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

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 10:24:33 -0500

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

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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

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

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

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:


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:


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:

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


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

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


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

·         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

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"

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

·         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.


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&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
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:

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.


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.


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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - Patrick Tice