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

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 15:57:43 -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: Handiham HQ building

It looks like we will meet our goals for Radio Camp this summer.  We have a
healthy level of participants, and most have completed their paperwork and
made their travel plans. Quite a bit remains to be done in preparation,
though.  We have an excellent tower and beam antenna on a hill behind the
camp's "Rotary Building", where we plan to set up an HF station using a
Kenwood TS-570SAT and a TS-2000.  Having these rigs to choose from should
help make more operators comfortable.  Since the beam has not been used this
past year and things have been moved around, I will need to locate the rotor
control box and dress the wiring back into the shack for a test run.  One
thing I have learned about antenna systems over the years is that unexpected
problems can show up at the most awkward times.  It pays to do a little
footwork in advance.  In this case, I will need to do real footwork, too.
The main Handiham Headquarters building rests in a storybook-like clearing
surrounded by forest at the base of a hill. Built on and into the side of
the hill is the Rotary Building, named for its benefactors, the Rotary
Clubs.  Long ago, when the Handiham System was very young, there was a ham
radio station in the Rotary Building, which was used during the shorter "May
Convocations" that would ultimately evolve into the full-fledged Radio

So you can imagine that there would need to be an antenna system near the
Rotary building, and sure enough, there was.  A 50 foot self-supporting
tower and beam antenna were installed up at the top of the hill behind the
building. The entire system fell into disrepair when the Radio Camps moved
to Courage North, and it wasn't until recent years that the antenna and
wiring were refurbished as part of an Eagle Scout project by Peter Widin,
KC0ENI. This excellent resource will once again be used at Radio Camp, and
should provide us with the opportunity to work some real DX!  What is
different this year is that we plan to install a permanent station in the
library of the Rotary building, an excellent gathering space with plenty of
room for operating skills participants.  In preparation for the use of this
area, I have completed the installation of wireless Internet and done some
preliminary planning of the station setup.  Although we could set up
temporarily as in the past, this year we will have one of the familiar
equipment desks that we have used at Courage North.  This cabinet will
provide a place to lock up the stored equipment when non-ham radio users are
in the space. 

Meanwhile, back on the Woodland side of camp, which is where we will enjoy
living in the modern cabins during the week, I have checked the Internet and
done my walk through of the buildings.  I am thinking that we may have only
one HF station, if that, set up at the Woodland cabins.  After all, we will
have stations on the pontoon boat, at the Rotary Building, and at the
Headquarters. We do plan to have a JAWS computer with Echolink and the
Remote Base software available as a training tool. Since there are wireless
Internet hotspots available in Woodland, the Rotary, Lakeside dining hall,
the Lakeside Gazebo, and Handiham HQ, there should be no shortage of places
for us to use the Internet-enabled stations.  Furthermore, the camp repeater
will be on the air and it is Echolink-enabled. One of our goals is to teach
the use of these new tools to as many of our campers as possible.  If we are
successful in getting our new IRLP node that has been configured by Lyle,
K0LR, set up on our Woodland Internet connection, we will be able to use
that to connect to IRLP node 9008, the Vancouver BC system.  

By the way, this month marks 60 years since the FCC created the Novice class
license.  I was reminded of this by Ron, K3PID, my co-editor of our local
radio club newsletter, who was asking club members to send in stories about
their Novice days.  I thought that was such a good idea that I would like to
steal it, so how about some of those Novice stories?  I will tell you one of
my own next week.  

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


Thanks for your support!

The Owatonna Steele County (Minnesota) Amateur Radio club recently sent in a
gift of $50 in support of the Dr. Dave Challenge Grant. Dr. Dave Justis,
KN0S, has challenged us to raise at least $5,000, which he will match.  

Help us win the Dr. Dave Challenge!

We need your help. 

Description: Dr. Dave, KN0S, climbs the antenna tower at Radio Camp.

Money is tight these days and we desperately need your support.  Now, thanks
to a generous challenge grant by Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, we have a chance to
help fill the budget gap.  Dr. Dave will donate $5,000 to the Handiham
System if we can raise a matching amount.  That means we need to really put
the fund-raising into high gear!  If you can help, designate a donation to
Handihams, stating that it is for the "Dr. Dave Challenge".  We will keep
you posted in our weekly e-letter as to the progress of the fund. 

Nancy can take credit card donations via the toll-free number,
1-866-426-3442, or accept checks sent to our Courage Center Handiham

Courage Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

Be sure to put a note saying "Dr. Dave Challenge" somewhere in the envelope
or on the note line of the check.

Thank you so much for your support!

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Letters - STS-135, Extra cram session, and TravelPlus:

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

Ken, KB3LLA, writes: 

The STS-135 crew members spent today getting themselves and space shuttle
Atlantis ready for the return home. They practiced landings on a laptop
application, performed the flight control system checkout and checked out
the reaction control system thrusters. The crew is scheduled land at 5:57
a.m., on Thursday, July 21. Keep up-to-date on the mission by visiting
NASA's homepage: <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html>


Fred, NC4FB, writes about a free CRAM session package for the Amateur Extra
license exam:

*       (2008-2012) is available at the link below. The package facilitates
an 8-hour "in-person" CRAM session. If your club has General licensees who
are having trouble passing the Extra exam, consider
providing a CRAM session to help them over the hump. Extra CRAM package:
*       A free self-study program for the Amateur Extra license is available
at the link below. Extra self-study program:

Fred  NC4FB

Diane, WI8K, writes about her experience with the ARRL TravelPlus Repeater
Directory CD: 

I have bought Travel Plus on CD-ROM a couple of times and found it
accessible enough with JAWS to locate repeaters when I was traveling. It was
a relatively simple matter to bring up a list of repeaters for each state,
but can't remember how I did it and don't know if it works the same way. If
I remember correctly, I had to use the arrow keys to move up and down within
the repeater list for a particular state. When I found one I wanted, I had
to use the right and left arrows to navigate the columns. It was like
reading an Excel spreadsheet. I toyed with the idea of running the JAWS
scripts for Excel to see how it would track the rows and columns but never
managed to actually try it. I copied the frequency info on my Braille writer
to carry with me when I went somewhere.

I hope the periodicals will turn out to be accessible. I suspect they are in
PDF and would be concerned about whether they are tagged well enough to read
in proper order.

Sorry I won't be there to help check it out. One of these days I'll attend
radio camp to explore the new digs.

Diane, WI8K 

Dick, WA0CAF, likes a link to computer security: 


Kitty, WB8TDA, writes about an accessibility improvement: 

I picked up some access tips for Adobe Flash Player from a presentation
given at the American Council of the Blind national convention. Thought it
might be of particular interest to users of screen reading software. Are you
getting tired of hearing "i button, q button" or, worse yet, "button" when
trying to install an update for Adobe Flash Player? Here is a link to an
accessible installer:

The link to the Adobe Accessibility Resource Center is:


Congrats to Net Control Station AE5WX!

From the ARRL Arkansas Section News via the ARRL ARES e-letter:

Last month, Daryl Stout, AE5WX, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was the recipient
of an ARRL Official Observer Good Operator Report from OO Bill Maples,
WA5BHW, for his dedication to the Arkansas Weather Watch Net he conducts
anytime bad weather arrives in the state. "Daryl spends hours, day and night
keeping everyone informed of what is coming with bulletins from the National
Weather Service. His unselfish dedication is appreciated by all." Stout was
cited specifically for his excellence in efforts during the tornado response
in the Altus/Clarksville area of the state. 


Troubleshooting 101: Noise 2 revealed

Description: Small tools and wire

Last week we listened to a to a radio noise caused by, well, that's what you
will had to guess.  Joe, N3AIN, sent us a noise that was our challenge to
identify. If you are reading this instead of listening to the podcast,
follow this link to listen: <http://handiham.org/audio/noise2.mp3> 

We had a few responses, but no one got this one right.

.         Walter, WB6JTJ, thought it was radar.

*       Gerry, WB6IVF, says: "I think this one is a controller of some type.
My reason is because of the interruptions, and the sound that can make one
think the dial is being turned, or the frequency is changing in the system
that is creating the noise. Maybe a Battery charger, Computer, or
*       Matt, KA0PQW, says: "That to me kind of sounds like a television. It
would be nice to hear that noise on SSB instead of AM. A lot of the older
televisions put out a noise when they were on. If I remember right it had to
do with the horizontal output. Again, the same thing applies. You need to
find out if it is in your own home. Turn the power off and listen with the
radio on a battery, then see what direction it is coming from if you can.
Because these noises are usually kind of frequency-dependent, you may
actually need to track it down using something portable that will hear on 17
*       Ron, K0IC, writes: "I think noise 2 is a poor ground return, maybe
with corona."

Joe, N3AIN, our noisemeister, reveals the source of this awful noise:
"Here's another noise sample. This was recorded Thursday morning November
15, 2000. It was either interference from my neighbor's TV, or his touch
lamp. I decided it was the touch lamp, because he got rid of it after I
talked to him about the noise and at that time, the interference stopped.
The receiving antenna was an 80 meter dipole running parallel to his house
and only about 14 feet away from it. Happy listening.

Pat, WA0TDA, says: I will never forget the day my wife brought home three
new lamps, and I discovered that they were touch lamps.  Not only did every
one of those doggoned things broadcast terrible noise in the HF bands, they
were also excellent receivers and would go on and off every time I
transmitted. They all ended up either rewired with conventional switches or
on switched outlets so that we could keep our sanity!  That was years ago,
and thankfully none of them are around anymore.  

Time for Noise 3:

Joe's next noise is another common one that really did not exist to speak of
before around the mid to late 1980's, and one that I have run into myself:

Feel free to weigh in with your best guesses.  Send them to:

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

Today we are heading to the new General Class pool, which came on line this

G4C02 asks: Which of the following could be a cause of interference covering
a wide range of frequencies?

A. Not using a balun or line isolator to feed balanced antennas
B. Lack of rectification of the transmitter's signal in power conductors
C. Arcing at a poor electrical connection
D. The use of horizontal rather than vertical antennas

The correct answer is C: Arcing at a poor electrical connection.  It is
important to note that this need not necessarily be power line related.
There are plenty of electrically-operated devices that could have a loose
connection or be defective because of wear and tear.  Loose or corroded
antenna parts can mimic interference like arcing, but the signal level is
generally not nearly so strong.  The worst arcing case I ever encountered
was tracked down to a location about a block away from my parents' house
when I was a young ham radio operator with almost no interference tracking
skills.  Even so, I located the metal chain that someone had thrown over a
power line running along an alley.  When the wind blew just right, that
thing really made sparks!  Of course the power lines acted as antennas and
the signal went out on the HF bands.  It was such a loud arcing noise that
even a newbie like me could find it.  When I got close, maybe 30 feet away,
I could actually hear the sparking and crackling with my built-in sensors,
my ears!


Call for tutorial help on TS-590S

Description: TS-590S (Kenwood photo)

We would like to add the Kenwood TS-590S to our rigs for which audio
tutorials are available.  What we really need is for a blind user who owns
one of these new Kenwood radios to teach others how to use it.  If there is
anyone out there in e-letter land listening to the podcast or reading the
e-letter with a screen reader and who can help with this project, we want to
hear from you!

If anyone feels particularly flush with cash, we would gratefully accept the
donation of an actual TS-590, which would be put into service at our HQ
station.  In the "for what it's worth" department, the updated software for
the TS-590 is available from Kenwood and it supports a database of up to 100
users.  That means that in remote base service, we could give the software
interface a really good test.  Both Lyle, K0LR, and I have looked at the
software, which is free to download, and we expect it to be very
blind-friendly.  Sighted users will find the graphic interface intuitive and
easily learned. The radio itself has a clean, logically laid-out front
panel, making it easier to navigate whether you are blind or sighted. 

If you can help with audio tutorials on any piece of equipment you own,
please contact Pat at:



Remote Base Health Report for 20 July 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

Both stations are operational. 

W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line as of this publication date.  

*       The Upper Midwest of the United States has  been experiencing high
temperatures and very humid air masses.  These conditions make for frequent
thunderstorms, which cause horrendous levels of static on the HF bands.
This will make the remote bases a little hard to use at times.  Conditions
may be best in the late night and early pre-dawn hours when thunderstorms
have quieted down a bit. 
*       Since I have been listing status updates in several places on our
website, there must also be multiple updates when the station's status
changes.  Instead of doing those multiple updates, it makes more sense to
have a single update page and then link to it as necessary. The URL for the
status page is  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 
and that page is generated via the Drupal content management system. What
that means is that I can edit the status page from anywhere that internet is
available.  It should make keeping things up to date easier.  Pages within
the members section are static and must be maintained by using FTP from my
main computer, so that means frequent updates from anywhere would not be
possible on those pages. 
*       The following must be written into the Remote Base setup
instructions, but the demands on my time over the summer have delayed it, so
I am mentioning the change here:   Following the upgrade to an external USB
sound card on the W0ZSW machine, we have been able to use the sound client
built in to the W4MQ software. This is called "IRB Sound" and it is selected
in the setup menu on the main page when you open the W4MQ software
interface. You may now select IRB Sound instead of SKYPE, but ONLY on the
W0ZSW station.  If IRB Sound is selected on the other station, W0EQO, you
will get reports of choppy audio, so you must continue to use SKYPE with

I prefer to use IRB Sound with W0ZSW because it works smoothly and there are
virtually no runtime errors, as sometimes occur when using SKYPE.  If you
use IRB Sound you do not need to run SKYPE at all.

You can view the status page at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 


SKYPE conference

We have not generated enough interest in this to continue it.  Perhaps we
will try again in the Fall.  


This week @ HQ

*       I will be out of the office Thursday and Friday July 21-22 this
week.   There will be a new Audio Notice released during the weekend of July
*       The Handiham office is open on Thursday, 21 July but only Nancy will
be in.  We are closed on Friday, 22 July.
*       Lyle, K0LR, has completed the portable IRLP node (number 7051) for
us to use as a training tool at Radio Camp.  I will plan to test the node
locally at my QTH in the Woodbury area next week, time permitting.  When I
am comfortable getting it working through the Internet and using the Linux
computer, we can take it out to Camp Courage for deployment during Radio
Camp week. 
*       The new General Audio lecture series is underway, and lecture three
is on line. Our third lecture covers some basics in emergency operation, and
we discuss ARES and RACES organizations.  After that, we go over some of the
possible exam questions.
*       The audio magazine digest:  Worldradio, CQ, QST, and AMSAT Journal
audio is available for our blind members.  July audio is  posted for CQ,
Worldradio, and QST.  
*       August digest audio is in production. My QST arrived late, so I am
running behind. I see that the August Worldradio is now on line in PDF, so
Bob, N1BLF, can get started on the audio for that digest. 
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.
Watch www.handiham.org and your weekly E-Letter for updates on what we are

.         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 node.)

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 $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, 20 July 2011 - Patrick Tice