[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 26 January 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2011 15:33:57 -0600

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. 

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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

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham System Manager <mailto: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

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


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

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

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

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:




Listen to the NanoSail-D story in audio:



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:

Our thanks to Don Rice, N0BVE, for alerting us to the photo page.

Read more about Expedition 25 at:



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!



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

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:


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:

You can also take exams online at the main site:  <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

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
*       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

.         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

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


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&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

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, 26 January 2011 - Patrick Tice