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! Description: Book, numbers, clock - about math learning Can ham radio help promote science education? Last night many of us watched the proceedings from Washington, DC as Congress and the President gathered for the State of the Union address. I don't think any of us were surprised to hear some of the comments about how the United States needs to stay competitive in a new world where science, technology, engineering, and math are more important than ever. It seems to be something that everyone can agree on. These four subjects are sometimes referred to by their acronym, "STEM". There has been much talk lately about how to energize and motivate our young students to learn more science and math, which will ultimately lead to a better understanding of technology and perhaps more students of science and engineering later on down the road. For quite some time now the United States has been importing highly educated scientists. I live in a neighborhood that is close by a well-known Fortune 500 company that employs a lot of scientists. It is no surprise to me that some of them have come from other parts of the world. "What", you may ask, "does this have to do with ham radio?" Well, if you think about it, ham radio encompasses STEM - science, technology, engineering, and math - all in one fun and interesting activity. All of us know that ham radio has many different facets. You can have an interest in public service communications and earn your Technician license in order to participate in the types of communications exercises and responses that serve the public interest. Following 9/11, many people did just that because interest in public service was so strong. That fundamental reason for the existence of the Amateur Radio Service is still there and still attracts and holds many participants. There are, however, lots of amateur radio operators who simply like to do other things. Some may be interested in just getting on the air to make contacts and make friends in the process. Others may get on the air because they are competitive and like to participate in contests and chase awards. One traditional interest area is in engineering, which will frequently involve designing and building one's own equipment. It is also necessary to recognize that writing software is another amateur radio activity that holds the interest of a small but important minority. All of us know that every level of the amateur radio licensing process involves learning some science and math. The Extra Class exam takes math understanding to a much higher level than what might be found in the typical population. I guess we could say that ham radio does sometimes serve as an entry point to learning about how science, technology, engineering, and math can be applied to an activity that is both fun and educational. Furthermore, the options for learning in amateur radio are virtually open-ended. I feel that I will never, ever stop learning new things in amateur radio. Because it is a technical activity by its very nature, it will always be evolving and there will always be a necessity to learn about new technologies and the science and engineering that make them possible. In ham radio, I can learn in a "hands-on" way that will reinforce the knowledge and make it more useful to me. We saw a definite surge in the interest of the general public about amateur radio after the twin towers fell in New York City. Today we face another crisis where our students are falling behind in science and math. Perhaps amateur radio has a role to play in recruiting more people, young and not so young, to learn more about these vital subjects and in the process to make our country and our world a better place. And when you talk about making the world a better place, what could be a better way to start than by communicating via amateur radio worldwide? One final thought: When I am asked about what I think is the most important thing that I can contribute in my local amateur radio club, my answer is always the same. Teaching. Every time our club holds classes, I volunteer to teach at least some of them. Amateur radio operators who teach in the public schools have even more opportunity than I do to position amateur radio as a fun learning activity. ARRL has long supported outreach to teachers and has many useful resources. If amateur radio can be used to help promote learning in the four STEM topics, it can be one more tool in the successful teacher's toolbox. Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Handiham System Manager <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx _____ Proposal for a Skype study hall We have an ongoing need for some kind of forum in which technical assistance or study assistance can be offered to our members. One idea that crossed my mind was to run a Skype conference with up to 10 participants. This would allow a number of people to discuss some topic of interest in a small group setting in a more private forum than one could find on EchoLink, for example. Does anyone out there have any ideas or experience with this kind of a project? I have taken several webinars where we are all connected in a small group audio session. Generally there is also a shared computer screen operated by the presenter of the webinar. I think a Skype audio forum for a small group would work pretty well. We are mainly interested in audio because we will pretty much always have blind participants and would not want to bother showing screens. In order to make this work, participants would have to sign up for a free Skype account and share their Skype contact information with the presenter. One use for something like this might be to get questions about the remote base stations out there into a discussion group. Participants could discuss any issues they might have and benefit by learning what others have done to get something working. The same could be said about EchoLink or any other technical topic. The thing about a conference like this that is completely different than an e-mail exchange or even two people talking on the telephone is that the conversation is spontaneous and when you put more heads together you are more likely to get a variety of useful and creative responses. We could probably start with a scheduled conference at a particular time each week and see how it goes. If anyone is interested in this idea and is willing to get in on the ground floor while we test it out, please let me know at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Of course we will have to work out details like whether we should start a new Skype account specifically for this purpose and if so, what we should call it. One of the things that has always been true about ham radio is that "hams helping hams" advances our hobby and makes us all feel good. A Skype conference might just be another way to do that. _____ Tapes reach the end of the line - sort of Description: Cassette tape This question was put out this morning on the Handiham Radio Club list, but I want to let those of you who are not members of our radio club know what we are discussing. I want to get your opinion on tape cassettes. Over the years we have offered various manuals and other audio books on tape. I'm sure all of you know that the use of cassette tape has gone down each year, and now we are at the point of filling very few member requests for anything at all on cassette tape. We still do have a small but significant number of users who get the monthly magazine digests on tape. Most of our members are able to simply download the material from our website. In fact, prices have not changed for tapes in years. Nancy and I feel that it is time to discourage the use of tape manuals by increasing the price to reflect the fact that these are special order items that must be custom made one at a time. It is no longer the old days when we had bins of instruction manuals on tape and it was simply a matter of picking one out and mailing it. A typical cassette tape manual on a single tape is priced at five dollars, which is the minimum price for a tape order. However, some are three tapes long and sell for six dollars. This amounts to giving them away, considering all of the effort that needs to go into them. (It has never really been about the cost of the tape itself. The work and mailers add most of the cost.) Can any of you tell me what a similar book would cost from another agency or provider? While we are happy to help folks find what they need in terms of resources, it doesn't seem fair to put a lot of effort into an old medium like cassette tapes just because a few people don't want to change to digital. Thank you for your thoughts on this matter. We look forward to hearing from you. Unless you are replying via the radio club list, you should send me an email. Please don't just hit "reply" to this message. I get a lot of mail, and I will be watching for an email to wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with Tapes in the subject line. When I get replies to newsletters that are sent via the distribution list, they will probably be last to be looked at, and then only to change subscription properties. _____ NanoSail-D spacecraft deploys! Amateur radio ops track communications <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/nanosail-d.jpg> Description: NanoSail-D artist's rendering, courtesy Science@NASA website. Click the image for a larger version. NASA Science News for Jan. 24, 2011 reports that in a stunning reversal of fortune, NASA's NanoSail-D spacecraft has unfurled a gleaming sheet of space-age fabric 650 km above Earth, becoming the first-ever solar sail to circle our planet. Amateur ham operators are asked to listen for the signal to verify NanoSail-D is operating. This information should be sent to the NanoSail-D dashboard at: <http://nanosaild.engr.scu.edu/dashboard.htm> http://nanosaild.engr.scu.edu/dashboard.htm. The NanoSail-D beacon signal can be found at 437.270 MHz. Listen to one of NanoSail-D's beacon packets recorded by radio amateur Henk Hamoen of the Netherlands: https://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2011/01/24/nanosaild2_pa3guo... <https://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2011/01/24/nanosaild2_pa3guo_20 jan2011.mp3> FULL STORY at http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/24jan_solarsail/ Listen to the NanoSail-D story in audio: <http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2011/01/24/story_solarsail.m3u> http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2011/01/24/story_solarsail.m3u _____ Breath-taking space photos from KF5BOC Description: Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC, posing in official NASA photo while wearing spacesuit. When you are able to get the right perspective, you can take a stunning photograph. It takes a photographer's eye to know when to push the shutter button, but there are so many other subtle things: the framing of the scene, the angle of the light, the choice of subjects, and finally the display of the finished work, which includes a description of what is going on in the photo - and in the photographer's mind. All of these things come together in the work of Colonel Douglas H. Wheelock, KF5BOC, who assumed command of the International Space Station and the Expedition 25 crew. Doug has proven that he is a true artist when he gets behind the camera and takes these wonderful photos: http://triggerpit.com/2010/11/22/incredible-pics-nasa-astronaut-wheelock/ Our thanks to Don Rice, N0BVE, for alerting us to the photo page. Read more about Expedition 25 at: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition25/index.html _____ Letters Description: Camp Courage riding horse Elvis gives Ken a smooch. Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, writes: The club listserv is getting busier. This is a good problem. But, I must tell you, I'm going to need more coffee at camp! 73, Ken Our thanks to Handiham Radio Club President Ken for managing the radio club mailing list. Like Ken, lots of us run on coffee! _____ A dip in the pool Description: circuit board Today's dip into the question pool takes us to the Extra Class question pool: E1B04 asks: What must be done before placing an amateur station within an officially designated wilderness area or wildlife preserve, or an area listed in the National Register of Historical Places? A. A proposal must be submitted to the National Park Service B. A letter of intent must be filed with the National Audubon Society C. An Environmental Assessment must be submitted to the FCC D. A form FSD-15 must be submitted to the Department of the Interior Now, do you know what? I picked out this question because I couldn't remember the answer myself. It certainly wasn't in the question pool when I took my Extra exam. It turns out that the correct answer is C: An Environmental Assessment must be submitted to the FCC. Now, I don't take this to mean that you cannot use your mobile amateur radio station while driving through Yellowstone Park. I think what it means is that if you are going to install a permanent station with an antenna structure you would have to submit an Environmental Assessment form of some kind. As for places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, there are probably more of those around the country than you might imagine. It is not outside the realm of possibility that you would actually need to file extra paperwork to set up a station in one of those places, perhaps even for commemoration of some kind of special event associated with the place itself. It does not specify whether or not the station is permanent or temporary, so this could set up some pretty interesting questions, couldn't it? In order to delve a little bit further into what this might entail, I located the FCC Environmental Assessment checklist form online. It is available as a five page 2000+ word document and deals with everything from lighting that might be associated with the antenna tower to RF exposure to people nearby. I would think this sort of thing applies to station facilities that are more permanent in nature than temporary, but I really don't know for sure. In any case, I would probably take one look at that form and forget about installing a station at one of those locations unless there were some pretty good reasons to follow through. If you are interested in looking at the document yourself, follow this link to the Microsoft Word document: <http://wireless.fcc.gov/siting/EA_checklist.doc> http://wireless.fcc.gov/siting/EA_checklist.doc _____ Practice exams by email It's easy to generate a practice Amateur Radio exam and get it sent to your email address when you use the AA9PW Practice Exam Page: <http://aa9pw.com/radio/exams-by-email/> http://aa9pw.com/radio/exams-by-email/ You can also take exams online at the main site: <http://www.aa9pw.com> http://www.aa9pw.com Why would you want to have a test emailed? One reason would be to print the test out to use at a location where a computer is not available. Another might be to use a paper practice exam to make it more like the real exam. If you are blind, the plain text exams are easy to read with your screen reading software. The answers are given at the end. If you are blind, there is a "No Figures" option, which should be checked. _____ Remote base progress report: 26 January 2011 Description: Kenwood TS-570 Both stations are functional. Report problems to wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 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 * QST & Worldradio digest audio for February 2011 is available to our blind members. * A new Technician lecture on operating regulations will be ready on Friday. * Don't want to cause a panic, but... The NCVEC Question Pool Committee has completed the new General Class pool, which will be effective on 1 July 2011. We have heard that the pool questions are more difficult, and there are more total questions in the new pool. Our advice to those of you who have been dragging your feet about getting your General Class upgrade is to get busy right now and pass that General! If you wait too long, you will have to go through the new pool and take a harder exam. * George, N0SBU, advises that the January tape digest will be mailed along with the February digest. . Our nets have really been running well! I have to complement our net volunteers for doing such a great job, and our net participants for joining us on the air often and showing such good support for our on the air activities. . Tonight is EchoLink 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. o EchoLink nodes: * KA0PQW-R, node 267582 * N0BVE-R, node 89680 * HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.) o 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. There is no one to take on this project at the moment. * Stay in touch! 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 toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact us. _____ Supporting Handihams - 2011. 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 2011. _____ 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.