[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24 February 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2010 15:19:23 -0600

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@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for help with
subscribing, unsubscribing, or to ask questions.  A real person will

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Welcome to Handiham World!

Red Cross emergency communications truck at Dayton

If there is any theme that runs through publicity about amateur radio these
days, it is generally one about the reliability of our communications in an
emergency situation. In story after story that I see ferreted out by Google
News, ham radio operators tell the press and the public about the way
amateur radio operators can stay on the air to provide vital communications
when cellular phones are overloaded or down altogether and

other communications infrastructure has failed. The training and
volunteerism of amateur radio operators are also highlights of these
articles, and the very best of these stories also include some human factor
- a volunteer operator who has helped the community, a team of operators who
have worked in tandem with emergency personnel to provide backup
communications, and sometimes even a victim who owes a debt of gratitude to
amateur radio.  These are themes that the ARRL has taken a leadership role
in promoting, and the evidence is that the strategy has worked. More new
hams than ever joined the ranks of amateur radio here in the United States
last year. 

Quoting from a story on ARRL's website, "A total of 30,144 new licenses were
granted in 2009, an increase of almost 7.5 percent from 2008. In 2005,
16,368 new hams joined Amateur Radio's ranks; just five years later, that
number had increased by almost 14,000 -- a whopping 84 percent! The ARRL VEC
is one of 14 VECs who administer Amateur Radio license exams."

Of the many reasons people become interested in amateur radio, the one I
have heard most often in recent years is that new hams want to earn a
license so that they will have the means to help in emergencies and to be of
service to the community. This, among the other themes, has been expertly
promoted by ARRL in special websites, publicity releases, articles, and
videos. Taking on the erroneous image of ham radio as an "outdated
technology" that has been all but replaced by the internet, ARRL answers the
questions of why we are relevant in the 21st Century on its Wordpress "We Do
That Radio" and "emergency-radio" websites. 

Well, with all of that in mind, we turn to the large cardboard envelope I
received from Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, this week. Matt had told me he was
sending me an article, but I was surprised and delighted to see that it

Honored by President Obama

Local ham radio hobbyist recognized

Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, reflected in Gordon West's car roof.

The story appeared in the February 18, 2010 edition of the Star-Eagle
newspaper, and featured a photo of Matt, KA0PQW, in his well-equipped ham
shack. In the article, staff writer Jody Wynnemer explained that when a
letter arrived from the White House, Matt had learned that he had been
selected to receive a President's Volunteer Service Award.

"Congratulations on receiving the President's Volunteer Service Award, and
thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community
and our country", the letter began. 

Matt was recognized for his work with the Community Emergency Response Team
in Steele County, Minnesota. He recalled how he volunteered and handled
communications during a flood in 2007. It had been nine hours until the
National Guard could relieve him, and in the meantime he handled traffic in
and out of the flood zone, passing messages to authorities in Winona. 

Those of us who know Matt as a Handiham leader and volunteer understand what
a great spokesman he is for amateur radio. To paraphrase a familiar saying
about politics, all good ham radio work is local - at least that's how it
begins.  Local ham radio classes, local Skywarn training, local ARES
exercises, local club meetings and programs - and local news stories, just
like the one that features Matt. Of course ham radio is worldwide by its
nature, but getting the word out about the things we can do really does
begin right at home. 

Congratulations to Matt, KA0PQW, on this wonderful honor! 

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx



Amateur Radio NEWSLINE Young Ham Of the Year Award   

If you know a young radio amateur age 18 or younger who has done something
very special in the Amateur Radio hobby, or if you know of one who fits this
description, now is the time to consider nominating him or her for the 2010
Amateur Radio NEWSLINE Young Ham of the Year Award. All nominations must be
received by May 30 of any given calendar year on an official application and
accompanied by verification materials.

Applications forms are available for a self addressed stamped envelope
mailed to the Young Ham of the Year Award c/o NEWSLINE, 28197 Robin Avenue,
Santa Clarita California 91350. These nominating applications, as well as
more information about the award, are also available for electronic download
or on-line submission from:   <http://www.arnewsline.org> 


Software hunter

looking through giant magnifying glass, maybe for the perfect software

Your Handiham World software hunter is on the lookout for interesting
amateur radio-related software or any software that is potentially useful in
the ham shack. You can help us hunt down applications that you have located,
tried, or haven't tried but you wish someone would. Send suggestions to Pat,
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx along with your comments and reviews.

Today we will point you to a new free PDF reader from Nuance, the same
company that makes Dragon Naturally Speaking. You may ask what a PDF reader
has to do with ham radio, but if you think about all of the documents like
equipment instruction manuals that are available in PDF, you might start to
think having a choice of PDF readers might be a good thing. 

The Nuance website, announcing the new free PDF Reader, states:

"Nuance PDF Reader enables you to do much more than just view PDF files. You
can convert PDF files to Word®, Excel®, and RTF via a hosted web service.
Use annotation tools to highlight, cross-out, and underline text for more
effective collaboration. Even fill out and save PDF forms. Nuance PDF Reader
takes up less disk space, is more secure than Adobe® Reader®, and works with
virtually any PDF file. Best of all, it’s absolutely free, proving that you
really can get a whole lot of something for nothing."

So did you get that part about being able to convert from PDF to Word or a
rich text file? How is that for a nifty accessibility feature? How many
times have you wished an equipment manual was in rich text format instead of

I downloaded and installed the Nuance Free PDF Reader with no problems on my
Windows 7 machine, but the tech specs indicate that it will work with XP and
Vista as well. Since the conversion to other formats like Word or text is
done "in the cloud", as they say these days, you do need internet access to
send and retrieve data for the file conversions. In a test of this
conversion system, I chose the RTF option, and entered my wa0tda@xxxxxxxx
email address. Clicking a button on the website (I can see and use a mouse)
sends the PDF to Nuance in an encrypted state for privacy, and it is then
returned as an email attachment to the address you entered. This process
took under 4 minutes, and the file was in my inbox. Images are preserved in
the Rich Text File, but you can easily select and read text. One handy trick
is to save the file as plain text so that it will then open in a text reader
like Notepad. I also tested the form filling and found it easy and
intuitive. (We don't need no stinking instructions, right?)

We would like to get some accessibility reports on this Nuance PDF Reader.
You can find it at:



Free Ham Radio Classes from Handiham-affiliated Club

The Stillwater Amateur Radio Association (SARA) is offering entry-level
Amateur Radio (Ham) instruction at the Stillwater Public Library, 224 Third
Street North, Stillwater, MN. Nine weekly sessions will be held Thursdays
from 6 to 8:00 p.m., beginning March 4. Classes are free for all ages and
knowledge of Morse code is not required. 

During emergencies, when cell and conventional telephones are overloaded or
won’t operate, Ham operators can provide necessary communications and links
with public safety departments. Operating with auxiliary power, Hams can
relay vital information across the community and the country. Amateur Radio
operators are licensed and regulated by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC).  

Isn't this a nice, concise, informative press release? Thank to Dave Glas,
W0OXB for his writing skill! 

For information about the class or Amateur Radio, please email

On the web:  <http://www.radioham.org> 


Out there:


Podlinez: Thanks to Dick, WA0CAF, for reporting that the telephone call-in
version of the weekly podcast is no longer kept up to date.  The service is
provided by Podlinez.. I tried calling the Handiham podcast number, +1 (360)
526-6243, and got the same thing that Dick reported, which was a podcast
from January of 2009. I can't think of what might have changed other than
the MP3 file audio quality. When I check the Podlinez site, it has the
correct URL for the RSS feed, which has not changed. A check of the RSS feed
shows that it is up to date. I wonder if it doesn't support our sampling
rate of 64kbs? (It used to be just 40kbs, but that does not give very good
fidelity for those using iPods and computers.) Most podcasts use up to
128kbs for stereo, and I can't imagine they don't support that! If the
person who originally set up the Podlinez podcast would see this e-letter
and care to try fixing it, that would be great.  The Podlinez website is:


NVDA free webinar: Dick, WA0CAF, also found news of a free training webinar
(web seminar) for the free open-source screenreader NVDA. EASI, Equal Access
to Software and Information, will hold a free webinar about NVDA on
Wednesday, 3 March at 3:00 pm Minnesota Time  (21:00 GMT). Registration is
required, but the event is free and (of course) blind-accessible:


The Internet Archive: An Untapped Resource for the Blind - NFB Braille
Monitor article found by WA0CAF: The Braille Monitor has recently learned of
another Internet-based resource that makes more than 1.8 million digital
books and other material freely available to everyone with access to the
Internet. Founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996, the Internet Archive, a
nonprofit digital library based in San Francisco, California, promotes
universal access to knowledge. Read more on the NFB website:

Incidentally, I use the Internet Archive myself and have it bookmarked:


LibriVox: This is a website that I have been using for some time now to
access and listen to recorded books that are in the public domain.
Volunteers do the recording, which is very high quality. I am listening my
way through The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, a book that I would
probably never take the time to read if I couldn't listen while exercising.
Of course LibriVox is an excellent website for blind users, too.  Every
download is completely free:  <http://librivox.org/> 


Malware: In the past couple of weeks I have fixed two computers (not my
machines, thank you very much) that were infected with serious rogue
software programs like Trojans and malware. These are the sort of bad things
that can steal passwords and credit card information. One of the machines
had a fake security program on it that invited the user to click to "scan".
Doing so infected the computer instead of protecting it. Be on the lookout
for these fake security warnings, which can be launched just be visiting a
website, sometimes a site that you have always trusted. Just this week, a
local newspaper here in the Minneapolis area unwittingly distributed this
kind of malware through an infected ad. I suggest that Windows users
download Microsoft Security Essentials.  As we have mentioned before, it is
free and it is effective, unlike some other free or pay-for security
programs. I have installed MSE on several machines here at my QTH, and my
ham radio software continues to run perfectly on all of them. When you go to
the download site, you will be given a choice of 32 or 64 bit versions, so
be sure you know which version of Windows you are using. This software was
tested by Ken, KB3LLA, and found to be accessible and to work well. Here is
the link: <http://www.microsoft.com/Security_essentials/> 


This week @ HQ

*       Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the March 2010 Worldradio audio
digest for our blind members.  
*       We have also finished reading the March, 2010 QST audio digest for
our blind members.  

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. I appreciate
the ARRL and all of its services, but one thing I look for with special
interest is the Annual Antenna Issue of QST.  The March issue is that very
one, devoted to antennas and antenna topics. Those of you who are ARRL
members and who get QST will find an article that I recommend on page 30:
"An Experimental Look at Ground Systems for HF Verticals" by Rudy Severns,
N6LF. Among the most comment questions we get at Handihams are ones related
to vertical antennas and ground radial systems.  Rudy's excellent article
will answer those questions for you. 

·         Nancy is back in the office today. 

·         I have completed a new Extra Class lecture this week. It is number
61 and continues our discussion on digital modes.  Members sign in to the
member section and browse to the Extra Class lecture series.

·         Radio Camp applications are out in the mail.  It will be much
easier and cheaper to travel to camp, since our new location at Camp Courage
will allow you to travel by air, Greyhound or Jefferson Lines bus, or
AMTRAK, and there will not be an expensive final leg of the journey to
Bemidji as in past years. 

·         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 

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

Pat: 763-520-0511

Nancy: 763-520-0512 

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"

Minnesota Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage:

Arrive Friday, May 21. 
Class days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
VE Exam Day: Thursday. Volunteer Examiners arrive in the morning to visit
with campers and eat breakfast together with campers, volunteers, and staff.
Depart Friday, May 28.

Cost of Radio Camp: The cost of Radio Camp depends on your ability to pay,
so anyone can afford to attend. Ask for an application.

·         Camp Courage is west of Minneapolis. The address is 8046 83rd St
NW, Maple Lake, MN‎ 55358.

·         The phone number of the Camp Courage office is (320) 963-3121‎.

·         If you want to receive a Camp Courage summer camp schedule, you
may call for one.

·         The camp schedule includes information about Handiham Radio Camp.

·         If you need specific information about the radio camp or want to
be on the radio camp mailing list, you may call Nancy in the Handiham office
at 1-866-426-3442.


VOLLI is now in service. It stands for VOLunteer Log In, and is a way for
our Handiham volunteers to register and then enter their volunteer hours
without having to fool around with paper records. We encourage volunteers to
create a user name and password, then submit their hours spent recording
audio, doing club presentations for us, and so on. Volunteer hours are
important, because United Way funding depends in part on volunteer hours. If
you are a volunteer and need a link to VOLLI, please email me at
wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Our special thanks to my son Will, KC0LJL, who wrote the
Java code for VOLLI.

Volunteers, get your hours in through VOLLI. You may also submit volunteer
hours to Nancy at
 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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. 

Echolink net news

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 01:30 Z.

Daily except Sunday at 11:00 hours Minnesota time (17:00 GMT)


·         145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul)

·         *HANDIHAM* Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.)

·         Node 89680 (Echolink worldwide)

·         IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)

·         WIRES system number 1427

Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member, and the net is relaxed,
friendly, and informal.

By the way, our Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we need net
control stations for the Wednesday evening net and for the Monday through
Saturday morning net. If you are in the Twin Cities, all you need is a radio
that can get on the 145.45 N0BVE repeater, and if you live outside the RF
area, you can still be net control via Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES.

Supporting Handihams

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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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 02/24/2010 - 20:48 

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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, 24 February 2010 - Patrick Tice