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@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx You can also listen to the content online: MP3 audio stream: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! drawing of a tree with branches Recently we talked a bit about how to put some logic into your decision making when you are comparing equipment or antenna performance. The topic was the venerable A-B test, using a two-way switch that could be connect first one antenna, then another. The idea behind this kind of testing is to eliminate as many variables as possible so that we are really just comparing the two things that we want to compare. After all, using separate transceivers (each one connected to its own antenna) puts into play the extra variable of radio performance when what we really want to do is compare one antenna to another one. It makes much more sense to use a single radio and an A-B switch with the common side connected to a single radio and the switched outputs each connected to separate antennas. Now I would like to introduce you to another related concept to help you work your way through troubleshooting. It is called a "decision tree". A decision tree gets its name because it branches out much like a tree. From the main trunk, let's say there are two large branches. From each of those branches there are two more, and so on. At the base of the tree it is easy to see just the trunk, but high up in the air atop the tree there are thousands of branches. The concept of the branching tree can help us to solve problems with our electronic equipment. Decisions must be made logically and empirically, beginning at one point where the symptom of the problem presents itself and is easy to see, much like the trunk of the tree. Sometimes there may be many, many possible causes for that very same symptom -- all of these possible causes are represented by the many branches at the top of the tree. If we look at the top of the tree, we will see a confusing collection of branches, or possible causes to our problem. The idea of the decision tree is to start at the trunk with the most obvious symptom and follow the branches outward and upward until we arrive at the single twig at the top of the tree that is the cause of our problem. Now, let's see how this works with a problem that most of us have encountered with our radios. Let's say that we go down to the ham shack in the basement and turn on the HF radio. Oddly enough, nothing seems to happen; no sound comes out of the speaker. Of course with a problem like this there can be many possible causes. Putting the idea of the decision tree to work for us can save time and effort as we work our way logically toward a solution to the problem. 1. Did the radio power up? If the answer is yes, proceed to number two. If the answer is no, we follow this branch: Is the power switch in the on position? If the answer is no, turn on the power switch and your problem is solved. If the answer is yes, you now have another branch to follow: Is the radio getting power from the power supply? If the answer is no, you need to follow another branch: Is the power supply is turned on? If the answer is no, turn on the power supply and the power is now available to the radio and you may proceed to operate normally. If the answer is yes, you are off to the next branch: Is the power supply plugged into a live AC outlet? If the answer is no, you need to plug it in or find another outlet that is live, then proceed to operate normally. If the answer is yes, you need to check the fuse or circuit breaker in the power supply and proceed along a line of determining a problem with the supply rather than the radio. 2. Is the audio gain turned up high enough to hear sound? If the answer is no, turn up the gain and proceed to operate normally. If the answer is yes, you are off to the next branch: Is there any sound at all when you listen closely, such as a weak hiss? If the answer is no, you will want to follow a line of checking external speaker connections, whether headphones have been left plugged in by mistake, and so on. Several more branches can be followed here - you get the idea. If the answer is yes, you will want to follow several other branches that will include checking the RF gain control, the antenna connection, any tuners or other accessories in the feedline, and so on. As you can see, a decision tree can be quite long and branching, even for a simple problem. However, the idea is to begin logically with the things that are easiest to check and most likely to be the cause of the problem. It certainly wouldn't do to immediately run outside and check the antenna if you didn't hear sound from the radio. Audio gain controls that are turned down, squelch controls that are turned up too high, RF gain controls that have been turned way down, or an antenna switch that is in the wrong position are all more likely causes of the problem. Furthermore, you wouldn't want to start working on repairing your transceiver if a circuit breaker in your house's main breaker box has tripped, causing the outlet into which your power supply is plugged to be dead. It is all about following a logical, thoughtful path in problem solving. Believe me, this is not something that new ham radio operators -- and even some with extra class licenses -- always know how to do. Logical troubleshooting is something that can be learned by experience. Sometimes equipment repair manuals include graphical decision trees to help technicians working at the service department proceed through the diagnostic process and a logical and efficient manner. These days, software can help us make decisions as well, but I would like to see our Handiham members be as independent and self-sufficient in troubleshooting basic problems as possible. At the upcoming Minnesota radio camp we will be considering how to solve basic problems in the ham shack. Practicing this skill makes us all more independent and ultimately better operators. After all, amateur radio is a technical activity, and we should be able to do some basic troubleshooting. For Handiham World, I'm... Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Handiham Net Update J-38 code key No one has stepped up to manage operate a 20 m net. At least for now, we will no longer have any HF nets aside from the 40 m CW net. If any Handiham member wishes to put this on the club agenda for our next meeting at radio camp, please let us know. The Echolink net schedule is as follows, now that we are on daylight time in the United States: Days: Monday through Saturday, and Sunday if anyone wants to take an informal session. Times: 11:00 hours United States Central Time M-S and a second Wednesday session at 19:30 Central Time. GMT stations add five hours. The daily net will then be on at 11+5 = 17:00 GMT. Frequency in the local Minnesota repeater coverage zone: 145.45 MHz FM, negative offset with no tone in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota. EchoLink nodes: KA0PQW-R, node 267582 N0BVE-R, node 89680 HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.) Other ways to connect: IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) WIRES system number 1427 The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central Standard time, which translates to +5 hours, or 00:30 GMT Thursday morning during North American Daylight Time. In the winter, the GMT schedule is +6 hours. Connect from any Internet-enabled computer in the world, and come out on Twin Cities repeater N0BVE on 145.450. _____ New ARRL Web Site to Launch Wednesday, March 24, 2010 New ARRL Web Site to Launch Wednesday, March 24, 2010 ARRL: On Wednesday, March 24, the ARRL will launch a new Web site to connect Amateur Radio operators around the world with the dynamic services that the League offers to the ham radio community. The "old" Web site at will go dark for a few hours early on Wednesday, March 24, starting around 10 AM (EDT) and lasting for a few hours. During this period the servers, programs and data will be shifted over to the new site. The new URL will be the same as the old site -- www.arrl.org. Read this story the ARRL website: http://www.arrl.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. Last week we told you about the new Echolink iPhone application. Today, due to limited staff time, your software hunter is taking the week off. _____ Out there Cap gun with wire and 1/4 inch phone plug for morse operation Found by George, N0SBU: The CW gun by OH6DC. Yes, it really is just what it sounds like - a pistol (a toy model) that has been converted to send CW. Is it an April fool prank? We don't think so, but you can head for the web address George sent us and judge for yourself: <http://sites.google.com/site/oh6dccw/cw-gun-1> http://sites.google.com/site/oh6dccw/cw-gun-1 George says that this is "a real shoot-out on the bands!" _____ K9HI announces ARRL Section Manager candidacy for 2011 -- 2012 term Phil, K9HI Handiham volunteer and supporter Phil Temples, K9HI, has announced that he will be a candidate in the upcoming election for ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager to be held this fall. Temples announced his candidacy at recent meetings of the Boston Amateur Radio Club and the Framingham Amateur Radio Association. "I will release additional information over the next 30 days outlining my current concerns and how I would address them, along with future goals," said Temples. A veteran Section Manager, Temples held the SM post from 1994-1996, and again from 2001-2004. He has served in a number of ARRL leadership roles ranging from Public Information Coordinator to Affiliated Club Coordinator. In the 1990s, Temples served nationally on the League's Public Relations Advisory Committee. At present, K9HI is an Assistant Director in the New England Division. He is also an active volunteer instructor for the Courage Center Handiham program based in Golden Valley, Minnesota. "I'll be happy to make myself available to comment and answer questions at meetings, should clubs wish to learn more about my goals or the role of the Section Manager," Temples added. Temples, an Extra class licensee, has been a radio amateur for 40 years. He lives in Watertown, Massachusetts. A biography of Phil Temples' Amateur Radio achievements can be found at: http://www.qrz.com/db/k9hi Official nominations for the Eastern Massachusetts SM position will be solicited beginning in July, 2010. If contested, ballots for an election will be mailed to all Eastern MA section ARRL members on October 1, 2010. The new term of office begins on January 1, 2011. The Section Manager is accountable for carrying out the duties of the office in accordance with ARRL policies established by the Board of Directors. The SM recruits, appoints, and supervises section-level staff to administer the field organization's principal areas of responsibility in the section. These areas include, but are not limited to, emergency communications, message traffic relay, technical activity / problem solving, volunteer monitoring, government relations, public relations in the general community, information services for amateurs, and cooperation with affiliated clubs. For additional information about the role of the ARRL Section Manager, see: www.arrl.org <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/org/sm.html> _____ Courage Center Handiham System asks users with disabilities to test FCC broadband website Courage Center Handiham System asks users with disabilities to test FCC broadband website We have gotten some replies about this, but I'm carrying it over another week to see who else will respond. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its beta website tool for consumers who wish to test their internet connection speeds. Service providers are not shy about making speed claims, and this tool should provide an easy way for any broadband customer to find out what their internet connection is really delivering. The website, http://www.broadband.gov/, directs users to a pop-up form, and we are interested in learning from our users who have disabilities exactly how accessible this new FCC beta tool is. Screen-reader users and voice input computing users are encouraged to email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx to report how easily the site worked for them. Please let me know if it is all right to use your callsign in our report, which will appear in the weekly podcast and e-letter. You may also want to let us know how fast your internet connection turned out to be, and whether you were pleasantly surprised or disappointed by your service provider's performance. Thank you for your help! Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ This week @ HQ * We are very short-handed this week. Please bear with us while we try to keep up. * New this week: Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the April 2010 Worldradio audio digest for our blind members. It was posted this morning. * We have also finished reading the April, 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. · There has been no time to complete the Extra Class lecture the past week. We are carrying over the last lecture, which is number 62 and is about spread spectrum. Members sign in to the member section and browse to the Extra Class lecture series. · We need more campers! 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (320) 963-3121 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 763-520-0511 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Nancy: 763-520-0512 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 763-520-0512 end_of_the_skype_highlighting 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (320) 963-3121 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. · 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-426-3442 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-426-3442 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Mornings are the best time to contact us. Wednesday Echolink net news - Net time is new for GMT, now that we are on Daylight Time. 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 00:30 Z. 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-426-3442 end_of_the_skype_highlighting 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-426-3442 end_of_the_skype_highlighting toll-free.1-866-426-3442 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-426-3442 end_of_the_skype_highlighting 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. _____ Courage Center Handiham System 3915 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, MN 55422 E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (1-866-426-3442 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting) FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! We look forward to hearing from you soon.