[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 June 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 16:08:31 -0500

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
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Welcome to Handiham World!

A Field Day from the 1970's - Pat & Newt set up a generator

Photo:  Pat, WA0TDA, left, and friend Newt, a farmer who let us use his barn
for a Field Day ham shack, set up a generator. This was a Field Day with a
real field - the end-fed Marconi antenna was hundreds of feet long,
extending from a high point on the barn out to a solitary tree in a soybean

Look at that head of curly hair I had back then, which I think was sometime
in the early 1970's!   The old gas generator made considerable racket, so it
was located as far as we could manage from the operating position. This
rustic setting for the generator was in the farmyard next to Newt's machine
shed. Field Day has changed quite a bit for some of us...

Field Day is this coming weekend, June 26 and 27, 2010. We are looking
forward to joining the SARA group, a Handiham-affiliate as well as an ARRL
Special Service Club, for this annual operating event. Look for W0JH, our
club callsign, and give us a shout. We will be operating on the HF bands as
well as on 2 m, and you may even find us on Echolink.

Yes, I know that Echolink contacts do not count for Field Day points, but we
will be in this contest for fun, fellowship, the promotion of amateur radio
to the general public, and to use and have fun with new technologies.
Earning Field Day points is far down on our list of priorities, and that
brings me to what I have mentioned before in my columns and podcasts:
Different clubs and individual amateur radio operators have different
priorities for operation on ARRL Field Day. Some will be in aggressive
contesting mode and will work hard to earn as many points as possible, often
with multiple CW stations earning double points for Morse code contacts.
Considerable effort will be put into impressive antenna systems and station
staffing will include the best and most experienced operators. The logging
system will be state-of-the-art and the entire operation will be carried off
with military precision. Other clubs, like ours, will not consider high
point scores as our first goal. The success of our operation will be whether
or not we had fun getting on the air. I've had decades of ham radio
experience, and that has given me a chance to approach Field Day from
different angles. This leads to the observation that Field Day rules, while
designed to be broad enough to include a variety of interests and goals,
also set up a certain tension between contesting and the other goals, such
as showcasing amateur radio to the general public, training new operators by
getting them on the air, exposing seasoned operators to new technology,
preparing for and operating in a simulated emergency situation, and drawing
in family members to observe and participate.

Tension? What do you mean by that?

Well, here's the deal. If a club is really in it for the points, the top
priority will be finding a location for the event that enhances operating,
setting up stations with elaborate antenna systems, spending a significant
amount of time operating CW for the double point score, designing and
deploying bulletproof supporting systems that include multiple power sources
independent of the grid and a shared logging system. Serious clubs will
prepare all year long for this event and operator training will be a
significant part of the preparation. All of this is well and good, and all
of it is rewarded handsomely in the point scoring system. And who can argue
with extensive preparation and training? Both are important aspects of
emergency preparedness.

The problem is that the very nature of this kind of operation is that it can
suffer enormously if it is compromised by allowing inexperienced operators
to run the stations. True, those inexperienced operators may hold General or
Extra licenses, but they may have little or no Morse code experience. If
they do operate CW, they may do so at a much slower speed than the
experienced operators in the club. Relegated to the phone stations, these
relative newcomers to HF operation may still work stations at a far slower
rate than experienced phone operators. The best Field Day location for
antenna systems that are really competitive may not be the easiest site to
get to. Club members who have family, work, or school obligations will find
it difficult to participate in multiple planning and training sessions in
the months prior to the contest. Do you see what I'm getting at? It might be
said that "winning" in contest mode requires quite a different mindset and
singular dedication toward scoring points than the other goals typically
associated with a more inclusive Field Day experience. Let's take a look at
the object of Field Day, as stated in the official rules: 

"To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands
(excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and in doing so to learn to
operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. A premium

is placed on developing skills to meet the challenges of emergency
preparedness as well as to acquaint the general public with the capabilities
of Amateur Radio."

Okay, working as many stations as possible probably means a no holds barred
contest station. However, developing skills to meet the challenges of
emergency preparedness is quite a different matter unless you are willing to
compromise your point score to spend a significant amount of time during the
event training relative newcomers to HF. Furthermore, if your site is
optimally placed for contesting but inaccessible to people who can't hike up
a rocky slope, I would have to argue that you would not only be shutting out
club members with disabilities but also discouraging observation by the
general public.

Some considerable effort over the years has been made to meld these
otherwise incompatible goals. The "GOTA", or "Get on the Air" station
concept was designed to fulfill the goal of getting newbies on the air while
still allowing the more experienced operators to run up the point score on
the other stations. The GOTA station could then also served as a point of
demonstration to members of the press or general public who happened to show
up. Still, there remains a sort of stigma about the GOTA operation in some
clubs, where it is looked upon as a necessary but inconvenient compromise to
the primary goal, which is to earn lots of points. Still, the rules do allow
bonus points for locating in a publicly accessible place and having an
information table. The question for any serious contest group will be how to
compromise between optimal contest operation and putting on a show for the
general public and training new operators. Some points are awarded for
copying or passing messages. Again, this remains somewhat of a sideline
activity to simply working as many stations as possible, preferably in a
mode that allows for a higher point score.

Can you imagine a real-life emergency situation in which amateur radio
repeaters, if they were available, would not be used? When the Interstate
35W bridge collapsed here in the Twin Cities several years ago, you can bet
that the repeaters were buzzing with activity. Nonetheless, making Field Day
contacts on repeater systems for points is prohibited by the rules. Some
clubs will use their repeater systems for so-called "talk-in" information to
guide participants to the Field Day site or to give out information of
interest to the greater amateur radio community. Of course Echolink and IRLP
contacts are not valid for points, either. If your club wishes to use these
new technologies, you may not list the contacts for point scoring purposes,
though they may be of great interest to the general public.

Extra consideration is given for CW operation, which earns two points for
every contact as opposed to a phone contact, which earns only one point.
Similarly, digital mode operation counts for two points per contact. From
what I have observed over the years, CW is a highly efficient mode of
operation that lends itself to really racking up the points, at least at the
hands of experienced operators. I'm not sure exactly why it needs the extra
boost of a point subsidy, but I suppose this could encourage the old timers
to let a couple of newer, less experienced CW operators take over for a
shift or two. The two point subsidy for digital contacts might be somewhat
more justified as a means to promote more digital operation. Still, if
special point considerations are given for digital operation and satellite
contacts (bonus points), I do have to confess that I am somewhat at a loss
as to why Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES capability isn't at least recognized in
some kind of bonus point scheme if not outright point scores per contact.
After all, these technologies will define amateur radio operation for a
significant part of the ham radio population in the years to come -- as they
do right now in this rather disappointing lingering sunspot minimum when HF
operation has been lackluster at best.

Yes, I have heard all the arguments before about how repeaters cannot be
tied up with any sort of contesting activity and how Echolink isn't real ham
radio. I understand the reluctance of clubs to step too far outside the
bounds of tradition. There are good and compelling reasons why unleashing
contest activity onto repeater systems might be a really bad idea. Visions
of repeaters tied up for hours on end come to mind. A repeater tied up with
contest activity would be unavailable in an emergency. Contacts through an
Echolink repeater would be said to make use of non-ham radio technology,
doing an end run around the purpose and scope of amateur radio. These are
all valid concerns, but I would counter that one can drive across the
country these days scanning for repeater activity and finding city after
city where the repeaters sit virtually dormant if not outright comatose.
What would be wrong with actually using these resources? I'm going to stick
my neck out and say that the horror stories of repeaters being tied up and
in constant use will not come to pass.  If using a repeater as a talk-in
station or just to make random contacts to demonstrate the repeater and ham
radio to the general public suits you, go for it. Believe me, with most
repeaters going hours and sometimes days on end with no activity, you
probably won't stand much chance of causing a problem.

And what if you make an Echolink contact or two? Don't count it in the Field
Day log, but at least use the opportunity to enjoy the latest communications

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice

Oh, and if you want to join the Field Day fun with us, check out the Oakdale
Discovery Center, starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, when we will
be starting the station setup.  The SARA Field Day will include a
cooperative project with University of Minnesota students to launch a helium
balloon, which will be tethered to fly above the Field Day site and transmit
ATV - Amateur Television - pictures to the ground from aloft. Points?  No.
Fun? Yes.

Oakdale Discovery Center
4444 Hadley Ave N
St Paul, MN 55128-2651

sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=directions-to&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQngIwAA>  directions
with Google Maps

W0JH Repeater Talk-In

The SARA 2m repeater is on 147.060 MHz, with a positive offset (transmit on
147.660 MHz). It is an open repeater. You need a tone of 114.8 Hz on your
transmit signal.

The SARA website is www.radioham.org.


Testing for Technician license? Last chance! 7 days and counting.

Happy cartoon clock

If you are studying for your Technician Class amateur radio license, you had
better hurry and find a testing session. You have a  week before the new
Technician question pool goes into effect on July 1, 2010.

Once the new question pool is in effect, the test will be all new, and the
old pool questions you may have been using for review will no longer be used
in the actual exam. If you feel that you are ready to test, please find a VE
session right away.

Finding a VE session is not difficult under ordinary circumstances, but
summer isn't always the easiest time, since so many potential volunteers are
on vacation. Go online and look for a session, then use the session contact
information to make sure that all of the listed information is correct. If
you have a disability and require accommodation, please do this right away -

Two online resources are the ARRL and W5YI websites:





You should also contact your local radio club for information on their VE
sessions. Some clubs offer special VE sessions immediately before question
pool changes.


More Field Day Locator feedback requested


We have gotten some feedback thus far on this topic, and it is that the
locator is not accessible to screenreader users.

Check this new resource out:


Once you are on the site, head for the "List By State/Province" link. Then
use the pull-down menu to choose your State or Province. The stations at
public locations are listed.

Note: We are looking for feedback on how accessible the system of locating
public Field Day sites is to our blind members. While the site does feature
an interactive map as its primary feature, the "List By State/Province" link
may be a useful alternative way to locate the relevant information.

Blind users please send your comments about using this page to Pat,


Reminder:  We need Net Control Stations

Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we could use more net control volunteers and
net participants. Summer is an especially challenging time to recruit and
hold volunteers in the NCS position, since so many of us take time off for
vacation or simply set aside ham radio in favor of other summer activities.
Remember, Mother Nature sometimes deals us a harsh hand in these summer
months, when severe weather can make it imperative to have radio operators
who have some experience and can help with emergency communications.  What
better way to gain experience than checking into the daily Handiham net?  If
you have little or no net experience, check in and participate. If you are
confident you have enough experience and have talked with Howard, KE7KNN,
net manager, you may take a turn as a Net Control Station.

Days: Monday through Saturday, and Sunday if anyone wants to take an
informal session.

Times: 11:00 hours United States Central Time M-S and a second Wednesday
session at 19:30 Central Time.

Frequency in the local Minnesota repeater coverage zone: 145.45 FM, negative
offset with no tone in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul

EchoLink nodes:

KA0PQW-R, node 267582
N0BVE-R, node 89680
HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.)

Other ways to connect:

IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)

WIRES system number 1427

The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central
Standard time, which translates to +5 hours, or 00:30 GMT Thursday morning
during North American Daylight Time. In the winter, the GMT schedule is +6
hours. Connect from any Internet-enabled computer in the world, and come out
on Twin Cities repeater N0BVE on 145.450.


Out there

*       5 Security Applications

Dick, WA0CAF, has located a story about five free security applications for
your computer. We have not tested any of these, but you can find the article


Use the search link, then search for "Five small and essential apps to armor
your PC".

*       Milestone 312-Voice Recorder and MP3 Player for the Blind

Ken, KB3LLA, has found a link to a new portable handheld recorder and book
reader. When development is complete, it is supposed to also include a bar
code reader and color reader (to tell you what color an object is.) Again,
we have not tested this device.

 <http://tinyurl.com/243h998> http://tinyurl.com/243h998


A familiar voice will soon be back on the net.

Main enterence, Assisi Heights

If all goes according to plan we will soon hear Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, on
the Handiham Echolink net. Sister, a founding member of Handihams, will be
using a Kenwood TM-V7A transceiver at Assisi Heights in Rochester, MN, where
the Handiham System got started in 1967. She will access the net on the
KG0BP 444.575 MHz repeater system, which is connected to the HANDIHAM
conference server. Minor setup remains to be done, then Sister will be on
the air.  Thanks to volunteers K0JE, K0JA, and W0EDA, as well as to KG0BP
and KD0JPK.



cartoon dog barking at postal carrier

Last week was something I will not soon forget.  We had flooding on the east
side of the Salt Lake Valley. Rivers were overflowing their banks, so the
call for help went out and Arlene, KE7KNM, and I went to see what we could
do. We ended up filling sandbags. The flooding was caused by a rapid snow
melt in the higher elevations above the Valley. A melt of 3 to 4 inches of
snow per day translated into water going 6 to 8 inches over the riverbanks
downstream. When we got to the site, we were waiting for five truck loads of
sand. Once the sand arrived, we filled sandbags and took care of the five
truck loads in under one hour. The sandbags went to grateful homeowners and
were used along the rivers. Authorities were short on communications in the

In related weather news, on Wednesday afternoon Arlene and I were driving
back from Idaho and ran into a large thunderstorm. Believe it or not, we got
hit by lightning in our pickup truck. That was a first for both of us! We
were on the interstate driving south when it happened. Neither of us could
hear very well until our ears recovered from the loud noise that accompanied
the strike.

73 and stay safe!

Howard, KE7KNN


Handiham Radio Club & Volunteer lists return to service

Two Handiham mailing lists suddenly quit working around May 15. The cause is
still not clear, but our hosting service repaired the lists yesterday,
resulting in a flood of backed up messages. Now that the problem is
resolved, list traffic should return to normal. We apologize for the


This week @ HQ

*       A big THANKS to Howard, KE7KNN, for supporting Radio Camp by funding
the cost of the VE fees for campers at Handiham Radio Camp. What a great way
to help amateur radio operators with disabilities!
*       We have finished reading the July, 2010 QST audio digest. Ken
Padgitt, W9MJY, has completed the June 2010 Doctor column from QST for our
blind members, but the July edition of the Doctor column will be delayed.
Handiham members who use adapted audio can log in to members only for the
digest. If you qualify for National Library Service audio books, you can get
the entire issue of QST, once the issue is read and cataloged.
*       The new Technician pool is online at Handiham.org, as modified for
Handiham use. Find it in the Manuals section.
*       The latest Technician Class study materials are arriving at
Handihams. As you know, the Technician question pool changes on July 1, only
one week from now!  We are planning to teach the Technician course for our
members online, in audio lecture format tailored to our members with
disabilities. This Friday we will send out our final Technician audio
lecture notice with links to the old audio lectures.
*       The ARRL Atlantic Division sponsored a free webinar about using the
new ARRL web site. The webinar was on Tuesday, June 15, and I signed up, so
now perhaps I can help more of our Handiham members with questions about
this new ARRL resource. - Pat, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx
*       Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the June 2010 CQ & Worldradio audio
digests for our blind members.  Thanks, Bob!

・         Shipping address for Handihams: Our shipping address is different
than our mailing address, though we can still get packages and mail at
either address. The thing is, it is much, much easier if packages, such as
equipment donations, are sent directly to our headquarters office. This is
the same address where Radio Camp will be held.

Camp Courage
Handiham System
8046 83rd Street Northwest
Maple Lake, MN 55358-2454

Please don't call the Camp Courage number to reach Handihams. The phone at
the main Camp Courage office for all departments is (320) 963-3121. However,
we do not always get phone messages left at that number in a timely manner,
so if you wish to leave a phone message, be sure to call:

Pat: 763-520-0511

Nancy: 763-520-0512

Nancy and I will get your calls or voicemails at those numbers no matter
where we are working.

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"

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.

Wednesday Echolink net news - Net time is new for GMT, now that we are on
Daylight Time.

Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net is on the air. Please join us
and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit. We are on the air
Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM) or GMT: Thursday
morning at 00:30 Z.


Supporting Handihams

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 2010.


Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Reminder: Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or
join, as we need you to keep our program strong!

You will have several choices when you renew:

・         Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year. Your
renewal date is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership
extends for one year.

・         Join for three years at $30.

・         Lifetime membership is $100.

・         If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for
the year.

・         Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our

・         Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible.

Your support is critical! Please help.

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call 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
<http://www.handiham.org/> www.handiham.org:

・         Beginner

・         General

・         Extra

・         Operating Skills

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!


Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


ARRL 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.

・         By wa0tda at 06/23/2010 - 21:00

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Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)

FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address!

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 June 2010 - Patrick Tice