[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 22 May 2013

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 15:45:21 -0500

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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*Welcome to Handiham World.*2013 Hamvention® is a wrap!

*[image: Pat, WA0TDA, and Hap, KC9RP, pose for the camera in front of the
RAIN Report banner.]
Image: Pat, WA0TDA, and Hap, KC9RP, pose for the camera in front of the
RAIN Report banner.  The Handiham booth and the RAIN Report booth were
neighbors in the Silver Arena. *

Dayton Hamvention® was a great experience again, and it always surprises me
how many people I meet there, including some fellow hams from Minnesota -
and even though we might live in the same place on the map, it takes
Hamvention to get us to actually see each other face to face.  Others, like
Hap, live in another State, but seem so very familiar because we hear their
voices on podcasts or on the air so often.  I enjoyed visiting with Hap and
recording an interview for the RAIN Report.

*[image: Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, at his PHEV in flea market lot at Hamvention
Image: Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, at his PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle),
a converted Toyota Prius, in the outdoor flea market at Hamvention.  Bob
created a solar-powered and plug-in vehicle out of the stock Prius, and has
been promoting this kind of
technology<http://www.aprs.org/EV-charging-everywhere.html>at past
shows.  Most of you probably know Bob for one of his other
projects, APRS, the Automatic Packet Reporting System <http://www.aprs.org/>
.  *

[image: Prius with trailer in foreground showing banks of solar cells that
can be pulled along behind while driving down the road. The car itself has
two banks of solar cells, one on the roof and the other on the hood.]*
Image: Converted Toyota Prius with trailer in foreground showing banks of
solar cells that can be pulled along behind while driving down the road.
The car itself has two banks of solar cells, one on the roof and the other
on the hood. Bob has his callsign license plate, WB4APR. *

[image: Christoph, DF9WM, and Bill, W3AOK, stopped by the Handiham booth to
pay us a visit.]*
Image: Christoph, DF9WM, and Bill, W3AOK, stopped by the Handiham booth to
pay us a visit.  Christoph was visiting in PA and he and Bill drove from
there to Dayton for the big show.  *

[image: Christop poses on the grass verge in front of the main parking lot
with Hara Arena in the background.]*
Image:  Christoph poses in front of HARA Arena.  *

[image: Pat, WA0TDA, and Jim, KJ3P, at the Handiham booth. Jim is our
volunteer reader for QST magazine each month and we were sure glad to be
able to meet him in person!]*
Image: Pat, WA0TDA, and Jim, KJ3P, at the Handiham booth. Jim is our
volunteer reader for QST magazine each month and we were sure glad to be
able to meet him in person!*

[image: Will Tice, KC0LJL, pulls some booth duty.]*
Image:  My son Will Tice, KC0LJL, pulls some booth duty.  I was sure glad
he could come along and help with the driving between Minnesota and Ohio. *

[image: The TS-990S on display at the Kenwood booth.]*
Image:  I paid a visit to the Kenwood booth, where I found this awesome TS-990S
The 990 uses Voice Guide technology to provide complete audio accessibility
to the radio's menu tree and frequency readout. The voice guide feature was
enabled at the booth, making the radio easy to check out.  It was right
there on a small pedestal, easy to get at, so you could change the
frequency and check out the menus and the front panel.  Kudos to Kenwood
for a very user-friendly display. While I was busy looking at the radio and
thinking about taking the picture, a gentleman walked up to the radio and
started navigating through the menus. Since the Voice Guide was enabled,
this made for a really impressive audio tour through the menu system. Now I
wish I had made a recording, but I didn't think of it at the time and it
was pretty noisy in the convention hall in any case. I have no doubt that
this radio is very accessible, but as with all large top-of-the-line units,
there are many controls on the front panel. This means that any new user
will have to be patient and thoughtful about how to learn their way around
this excellent transceiver. There is no way that one could simply sit down
in front of it and begin operating, and that is the trade-off for all of
the features and functionality of a high-end radio. If you are interested,
I strongly suggest that you meet the radio in person at a local amateur
radio dealer. The nearest I could tell from the Kenwood website is that the
Voice Guide feature must be built in rather than an add-on option, but I
could not confirm that because the download section of the Kenwood website
was not working so I could not get a manual.*

I hope to have more photos and stories from Dayton in upcoming editions, so
stay tuned.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
Handiham.org croaks and gets a makeover

[image: Pat holds Nexus 4 smartphone up for camera to show mobile
Handiham.org website.]

What is it about computers that makes them so prone to going into a
tailspin just when you need them the most?  Or is that just Murphy's Law at
work?  Anyway, upon my return from Hamvention, I discovered that
Handiham.org had gone down.  It was the Drupal database again, something
that had plagued the public front entrance to the website for quite some
time.  After the good folks at Network Solutions restored the site from a
backup, I decided it was time to do some much-needed housekeeping and clean
up the look and feel of the Handiham website.  After all, it is where most
people will learn about us and find out basic information about ham radio
and exactly what it is that we do.  At the same time, we must be careful to
make the website as functional as possible for all users. Mobile users make
up a greater proportion of website visitors than ever before, so that means
that the website must be readable on mobile devices. Many people will use
traditional desktop computers, so it goes without saying that the website
layout must work for them as well.

I have come a long way in my understanding of website design over the
years. Something that just puts your message on the web might have been
good enough 10 years ago, but today we expect to not only deliver
information to anyone seeking to learn about the program, but we also must
be able to deliver program services to our members. When I work on website
design I always consider how the page will resolve for our blind visitors
and members who use screen readers or magnifiers. One happy consequence of
the growth of mobile devices is that websites designed for mobile often
work very well for screen reader users. They're less complicated and have a
more straightforward flow of information.

While our Main website was out of service for a day or so, our members-only
section was never affected, nor was the Handiham remote base website. The
Handiham mailing lists were not affected. And, as you might expect, our
backup website at www.handiham.net also remained in service.

I hope you find the new website interface easy to use. As we move forward I
will be continuing to look for and clean up any problems that might show
up. If you do run into any kind of accessibility issue, be sure to let us
know about it. There is nothing worse from the standpoint of a website
developer than to be thinking that everything is A-OK when in fact
something is broken and users are too polite to let you know about it! For
those of you who are technically inclined, our website runs Drupal seven
with a "Corolla" theme that is based on Adaptive Theme. We hope this will
make the website easy to use and accessible to everyone.
Bulletin Board

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
Recently I had an enquiry about software for Morse code learning, and here
is what I came up with:

   - Here is one that might work: http://www.justlearnmorsecode.com/
   - This is the DX Zone list:
   - WinMorse changes text to code:

May I use the remote base stations to listen to W1AW?

   - That was a question from a remote base user, and the answer was an
   enthusiastic "yes"!  You will find the W1AW operating schedule on the
   ARRL website <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw-operating-schedule>. It is
   important to remember a couple of things about receiving W1AW
   successfully.  Since the user lives in California, he must check the W1AW
   schedule using the "Pacific" time zone column in the schedule.  Of course
   propagation must be considered, so choosing the correct frequency band is
   vital. The station is located in Minnesota, while W1AW is in Newington,
   Connecticut. That means we are talking about radio propagation between the
   New England states and the upper Midwest, not California where the user
   resides. Band conditions can be quite variable during the summertime, so
   there is going to be a certain amount of experimentation involved in
   choosing the best frequency for reception at the most convenient time of
   day. W1AW transmits on multiple frequency bands, so if you have no luck on
   one band, try another one. Sometimes people are looking for code practice,
   which is a mainstay of W1AW's schedule. Others may be interested in the
   digital or phone bulletins, which are also in the transmission schedule.
   - The best way to figure it all out is to pay a visit to:
   - Finally, it is good to remember that you can use the Echolink
   application to listen to either remote base station. You will find details
   on Echolink operation at:

Summer audio fun:

   - In response to a member's comments about history and recollections of
   the early days of operating, I got to thinking about one of my favorite
   podcasters, Jeff Davis, KE9V. Jeff had done a podcast called "Long Delayed
   Echoes", which was all about radio history, and did he ever do a great job.
   Jeff's podcasts are among the most compelling and fun listening you will
   find anywhere - but the catch is that you can't find them anymore, at least
   for now.  I Tweeted Jeff the other day and he did have some good news in
   his reply, which is that his series "Cornbread Row" will be repeated this
   summer.  Keep up with the latest from Jeff at his blog:

Power outage?  Why not - everything else has gone sideways this week.

Yes, this week has been a doozy for things going wrong. Not only did we
have the website problem, but several power outages – one of which really
messed up remote base station W0ZSW. We don't have any especially bad or
stormy weather today but that didn't stop the power company from treating
us to a nice 15 minute break from work just before noon. Today's outage
turned the ham shack/home office dark and left me scrambling to get the
computer files saved in the time allowed by my uninterruptible power
supply. The IRLP node went down, Echolink went bye-bye, and the microwave
wouldn't work, so there was nothing to heat up lunch while the computer
wasn't working. What a waste of time! I don't know how it is where you
live, but here in the Twin Cities summertime seems to be the worst for
power outages. Some are storm related and last only a second or two. It is
easy to understand when a lightning strike causes the power to drop. What
is not so easy to understand is why the power goes off on a fine day when
there is no excessive air-conditioning load, no wind, and no apparent
reason for any damage to the power grid. As I said, this happens much more
frequently in the summertime. I am speculating here, but I think that there
is construction that probably interrupts the power. The summer season is
also construction season here in the upper Midwest. One nice service that
our power company offers is the availability of an outage map on the
Internet. Of course, this assumes that you have some way to access the
Internet during a power outage, but with a smart phone, this is not a
problem. Call me crazy, but I think power companies have an obligation to
their customers that extends beyond just getting the power back on again as
soon as possible. I would really like it if there would be some way to give
me a heads up when a power outage is likely to occur, such as during major
infrastructure changes to the power grid or the connecting up of a major
new section of town or whatever. If the power company knows that
maintenance is taking place, doesn't it make sense to let customers know
that there could be a power outage within a given time window so that they
can be prepared? I suggested this on our power company's Facebook page. I
would like to get an auto dialed robotic voice message or a text message
prior to an outage so that I can prepare. Sometimes, power outages are
unpredictable. We know and understand that. But I just can't believe that
every single one of these outages, especially the ones during fine weather,
can't be covered by notification events.

Do I have a responsibility for some level of power protection as a

Yes, of course I do! I did not lose my work on the computer because I have
an uninterruptible power supply. An alternative would've been to work on a
notebook computer that has its own built-in battery supply. I know that as
an emergency communicator, I need a source of backup power should there be
an extended outage. For that situation I have a gasoline generator. Since
lighting is important, I keep LED flashlights in known locations. I keep
the batteries charged in my handheld radio. While I am aggravated when the
power company fails to deliver, I know that I have a plan to protect my
computer files and to keep emergency power flowing to things like the
refrigerator and the basement sump pump.

Plan ahead to be ready for a summer emergency!
Handiham Nets are on on the air.

Last Wednesday evening we ended up with a substitute NCS at the last minute
- it worked out well, though - It's great when we can be flexible enough
for the net to get picked up by a volunteer.  This morning's net almost
turned into an informal rag-chew and roundtable when no NCS showed up. It's
one of those summertime things.  People get busy during the fine weather
just doing outdoor stuff, and getting on a net might not be convenient.
Ironically, today was one of the first times in ages that I have actually
showed up EARLY for the morning net.  I was checking out the port
triggering on the router and ran the Echolink application, so what the
heck.  No mistaking anything we have for WX today for "pleasant" or
"Spring-like".  It's a lousy, cold, rainy one up here - a perfect day to
retreat to the ham shack!

Thanks to N4STF for picking up this morning's session and to KB3ZUK for
grabbing the reins last Wednesday evening.

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

*We are scheduled to be on the air daily at 11:00 USA Central Time, plus
Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 19:00 USA Central Time.  A big THANK YOU
to all of our net control stations!  What will Doug, N6NFF, come up with
for his trivia question tonight? Will  I guess we'll just have to tune in
and listen!  *

*We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time.
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.  *

*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 AMATEUR
RADIO question pool, that is!

*Let's go to the Extra Class pool and examine a question about RF exposure
and MPE (maximum permissible exposure):*

E0A06 asks: *Why are there separate electric (E) and magnetic (H) field MPE

Possible answers are:

A. The body reacts to electromagnetic radiation from both the E and H fields

B. Ground reflections and scattering make the field impedance vary with

C. E field and H field radiation intensity peaks can occur at different

D. All of these choices are correct

What do you think?  Frankly, RF exposure is sort of an afterthought to many
ham radio station owners - but it shouldn't be!  The FCC is probably going
to revise exposure standards, an indication that knowing about MPE and
designing stations to be safe is a high priority. All of the choices above
are correct, so answer D is the right one. When planning your station
layout and antenna and feedline systems, it is (or should be) part of the
planning process to measure for safe distances between your antennas and
your family and the neighbors.

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQ**Handiham Office Closed on Memorial Day:
[image: transceiver animated gif] <http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/211>

The Courage Center Handiham office will be closed on Friday, May 24 and
Monday, May 27 in observance of the United States Memorial Day holiday. Our
website will be available for your use as you continue your ham radio
studies, and the Handiham Remote Base stations will be on line and
available to members. Please enjoy a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!
Countdown to the Allina-Courage Center merger:*

   - Did you know that our parent organization, Courage Center, is merging
   with Allina Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute this Spring?  Of course
   you did, you read it here:

   - The formal merger will take place in June, so we have been busy
   preparing.  This has included planning meetings, special training in new
   systems, and working together with our colleagues to make sure that
   everything proceeds as smoothly as possible. I will update you on some of
   the changes in upcoming newsletters. There will be differences in how you
   pay your Handiham membership dues, for example. We are excited about the
   new partnership between these two respected non-profits that will help us
   serve our communities and Handiham members better.

*The May DAISY <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAISY_Digital_Talking_Book>digest
for our blind members is ready for use, and...

...June audio is in production. Some of this brand-new audio may be
available by later in the week, time allowing. I am going to have quite a
lot of time tied up in transition meetings and training.


   - Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this
   month.  Look for these DAISY materials in the members section.
   - There is no Friday Notify mailing this week.

*New! The Icom IC-706M2G manual read by volunteer Lyle Koehler, K0LR, is in
the manuals section in DAISY format. As with our other DAISY offerings, the
book is in a single zip file that may be downloaded and unzipped to your
computer for transfer to an NLS player or other compatible DAISY reading
device.  I have a report from a DAISY device user that the manual is very
good and easy to navigate.Radio Camp application packets are still
available.  *

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.

*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.

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, 22 May 2013 - Patrick Tice