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 respond! You can also listen to the content online: MP3 audio stream: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ 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 read: 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> 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 PDF? 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: http://www.nuance.com/imaging/products/pdf-reader.asp _____ 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 wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx On the web: <http://www.radioham.org> 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: <http://podlinez.com/> http://podlinez.com/ 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: <http://easi.cc/clinic.htm> http://easi.cc/clinic.htm 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: <http://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/Publications/bm/bm10/bm1002/bm100205.htm> http://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/Publications/bm/bm10/bm1002/bm100205.htm Incidentally, I use the Internet Archive myself and have it bookmarked: <http://www.archive.org/> http://www.archive.org/ 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/> 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/> 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 call: 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" automatically! 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. Volunteers: 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) Where: · 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 <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 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: 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 02/24/2010 - 20:48 · Login <http://www.handiham.org/user/login?destination=comment/reply/707%2523commen t-form> to post comments · Printer-friendly <http://www.handiham.org/print/707> version · Send <http://www.handiham.org/printmail/707> 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.