[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24 August 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 05:28:00 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
<unsaved://Untitled_1.htm#Contact> , 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!

Description: Description: Pat holds microphone in the ham shack at the

We're back!

In praise of summer nets:

August is usually not a high activity month in ham radio anyway, so what the
heck, maybe not that many people noticed if the local radio club didn't have
regular meetings during the summer.  They were probably all on vacation or
harvesting the vegetables from their gardens.

Still, key members of radio clubs are waking up and thinking to themselves,
"Holy cow, it's almost September and the club's first meeting of the new ham
radio season is almost here. We've got to start on the club newsletter!
Plan the business meeting agenda!  Who's in charge of the club program?
Yikes, how are we going to get all this stuff done?"

Yes, it's that time again, time to plan for the Autumn and Winter months,
when ham radio interest will be higher than the snow bank outside my window
here in Minnesota. Last week I attended a planning meeting with some of my
fellow radio club members. We talked about the upcoming membership meeting,
the newsletter, and what direction the club would take in the upcoming
months. We are already planning to teach a General Class course this Autumn.
My local club, the Stillwater (MN) Amateur Radio Association, has a strategy
of offering Technician training in the Spring to coincide with Skywarn
training prior to the summer severe weather season and a General Class
upgrade course in the Autumn when our Technicians from the previous Spring
may be interested in learning more about amateur radio and the HF bands.
Many clubs take a three month summer break like ours, though June, with ARRL
Field Day, is still quite busy.  It is just the regular meetings and the
newsletter that "go on vacation" for the summer break. Other club
activities, like the local HF and VHF nets, remain active throughout the

One of the tricks to remember about keeping your radio club active and
healthy is to ALWAYS have something going on, even during the summer.
Regularly scheduled activities are going to provide the continuity that will
keep members from drifting away over the summer and never coming back.  Now,
I'm not talking about elaborate dog and pony shows here.  You don't have to
organize special meetings or events.  Simply having an evening net, even an
informal gathering without a net control, can be good enough.  Scheduled
nets are good, too.  Some clubs have a regular monthly breakfast or lunch,
all of which is informal and completely optional, which is just perfect for
summertime when plans can change at a moment's notice.  At the Handiham
Radio Club we have our daily EchoLink net.  The important thing is to keep
club members connected with simple, easy, optional, low-commitment
activities that require almost no planning or effort.  

While large, elaborate activities like summer hamfests or special event
stations are fun and can sometimes be the highlight of the summer, not all
club activities need be so ambitious.  If you set the standard too high, an
elaborate event can burn volunteers out.  If such events take place once in
a while, that is one thing.  If they are scheduled every summer and the same
volunteers are expected to manage them again and again, you should not be
surprised to find that one summer will come along when everyone is just too
busy to plan or be part of the event.  The easy to plan informal on the air
get-together or regular net can be the glue that holds your club together
over the summer.  Don't sell it short!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


But first - Help us win the Dr. Dave Challenge!

Description: Description: Bill, K9BV; Lucy, KE6QNX, Dr. Dave, KN0S, Bill,
N6HBO & Guide Dog Heldy, and Pat, WA0TDA (kneeling in front.) Thumbs up for
a pass for Lucy at the VE session. 
Photo: Bill, K9BV; Lucy, KE6QNX, Dr. Dave, KN0S, Bill, N6HBO & Guide Dog
Heldy, and Pat, WA0TDA (kneeling in front.) Thumbs up for a pass for Lucy at
the VE session. 

Thanks to Chris Peterson, KG0BP, for taking advantage of his employer's
regular automatic donation system. Chris has been helping us out with
regular contributions.  In fact, quite a few companies have such donation
programs, and they can make supporting non-profit causes like the Handiham
System easy and quick. Check with your employer to see if this option might
be available to you.  Thanks also to Bob, N0HBC. 

Money is tight these days and we desperately need your support.  Now, thanks
to a generous challenge grant by Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, we have a chance to
help fill the budget gap.  Dr. Dave will donate $5,000 to the Handiham
System if we can raise a matching amount.  That means we need to really put
the fund-raising into high gear!  If you can help, designate a donation to
Handihams, stating that it is for the "Dr. Dave Challenge".  We will keep
you posted in our weekly e-letter as to the progress of the fund. 

Nancy can take credit card donations via the toll-free number,
1-866-426-3442, or accept checks sent to our Courage Center Handiham

Courage Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

Be sure to put a note saying "Dr. Dave Challenge" somewhere in the envelope
or on the note line of the check.  If you donate online as detailed toward
the end of your weekly e-letter, be sure to designate to Handihams and then
send me an email letting me know you donated to the Dr. Dave fund:

Thank you so much for your support!


ARRL releases 4th edition General Class Q & A manual in accessible format
for Kindle

Description: Description: ARRL Diamond Logo
The fourth edition of the ARRL General Q&A is now available from Amazon.com
for the Kindle. The format is e-book, and what makes it accessible is that
ARRL has enabled the text-to-speech feature, which means that Kindle owners
can have the book read to them by enabling this option in the Kindle. 

In fact, the General Q&A joins its sister volumes, the Technician and Extra
Q&A Kindle editions, which are all text-to-speech enabled. At under $10
each, they are reasonably priced.  Kudos to ARRL for providing these books
in text-to-speech enabled format on the Kindle, and to Amazon.com for
building this accessibility feature for blind and low-vision users into the
hardware.  Amazon.com is an easy website to use:  Just head for
www.amazon.com and use the search field to find ARRL General Q&A.  



Description: Description: dog barking at cartoon mail carrier

Handiham Radio Club President Ken, KB3LLA, writes:

I completed my first-aid/CPR course on Tuesday evening. Yes, blind folks can
get certified just like their sighted peers.


Ken also sent us a link to a "haptic" device that puts pressure on a blind
person's wrist to allow sensing of how distant an object is. Its full name
is "Hand-Mounted Haptic Feedback Sonar Obstacle Avoidance Assistance
Device", which is quite a mouthful.  I hadn't known what "haptic" meant
until earlier this year when I finally entered the 21st Century and got an
Android phone. One of its user-configurable settings is for something called
"haptic feedback", which means that I can set my phone to vibrate upon
certain actions, such as entering text.  This provides a positive tactile
sensation for the user so that it affirms a key has been pressed.  It's a
little hard to explain without actually showing you the phone and letting
you experience it for yourself, but having the haptic feedback for some
phone functions can be very helpful.  The new device that Ken likes is worn
on the wrist. It senses nearby objects and gives the wearer feedback -
haptic feedback - in the form of pressure on the wrist.  The pressure
varies, and the device can provide appropriate distance estimates to objects
between an inch away to up to 10 feet or so. Read more about it on


Ken also mentioned that he had updated the Handiham Radio Club information
on the ARRL affiliated clubs list:

Description: Description: resistor dividing line

Description: Description: Wouxun HT

Matt, KA0PQW, writes that he has completed the first audio tutorial lesson
for the Wouxun (pronounced "Oh-sheng") HT:
Here is part one of the Wouxun HT. I will work on more of it over the
weekend:  <http://www.handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/01-wouxun_ht.mp3>

Thanks & 73,

Description: Description: resistor dividing line


Description: Description: MMSSTV screenshot

Jimmy, KC9PXZ writes:

Well, I got the digital bug now, I used MMSSTV. It is easy to use on
receive. I want to try and receive packet. But I just want a simple packet
program. Something so that I can use to receive packet from the ISS, as well
as just working packet. I saw Winpacket. How easy is that to use? Does
Digipan do packet too, or just PSK? I can receive; I just need to build a
transmit interface. I have read (or better said in my case listened) to the
web site. I will most likely be posting questions on building the receive
side of the interface now. I think HRD has everything I want, but there
seems to be a lot more I will not use and less that I will at this point. As
far as the transmit interface goes, "simpler is better" as my skills are
still somewhat limited.

73 KC9PXZ Jimmy

Lyle, K0LR, writes in response to Jimmy's letter:

You can probably get everything you need to get started in packet radio from
SV2AGW's download site:  <http://www.sv2agw.com/downloads/default.htm> 

AGWPE.zip is a sound-card based terminal node controller (TNC), so you don't
have to run out and buy a TNC. It will work with the same sound card
interface as the MMSSTV program. To display the packet messages you can use
AGWTerm.zip from the same site. There is a tutorial on AGWPE at:

Lyle, K0LR 


2011 Handiham Radio Camp EMCOMM Exercise released for public use 

Description: unsaved://images/phil_emcomm.jpg
Phil, K9HI, gives an overview of the Mayberry Flood scripted exercise. 

ARRL EMA Section Manager Phil Temples, K9HI, wrote and managed the emergency
communications exercise at Handiham Radio Camp 2011.  The exercise was
"scripted", which means that a moderator tells the participants when to open
each of a series of envelopes according to a timed master script that only
the moderator sees.  Each envelope contains a short statement about what is
happening at that location at the time.  Participants are expected to act
out the scenario via their radios, reacting as they would in a real
situation.  The directions given in each envelope do not tell the
participant exactly what to say.  There is room to put things in your own
words and improvise.  Situations included a big flood, a fire, a baby being
born at a shelter, questions about saving pets, and more. 

The exercise is designed to run in under two hours, and we stayed on time,
finishing about three minutes early.  It was fun, and a great learning
experience.  Because some of you wanted to know more about it, Phil has sent
us the packets that go in the envelopes and the entire script.  Both are in
Word Doc format and are available for download from the Handiham website:

.         http://handiham.org/manuals/Emcomm/2011_mayberry_packets.doc

.         http://handiham.org//manuals/Emcomm/2011_mayberry_script.doc

Thanks to Phil, these resources are available for anyone to use.  Please
give Phil, K9HI, and the Handiham System credit. 


Website hosting issues continue - sort of. 

Description: Description: Cartoon guy shaking fist at dead computer

The week following Radio Camp was a hectic one, because that was about the
worst time for us to lose the Handiham.org website, which is exactly what
happened.  Our hosting service was in the process of moving servers from
Washington State to Utah and it was not a good move for us.  The site was up
and down for days, but mostly slow, unresponsive and unusable. Dealing with
this at such a critical time was not easy, but things are up and running
again, though I have gotten far behind in my work, which is why you have not
seen many website updates and there was no General Class audio lecture last
week.  This week I hope to do better and have lecture number eight, which
will be about electronic components, on line by the weekend. 

However, the story is not yet over.  The website was up on Tuesday morning,
when I began writing this edition, and went down later that day.  A
long-term solution will be to move the entire site to Network Solutions.  In
the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience our members have
experienced while trying to use the website.  

Any photos that appear in this newsletter are already hosted on the new
server at Network Solutions. 


Troubleshooting 101: Mobile rig gets really hot

Description: Description: driving in cartoon car

Okay, here's the scenario:  Let's say you have a mobile 2 meter FM radio
that you either used in a vehicle or on your desktop with a power supply.
In the years that you owned that radio, you made the typical kinds of
contacts one would make while traveling in the car.  You would meet someone
on the air, talk for a while, and then drive out of repeater range or arrive
at your destination and sign off.  On your desktop, the radio also played
well.  You made some casual radio contacts for the most part, and you joined
the local hour-long radio club nets, including the Handiham net,  several
times a week. The radio always performed flawlessly, but you decided it was
time to upgrade to a dual-bander or multimode radio.  So you took the trusty
old 2 meter mobile out of service and there it sat, unused and gathering

"What can I do with that old radio?", you thought to yourself as you tidied
up the ham shack one Saturday morning. "It's not really worth much, but it
works fine and it's silly to get rid of it."

Then it came to you:  That old 2 meter rig would make a great EchoLink node.
Combine it with an old computer, which you certainly had, a simple
interface, and a homebrew quarter wave vertical antenna and you would have a
nice little EchoLink node that you could run on 2 meter simplex.  It would
be fun to connect via your own node while you were out and about in the
nearby neighborhood.

Fast forward to the completed project, which worked perfectly.  It was easy
to use a handheld radio to control the node while you walked the dog around
the neighborhood.  Furthermore, the signal level was much more consistent
than the one from an EchoLink repeater over 15 miles away.  It made using
your handheld radio much more fun, because you could connect to the world. 

One fine day you decided to really have fun and go out for a long bike ride,
taking your handheld radio and an earbud earphone for easy monitoring.
Since you wanted to listen more than talk while riding on the bike path, you
connected the node to the Handiham daily EchoLink net.  It was fun to listen
to all of your friends while you enjoyed the long bike ride, and during a
rest stop at a picnic shelter, you even took a couple of minutes to check in
with net control.

Arriving back home, you were a bit tired and hot, but not as hot as your
mobile radio running the Echolink node!  When you checked the EchoLink node
radio, you found that it was too hot to touch.  That old mobile radio had
never run that hot before, so what could be wrong?  Why was it so hot now,
when it had never gotten that hot before?

Care to take a guess at what happened?  Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for
possible publication in next week's edition. 

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


A dip in the pool

Description: Description: Screenshot of calculator: 169.68 times 2 = 339.36

Heads up, math-challenged!  The new General pool has some math in it that
might make you scratch your head.  

G5B08 asks: What is the peak-to-peak voltage of a sine wave that has an RMS
voltage of 120 volts?

You choices are:

A. 84.8 volts

B. 169.7 volts

C. 240.0 volts

D. 339.4 volts

Okay, in answering this one you have to know that root-mean-square (RMS)
voltage is calculated on an average, which means that it is always going to
be less than "peak" voltage.  Engineers use RMS voltage as a more meaningful
representation of the actual working voltage in the real world, because
peaks may be quite high and not all that useful for calculating how much
real work the electricity can do.  Of course peak voltage is important as a
consideration when you are choosing components for your circuit because they
must be able to withstand that highest peak voltage without breaking down.

Anyway, if a question on your test asks you to convert an RMS voltage to a
peak voltage, the number you are looking for will be higher than the RMS
voltage. On this question at least, you can eliminate answer A, because 84.8
volts is less than the 120 V RMS that you are given.  All three of the
remaining answers are higher, so it must be one of them, but which one?

Here is where you have to read the question carefully.  It is asking for a
final answer of peak-to-peak voltage.  That is different than simply "peak
voltage".  If you imagine a sine wave, peak voltage measures the distance
from the baseline up to the top of the sine wave, whereas peak-to-peak
voltage measures from the top peak to the bottom valley of the entire wave,
above AND below the baseline.  So peak-to-peak is DOUBLE peak voltage.  That
could easily trip you up on this one!  So you can double your starting
voltage of 120 and you get 240 volts, but you still have not converted to
peak from RMS.  However, you know that peak voltage must be more than 120 V
and that peak-to-peak must be more than 240 V.  That means even if you are
math-challenged, you can now eliminate answers B and C, which are 169.7 V
and 240 V respectively. That leaves the correct answer, D, which is 339.4 V.

If you know your math for converting RMS to peak voltage, you know that the
conversion factor is 1.414, because peak voltage is 1.414 times higher than
RMS voltage.  Thus, using math, you would first multiply the original 120
volts RMS by 1.414 in order to get peak voltage:  120 times 1.414 = 169.68.
Knowing that you still have to double that number to convert peak voltage to
peak-to-peak, you multiply by 2:  169.68 times 2 = 339.36 volts, which you
can round up to 339.4 volts, which is the correct answer, D. 

Remember that the wrong answers are likely chosen to be the ones you might
pick when you fail to work the problem correctly or forget one part of the
calculation. Always read the question carefully and make sure you know
exactly what it is asking! 


Remote Base Health Report for 23 August 2011

Description: Description: Kenwood TS-480 transceiver, used in both remote
base stations.

Both stations are operational. 

W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line as of this publication date.  

*       Summer band conditions: The Upper Midwest of the United States has
been experiencing high temperatures and very humid air masses.  These
conditions make for frequent thunderstorms, which cause horrendous levels of
static on the HF bands.  This will make the remote bases a little hard to
use at times.  Conditions may be best in the late night and early pre-dawn
hours when thunderstorms have quieted down a bit. 
*       At the same time, the daytime band conditions on 75 and 40 meters
have been rather poor due to absorption brought on by the long sunny days
here in the Northern Hemisphere. Trying to check into the PICONET on 3.925
MHz has been a challenge! 

You can view the status page at:  <http://www.handiham.org/node/1005> 


This week @ HQ

Description: Description: Handiham headquarters at Camp Courage, Maple Lake

*       Nancy & I are catching up with correspondence and calls. Things are
getting back to normal in the Handiham office as we catch up with the
post-radio camp messages and tasks.  Our new hams have received their call
signs and the upgrades have come through.  It sure doesn't take long after
the VE session for the paperwork to get processed.  
*       I will be out at Camp Courage for meetings today, Wednesday 24
August 2011.  I will not be able to take any phone calls, but Nancy will be
in the office. 
*       A special thanks to Bob Zeida, N1BLF and Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, for
getting the September QST digest audio completed for our blind members.  

.         Tonight is EchoLink net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net
is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to 00:30 GMT
Thursday morning. 

o    EchoLink nodes:

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

o    Other ways to connect:

*       IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)
WIRES system number 1427

*       Stay in touch! 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 toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact


Supporting Handihams - 2011. 

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 2011.

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 $12 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 $36.

.         Lifetime membership is $120.

.         If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable
sponsored membership.

.         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
www.handiham.org <http://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:



Description: Description: 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.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422




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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24 August 2011 - Patrick Tice