[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 28 October 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 14:42:20 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System <http://handiham.org> . Please do not reply to this message. Use the
contact information at the end, or simply email handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

You can also listen to the content online:

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Welcome to Handiham World!

cartoon happy clock

The first order of business is the upcoming time change in November: Sunday,
1 November 2009, we move to standard time in the USA. The  Handiham daily
EchoLink net remains true to local time, so if you use local time to check
in you will not notice any difference.

However, if you use GMT, the net time appears to shift by 1 hour. Instead of
beginning at 16:00 GMT, the net begins at 17:00 GMT.  The first net affected
by this change will be the Monday, 2 November EchoLink net. 

For net managers, the time change means making sure that net control
stations are aware of the plan to shift net times by one hour relative to
Universal Time. The problem is certainly one for amateur radio nets that
have worldwide participation, since different parts of the world may elect
to follow a seasonal time shift.  About 70 countries have at least some form
of daylight saving time.  Three notable exceptions are China, India, and
Japan.  A station checking in to the Handiham EchoLink net via the N0BVE
repeater system in Minnesota would observe no difference next Monday, as the
net would begin at what appears to that station to be normal local time,
11:00 in the morning. However, relative to GMT (which never shifts by the
season), the net will now begin an hour later, at 17:00 hours GMT instead of
16:00 hours GMT. 

An easy way to remember the difference is to know the "normal" number of
hours between your local time and GMT. In Minnesota, where I live, the
difference between local time and GMT is +6 hours.  That means if the net is
on at 11:00 hours in Minnesota, I add 6 hours to 11 hours and the total is
17:00 hours GMT.  That is the same as 5:00 in the afternoon Universal Time.

In the summer, when Daylight Time is in effect, the difference between
Minnesota time and GMT is only 5 hours. 

So, to set forth a practical example, a station checking in from Japan will
notice that the net now begins at 2:00 a.m. during the winter, when we shift
to standard time.  All summer, when Minnesota was on Daylight Time, that
same station in Japan would see the net starting at 1:00 a.m., so you can
see that it might be more difficult for Asian stations to keep the net
schedule at such an inconvenient hour.  We also get check ins from India,
and since, like Japan, India does not shift times from Daylight to Standard,
those stations will also observe that the net begins an hour later. 

The Handiham Monday HF nets also remain true to local time, the only problem
being whether or not we are even going to bother keeping these nets on the
books, so to speak. The nets, other than the CW net, have fallen into disuse
and might as well be abandoned. The relentless sunspot minimum with its poor
band conditions has taken a toll on participation, and the RFI that
prevented us from using our old station at Courage Center meant that we
could not pick up the net if there was no other net control station
available. We had a number of dedicated phone operators who stuck it out as
long as they could on the 20 meter net, 14.265 MHz, but when stations just
don't show up, there really isn't much of a net.  A perennial problem with
the 14.265 frequency is that the Salvation Army Net backs up against our net
time and does not always change with the season. 

It is time to decide what to do with these HF nets. The CW net stays in
place on 40 meters, but the HF phone nets need a complete re-thinking. Let's
hear your ideas, now that the sun is again showing signs of life and solar
cycle 24 will begin bringing us better HF band conditions.  Oh, and let's
not assume that all the activity will be on 14 MHz and above.  Maybe you
would like to have a 75 meter net, or perhaps a 160 meter net, either of
which would allow for fairly wide geographic coverage during the upcoming
northern hemisphere winter. While nets are normally discouraged on 17
meters, we used to have an informal gathering on that band during cycle 23,
when the band was open often. Alan, K2WS, started that "informal non-net
get-together".  When band conditions became so bad that we just couldn't
keep the 17 meter non-net going, it simply died out.  Maybe conditions will
improve and we can get together informally on that band, or perhaps have a
more formal net on a higher frequency band like 10 or 15 meters. 

Think of the advantages of a 10 meter net:

·         Novices and Technicians can operate SSB phone between 28.3 and
28.5 MHz.

·         A quarter wave vertical antenna for the 10 meter band is only
about eight and a quarter feet (2.5 meters) long. It is much easier to fit a
10 meter band antenna into a apartment or condo living situation than it is
to fit a 20 meter antenna into that same space. 

·         Band conditions will soon favor 10 meters with the solar cycle
producing higher sunspot numbers. That means that smaller antenna systems
and lower transmitter power will become practical for working HF again. 

·         There is a lot of spectrum space on the 10 meter band. It is not
crowded with stations as the 20 meter band is. 

·         Modern multiband rigs cover the 10 meter band, so many of us
already have the equipment we need.

·         The Handiham Remote Base station at Courage North operates on the
10 meter band, offering another way to get on the air.

Look, all I'm asking is that we mull this idea over and think about the HF
nets. I hate to drop the 20 meter net altogether, but 14.265 MHz is just a
very crowded frequency. We could consider running the net in a less crowded
part of the band, but that would mean moving to the Advanced or Extra
portions of 20 meters. Do you have any ideas about that? Perhaps it would
offer even more incentive for some of our Generals to upgrade, but even if
they don't want to upgrade, there would be other nets that they could join
on bands like 10 meters. 

I guess we have to admit that every station is not going to be able to get
on every net. The secret to building a successful on the air community is to
have enough choices, alternatives that serve as many Handiham members as

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 
Handiham Manager


Sunspot 1029 gets active

Sunspot 1029 gets active (SOHO image)

Image credit: SOHO

Sunspot 1029, first reported on October 25, is advancing across the solar
disk (left to right in the SOHO photos) from day to day. Part of new cycle
24, its robust growth is good news for amateur radio operators around the
world, who have been waiting for cycle 24 to really get underway.

Spaceweather.com reports that 1029 is also the most active spot of the year,
having produced 6 C-class flares in the past 48 hours (as of 15:00 CDT

The sunspot group is actively growing, and you can even see a movie of the
growth and see some excellent photos by amateur astronomers:



Report on free Microsoft Security Essentials software

By Ken Silberman, KB3LLA

I installed Microsoft Security Essentials from the link in the 14 October
2009 "Handiham World Weekly E-Letter". It installed as advertised and
without any problems. It seems to be very accessible. All of the buttons and
dropdown boxes are accessible by tabbing through the application's window.
The only menu item is the one that sizes and closes the window. The
protection status of your computer is displayed in the system tray, and you
can also open the program from the tray or from the desktop shortcut. There
are some items in the program's window that give some useful status
information but are not read. So, I recommend that folks read the
application window with the JAWS (mouse) cursor to get acquainted with the
program the first time and every time that they run it. The window reads
easily. Additionally, the initial scan takes some time. Updates are
automatic and free as is the software for registered copies of Windows.

I do recommend that folks still use a firewall such as Zone Alarm or the
Windows firewall. My computer has sure speeded up, and MS Security
Essentials found some remote-control malware on my machine that the
competition didn't! 

Getting Windows Security Essentials

Windows Security Essentials works really well, and is not a system resources
hog like some of the other antivirus and security suites. It is also free,
which is definitely a plus in my book. Microsoft Security Essentials
provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses,
spyware, and other malicious software.

Problem is, it can be a little difficult to find out exactly where to get
this new, free security software. Here is a handy link to a Blind
oft.html>  Access Journal article to get you started:

 <http://tinyurl.com/yf5g74o> http://tinyurl.com/yf5g74o


Slideshow <http://www.handiham.org/node/594>  of new Handiham HQ

I apologize for the relative inaccessibility of the Flash slideshow to our
blind readers. The content shows the overall room, which is large and
bright, with white walls and excellent lighting, including some large
windows facing a beautiful wooded area.  The ham shack has a wooden storage
cabinet like the one at Courage North, and this can serve both to secure the
equipment and to serve as an operating desk, since the front folds down into
a desk surface. Next to that cabinet, we have a TS-570SAT station on a more
standard computer desk. Since the area serves as office space, I have a work
area with my computers that connect me to the company network and the
internet. The DAISY book production gear is also there.  At the rear of the
room, we have a good-sized computer lab area that can be used to produce
video. There is even a modern countertop with a kitchen sink!  The entire
room is nicely carpeted, which helps to hold down noise. There is a large
double door opening directly to the outside, through which wheelchair users
can roll without a ramp.  Finally, we have several large equipment storage
cabinets.  The antenna outside the window is a GAP vertical, but we do
intend to get several other antennas into service, including the triband



Thanks for slide show, Pat. What a facility!

I gather from previous postings that the tower and tribander are not
immediately at the new shack. In situations where the coaxial cable runs are
long, hard-line is warranted, as you well know, and relatively inexpensive
(sometimes free) CATV 75 ohm trunk line has been used. The additional VSWR
is easily tuned out by the transceiver's internal antenna tuner. W2FMI
transformers may help, if needed.

Good luck and have fun,

Jeff, K0JS.


This week at Headquarters:

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/476> We are on Twitter!

 <http://www.handiham.org/sites/default/files/images/ham_mobile.jpg> We are
on Twitter!

Look for us on Twitter by searching for "handiham". We invite you to follow
us. Handiham web page posts are now "tweeted" automatically!

·         In Operating Skills:  


o    Volunteer reader Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, reads the November "Doctor is in"
column from QST for our blind members.  

o    Volunteer reader Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the November
Worldradio digest. 

o     <http://handiham.org/user> Login to the member section of the Handiham
website and find the magazine digests in the Library. 

·         I have fixed a whole bunch of broken audio links on the website,
especially in the operating skills section.

·         Our Contact information is the same:

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road 
Golden Valley, MN  55422
763-520-0512 (Nancy)
763-520-0511 (Pat)

·         Pat's phone number goes directly to voice mail, due to a problem
with our forwarding system. Leave a message with the best time to return
your call. 

·         Our email address (for Nancy's office) is
<mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

·         Pat can be reached by email any time at  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx or  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

·         The equipment loan program is on hold right now due to limited
staff hours. 

o    The Handiham equipment program still welcomes donations of good ham
radio equipment. 

o    We plan to distribute donated equipment to our radio campers at the
next Radio Camp session.

o    Handiham members who already have equipment out on loan may continue to
borrow that equipment. 


·         Minnesota Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage: 

Arrive Friday, May 21

Class days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

VE Exam Day: Thursday  (VE team still needed.)

Depart Friday, May 28

·         Camp Courage is west of Minneapolis.  The address is 8046 83rd St
NW, Maple Lake, MN‎.

o    The phone number of the Camp Courage office is (320) 963-3121‎.

o    If you want to receive a Camp Courage summer camp schedule, you may
call for one.  The camp schedule includes information about Handiham Radio
Camp.  If you need specific information about the radio camp or want to be
on the radio camp mailing list, you may call Nancy in the Handiham office at

o    Here is an interactive Google map showing Camp Courage:

&z=12> View Larger Map 


·         VOLLI is now in service.  It stands for VOLunteer Log In, and is a
way for our Handiham volunteers to register and then enter their volunteer
hours without having to fool around with paper records.  We encourage
volunteers to create a username and password, then submit their hours spent
recording audio, doing club presentations for us, and so on. Volunteer hours
are important, because United Way funding depends in part on volunteer
hours. If you are a volunteer and need a link to VOLLI, please email me at
wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Our special thanks to my son Will, KC0LJL, who wrote the
Java code for VOLLI. He is studying in Tokyo this semester and sends a big
"hello" to our readers and listeners.

·         Volunteers, get your October hours in through VOLLI - I'll be
checking them soon!  You may also submit volunteer hours to Nancy at
<mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

·         The Friday audio lectures return  this week.  There will be new
lectures posted by early afternoon on Friday, and a notification will be
sent by email. 

·         The Remote Base at Courage North is in service. Please feel free
to use this wonderful member resource.  

·         Remote Base users who try the built-in IRB sound feature instead
of SKYPE are encouraged to send us reports on how the audio worked.

·         Our new volunteer reader for QST is Michael Gregg, KA5EXI. Michael
is now working on the November issue, and I think you will agree that he
does a great job with nice, clear diction and good technical quality.  As
always, check the audio page for the latest updates. I will note on the
audio page when November digest audio is available for our blind members.

·         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 us. 




Looking for a metric calculator? 

You can convert feet to meters or vice-versa by using the World Wide Metric
web calculator: <http://www.worldwidemetric.com/metcal.htm> 

How about a time calculator?  

Find out what time it is around the world:


NASA App for the iPhone and iPod touch is available free

WASHINGTON -- A NASA App for the iPhone and iPod touch is available free of
charge at the App Store from Apple. The NASA application will deliver a
wealth of information, videos, images and news updates about NASA missions
to people's fingertips.

"Making NASA more accessible to the public is a high priority for the
agency," said Gale Allen, director of Strategic Integration and Management
for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington. "Tools
like this allow us to provide users easy access to NASA information and
progress at a fast pace."

The NASA App collects, customizes and delivers an extensive selection of
dynamically updated information, images and videos from various online NASA
sources. Users can access NASA countdown clocks, the NASA Image of the Day,
Astronomy Image of the Day, online videos, NASA's many Twitter feeds and
other information in a convenient mobile package. It delivers NASA content
in a clear and intuitive way by making full use of the iPhone and iPod touch
features, including the Multi-Touch user interface. The New Media Team at
NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., developed the

The NASA App also allows users to track the current positions of the
International Space Station and other spacecraft currently orbiting Earth in
three views: a map with borders and labels, visible satellite imagery, or
satellite overlaid with country borders and labels.

"We're excited to deliver a wide range of up-to-the-minute NASA content to
iPhone and iPod touch users," said Gary Martin, director of the New Ventures
and Communications Directorate at Ames. "The NASA App provides an easy and
interesting way for the public to experience space exploration."

For more information about NASA's iPhone application, visit:





Congratulations to Rachel, KC0VBV: 

We received a postcard in the mail from Ann Niedringhaus (Rachel's mother).
Rachel's artwork was featured on the front of the postcard that was an
invitation to an art show put on by Rise, <http://www.rise.org/>
Incorporated, which is on display at the Dunn Brothers
<http://www.dunnbros.com/locate_results.asp?location_id=17>  Coffee Shop at
Loring Park in Minneapolis though Oct. 30th. 

Rachel's piece is entitled "Energy is Life" and Ann included this note, "Her
text was about ham radio. Rachel was so excited about this that she wanted
to share it." 

The postcard says, "This unique art show featuring works created by people
who have physical and intellectual disabilities." They had a reception for
the art show back on Oct. 8 at the coffee shop, so we can see why Rachel was
excited that her art was featured in the announcement.


Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net

Wednesday Evening EchoLink Net happy guy with headset

Wednesday evenings the Handiham EchoLink net will be on the air. Please join
us and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit:


Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM)
GMT: Thursday morning at 00:30 Z this week, but remember that next week the
GMT start will be 01:30 once we return to standard time.


145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul) 
Node 89680 (EchoLink worldwide) 
IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector) 
WIRES system number 1427

Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member, and the net is relaxed,
friendly, and informal. 

By the way, our Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we need net
control stations for the Wednesday evening net and for the Monday through
Saturday morning net. If you are in the Twin Cities, all you need is a radio
that can get on the 145.45 N0BVE repeater, and if you live outside the RF
area, you can still be net control via EchoLink, IRLP, or WIRES. 


Reminder:  Handiham renewals are now 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.

·         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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

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

1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new hams on the air.

Free! 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:  <mailto: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!

Manager, Courage Handi-ham System
Reach me by email at:  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

·         Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

·         Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

·         Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


ARRL </p />
<p>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.


·         By wa0tda at 10/28/2009 - 19:28

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Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442) 

FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! 

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 28 October 2009 - Patrick Tice