx You may visit the NVDA website if you wish to download and begin using NVDA: http://www.nvda-project.org/ _____ 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: http://www.handiham.org/files/hhw_winter_2010_final.pdf · 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: http://handiham.org/files/hhw_print_winter_2009_2010.mp3 · 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 hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Pat can be reached by email any time, including nights and weekends, at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 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 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) Where: · 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 <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 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 · Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/675%2523commen t-form> to post comments · Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/675> version · Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/675> 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.