[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 20 March 2013

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 18:42:15 -0500

*Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday,
20 March 2013*

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
Handiham System <http://handiham.org/>. 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.

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RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
*Welcome to Handiham World.*Happy Spring!

[image: Beam antenna with spring flowers in foreground]

*The myth - Spring flowers.  Today marks the arrival of Spring, but you
would never know it by the weather up here in Minnesota.  The photo that I
have here shows our old beam antenna at Courage Center, and in the
foreground the flowering crab trees are bursting with pink blossoms.  This
was taken a few years ago, when Spring weather had really arrived to match
the calendar.  No such luck this year, when we are hunkered down under
piles of snow.  The temperature today will be in the high teens.  That
would be fine if we were talking Centigrade, but we use the Fahrenheit
system here.  It's not even going to get up to freezing today.  Last year
we enjoyed T-shirt weather by mid-March.  This year, not so much.*

Welcome to our weekly podcast and newsletter!

[image: Back yard with snowbank and patio table.]

*The reality: In this morning's back yard photo, you can see the antenna
that I am planning to put up this Spring.  What?  You don't see it?  It's
right there, lying on the patio, just to the left of the patio table.  Oh,
I get it - you can't see it because it is completely hidden by the piles of
unwelcome snow that are still hanging around this year. It's a sad
commentary on a long winter when you need a metal detector to find your

It's hard to imagine thinking about antenna work when the back yard looks
like an arctic wilderness, but nonetheless that is what I am doing. I just
can't help myself – the sun is getting high in the sky, there is more
available daylight since we have switched to DST, and my antenna plans for
this season are ambitious. Yesterday I was thinking about doing some
measuring, but I took a look at the snowdrifts around the antenna location
and decided that my snow boots weren't tall enough. So I guess antenna work
will just have to wait for now and I will have to concentrate on some other
aspects of amateur radio.

One of these will be my local radio club's education efforts. Every year we
offer free classes for the beginner license, the Technician, and the
upgrade license, the General. We have found that it makes sense to offer
the Technician in the spring. This allows us to sponsor a National Weather
Service Skywarn class a few weeks before the Technician. You don't have to
be an amateur radio operator to attend the Skywarn class, but while taking
the Skywarn class, you quickly learn the value of amateur radio in
reporting weather conditions. This is a sneaky way of recruiting for new
hams, and our club has been quite successful with this strategy. I consider
the Technician to be the most important of the license classes, because it
confers the status of amateur radio operator and that all-important call
sign. Once people get started in amateur radio, they usually want to
advance through the ranks.

Show me a club that has an educational program and I will show you a
successful club. Those of us who are committed to bringing more people into
the ranks of amateur radio know how important it is to volunteer as an
amateur radio instructor, so I consider my work in teaching for my local
radio club to be one of my must-do spring activities each year. This month
I will be teaching the section in the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual second
edition called "Communicating with Other Hams". I always look forward to
teaching Technician in the spring, and this year – even though I cannot get
outside to do antenna work because of the snow and ice – I can still make a
valuable contribution to amateur radio education and have fun sharing ham
radio with newbies.

Meanwhile, back at the ham shack, bands like 160, 80, and 40 m are all
relatively thunderstorm static-free thanks to the delayed onset of Spring
storms. Since the sun is higher in the sky – crossing the vernal equinox
milestone – nights are now going to be getting shorter as we move into
summer, and that means that absorption will be increasing in the
ionosphere. If you are trying to work all states, now is the time to snag
the ones within the skip zones of the lower frequency HF bands before
thunderstorm static (QRN) and absorption in the ionosphere make these bands
much less useful. If the bands are dead, why not take some time to learn
about the characteristics of our different HF bands? Knowing the skip zones
for various times of day and seasons can really help you plan your strategy
for making successful contacts no matter what the time of year, time of
day, or where we happen to be in the 11 year solar cycle. One of the things
that we will be working on in our operating skills course at Handiham Radio
Camp this summer is to learn the way our different HF bands behave. Believe
it or not, this information is barely touched upon in the amateur radio
question pools on which our examinations are based, yet it is one of the
most basic concepts that amateur radio operators must understand to be
successful in making contacts on the air.

One of the things that we must be careful about in amateur radio education
is that we follow up with continuing education beyond licensing classes. In
some cases this may mean formal amateur radio education like periodic
Skywarn training or the excellent ARRL emergency communications courses
available online. However, there is another important venue for amateur
radio education, and that is your local radio club programs.  Once the
regular business meeting is completed, most amateur radio clubs have some
kind of interesting and entertaining program. The club program is an ideal
time to do the necessary follow-up education that we all need when we are
getting started in any new activity. For new Technicians, this may mean how
to find and use local repeater systems, EchoLink, and HF operation on the
200 kHz SSB portion of the 10 m band. For experienced operators, digital
mode operation might be a completely new topic. Because amateur radio also
includes a long-time tradition of building equipment from scratch,
information about techniques, circuits, and components can provide an
entertaining and very educational introduction to what is now called "maker

*Indeed, when I think back on my career in amateur radio, I now understand
that getting my license and upgrades were really just the very beginning of
a lifelong learning process.*

Amateur radio has certainly pushed me into learning many new things about
technology. It has also brought me to the realization that learning never
ends. I hope you will consider trying something new in amateur radio,
stimulating yourself to learn new things and become proficient enough to
help guide others through the learning process. Amateur radio truly is a
"big tent" with many and varied interest areas. There is bound to be
something for everyone. If I were only interested in putting up antennas, I
would be pretty disappointed right now because of the snow seems to be
planning to stick around a while. But leave it to ham radio – it always
comes through with something else that I can do to keep me busy!



   ARRL Emergency Communications training:

   ARRL resources for instructors and mentors:

   W5YI Group and Gordon West Instructor Program:
   http://www.w5yi.org <http://www.w5yi.org/page.php?id=344>

   NC4FB Amateur Radio Blog - One of the best resources operated by
   individuals - or anyone, bar none:

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
Avery, K0HLA, writes with some April Fool's Day suggestions:

   - April 1, 2013 is otherwise known as "April Fool's day", so Pat.  Any
   ideas for an April Fool in the eletter?  Here are some for you:
   - I have one idea..... All communication on Handiham nets will be on CW
      from now on. As well as operation of both W0EQO & W0ZSW remote bases......
      - Another one......  A rotary all band vertical antenna...
      - No more operations on 20 meters as the band burned up...
      - A vertical antenna buried underground...
      - Avery will be teaching "How to forget the code in 5 easy days" at
      Radio Camp

   Your turn for some .......

   Be looking for April Fools in the next eletter

   73 & DX from K0HLA Avery (CW Forever)

ARRL has sent out a member reminder about the Introduction to Emergency
Communication (#EC-001)

   - ARRL offers online training for hams who want to participate in the
   Amateur Radio Emergency Service. The time for training is before a
   disaster...not during one. Two courses make up the ARRL ARES® training
   program. Enroll Today! The former Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
   (AREC) series of three training courses has been reconfigured into two
   courses: An introductory course and a course for leaders and managers.
      - Introduction to Emergency Communication (#EC-001) Revised in 2011,
      this is an update of the former Level 1 course. It is designed to provide
      basic knowledge and tools for hams who want to serve as a Public Service
      volunteer. It provides an opportunity for non-hams who rely on
      communications in emergency situations to learn about Amateur
Radio and its
      unique role in emergencies. The course is offered online using the Moodle
      learning platform. The Introduction to Emergency Communication course has
      six sections with 29 lesson topics and a 35 question final assessment.
      Participants should plan on completing the course in
approximately 45 hours
      over a nine week period. This is a mentored course, in which you may work
      according to your own schedule. Cost is $50 for ARRL members and $85 for
      - For start dates, registration deadlines and more visit:
      - Now Accepting Enrollments for March and April Sessions. Register

Jose, KK4JZX, writes with a remote base update: What have we been working
on? New functionality to save your favorites!

   - *We are working on enhancing the remote base client even further
   folks! The upcoming update will have added functionality in the area of
   Memories. We heard from some of you and we are answering! We told you, if
   you ask and we can do it, then it will be done. The handiham remote base
   client now can be used for saving your favorite bands. When you receive the
   next update, you might find it much simpler to save your memories so that
   you don’t have to muddle through and figure it all out every time you
   launch the remote Base client. Even better, we have added some level of
   accessibility for screen reader clients. For those of you waiting to be
   able to use the Memories function, hang in there for a bit longer because
   we think you might like this new capability for screen reader users. We do
   urge you to read the online documentation before using the feature! We also
   know that you will come up to speed quite quickly on the enhanced
   capability. So, when will the next version be released? Subscribe to the
   RSS feed or just visit this page often to find out!

   73, KK4JZX*

Eyes on Success Podcast writes:

   - *To the folks at Handiham / Courage Center - An episode of Eyes On
   Success aired this week about accessibility of HAM technology for people
   with vision loss. Eyes On Success is a weekly half-hour radio program /
   podcast about products, services and daily living tips for people with
   vision loss. More information and the entire archive of over 100 shows are
   available at the links below our signature. Below are links to it and the
   associated show notes. We hope you like the show.

   1310 Amateur Radio Technology (March 6, 2013): Hosts Peter Torpey and
   Nancy Goodman Torpey speak with Kelvin Marsh (call sign m0aid) about the
   technology behind ham radio and how accessible it is. He's a blind amateur
   radio operator who reviews equipment for accessibility and maintains the
   Active Elements web-site which contains those reviews and a lot of other
   information for hams with disabilities.

*This is actually the second episode we've aired about HAM radio; the first
one was a talk with Tim, WB2KAO:  Amateur Radio, also known as ham radio,
is a popular pastime for people with visual impairments. Hosts Nancy
Goodman Torpey and Peter Torpey speak with Tim Magee (call sign WB2KAO) who
has been a totally blind ham radio operator for nearly 50 years about what
is involved and how it has changed over that time. 1231 8-1-12 Amateur
Radio for the Visually Impaired:

*Nancy Goodman Torpey & Peter Torpey*

*Check out Eyes On Success (formerly ViewPoints), a weekly half hour audio
program for people living with low vision. Find out more about the show and
get links to the podcasts at:
www.EyesOnSuccess.net <http://www.eyesonsuccess.net/> *

Handiham Nets are on on the air.

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

*We are on the air daily at 11:00 USA Central Time, plus Wednesday &
Thursday evenings at 19:00 USA Central Time.  *

*We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time.
Daylight Time began this week at 02:00 Sunday morning, 10 March. Since the
nets remain true to Minnesota time, the difference between Minnesota time
and GMT is -5 hours.  The net is on the air at 16:00 hours GMT.  This is
one hour earlier than usual if you are on GMT, as compared with USA
standard time. *

*The official and most current net news may be found at:
http://www.handiham.org/nets *
*A dip in the pool*

[image: Pat shows off his new Plantronics USB headset!]

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the question
pool, that is!

*Let's go to the Technician Class pool and find a question about where on
the 10 meter band Technicians can transmit using SSB phone:*

Guess what?  There is NO reference in the question pool as to where Techs
can operate single-sideband phone on 10 meters! The best we can do is to
take note of  T8A06, which asks: "Which sideband is normally used for 10
meter HF, VHF and UHF single-sideband communications?"

Possible answers are:

A. Upper sideband

B. Lower sideband

C. Suppressed sideband

D. Inverted sideband

While you are thinking about which one to pick, I want to recall our
earlier conversation about learning.  This is clearly a case where the
question pool omits an important operating privilege - 10 meter SSB phone.
As a Technician, you can operate SSB using UPPER SIDEBAND (USB) between
28.3 MHz and 28.5 MHz, which means that the correct answer is A, Upper
Sideband.  You are allowed to use up to 200 watts, too - that is way more
than enough to make exciting HF contacts around the world, as long as the
10 meter band is open. I mention this because the Handiham Remote Base
stations w0eqo and w0zsw both allow 10 meter SSB operations by Technician
Handiham members.  If you don't have an HF radio of your own, you can use
one of the remote bases.  Both stations have Kenwood TS-480 radios with
VGS1 speech chips.  Both may be accessed by the recently-updated W4MQ IRB
software, which you can download on the remote base website:

*What to remember:*

   1. You must be a Handiham member to be granted access to the stations
   for transmit privileges. We will set up your account on each station when
   you email us asking to be set up for operation.
   2. Visit the remote base website <http://handiham.org/remotebase> for
   instructions on how to download and install, what information to send us
   when you are ready to request access, and to use the search function on the
   website to find answers to your questions.
   3. The stations are a shared resource.  Only one person can be control
   operator at a time, but up to five additional stations may listen to the
   receiver via Echolink. Instructions are on the website.
   4. Tech support is in short supply - But we do have answers to all kinds
   of questions on the http://handiham.org/remotebase/ website.  The search
   field will return answers to your questions about using the software with
   screenreading software, for example.
   5. You will need a good internet connection, DSL or cable, to operate
   the remotes.  You can control the receiver via Echolink with a slower
   dial-up connection, though.
   6. You can download and install the W4MQ software and use the GUEST
   login to try it out, but without transmitting.
   7. Have fun!

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQ**Learn more about the HF bands so that you can enjoy the
remote base stations:*

   - *An excellent resource is the article "First Steps in Radio",
   available in PDF to ARRL members in the QST archives<http://www.arrl.org/>,
   January 1985.  *Because of its age this article is a PDF image that does
   not contain embedded text for blind users, but Handiham members can listen
   to our audio recording by volunteer Jim Perry, KJ3P, available in
the members
   section at Handiham.org <http://handiham.org/drupal2/user>.  Our thanks
   to Jim for his help in making this available to our blind members.
   - Jose, KK4JZX, tells us about a new way being developed to make the Web
   Transceiver more blind-friendly. Includes JAWS and NVDA audio demo of new
   proposed enter logon information

*Watch for the next Remote Base software upgrade.  Some of the things we
are working on this week:*

   - We will be including a screenreader-friendly memories setup screen.
   It will also work better for everyone, including sighted users!
   - A tutorial page to support the memories dialog.

*The DAISY <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAISY_Digital_Talking_Book> digest
for our blind members is completed for March, and April is in the works. *

   - Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this
   month.  Look for these DAISY materials in the members section.
   - NEW audio is expected for April by this Friday.  Members on the Friday
   Notify mailing list will receive the link.

Accurate email addresses are important:

   - Recently we have received a number of application forms with bad email
   addresses.  This creates a real problem for us, because we take
   considerable time entering the WRONG information into the mailing lists,
   the website login, and our main database.  When the inevitable
   "undeliverable" comes back, we have to delete all of the previous work and
   start over again.  Please be sure that your information is correct the
   first time so that we can avoid delays in processing any forms and can
   offer you services more quickly.

*Radio Camp application packets will be ready for mailing this coming
week.  *

2013 camp dates call for arrival on July 28 and departure on August 2.  We
have confirmed that we will offer our campers who pass Technician at camp
brand-new handheld radios. Radio camp will emphasize ham radio fun and
getting on the air.

We will feature:

   - Technician beginner small group class - Get your first license and get
   on the air!
   - General Class study group for those who need a quick review before
   taking the General exam.
   - Extra Class study group for those who need a quick review before
   taking the Extra exam.
   - VE session conducted by SARA, the Stillwater (MN) Amateur Radio
   Association, on Thursday, August 1, at 1:30 PM.
   - Operating Skills small group get on the air sessions and discussions
   - ARRL update - What's new at ARRL.
   - Extra Class seminar for those with Extra Class licenses who want to
   participate in more advanced technical projects and discussions
   - Several stations to operate, including maritime mobile on the camp
   pontoon boat with Cap'n Bill, N0CIC
   - Sailing with Skipper Bill, K9BV
   - Handiham Radio Club meeting and elections
   - Dining in the nearby newly-remodeled Woodland dining hall.
   - Fun in the sun during Minnesota's excellent summer season - at Camp
   Courage on beautiful Cedar Lake!

For a Radio Camp application, email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or
call her at 763-520-0512.

*Handiham net information and news: *The official and most current net news
may be found at:

*Digital mailers are important: *If you do mail a digital cartridge to us,
please be sure that it is an approved free matter mailer. Otherwise it will
quickly cost us several dollars to package and mail out, which is more than
the cost of the mailer in the first place. We don't have a stock of
cartridges or mailers and not including a mailer will result in a long
delay getting your request back out to you.

*DAISY audio digests are available for our blind members who do not have
computers*, playable in your Library of Congress digital player.  Handiham
members who use these players and who would prefer to receive a copy of the
monthly audio digests on the special Library of Congress digital cartridge
should send a blank cartridge to us in a cartridge mailer (no envelopes,
please), so that we can place the files on it and return it to you via free
matter postal mail.  Your callsign should be on both the cartridge and the
mailer so that we can make sure we know who it's from. Blank cartridges and
mailers are available from APH, the American Printing House for the Blind,
Inc. <http://www.aph.org/>

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Catalog Number: 1-02610-00, Price: $12.00

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price:

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital

Get it all on line as an alternative:  Visit the DAISY section on the
Handiham website after logging in.
Stay in touch

[image: Cartoon robot with cordless phone]

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 at
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call

Handiham Manager Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone at 763-520-0511.

Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us.

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, KD0LPX, at
763-520-0532 or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Call 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 Handiham Weekly E-Letter in MP3
format <http://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3>
Email us to subscribe:

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:

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
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc.
Include your old email address and your new address.
Return to Handiham.org <http://handiham.org/>

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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 20 March 2013 - Patrick Tice