[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24 April 2013

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:33:44 -0500

*Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday,
24 April 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.

MP3 audio stream:

Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:

Get this podcast in iTunes:

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
*Welcome to Handiham World.*Nostalgia, part 2

*[image: Knight-Kit R-55 short-wave communications receiver kit]
Image: Reproduction of a page from an old Allied Knight-Kit catalog,
showing Knight-Kit R-55 short-wave communications receiver kit, which cost
all of $69.95 in 1962. The five-band R-55 tuned "530 kc to 36 mc and 47-54
mc 6-meter band".  Back in those days, no one said kilohertz or megahertz.
It came with a Wen "100" solder gun, an outdoor antenna kit, a dual
headset, and a "Handy ARRL Logbook".  Because $69.95 was a heck of a lot of
money back then, you could buy on credit for $5 per month. I'll bet a lot
of kids got their start in radio with kits just like this one. *

A couple of weeks ago we recalled the days of broadcast radio, when one
could listen to the medium wave bands (what we usually call AM radio) and
hear far off stations late into the night. This was a great way to learn
about how radio wave propagation changed through the day and night as well
as how summer and winter reception was so different.  Summer thunderstorms
assaulted the eardrums with loud static crashes. Cold winter nights brought
static-free broadcasts from a thousand miles or more away.  Growing up with
AM broadcast radio was one of those things that could spark an interest in
learning more about radio - by becoming an amateur radio operator.

*Ron, K8HSY, shares some of his memories with us:*

[image: Page from Allied catalog showing selected Knight-Kit do it yourself
radio kits, including the Ocean Hopper.]
*Image: Page from Allied catalog showing selected Knight-Kit do it yourself
radio kits, including the Ocean Hopper, upper left corner. *

*According to the text, "This amazing set covers AM broadcast plus both
shortwave and longwave! Efficient regenerative circuit, with handy plug-in
coils, tunes from 165 KC (longwave) all the way to 35 MC-for local
programs, foreign broadcasts, hams, planes, beacons, the 500-KC distress
frequency and other services. On strong stations receiver will operate a
3-4 ohm p.m. speaker (not supplied). With cabinet, broadcast band coil,
wire, solder, easy instructions. Less extra coils, headphone, antenna
(below). 6 3/4 x 10 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. For 110-120 v, 50-60 cycle AC, DC.
7 lbs."*

*The Ocean Hopper sold for $16.95 in 1962, and for only a penny more Allied
would throw in a Wall 40 Watt soldering iron with stand. "A $1.98 value!"*

Ron writes:

*I listened to the "Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the
week of Wednesday, 10 April 2013" with great interest. It brought back many
fond memories. At age 10, my very first radio that I listened to for AM and
short-wave was a Zenith, floor model with a big round glass window in the
front to reveal the dial and frequencies. It was probably 40 or 45 inches
tall, with a large tuning knob, a band switch, tone control, two banks of
push buttons for pre-set frequencies, and a really big speaker in the
bottom of the case. The radio was treated like a fancy piece of furniture.
The case was beautifully finished, dark wood. It was actually my
Grandmother's radio, but she knew how much I enjoyed sitting in front of
that radio for hours and hours tuning in stations from all over the world,
including hams, and listening to it. So, when she died, she gave me that
radio in her will. My next radio was very similar to yours. It was a Knight
Kit and was called the Ocean Hopper. My Dad helped me put it together, and
for two people not knowing anything about putting electronic kits together,
that turned out to be quite a project. We finally got it all together, and
it was time to plug it in and give it the ol' smoke test! It didn't really
have a case; just a chassis with a front on it for the controls. There
wasn't any speaker either, just a jack for headphones. Well, we plugged it
in. I had my headphones on, but nothing happened, not a single peep came
out of the headphones. I felt like crying, but being almost all grownup at
age 11, I sure couldn't cry, especially in front of my Dad. We went back
over all of the wiring with the schematic diagram as our guide, and we
couldn't find anything wrong. So, we ended up taking it up to a radio and
TV repair fellow we knew in town, who also happened to be a ham, and he put
my little Ocean Hopper on the test bench and in a manner of seconds, well,
maybe minutes, he found the problem. We left out an insulating washer from
around the antenna terminal, thus, shorting out the antenna to the chassis.
Once that was fixed, my Ocean Hopper, a 3-tube, super regenerative
receiver, was pulling in stations from all over. It was a little tricky to
get the regeneration control set exactly right for maximum gain, but not
high enough to make it go into oscillation and whistle. The selectivity was
terrible and the CW signals sure sounded pretty gravelly, but it was loads
of fun, even if I did have to manually switch out coils to change bands.
That's right! There was no band switch. I was the band switch. The tuning
coils were plug-ins, and to go from one frequency range to another, you had
to pull out one coil and plug in another. Even still, it wasn't bad for a
little radio with 1 tube for the rectifier, 1 tube for the detector, and
another for the audio amplifier.*

*When I got my Novice ticket in 1957, I moved up to the big time, with an
S-38, then, some modified ARC-5 World War II surplus Command sets, and
finally I really hit the big time with a Hallicrafters SX-71; now, that was
a REAL receiver!*

*Thanks again, Pat, for bringing back some of the best memories of my life!*

*Ron Milliman, K8HSY*

*And we also heard from Bill, K9BV, who recalls:*

*My start was building a Knight-Kit Space Spanner with my best friend in
grade school. We used the kitchen table and I would read a page while he
assembled and soldered, then we'd switch on the next page. We threw a long
wire over the curtain rods and plugged it in...  and it worked right away!
Once we figured out how to use the regeneration, our first heard station
was Paris, France! I was hooked. We took turns using the radio at our homes
a week at a time. When his interest waned, I bought "his half" and kept the
radio for many years. I don't remember selling it to anyone, but haven't
seen it since the 50's.  It would be neat if I found it in a box

*Bill Vokac, K9BV*

*Also pictured on the same page of the Allied catalog as the Ocean Hopper,
we find Bill's "Space Spanner" 2-band receiver kit. *

*According to the text, you would "Thrill to broadcasts from Moscow, Rome,
Havana - This easy to build radio pulls them in. Hear ships, planes, hams,
too. Tunes AM from 540 to 1700 kc, shortwave from 6.5 to 17 mc. Has
regenerative circuit, band switch, band spread for exact tuning, 4 inch
speaker, phone jack. 7 7/8 x 11 5/8 inches with wire, solder, etc.  Less
cabinet. For 110-125 volts, 50 to 60 cycle AC, DC. 7 1/2 pounds."*

*The Space-Spanner sold for $16.95 and also had the "add a penny to get the
Wall 40-Watt soldering iron" deal.  *It seems funny these days to think
about features like a speaker being a big thing, and the cabinet being
"extra".  The optional wood cabinet set a kid back all of $1.95, but of
course that was real money for a kid mowing lawns or shoveling sidewalks to
earn spending money back in those days. Of course the band switch meant
that you didn't need plug in coils like the ones the "Ocean Hopper" used.
Those were 65 cents each, except for the lowest frequency one, 165 to 540
kc, which was 79 cents - probably because it had more turns!

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
FCC says no to reconsideration on BPL standards

ARRL reports that on April 16 the FCC denied the ARRL’s December 2011
Petition for Reconsideration that sought reconsideration of the FCC’s
Second Report and Order (BPL Second Order), “fundamentally affirm[ing]” its
rules for Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) systems. You can
read the FCC Second Memorandum Opinion & Order on the Handiham
and the entire ARRL story on

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
Dick Garey, WA0CAF, recommends a story entitled "Microsoft is Ending
Support for Windows XP in 2014: What You Need to Know" on the How-To Geek

   - XP Support

With the support for XP ending in 2014, we do need to upgrade the Remote
Base computer at W0ZSW.  The W0EQO host runs Vista, and it is our feeling
that both host machines should be brought up to date with the newer Windows
7 or 8 operating system. Because changing operating systems is no small
task, there is a real possibility that the stations could be off line for
more than the usual maintenance time.  We would like to consider simply
replacing the entire host machine at Courage North, which - after all - has
been running day and night without a break for almost five years!  The
W0ZSW host machine is much newer and can probably be upgraded with software
alone. Without regular maintenance offered by Microsoft updates, the danger
is that XP machines will fall prey to security vulnerabilities. Remote Base
software team leader Jose, KK4JZX, has also warned about the upcoming end
of support for XP.  The date for end of support is 8 April 2014.
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.  A big THANK YOU to all of our
net control stations!  What will Doug, N6NFF, come up with for his trivia
question tonight? Will it be the real stumper that will have us scratching
our heads?  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 *
Is there still a need for ham radio operators during emergencies, during
the most serious weather situations? [image: ARRL ARES round logo Amateur
Radio Emergency Service]Read this, and I think the answer will be
abundantly clear.

By Ron, K8HSY

On April 18, we had a forecasted severe weather alert here in the mid-west,
expected to hit several states including Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky,
Indiana, among others. Fortunately, the storm wasn't nearly as bad as
originally predicted, but it is a good thing because there was a massive
failure in our various emergency communications systems. Here is an email
just received by one of our local emergency communications centers sent out
this morning:

Many things went wrong on Thursday and they could have cost a lot of lives.
We should be thankful this morning that the severe weather event

What went wrong on Thursday

1. The bulk of the regions NOAA Weather Radios failed. An extremely rare
event. This was due to a communication problem with a phone line.
2. Some weather radars went down or could not deliver data in a timely
3. Land lines were down at the National Weather Service because of the
communication line failure.
4. At least one major college network server that pushes severe weather
information out to the public went down.
5. The National Weather Service chat program failed for many people - local
emergency managers, media, and the NWS use this chat service to relay
information to each other during severe weather events.
6. WeatherCall wasn't working for some - this is a service that calls you
when a warning is issued for your location. The phones would ring and say
it was WeatherCall but there would be no further voice message.
7. Some people said their text alert systems also did not work for them.
8. Some local media computers crashed - causing delays for them in
retrieving information.
9. There were times people could not get onto the National Weather Service
websites leading up to the event. Slow servers or timing out issues.
10. And finally, but not least - the forecast itself ended up being a near
total failure (we got the heavy rain part of the forecast right).

Personally I have not seen so many technology failures since the 2009 ice
storm. That was the last time the weather radios went down (because of
catastrophic power failure).

What this statement from the emergency weather center didn't say is that
emergency ham communications during the severe ice storm in 2009 and then,
again, yesterday, was the primary source of solid, reliable communications.

73, Ron, K8HSY
Handiham Booth at Dayton Hamvention®

[image: Hamvention arena showing forest of antennas aand crowd of people.]

It's not too early to remind our readers and listeners that we will be at
Dayton Hamvention® again this year, and we would like you to stop by and
visit us at booth 330 in the Silver Arena. The dates are May 17-19, 2013.
The theme at Dayton this year is "DX Hamvention®".  We always have a couple
of extra chairs at the Handiham booth, so you can sit down while you
visit.  We may put you to work telling others about Handihams!  If you use
a wheelchair or a scooter, there will be room for you to pull into the
booth area out of traffic in the aisle.  We always place our table back to
allow for a nice, open area that can accommodate our members and their
service dogs. See you there!  Learn more about the show:
*A dip in the pool*

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

Tomorrow evening I get to participate in one of the most important facets
of Amateur Radio here in the United States - a VE session.  To unlock your
full potential as a Volunteer Examiner, you really need the Extra Class
license.  This allows you to administer exams for any level of Amateur
Radio license.  I am mentioning this because I know many of you are working
toward the Extra, perhaps thinking of the new frequencies that will open up
to you.  That is certainly something to look forward to, but with the top
license also comes the opportunity to be a VE with full privileges, and I
hope you will consider volunteering your time to help others get their
first license or upgrade an existing license. Of course you don't need to
wait until you pass Extra to become a VE, but without the Extra you are
limited by your license class.  The FCC says:

*Each written question set administered to an examinee must be prepared by
a VE holding an Amateur Extra Class operator license, except that an
Advanced class VE can administer the Technician and General class license
exam, and a General class VE can administer the Technician class

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 volunteer

E1E08 asks, "To which of the following examinees may a VE not administer an

Possible choices are:

A. Employees of the VE

B. Friends of the VE

C. Relatives of the VE as listed in the FCC rules

D. All of these choices are correct

Bearing in mind that we want to be careful to ensure the integrity of the
exams, what do you think?  Employees?  Friends?  Relatives?  Well, you
might think that it would be good practice to avoid administering exams to
any of those, but the only one that the rules prohibit is "Relatives of the
VE as listed in the FCC rules", which is answer C.  Our VE team has strict
guidelines for best practices, so because I taught some of the examinees
during the General Class course, I will not be overseeing them directly,
but will be able to help in other ways at this particular session. I always
feel honored to be a VE, and consider it one of the duties I have as an
Extra Class licensee.

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQThe May
for our blind members is ready for use. More May audio is added as
it becomes available from our volunteer readers. *

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

*Radio Camp application packets are still available.  *

*Some of you have asked if we changed locations for the radio camp this
year.  The answer is no, we are still at Camp Courage on Cedar Lake.  The
confusion came about because the camp's physical address is "Maple Lake,
MN", but the camp is not on Maple Lake.  It is on nearby Cedar Lake. There
are so many lakes in Minnesota that it is easy to get confused, but it is
also easy to find a nearby lake for water recreation!  *

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, 24 April 2013 - Patrick Tice