*Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 28 August 2013* This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Kenny Handiham System <http://handiham.org/>. 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: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this podcast in iTunes: <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406> http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406 RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software: http://feeds.feedBurner.com/handiham <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> ------------------------------ *Welcome to Handiham World.* Orion? Already? Time to fire up the rig on 75 meters. [image: IC-7200 tuned to 3.925 Mhz.] My little dog Jasper needs to go out first thing in the morning, so a little after 5:00 AM we made our way out through the garage and back door into the waning Minnesota night. There it was - staring us right in the face: The constellation Orion, marching into the southeastern sky with his faithful hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, following behind. The thing is... Orion is a WINTER constellation. It hardly seems like winter can be knocking at our door when the temperatures here have been over 90 degrees and it is, after all, still three weeks until autumn equinox. [image: The analemma]But there it is: The days are getting shorter and that means we will slide quickly down the steep slope of the analemma - the thingy on a globe that looks like a number "8" bisecting the equator. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analemma> A slide down toward autumn and into winter is fast, and we will notice that the daylight hours are quickly fading here in the northern hemisphere even as they grow longer south of the equator. Less daylight will mean less sun to create the annoying D-layer absorption on the 80 meter band, and that means that it is time to think about how you can leverage 80 and 75 meters to have some great contacts that can range from local and regional to DX! This morning, with Jasper busy burying his snout in his food bowl, I decided to wake up the ham shack for the day and started by dialing across the 75 meter band. It was still well before sunrise, but there was some thunderstorm static skipping in from the southern states. There were also plenty of 5-area callsigns on the air, meaning that 75 meters was a clear pathway between north and south this morning. As the day dawns and the sun rises, so does the D-layer absorption. By mid-day, the band will be mostly abandoned because propagation is so poor that near-vertical incidence propagation is nearly dead, thanks to absorption. But as the days grow shorter and Orion sticks around all night long, the 75 meter band will become a go-to place for getting on the air and really having a lot of fun. If you have time, check out some of the 75 meter nets; most are on in the early morning hours, but there are others in early evening for those of you who don't have to take your Canis Minor out at 5:00 AM. One favorite of mine is the long-running PICONET, which can be found between 9:00 and 11:00 AM Monday through Saturday on 3.925 MHz USA Central Time. PICONET has always had a friendly relationship with the Handiham program, and is sometimes even run by Handiham members. Summer absorption makes an afternoon session difficult, but there is a 4:00 to 5:00 PM hour as well. In the winter, an additional hour is added as band conditions improve, and you will find the PICONET on the air between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM USA Central Time. Most of the net participants will be in the USA Upper Midwestern states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and occasionally Nebraska. This is the typical regional footprint for a 75 meter net. But in winter, you may even be able to check in from much farther out - as long as it is early in the morning or later on in the afternoon. I often hear New York stations coming though after 4:30 PM, because absorption is very low and the band is starting to really lengthen out. Another early morning watering hole (coffee preferred) is on 3.973, where the Breakfast Club Net <http://hamdata.com/bc.html>hangs out between 4:00 and 8:00 AM USA Central Time. The Breakfast Club has been serving up friendly wake-up conversation since 1958. Since the band will really be open "long" that early in the morning, longer-distance check-ins are certainly possible, especially in mid-winter when thunderstorms follow the sun south. You will also hear groups of "regulars" on the same frequencies morning and night. It pays to tune around the bands and find out what's going on. Soon you will get the lay of the land and 75 meters will be a good winter resource for you. If you are a CW fan, the lower end of the band - 80 meters - will prove to have ample elbow room for plenty of good QSOs. It may well prove to be the most efficient choice if you want to work some DX or try to snag all 50 states for WAS. If you are a Handiham member with access to the internet remotes W0ZSW and W0EQO <http://www.handiham.org/remotebase>, you can use either one to explore the 80 and 75 meter bands from the Upper Midwestern United States. Yes, the remotes will run CW! Patrick Tice, WA0TDA Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator ------------------------------ Practical radio [image: pliers and wire] Coping with pileups when you are running a net Have you ever tried running a net and been overwhelmed by an avalanche of checker-inners all at the same time? Or have you tried checking into a net and been elbowed out by several other stations? Me, too. If you are a checker-inner, you'll probably just have to keep listening for a break and trying again, sometimes more than once. If you have an understanding of radio propagation, you might gain a slight advantage - depending on conditions. The NCS may also understand propagation and give preference to those having more difficulty getting checked in. Listen closely for your opportunity. If you are the NCS - Net Control Station - you have other ways to control all the traffic. Of course it depends on the kind of net you are running; there is a huge difference between a directed traffic net handling formal messages and an informal net that just happens to have a net control station. Then there is the challenge of understanding your medium: Echolink with its baked-in delays can require very deliberate pauses, which the NCS must manage - even when stations checking in do not take the delay into account. HF net controls have other headaches; the band can change beneath their feet, making weak stations strong and strong stations weak in a matter of minutes. Some universal strategies you, as a net control, can use: 1. Call for emergency and priority traffic first. This is standard operating procedure and considered "best practices" even for less formal nets. 2. Call for mobile stations next. Whether on HF, FM repeaters, or a VoIP-enabled net, mobiles are to be considered early in the net and given priority because they are less likely to stay in range and may only have a short window of opportunity to check in. Remember that the driver may also encounter heavy traffic or more difficult driving conditions. 3. Next, call for stations that must leave early. These are stations that will not be able to hang around and check in later on when they are called from a net roster (if your net does that sort of thing) or if they are called as general check-ins. I resist calling for "short time" stations, because this seems to invite anyone and everyone who feels like checking in immediately to do so, and that creates chaos. Furthermore, I have often heard these same stations calling for "a recheck" later on during the net session. If they were going to stay around for that long anyway, they obviously did not need a "short time" check in. 4. Now you are ready to call for stations with announcements for the net. This will usually be pretty quick, but you never know - sometimes an interesting topic will come up and a discussion will develop around it. 5. Next are the general check-ins. Most of your participants will be patiently waiting in the wings, so you'll need some way to sort them out. For a VoIP-enabled net you might try calling by technology - stations using repeaters, stations using Echolink on computers, smartphone users - you get the idea. This does not necessarily work well early on in the net because it is not sufficiently selective. It may make more sense for VoIP net controls to take a cue from HF net operations where the NCS will sort the stations by geography. This works by calling for stations in specific parts of the world, which you can narrow down as much as you please. You might begin by calling for stations outside North America, then stations outside the USA. After that, it might be stations east of the Mississippi River or stations in specific states or provinces. Of course if you are actually running an HF net, you can adjust your geographic selection to best suit the propagation for the band at any given time. 6. Be flexible! If one strategy to sort the stations out doesn't work, try another. If band conditions on HF are changing, perhaps an alternate or assistant NCS can hear the stations that you can't. If operating an HF net, you might try calling for relays, especially if conditions are bad. The phrase "Are there any relays?" can help low-power or distant stations to get checked in. 7. Use strategies that work when copy is difficult. One is to ask stations to use phonetics. 8. Avoid vague phrases such as, "Come now, one at a time." No one knows who is being called since this command is directing anyone and everyone to call the net control. Instead, use specific wording such as, "Stations with W prefixes only, please call now." 9. If there is a collision of stations, try to sort them by partial callsigns: "Station ending in delta alpha please come now." 10. Try to manage exchanges on the net so that you don't build up a large backlog of waiting check-ins. Remember that this column is about "practical radio", which is figuring out what works and making the most of it. Use what works for you! ------------------------------ Bulletin Board VP6TC SK ARRL reports that Tom Christian, VP6TC/VR6TC, a long-time radio amateur who became known as “the Voice of Pitcairn,” died July 7 on the tiny South Pacific Island that was his lifelong home. He was 78 and a descendent of Fletcher Christian of “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame. Read the story on ARRL.org: http://www.arrl.org/news/tom-christian-vp6tc-vr6tc-sk Do you remember reading the Bounty trilogy by Nordhoff and Hall? <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bounty_Trilogy> I read it just about the time I was getting interested in world geography - my teenage years - and seafaring tales were perfect for a boy who wanted to escape to an adventure in far-off places. I think those books might have even sparked an interest in ham radio because it would open up the world to me in those pre-internet days. I never talked with Tom Christian, though. Did you? WB6NOA changes teaching direction CQ Newsroom reports that Gordon West has decided to concentrate on "training the trainers" - teaching a new generation of instructors how to use his effective teaching methodology as he ends his own licensing classes. ------------------------------ Handiham Club News One of our members asked about how we can have meetings through the year. Maybe a VoIP system like Skype? What ideas do you have? Your Handiham Radio Club officers are: - President: Lucinda Moody, AB8WF. - Vice-president Linda Reeder, N7HVF. - Secretary Mike Runholt, KC0YFV. - Matt Arthur, KA0PQW, continues to serve as Net Manager. Congratulations to Matt on his successful western tour with his band, Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders <http://bratlanders.wordpress.com/>. He is back home again and can be heard on the club nets. Our thanks to all who serve and help our club be an asset to Amateur Radio and a resource for its members. ------------------------------ Handiham Nets are on on the air daily. If there is no net control station during any scheduled net time, just go right ahead and start a round table discussion. [image: TMV71A transceiver] *We are scheduled to be on the air daily at 11:00 USA Central Time, plus Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 19:00 USA Central Time. *A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations! What will Doug, N6NFF, come up with for his trivia question tonight? I guess we'll just have to tune in and listen! Tune in and see how you do with the question this week, or just check in to say hello. *We maintain our nets at 11:00 hours daily relative to Minnesota time. Since the nets remain true to Minnesota time, the difference between Minnesota time and GMT is -5 hours. The net is on the air at 16:00 hours GMT. * *The official and most current net news may be found at: http://www.handiham.org/nets * ------------------------------ *A dip in the pool* [image: Pat shows off his new Plantronics USB headset!] It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the Amateur Radio question pool, that is! *Let's go to the Technician Class pool and examine a question about duty cycle:* T0C10 asks: "Why is duty cycle one of the factors used to determine safe RF radiation exposure levels?" Possible answers are: A. It affects the average exposure of people to radiation B. It affects the peak exposure of people to radiation C. It takes into account the antenna feedline loss D. It takes into account the thermal effects of the final amplifier The answer is choice A, It affects the average exposure of people to radiation. Remember that your exposure is higher with higher duty cycle modes. FM is 100% duty cycle, which can result in a much higher exposure than SSB, which can be as low as 20% without speech compression. Higher duty cycle modes also require more robust power supplies and likely better cooling systems. Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment. * * ------------------------------ *This week @ HQ** * [image: Cartoon robot with pencil] Important: Take our on line survey <http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QZX6BN6>, released last week. Download a plain text copy if you have trouble with the Survey Monkey website<https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18891122/2013%20Handiham%20Survey.txt> . Help us to make the Handiham program as good as it can be. Take a short survey to let us know what you think. Follow the link below: - http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QZX6BN6 Remote Base News The remote base software team is gearing up again. Stay tuned! [image: W0EQO station in the server room at Courage North.] Both Handiham Remote Base internet stations W0ZSW and W0EQO are on line. Outages: We are not expecting any outages. Outages are reported on http://handiham.org/remotebase/station-status/. *Band conditions:* As of this writing, conditions on HF are poor. Check http://handiham.org/remotebase/station-status/ for a current HF conditions report from G4ILO. *Operating tip: * Find out how to tell if the remote base station is already in use if you are using JAWS: - Listen to the tutorial: http://www.handiham.org/audio/remotebase/W4MQ_status_JAWS.mp3 - Read the tutorial in accessible HTML: http://handiham.org/remotebase/2013/03/05/check-station-status-with-jaws-13-or-14/ ** * * [image: Pat holding up NLS digital cartridge and mailer] Don't care to download Handiham materials via computer? This digital cartridge and mailer can bring you Handiham audio digests each month, plus we have room to put the audio lecture series or equipment tutorials on them, too! - If you have trouble logging in, please let us know. - All Daisy materials are in zip file format, so you simply download the zip file you need and unzip it so the Daisy book folder can be accessed or moved to your NLS or other Daisy player. - Tip: When in the Daisy directory, it is easy to find the latest books by sorting the files by date. Be sure the latest date is at the top. The link to sort is called "Last Modified". - You can also find what is on a web page by using CONTROL-F. This brings up a search box and you can type a key word in, such as "July". You may find more than one July, including 2012, but you will eventually come across what we have posted for July 2013. - CQ for July is now available for our blind members in the DAISY section. - Worldradio and QST Daisy for August are ready. - Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this month. Look for these DAISY materials in the members section. <http://handiham.org/drupal2/user> *Digital mailers are important: *If you do mail a digital cartridge to us, please be sure that it is an approved free matter mailer. Otherwise it will quickly cost us several dollars to package and mail out, which is more than the cost of the mailer in the first place. We don't have a stock of cartridges or mailers and not including a mailer will result in a long delay getting your request back out to you. *DAISY audio digests are available for our blind members who do not have computers*, playable in your Library of Congress digital player. Handiham members who use these players and who would prefer to receive a copy of the monthly audio digests on the special Library of Congress digital cartridge should send a blank cartridge to us in a cartridge mailer (no envelopes, please), so that we can place the files on it and return it to you via free matter postal mail. Your call sign should be on both the cartridge and the mailer so that we can make sure we know who it's from. Blank cartridges and mailers are available from APH, the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. <http://www.aph.org/> Digital Talking Book Cartridge Catalog Number: 1-02610-00, Price: $12.00 Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price: $2.50 Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839. The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital cartridges: http://www.loc.gov/nls/cartridges/index.html Get it all on line as an alternative: Visit the DAISY section on the Handiham website after logging in. * ------------------------------ Stay in touch * [image: Cartoon robot with cordless phone] 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 at 763-520-0512. If you need to use the toll-free number, call 1-866-426-3442. Handiham Program Coordinator Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone at 763-520-0511. Pat will be out of the office until Wednesday, September 4. Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us. The Courage Kenny Handiham Program 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. Call 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 Handiham Weekly E-Letter in MP3 format <http://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> Email us to subscribe: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Kenny Handihams! Pat, WA0TDA Coordinator, Courage Kenny Handiham Program Reach me by email at: handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx *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!* [image: ARRL diamond-shaped logo] 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 handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.