This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham System. 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 stream: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this podcast in iTunes: <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> Description: Subscribe in iTunes RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham _____ Welcome to Handiham World! In this edition: * Happy Thanksgiving * First Look: Kenwood TS-590S * Tonight's the night for 75 meters * A dip in the pool * Stream update released by HumanWare * Remote base progress report * This week at HQ * Supporting Handihams * ARRL _____ Happy Thanksgiving! Description: Pat, WA0TDA, holding microphone, superimposed on screenshot of W0EQO Internet remote control interface Don't forget that the Handiham Internet remote base stations are available for members to use throughout the upcoming holiday week. The Handiham office will be closed Thursday, November 25, and Friday, November 26 for an extended Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen on Monday, November 29. Wednesday, November 24 we close early. Even though this is a holiday week, the Handiham nets will go on as usual at their regularly-scheduled times. If a net control station is not available, we will have a roundtable conversation on the frequency. Sometimes I think that there is even more amateur radio activity on holidays, simply because those folks who might ordinarily be at work will instead have an opportunity to head for the ham shack and get on the air. Of course if you have guests at your home, you need to be polite and see to their needs first. Hey, maybe they would like to see your radio equipment and learn about amateur radio! Earlier this week I spoke with a Handiham member who was asking if we still have a 20 m net. Well, the 20 m net is listed on many websites as still being active, but it has really fallen out of use during the lengthy sunspot minimum. Now that we are coming into a period of higher solar activity, we will start the 20 m net again. The net time is Monday morning at 9:30 AM United States Central Standard Time. Our net always stands down if the Salvation Army Net is on the frequency. The 20 m frequency is 14.265 MHz. Please join us on Monday morning and let's see if there is interest in continuing this net or if we should take a look at a different time and frequency. To summarize: Things to remember about the Handiham 20 meter net: We meet on 14.265 MHz SSB Net time is Monday at 9:30 AM Central Standard Time Net control station needed; volunteers welcome! Everyone is welcome - you don't need to be Handiham Radio Club member. We always stand down for the Salvation Army Net if they happen to be on the frequency. I have to admit that I am not all that thrilled with a Monday morning net on 20 m. The band is probably not going to be open to the West Coast all that well, and in the early days when the net time and frequency was originally chosen, it was truly the bad old days for people with disabilities and they were usually stuck at home during the day without jobs. Today is different and many people with disabilities, including Handiham members, have regular employment and are thus not available for a daytime net. Nonetheless, we will soldier on and try the daytime net again and see what happens. In the for-what-it's-worth department, the daytime EchoLink net does actually offer the possibility of people to check in via computer from their place of employment, hopefully during break time! So I do think that we have daytime activity covered pretty well. It is still the evening 75 m net that needs testing, and we will begin doing that tonight at 8 PM, just one half hour after the Wednesday evening EchoLink net begins. That will give the EchoLink net control station a chance to announce that the 75 m net will be starting at 8 PM United States Central Standard Time. Let's plan to be on 3.715 MHz, plus or minus QRM. I do need to remind you that this frequency is in the Advanced Class portion of the 75 m band. You must have at least an Advanced Class license to transmit on 3.715 MHz, although anyone, licensed or not, is free to listen on that frequency. As we go ahead and develop this net, we can always change the times and frequencies if that should prove necessary. If there is no net control station available at any given net time, we can just have a friendly roundtable on the frequency. Please feel free to use the Internet remote base stations to check in or to listen, especially if skip conditions for your part of the country (or world) do not favor 75 m. Remember that the EchoLink feature is available for listening. I'm not going to make any promises about when I will be able to participate in nets this week, although I'm certainly going to try to get on the air as much as I can. We are going to have a house full of guests that will include extended family, and my son Will, KC0LJL, is driving back home from university with three Japanese exchange students who will stay with us over the extended Thanksgiving holiday. You can bet that it's going to be pretty busy around my QTH, but you never know when you might be able to introduce a new person to amateur radio, especially if they can get on the air and talk to someone from their home country! So, from the staff, volunteers, members, and supporters of the Handihams, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and we hope to hear you on the air! Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham System Manager _____ First Look: Kenwood TS-590S Description: TS-590S courtesy Kenwoodusa.com Aloha, Pat. I have recently purchased the Kenwood TS-590S and would like to share with you and your readers what I have discovered. I included the VGS1 as the only accessory and am happy that I did. The 590S is a very nice rig, and its receiver is all that I could have wanted. The accessibility is very good. The buttons that are frequently used such as the mike gain, transmit power, keying speed, processor and VOX are all grouped on the left side of the rig. They indicate their purpose, and when the multi-function knob is turned, it reads each setting by increments or if you turn it several clicks, it reads the final number of the setting. The menu takes some memory and someone sighted to read the manual to let you know what the function of the memory is. After that, it is very easy to access the menu and select the value which is desired. Finding the menu button is fairly simple since it is the second one from the left on the very bottom of the face of the transceiver. The up and down arrows took a bit more getting used to but are now very easy to access after one week of practice. The VFO is read with the use of the function button directly next to the power switch very similar to the TS-2000. The RIT, XIT, AGC and CW-T are also nicely arranged in the upper right corner of the rig. They also are indicated by the synthesized voice. I could go further with my description of this rig, but let me finish by saying it took me far less time to learn this rig than the TS-2000. If the operator has experience with the TS- 2000, he or she will have little difficulty in the transition to the TS-590S. The menus have different numbers allocated to them, but again the transmit settings are grouped together from 25 to 30 and are easily memorized by this user. It is a great rig and is the most accessible transceiver I have been exposed to. I have only light perception, so my experience is without any visual help. And for those who may enjoy it, the VGS1 will speak Japanese instead of English if so desired. 73, Jamie McKinley, KH6KW Pat says: Thanks, Jamie, and aloha from Minnesota where it is well below freezing. Hawaii sounds pretty good right now! You can read more about the TS-590S on the Kenwood USA website: <http://www.kenwoodusa.com/Communications/Amateur_Radio/HF_Base_Mobile/TS-59 0S> http://www.kenwoodusa.com/Communications/Amateur_Radio/HF_Base_Mobile/TS-590 S _____ 3.715 MHz Test tonight at 20:00 hours Central Time - 30 minutes after start of Echolink Net Description: FT-718 rig Several of us will be listening and hopefully starting a roundtable on the Advanced Class frequency 3.715 MHz plus or minus QRM at around 30 minutes into the evening Echolink net. I can't think of a better time, because we will have the Echolink net as a fallback place to make contact. Also, the Echolink net control can remind the participants about 75 meters. We will also look at a once per week 20 meter net. The Handiham 20 meter net is still listed for 14.265 MHz at 9:30 Central Time on Mondays, plus or minus the Salvation Army Net. Shall we try listening again? It might be fun to get it going. Please e-mail me this week with your frequency and time suggestions, frequency reports, and other suggestions about the net. 73, Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ A dip in the pool I thought it would be fun to pick a couple of questions related to remote control operation out of the question pool and see how many of us can remember the right answers. Today we tap the Extra pool. Ready? Here we go: E1C01 asks us: What is a remotely controlled station? A. A station operated away from its regular home location B. A station controlled by someone other than the licensee C. A station operating under automatic control D. A station controlled indirectly through a control link Did you pick answer D, "A station controlled indirectly through a control link"? That is the best answer, and is important for understanding of our remote base HF operations. Both stations are controlled remotely via the Internet, accessible through the W4MQ software interface. Users log on with their callsigns and passwords, and are allowed transmit privileges within the limits of their license classes. Now let's look at this question, E1C06, from the pool: Which of the following statements concerning remotely controlled amateur stations is true? A. Only Extra Class operators may be the control operator of a remote station B. A control operator need not be present at the control point C. A control operator must be present at the control point D. Repeater and auxiliary stations may not be remotely controlled Did you pick answer C, "A control operator must be present at the control point"? For our remote base operation that means that you are the control operator if you log in to the W4MQ interface and run the radio. There is no need to have a control operator sitting in front of the actual radio, since you have control through a control link and thus you are the control operator, even though you are sitting in front of a computer. _____ HumanWare announces new free upgrade for the Stream, version 3.3 Some of our Handiham members use the Victor Reader Stream for listening to the Handiham podcast and for reading their DAISY books. A couple of noteworthy upgrades are available: The version 3.3 upgrade to the HumanWare Companion software was just released October 29. If you have not yet taken advantage of the new Companion 3.3 software, you may wish to do so before updating to the Stream 3.3. The reason is that the new Companion includes a Help menu item to Check for Stream Updates. Thus, you can use the Companion to update your Stream. It will do the work for you of downloading the software, unzipping, and transferring the update file to your Stream. To help you with installing and using the new Companion 3.3 HumanWare has prepared a short audio/video. To listen or watch the video, just activate the following link: <http://visit.humanware.com/e/3332/ompanion-3-3-video/4VBHE/55592152> http://visit.humanware.com/e/3332/ompanion-3-3-video/4VBHE/55592152 As mentioned in the video, the new Companion version 3.3 is available for free download on the Stream support page at: http://visit.humanware.com/e/3332/tream-software/4VBHO/55592152 _____ Remote base progress report: 24 November 2010 Description: Kenwood TS-570 Both stations are functional. Report problems to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx There is an addition this week to the FAQ on the remote base support pages by Lyle, K0LR: Q -- Why can't the Handiham remote base stations be set up for operation via EchoLink, in the same way as a VHF/UHF repeater? A -- The main reason is that an HF remote base station is a completely different animal from a VHF/UHF repeater. Repeaters operate in narrow-band FM mode or one of the newer digital voice modes such as Icom's D-STAR. In the case of FM transmissions, the repeater receiver typically uses a "noise squelch" circuit to detect the quieting of the background noise that occurs when a signal is present at the repeater input. When digital techniques are involved, much more sophisticated means of detecting the presence of a valid input signal are available. In either case, FM or digital, the receiver "knows" when a transmission stops, and the output of the repeater receiver is quiet when there is no signal. Now let's compare that with the output of an HF receiver in SSB mode, listening on 75 meters in the evening. In addition to the many strong ham SSB signals, there will be static crashes, splatter from other ham conversations on nearby frequencies, weak ham signals sharing the same frequency, and maybe a foreign broadcast station. There's no simple and reliable way for the receiver to tell whether or not a valid signal is present. On EchoLink, you can't talk until the other station quits transmitting. Since the HF receiver doesn't know when that happens, neither does EchoLink. With a separate control link, you can decide when to key the HF transmitter, and that control link has to be provided by the W4MQ or other rig control software. There are a number of other very good reasons why we are using the W4MQ rig control software to control the HF remote base stations. The software includes many safeguards that help to protect the equipment and to comply with FCC rules. For example, transmit is inhibited on bands where the SWR is too high, which might result in damage to the radio or the external antenna tuner. Transmission is also limited according to the frequencies available to the license class of each user. Remember that both the control operator (via the Internet connection) and the station trustee are responsible for compliance with the FCC rules! With the features built into the W4MQ software, we are able to make both of the Handiham remote base stations available to members of all license classes. Would you like to try the station right now? If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the radio, you can search for W0ZSW-L, node 524906, and connect. Entering a frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. Don't forget about our station at Courage North, in far northern Minnesota's lake country. If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the radio, you can search for W0EQO-L, node 261171, and connect. Just as with the other station, entering a frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. _____ This week @ HQ * There will be no Friday audio lecture due to the Thanksgiving holiday. * A big thank you to our net control stations for "saying yes" and volunteering for this leadership role. We really appreciate your help and everyone has noticed that the nets are running more smoothly than ever. . Tonight is net night. The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +6 hours, or 01:30 GMT Thursday morning. The 3.715 MHz HF net begins around 30 minutes later, at 8 PM. 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 * We need an Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES node in Rochester, MN so that Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, can continue to check into the Handiham net. Chris, KG0BP, has shut down his node because he has moved to the Twin Cities. * 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. _____ Supporting Handihams - Year-end is a critical time. Description: graphic showing figure using wheelchair holding hand of standing figure 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 Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532 or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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 www.handiham.org <http://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 _____ Description: 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.