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

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2013 15:21:12 -0500

*Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24
July 2013*

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Kenny 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:

Get this podcast in iTunes:

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
http://feeds.feedBurner.com/handiham <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham>
*Welcome to Handiham World.*

*[image: Pat, WA0TDA, with 2 meter quad antenna]
Image: Pat, WA0TDA, poses with 2 meter quad antenna used for hidden
transmitter hunting.*
Radio Camp final preparations are underway

We are getting the final packing done for the upcoming Handiham Radio Camp
session, since it begins on Sunday.  As you might expect, several of us
will be at Camp Courage already on Saturday 27 July to put up antennas and
get the stations tested and ready to go on the air. We will have W0ZSW and
W0EQO remote base stations available to the campers, just as those stations
are available to other Handiham members everywhere else. To avoid
confusion, we are most likely going to use our personal callsigns while
operating the camp stations.  We'll need to discuss this and come up with a
workable solution.

One interesting new wrinkle this year is that we will have two station
teams competing to make contacts on the air. We want to get everyone more
familiar with HF operation, and theoretically this is just about the peak
of the solar cycle and the best time to make contacts on nearly every HF
band.  A recent report in Amateur Radio Newsline told us what we have been
suspecting - This year's solar cycle has been a disappointing one, at least
when it comes to energizing propagation on the HF bands.

Does that mean that you can't make some great contacts on the bands?

Not at all - I've been listening here at my home station and there has been
plenty of long-distance propagation. Last week I contacted a fellow radio
club member traveling in Washington State, and he heard me when I was
running only 10 Watts to a Butternut vertical, ground-mounted in my
Minnesota back yard.  And we were using SSB on 20 meters, too - not CW as
you might expect for QRP.  But I did switch to 100 Watts and he did hear me
a lot better.  The point is that it is certainly possible to make good
contacts without huge antenna systems and linear amplifiers. Although we
could have tried the contact in the Extra Class portion of the band, we
used a frequency in the General band. Don't let anyone tell you that you
cannot make contacts.  You just have to be patient and learn how to do make
the best of the band conditions you have at the moment.

At this camp session we are going to work on strategies - how to make the
best use of the bands to make more contacts. The two teams will be
competing to fill their logbooks! You can work on your strategies, too...
even if you don't come to camp.  Here are some of my secret tips, but
shhhh... Don't let everyone know about them or you'll have more competition
on the bands:


   Listen, listen, listen!  You can't work them if you can't hear them.

   Be sure your antenna tuner is tuned to at least approximately match the
   antenna for the band on which you are listening. (This only applies if you
   have an antenna system that requires a tuner.)  You would be surprised at
   how much difference this makes in hearing stations on the band.  If the
   band does sound promising, tune more carefully for transmit.

[image: Dave, W0OXB, shows us a variety of antenna tuners.]
*Image:  Handiham volunteer Dave Glas, W0OXB, shows us how antenna tuners
stack up.  Literally - there is a stack of antenna tuners!*


   If you are planning to call "CQ", be sure to listen on the frequency
   first.  Even if you don't hear anything, ask if the frequency is in use and
   identify your station. A frequency may seem open even when two stations are
   already using it because you don't always hear both stations.

   Have your logging system ready to go so when you make contacts you can
   get them in the log. The logging system can be paper and pencil, computer,
   audio recorder for later transcription, or whatever works for you or your

   Plan to use the bands when they are most likely to be "open".  For
   example, the 80 meter band will likely be lively after dark and in the
   early morning hours when absorption in the atmosphere is lowest and there
   is less thunderstorm static.  40 will be good at night and at least
   somewhat open during the day, as it is less affected by absorption than
   80.  You can make some CW contacts on 30 meters through the night and day,
   and 20 meters is usually open day and night during solar maximum. If you
   have a Technician license, you can operate on a section of 10 meters using
   SSB.  You will find that 10 meter contacts are more likely during daylight
   hours, exactly the opposite of 80 meters.

   At the beginning of the day, check the bands that you know will not be
   open later on when the sun gets high in the sky and the absorption due to
   solar radiation increases. Start on 80 and 75 meters to see what contacts
   you can make.  When the band starts getting bad, move to 40.  Work some
   stations there and move on to 30 or 20.  Check out 15 and 10 meters, too.
   You can try 17 meters, but not if you have a G5RV antenna, since those
   don't tune well on 17.

   Tune across the band listening for stations calling CQ.

   Find a parking place and call CQ yourself.  Be sure to listen carefully
   between calls.

   Listen to QSOs in progress.  What are the callsigns of the stations you
   are hearing well?  Their locations give you a good idea of which directions
   the band is open for propagation.

   If you are lucky enough to have a directional antenna like a beam as
   well as a non-directional vertical, listen on the vertical for clues as to
   which parts of the world are open for propagation, then switch to the beam
   and point it in the appropriate direction.  The vertical will have the
   advantage of "hearing" in all directions, whereas the beam will cause you
   to miss hearing stations that are off to its back or sides.

   In a multi-operator environment like Field Day or Radio Camp, split up
   the duties so that one person does not have to do everything.  It is
   usually more efficient to have a logger and an operator working as a team.
   Switch off and make sure that no one gets fatigued or bored with a single

   In a multi-station environment make sure that you coordinate with the
   other nearby stations to minimize interference.  Since signals from nearby
   stations will be very strong and can interfere with each other's
   operations, you will want to operate your station on a different band than
   the others.

   Know your station equipment!  Everyone using the station should have an
   orientation so that they know the basics of how to operate and what kind of
   equipment is available, from rig to accessories to antennas.

   Have some rules that everyone understands.  No eating and drinking at
   the station desk.  (Drinks in spill proof cups are okay.)  Be quiet while
   the station op is on the air. Do not move the equipment around on the desk
   or leave personal items on the desk.  The station needs to be consistent
   for all users, including our blind ops. If there is a problem with the
   station, document it and let the others know so that it can be either
   worked around or fixed. Share the station with others. Ask for help if you
   need it.

   And don't forget... Have fun!

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator
Practical radio

[image: pliers and wire]

Before you panic and box up that radio for a trip to the repair shop, try
these simple things to see if you can bring it back to life:

   1. Check to make sure there is power. Maybe the breaker is tripped in
   your home's breaker box or on the power supply!
   2. Check the antenna connection.  Did you disconnect the antenna before
   an approaching storm and then forget to reconnect it?
   3. A radio can go perfectly silent if the RF or AF gain are turned way
   down or the squelch control, if it has one, is turned up too high. Check
   4. Modern radios use microprocessors to control many functions.  If a
   radio is misbehaving, you can try either a partial or a full reset by
   following the directions in the user manual.
   5. Check the mode setting.  If the audio is not clear, you may have
   inadvertently selected the wrong mode.
   6. Check the antenna itself, especially if signals are much weaker than
   usual.  The feed line or antenna may have been damaged in some way. Always
   consider this possibility, especially after a storm has passed through.
   7. Check the propagation forecast on the internet.  A severe geomagnetic
   storm can black out radio communications and make your radio behave as if
   it doesn't even have an antenna.

If you are lucky, one of these will solve your problem and you will be back
on the air!
Bulletin Board

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
How to fix your computer in safe mode: Windows

Dick, WA0CAF, recommends a "how to" article on using "safe mode" to fix a
Windows computer.

   - Read the article on the Howtogeek.com

Radio Camp Handiham Club Meeting Agenda

[image: Transceiver with braille book]

*Radio Camp week: Tuesday 30 July, 6:30 PM, Woodland Dining Hall Basement,
following evening meal. *

   - Call to order by President Ken Silberman, KB3LLA.
   - Roll call.
   - Elections.
   - Radio nets discussion to be lead by Net Manager Matt Arthur, KA0PQW.
   - Encryption petition discussion lead by President Ken Silberman, KB3LLA.
   - Remote Base report and discussion to be lead by Handiham Manager Pat
   Tice, WA0TDA.
   - EmComm discussion to be lead by Phil Temples, K9HI.
   - Old business.
   - New business.
   - Adjournment.

Handiham Nets are on on the air daily.

If there is no net control station during any scheduled net time, just go
right ahead and start a round table discussion. We are planning to run the
11:00 am session Mon.-Thurs.  from camp during camp week.

[image: TMV71A transceiver]

*We are scheduled to be 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?  I guess we'll just have to tune in and
listen!  Tune in and see how you do with the question this week, or just
check in to say hello. *

*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 *
*A dip in the pool*

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

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 oscillators:*

E7H02 asks, "What condition must exist for a circuit to oscillate?"

Possible answers are:

A. It must have at least two stages
B. It must be neutralized
C. It must have positive feedback with a gain greater than 1
D. It must have negative feedback sufficient to cancel the input signal

The correct answer is  C: It must have positive feedback with a gain
greater than 1.  There is a fine line indeed between amplifiers and
oscillators, and the circuitry for the two can look identical. An amplifier
can turn into an oscillator if you provide enough positive feedback, which
means you take some of the signal from the output of an amplifier and feed
it back into the input. We have all heard what happens when this is done
inadvertently on a stage with a microphone when the gain is too high and
some of the sound from the speakers feeds back into the microphone,
creating a terrible, loud screeching sound!

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQRadio Camp begins on July 28 and runs through August 2.  Pat

   - Because Radio Camp is a very busy time, I will not be available to do
   any tech support for lost passwords, problems with audio, or the remote
   base stations. Please check the help files on the remote base website by
   using the search function.
   - I will not be able to take phone calls most hours during camp.
   - Nancy will be in the office during her regular days, Monday through
   - Please do not call me or email me requesting on the air schedules with
   the camp radio stations. Although I would like to help with such things, it
   is just not practical because of the camp routine. You can ask for
   schedules with individual campers when you get on the daily Echolink net if
   you wish.
   - Every year it happens:  Someone calls or emails me to complain that
   their weekly eletter didn't arrive or the podcast didn't show up on
   iTunes.  That happens because there is no scheduled eletter and podcast
   during Radio Camp week!  Remember to check Handiham.org for the latest news
   instead. If I have time I will post there.

DDoS attack sidelines website*

Last week a distributed denial of service attack on computers at our
hosting service caused a minor outage of Handiham.org. When the attack
occurred, the name server could not resolve to the address of the computer
that actually hosts the website.  Nothing was damaged and there was no
security breach. Service was restored in a short time. Other websites
besides ours were also affected. The remote base stations and mailing lists
were unaffected.
*W0EQO & W0ZSW are on line.

[image: W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.]
*Both stations are on line as of this morning. We are not expecting any
outages, and band conditions are improving lately.

   - *Expect both stations to be in use periodically by Radio Camp between
   Sunday, 28 July and Friday, 2 August. *

*Practice Exams:*

   - *Did you know that we have a listing of practice exam websites?  Here
   it is:
   http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/28 *

*August 2013 QST audio digest in Daisy format is now available for our
blind members.  Log in to Members Only.  **The July 2013
for our blind members is ready for use in the DAISY section after
you log in.  NLS cartridges for July have been mailed. *

   - *QCWA Journal for July has been

* *

*[image: Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer]
Don't care to download via computer? This digital cartridge and mailer can
bring you Handiham audio digests each month, plus we have room to put the
audio lecture series or equipment tutorials on them, too!*

   - *If you have trouble logging in, please let us know.  *
   - *All Daisy materials are in zip file format, so you simply download
   the zip file you need and unzip it so the Daisy book folder can be accessed
   or moved to your NLS or other Daisy player.*
   - *Tip: When in the Daisy directory, it is easy to find the latest books
   by sorting the files by date. Be sure the latest date is at the top. The
   link to sort is called "Last Modified".  *
   - *You can also find what is on a web page by using CONTROL-F.  This
   brings up a search box and you can type a key word in, such as "July".  You
   may find more than one July, including 2012, but you will eventually come
   across what we have posted for July 2013. *

*Interested in the VE program and becoming a volunteer examiner? The new
ARRL VE Manual 2013 version is available in beta Daisy format with complete
text and 
Download 74 MB zip file and unzip to play on NLS digital player.

   - CQ for June is now available for our blind members in the DAISY
   section.  We do not have the July issue ready yet.
   - Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this
   month.  Look for these DAISY materials in the members section.

*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 call sign 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 Program Coordinator 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 Kenny Handiham Program 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.

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 Kenny Handihams!
Coordinator, Courage Kenny Handiham Program
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!

[image: ARRL diamond-shaped logo]

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 July 2013 - Patrick Tice