[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 27 October 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2010 14:24:43 -0500

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: 

·         New net will be on 75 m

·         Band plan isn't the same as frequency chart

·         Dip in the pool

·         NASA internships available for students with disabilities

·         Launch date set for Discovery mission

·         Putting in a speech module proves to be quite a chore

·         K1RFD puts in a guest appearance on TIPSnet

·         This week at HQ


It's time for a new HF net - Part 3

Description: FT-718 rig

Two weeks ago we said : We need at least consider moving our HF net to 160,
75, or 40 meters, and those bands are likely to be most useful in the
evening.  Because 160 requires a very long antenna, it is impractical for
many users. 40 can get crowded, but requires the shortest antenna of the
three. Of course we can consider reviving our 17 meter "non-net roundtable",
which was originally started by Alan, K2WS, but the sun will have to spit
out a few more spots for that band to get where it needs to be.  So what do
you think? 160?  75?  40?  Or something else?  And what about the time and

Decision time is here!  we really need to get moving on this new net, and
the consensus seems to be building around 75 m as the best band. Therefore,
we will proceed to the next step, which is choosing a net frequency. Most of
the responses I have gotten indicate that users would prefer a frequency in
the Extra or Advanced class portions of the phone band. We were reminded by
one respondent about the "DX window" in the ARRL band plan, which is 3.790
to 3.800 MHz. The Extra portion of the band runs from 3.600 to 3.700 MHz.
The Advanced portion runs from 3.700 to 3.800 MHz. The General portion runs
from 3.800 MHz to the top of the band at 4.000 MHz. All General frequencies
are available to Advanced and Extra licensees, of course.

So the next step is to start listening in the evening for clear frequencies.
Please report the frequency and the time you listened along with the day of
the week so that we can pick a mostly clear spot for a regular weekly net.
By the way, the net does not have to be weekly ? it could be daily, a couple
of times a week, or whatever Handiham Radio Club members think is
appropriate and reasonable. Send your reports to me over the coming week so
that we can move on to the next step and get the word out about our new 75 m

By the way, there are no plans to make this a formal traffic net or anything
like that. While I wouldn't rule out the possibility of handling traffic, I
think it would be fun to just have a nice social net on HF during the long
winter evenings. As with the daily EchoLink net, we could enlist net control
stations or simply have a more or less uncontrolled roundtable gathering.
Maybe we will have some of both, depending on who shows up to join in the

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> 


ARRL Band Plan

Most of us know what a frequency chart is, and we are likely to have one
tacked up on the wall of the ham shack as a handy reference for FCC-assigned
amateur radio frequencies. A frequency chart delineates our various bands
and sub bands by mode and license class. Both print and electronic versions
of this handy reference are available from a variety of sources.

Less commonly known is a "band plan", specifically the ARRL band plan.
Unlike a frequency chart, the ARRL band plan lays out special sub bands used
for DX or special frequencies that might be used as calling frequencies.
Unlike the frequency chart referencing FCC-assigned frequencies, the band
plan provides a suggestion ? a blueprint, if you will ? for using our
assigned frequencies in the most efficient manner possible.

For example, when we talk about starting our new 75 m SSB net, we talked
about avoiding a frequency that fell within the "DX window". There is no FCC
regulation that tells us we may not operate a net within the DX window, but
as responsible users of the bands we realize that voluntary cooperation in
the support of keeping the DX window open for those who wish to work DX and
hear weak DX stations will ultimately benefit amateur radio as a whole.

The ARRL band plan is easy to find online. Simply head for the ARRL website
and type band plan in the search box or use this direct link:


Take a few minutes to look the band plan over. It is organized by band and
contains information on specific frequencies used for calling on various
modes. If you are new to HF operation, you may not have taken time to
examine the band plan, so you will have fun learning some of the voluntary
guidelines that you didn't even know existed. That may give you ideas about
trying new frequencies or modes of operation. In any case, the band plan is
there for you, another excellent ARRL resource.


A dip in the pool

No one told you there was going to be a quiz, right? I thought it would be
fun to pick a question out of the question pool and see how many of us can
remember the right answer. Ready? Here we go:


When evaluating exposure levels from your station at a neighbor?s home, what
must you do?

A. Make sure signals from your station are less than the controlled MPE

B. Make sure signals from your station are less than the uncontrolled MPE

C. Nothing; you need only evaluate exposure levels on your own property

D. Advise your neighbors of the results of your tests 

Did you pick answer B, Make sure signals from your station are less than the
uncontrolled MPE limits? That's the right choice, and important because your
neighbor's property is in uncontrolled territory as far as picking the
correct MPE limit is concerned. When you do a station evaluation, print out
the results and place them in the FCC file in your ham shack along with your
original license and any communications from the FCC, including your
passwords for the FCC website.


NASA Internship Opportunities for Summer 2011

Description: NASA's R2 humanoid robot (NASA image)

NASA is looking to increase the number of blind and disabled students,
pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through
our internship programs. We have a two-percent hiring goal. Students can
apply between November 1 and February 1. They can register for an account
and look for internships anytime at http://intern.nasa.gov/ . Internships
run for ten weeks from May 31, 2011, through August 5, 2011.

In order to be eligible to apply, students must be accepted as freshmen at
an accredited institution of higher learning, i.e., a college or university
at the time of the internship. This is what we call a rising freshman. NASA
has internships for rising freshmen through doctoral students in STEM
fields. A minimum GPA of 2.8 is required to apply; however, applicants must
understand that the competition for internships is keen. The age limits for
interns are eighteen years and up.

Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. Students can
submit applications where they either select or do not select an opportunity
or opportunities. Selecting an opportunity or opportunities has the
advantage of allowing applicants to be considered by mentors who work in
disciplines of interest and at a particular center. For example, an
opportunity having to do with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be
at Goddard in Maryland because SDO is here. Not selecting any opportunities
may result in no mentors even looking at their applications because they
will not have flagged their applications to mentors' opportunities. It's
important to make clear that applications can be viewed by all mentors
whether students select opportunities or not. However, not selecting any
opportunities means that prospective interns will be hoping that a mentor
happens to read their applications rather than directing their applications
to mentors in fields and at centers of interest.

Students, who are selected for internships, will receive an offer letter by
E-mail sometime after February 2, 2011. They will then have five days to
either accept or reject the offer on the website. The offer will
automatically expire after five days if no action is taken.

Please feel free to contact me for more information or help with applying.

Kenneth A. Silberman, Esq. U.S. Supreme Court, Maryland, & Patent Bars B.A.,
M.Eng., J.D.
NASA Engineer & Registered Patent Attorney
Education Office Code 160
NASA/GSFC Mailstop 160
Bldg. 28 Rm. N165
Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Voice: (301) 286-9281
Fax: (301) 286-1655
E-mail: kenneth.a.silberman@xxxxxxxx
Office Location: Building 28 Room W151

Editor's note: Dr. Silberman, KB3LLA, holds Amateur Extra Class and is
president of the Handiham Radio Club.


In other space news, NASA Sets Launch Date for Space Shuttle Discovery

Description: Spacesuit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to begin an
11-day mission to the International Space Station with a launch at 4:40 p.m.
EDT on Monday, Nov. 1, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The
STS-133 mission is Discovery's final scheduled flight.

Discovery's launch date was announced Monday at the conclusion of a flight
readiness review at Kennedy. During the meeting, senior NASA and contractor
managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the
shuttle and station's equipment, support systems and personnel are ready.

More at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/952> 


Remote base progress report: 27 October 2010 


Description: Kenwood TS-570

Last week I had an interesting time getting some of the new equipment set up
and tested. As we reported, Lyle, K0LR, had already configured the new tower
computer. With that part of the project completed for the moment, I then
turned my attention to un-boxing the new equipment for the station. That
included the new Kenwood TS-480HX transceiver, two Samlex metered switching
power supplies, an LDG AT-200Pro auto tuner, and, oh what's this? A tiny box
containing the Kenwood VGS1 speech module, which hadn't been installed in
the rig ahead of time as I had expected.

"Well, time to roll up my sleeves and get to work", I thought. Out came the
instruction manuals for the TS-480HX and the VGS1 module. The tiny
instruction sheet that came with the module simply referred me to the main
rig instruction manual for installation. The manual for the radio is pretty
comprehensive and has a section on installing extra features, so I quickly
located the part about the VGS1 installation. It seemed fairly
straightforward and there would be (thankfully) no soldering. It's not that
I mind soldering so much, but I hate to take a soldering iron to a circuit
board on a brand-new piece of equipment!

The procedure required removal of the top panel on the main part of the
radio. Those of you familiar with the 480 know that it is a two-piece
transceiver with a remote control head. The voice module installs in the
main part of the radio, and the top panel is secured with eight tiny screws,
four on the top and two on each side because the panel wraps around from the
top down each side of the radio. All eight screws are exactly the same, with
a Phillips head. Thinking a jeweler's screwdriver to be the most appropriate
match to the screw heads, I gave it a try. These screws were really tight,
so I needed more leverage and had to go to a screwdriver with a larger grip.
The four screws on the top came off with no problem, as did the two on the
left side of the radio. It was when I got to the seventh screw, the one at
the back of the right side, that I encountered some real resistance. I could
see that the screw wasn't mated exactly 90° into the cabinet, and it was
pretty hard to remove, even with the screwdriver that had the larger handle.
Still, I was able to remove it all right by bearing down hard so as not to
strip the screw head.

Can you guess where the story is going?

Yup, you are right. That final eighth screw was a real bear. Pushing down on
the head and trying to twist the screwdriver at the same time produced no
results. It felt like the darned thing had been put in place at the factory
with an air driver! When the head started to strip, I knew I was in trouble
and began to think about the possibility of having to head for the Camp
Courage machine shop to drill out the screw. I finally settled on a
jeweler's screwdriver with a vice grip attached for leverage. With the body
of the radio set on the carpeted floor between my legs, I knelt down so that
I could bear down on the driver and twist the vice grip at the same time.
Success! It finally let loose and I could proceed with the installation.

Inside the rig, there were four more screws to remove so that I could take
off a metal shield. The module itself mates to the main board under that
metal shield with a matching plug, but in order to keep the module from
vibrating loose, especially in mobile operation, Kenwood provides foam
rubber stick-on shims to affix to the top and bottom of the module. These
keep the module firmly in place once it is plugged in and the metal shield
is screwed back in place. Everything fit perfectly, and I screwed the top
cover back on, this time taking care to make sure that every screw was
seated correctly and not over-tightened.

After that experience, even dressing the power supply leads and tinning them
with the soldering gun seemed pretty easy. Because the TS-480HX is a 200
Watt radio, it requires two power supplies. The radio comes with two DC
power cables instead of just one. I have to wonder why the DC leads have
almost 2 inches of insulation removed at the power supply ends. I cut those
down and tinned them to fit into the Samlex receptacles without shorting. At
the same time, I soldered the LDG power leads in parallel with those of one
of the Kenwood power cords. Everything was fitted to the Samlex supplies and
tightened up. The Samlex receptacles hold the DC cables in place with very
effective set screws.  


After that, I scrounged up some short coax cable jumpers and our dummy load
with built-in wattmeter, and connected the wattmeter to the antenna 1
position at the back of the rig. With everything in place, and the LDG tuner
out of the RF circuit for the moment, I powered up both Samlex supplies and
pushed the power button on the radio.  What a relief when the radio came to
life and announced the frequency! The receiver and speech module were both
working, so it was time to check out the transmitter. The first check was on
a 20 meter SSB frequency, and modulation seemed normal with the handheld
microphone. A test with the mode set to RTTY showed that we were definitely
getting full power out.  A quick series of similar tests on the other bands
showed normal, expected results.


Next, I powered everything down and connected the LDG autotuner to antenna 2
on the radio and our 300 foot W0OXB wire antenna to the LDG. A series of
tests on several bands indicated that we would have no problem getting a
match. As expected, the autotuner clattered away each time it encountered a
"new" frequency far enough away from those it had already tuned, so that it
could store the frequencies in memory.  After that, the LDG would tune
almost instantly.  I'm familiar with this tuner because I use the same model
in my home station. Although it was mid-day, the time when the 75 m band is
least useable because of high absorption due to solar radiation, I made a
contact with another station on 3.925 MHz and got a good report. 


That completed the preliminary setup and testing, and the next step will be
to configure the RIGblaster Nomic interface and get everything connected to
the new control computer. I have decided to do this separately from the
existing station setup so that there will be minimal interruption of
service. In the meantime the TS-570 station remains in place and active when
you log in.


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. 


EchoLink founder K1RFD on TIPSnet - archived audio available


Anne West, K1STM, and John West, N1IWT, write:

Thanks for the giant turnout on TIPSnet last night, over 400 stations
connected throughout the world to hear Jonathan Taylor K1RFD discuss
EchoLink and internet linking.. in a close and personal way.

Here is the link to a downloadable MP3 file (36 Mb):



In case you wish to stream the audio or download a smaller file size use
these links:


Listen to the audio stream from the Handiham server:



Download the 18 MB file to your hard drive or portable player:


TIPSnet meets every Tuesday 7:30pm to 8:30pm local time (ET) on several RF
linked repeaters throughout New England, including the *SPARC* system, our
RF HUB in West Haven, CT connection is via the 147.505/146.505 repeater with
input (-1 MHz PL 77.0) National and International connections are welcome
via the New England Gateway - EchoLink Conference *NEW-ENG2* (node # 9127)
and IRLP *New England Reflector* 912, Channel 7 (node # 9127), also the
*DODROPIN* Conference server Node # 355800 and *HANDIHAM* node #494492.
Streaming audio available at http://new-eng.com 

TIPS discussion welcomes messages from members please POST at:

Our Info Page and Web Portal (the easy way to get to your acct)

Subscribe to the list send a blank email with SUBSCRIBE in the subject
field: <mailto:field:tipsdiscussion-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 


This week @ HQ

*       This week's Friday Technician audio lecture will be on the subject
of radio frequency interference (RFI).  
*       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. 

Here are some net tips from Howard, KE7KNN:

*       On November 7, we fall back one hour to standard time. The net
remains true to whatever local time you use, but shifts by +1 hour for GMT
relative to USA daylight time. Here in Minnesota, the difference is 6 hours,
with GMT being 6 hours ahead. So if the net begins at 11 AM Minnesota time,
that is 17:00 hours GMT, or 5 PM in London. 
*       There is no time limit to the nets.  The NCS may run as short or
long a session as necessary or convenient.
*       Don't forget to use the word "recheck" to request a second check in
through the NCS instead of just jumping back in. In any case, please keep
rechecks to as few as possible.  Too many rechecks can disrupt the net.
*       If you use the Echolink text box, remember that most of the net
control stations will not be able to read your texts and no one using RF
will see them, either. 
*       Thanks to all participants, Net Control Stations, and listeners for
making the net such a success!

Tonight is net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United
States Central Daylight 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.  If there is
no designated Net Control, there will be a simple roundtable net. 

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

*       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
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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 27 October 2010 - Patrick Tice