This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System. Please do not reply to this message. Use the contact information at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx You can also listen to the content online: MP3 audio stream: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ 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 field. 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 technology. For Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 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 Get <http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=IY9&rls=org.mozilla:e n-US:official&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=0,0,13701406323688740352&fb=1&hq=discovery+c enter&hnear=Oakdale,+MN&gl=us&daddr=4444+Hadley+Ave+N,+St+Paul,+MN+55128-265 1&geocode=18277835586038044336,45.013071,-92.964368&ei=j0EiTJ2cKajtnQfxjOkm& 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 - today! Two online resources are the ARRL and W5YI websites: ARRL VEC: <http://www.arrl.org/register-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session> http://www.arrl.org/register-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session W5YI VEC: <http://www.w5yi.org/exam_locations_ama.php> http://www.w5yi.org/exam_locations_ama.php 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 microphone 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: <http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator> http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator 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, wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx _____ 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 Minnesota. 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 at: http://windowssecrets.com <http://windowssecrets.com/links/$P20d/332c33h/?url=WindowsSecrets.com%2F201 0%2F06%2F03%2Fts%2F%3Fn%3Dstory1> 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. _____ Feedback 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 area. 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 inconvenience. _____ 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" automatically! 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 <https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344> &srcid=344 ・ Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down Designation menu to select "Handi-Hams". ・ Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift is a tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information. This would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example. We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and we plan to continue doing just that in 2010. _____ Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Handiham Membership Dues Reminder: Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we need you to keep our program strong! You will have several choices when you renew: ・ Join at the usual $10 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal date is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for one year. ・ Join for three years at $30. ・ Lifetime membership is $100. ・ If you can't afford the dues, request a sponsored membership for the year. ・ Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities. ・ Discontinue your membership. Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. Your support is critical! Please help. The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call 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: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at <http://www.handiham.org/> www.handiham.org: ・ Beginner ・ General ・ Extra ・ Operating Skills That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handiham System Reach me by email at: patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ ARRL 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 ・ Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment%2Freply%2F844%23comm ent-form> to post comments ・ Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/844> version ・ Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/844> to friend _____ Courage Center Handiham System 3915 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, MN 55422 E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442) FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! We look forward to hearing from you soon.