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

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2010 09:18:59 -0600

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email
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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

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

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. 

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:


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.  


Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager  <mailto: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
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:

As mentioned in the video, the new Companion version 3.3 is available for
free download on the Stream support page at: 


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

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
*       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

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


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&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 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:

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!


Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


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.



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