[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 28 September 2011

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2011 15:43:26 -0500

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.

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Welcome to Handiham World.

What got you started in radio?

When I think about that question, I recall a little crystal radio kit that
my dad bought for me.  It had a plastic housing to make it look like a real
table radio, except that it was smaller and had only a single earpiece.  And
of course it "magically" took a radio signal right out of the airwaves and
turned it into music without any electricity at all!  It was one of several
crystal diode radios that I had as a kid.  Another memorable one was made up
in a round plastic ball that was supposed to be a satellite.  There was a
tuning control that consisted of a slug-tuned coil. The brass screw from the
ferrite slug extended out of the top of the "satellite" like some sort of
antenna.  It had a little rubber cap on it to serve as a grip, so that the
coil could be tuned more easily.  The real antenna was a piece of bell wire
with an alligator clip at the end.  That allowed you to connect the radio to
something conductive that might hopefully act as a better antenna and bring
in a local AM station.  Of course today the term "satellite radio" means
something completely different!

When I was a teenager, dad bought me a Knight-Kit Span Master two tube
regenerative receiver.  It was not my brightest moment in radio when the kit
manual called for putting "spaghetti" over some of the bare wire leads
during assembly and I went down to the kitchen cabinet to find this
apparently necessary but odd ingredient for a radio.  Dad straightened me
out on that and we ended up using the insulating tubing that was actually
already provided by Knight-Kit.

[image: Knight-Kit Span Master as shown in 1962 catalog.]

Image:  Here is the Knight-Kit Span Master as shown in a 1962 Allied Radio
catalog.  You could get the outdoor antenna kit for only 1 cent more, but
the radio itself cost $25.95.

The Span Master worked when it was finished, so I installed it in the
vinyl-covered wooden cabinet that came with it and ran a wire out of my
bedroom window to serve as an antenna.  The circuit might not seem like
much, since it had only two vacuum tubes, but it turned out to be
light-years ahead of the crystal radios.  One important feature was a
speaker, so I didn't have to use headphones.  The tuning knob was connected
directly to a variable capacitor, but there was a helpful bandspread knob
connected to a second capacitor so that fine tuning was possible without
pulleys and dial strings.  Furthermore, the radio had a band switch and
covered not only the AM broadcast band but also several short-wave bands.
In spite of the two tube design, a fair amount of gain could be had from the
simple regenerative circuit.  It was also possible to hear Morse code and
even something that was new and mysterious back then:  SSB. You had to be
patient and careful tuning it in, though.  It was more fun to listen to far
off short-wave stations and find out what was happening all around the

I consider the Span Master to have been the radio that really got me
interested in getting my amateur radio Novice license.  Today we can still
find electronic kits, and who knows?  One of those kits might spark the
interest of a future engineer, scientist, or teacher!  Consider an
electronic kit as a gift for your child, making it age-appropriate, of
course.  Then make it a parent-child project to assemble it and make it
work. You will both have fun, and open the door to STEM:  Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Math.

*Next week: Thoughts about a broken water pipe. *

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager
We are headed into part 3 of our end-of-summer good read, but first...[image:
Dr. Dave climbs the tower]Help us win the Dr. Dave Challenge!
Thanks to everyone who has helped us with donations to the Dr. Dave
Challenge so far.  Thanks to Luella, KE0RF, for your help. We are almost 1/5
of the way toward our goal.

Money is tight these days and we desperately need your support.  Now, thanks
to a generous challenge grant by Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, we have a chance to
help fill the budget gap.  Dr. Dave will donate $5,000 to the Handiham
System if we can raise a matching amount.  That means we need to really put
the fund-raising into high gear!  If you can help, designate a donation to
Handihams, stating that it is for the "Dr. Dave Challenge".  We will keep
you posted in our weekly e-letter as to the progress of the fund.

Nancy can take credit card donations via the toll-free number,
1-866-426-3442, or accept checks sent to our Courage Center Handiham

*Courage Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422*

Be sure to put a note saying "Dr. Dave Challenge" somewhere in the envelope
or on the note line of the check.  If you donate online as detailed toward
the end of your weekly e-letter, be sure to designate to Handihams and then
send me an email letting me know you donated to the Dr. Dave fund:

Thank you so much for your support!
Late Summer Reading: Becoming a Ham (Part 3)
[image: code key]

Becoming a Ham - Part 3

By T. A. Benham (SK - formerly W3DD, a callsign which has been reassigned.)

To perk up the late summer ham radio doldrums, the Handiham System proudly
presents its summer serial, a story about one man's experiences in the field
of radio, starting with the first commercial station in the United States,
KDKA in Pittsburgh. Tom Benham, now a silent key but who most recently held
callsign W3DD, was a ham radio pioneer, and being blind didn't even slow him
down! Join us now as Tom's narrative takes us back in time to the early 20th
Century, and the days of crystal radio!

*Operating from a different location*

I had always wanted to be able to operate my Ham equipment from another
location, so I asked if I could bring my radio along to summer camp. I
thought Maine would be an interesting spot because I often heard Maine Hams
talking to exotic places, areas that I couldn't hear from home. The Director
agreed that if I could confine the entire station to a box no larger than 1
by1 by 3 feet, it could be transported in his wagon. I built a station
within the prescribed limits. A picture of it appeared in the Ham magazine
QST later in 1934. A copy of the picture hangs on my desk today. It was in
the form of a three-shelf case. The top shelf held the receiver, the middle
shelf contained the transmitter and the bottom held the power supply.
Shortly after arriving at camp, a few of my friends helped me set up in a
little shack the Director turned over to the project. We strung up a
relatively crude antenna, tuned up the rig, and I was on the air, CW of
course. I spent a good deal of time in the shack, but not as much as I
thought I would. There were too many other things to keep me active and not
as many exotic contacts as I had hoped, as the ionospheric conditions were
not very favorable. However, the contacts I made were worth the trouble of
getting the equipment ready and installed.

*Activities in Germany*

In the spring of 1936, I received a scholarship to spend the summer at the
University of Munich in Germany. Since I didn't want to go alone, I asked my
friend Sandy (W1ILF) to go with me. He agreed, and we started making plans.
I looked for a radio contact in Munich and found Karl Dirnagl, D4TKP. Once
in Munich, I called to arrange a visit to his house the following Friday. He
gave me directions for finding his place using two trolleys. It took an hour
and we arrived about 3:00 PM. He turned out to be a very friendly person
about our age, spoke English quite well and had a remarkable Ham radio
vocabulary. His rig was modern and good. We contacted some Ham stations
while there: F8RR in Cherbourg, FB3AD in French Madagascar. Karl told us
that U.S. stations don't come through at that time of day so we should plan
to come the next evening, Saturday, when we would be able to contact some
Hams from America. After supper the next evening we went back to D4TKP,
arriving about 9:15. For two hours we contacted no one because of poor
conditions. At about 11:30 P.M., 5:30 A.M. in the States, we finally began
to hear U.S. Hams. We contacted W3EJR and had a nice chat with him. Then we
told Karl we had to leave in order to get home before the trolleys stopped
running. With that, he said, "I'll tell you what, stay a little longer and
I'll take you home in our car." That sounded like fun, so we settled down to
see what else we could find coming from the U.S. During the next hour or so,
we contacted W4DQX and W4CQR, both in the south. Then we went downstairs to
get the car out and go home. Karl was much embarrassed to find there was no
gas in the car. When his mother heard of the problem, she invited us to stay
the night. So we went back to the radio and talked to W1BNJ in New England,
with whom we had a very nice chat. Finally, at 3:00 AM, we got to bed in a
nice room on the third floor. We were awakened at eight, had breakfast on a
nice sun porch and a good discussion on antennas and other matters
pertaining to radio. Karl said he wanted to receive QST, the ham radio
technical magazine published by the American Radio Relay League. He couldn't
get it in Germany because he was not allowed to send money out of the
country. We were happy to help so he gave me the mark equivalent to the
dollar price for the subscription. I took care of it as soon as we got back
to the States. Karl had several pieces of radio equipment that I hadn't seen
before. One of them was a gas-filled tube similar to our VR-150, of which I
have several. His was different and better because it had a series of anodes
in it, each coming out to a separate pin on the socket. The anodes were
arranged in such a way that regulated voltages of 40, 80, 120, 160 and 200
could be had by simply choosing the proper anode. He also had a vernier dial
that I liked because it would permit me to put markings on it with raised
dots so that I could read it with a finger. He said he would get one and
send it to me after we got home. He did, and I enjoyed using it for years.
After a most marvelous time, we left about eleven and got home in time for

*To be continued...*

[image: dog barking at cartoon mail carrier]

*Handiham Radio Club President Ken Silberman, KB3LLA, writes: *

7 Years of Receiving Handiham World!  My first copy of Handiham world is
dated 09/15/2004.

*Pat replies:  Hey, that means I can recycle old stuff I have written from
any time before that date and you will never be the wiser!  *
WorldRadio Online introduces new mobile apps, goes to pay-for model

*Beginning with its November 2011 issue, WorldRadio Online will be available
for a variety of online platforms, including those for tablets and mobile
devices. As a result of this upgrade and additional enhancements we're
making to this product, we must return to paid single copy and multi-issue
subscriptions for the magazine.*

That is the announcement from the CQ Communications mailing list, letting us
know about the pending availability of WorldRadio Online on mobile devices.
The announcement did not specify whether both iPhone and Android platforms
would be covered, so we will wait for further information. The current
system of reading Worldradio requires a visit to
http://www.worldradiomagazine.com/ and the selection of a PDF download. The
new system, which begins with the November issue to be released on October
25, will deliver the issue to you automatically. The issues will "live"
indefinitely on a cloud server, but can also be downloaded to your computer.

There was no mention of a change in format. The current format, PDF, is
accessible for screenreader users because it contains embedded text. When
the new system debuts, we will report on it. You will want WorldRadio just
for the great "With the Handihams" column!
Troubleshooting 101: TS-2000 stuck in transmit!

[image: Pat and giant alligator]

*Last week Mike, W1MWB, wrote: *Here's my idea for Troubleshooting 101. This
happened to me the other day.

You are running a Kenwood TS-2000 or other similar radio with automatic
antenna tuner and a desk microphone hooked up. One day you fire up the rig
to a frequency on 20 meters where you hear some traffic. As usual, you press
and hold the AT (tuner) button and instead of going back to receive mode
after tuning the antenna, it stays in transmit.

*We had some really great ideas about solving this problem:*

*Pete, K1PXE, suggested,* "First, in general, it is always possible that RF
could get back into the rig and mess up the logic. Also, under some antenna
conditions it is possible for the tuner to keep tuning even after a match is
found. I have occasionally encountered this condition on 6 meters. If I
really want to see the tuner tune properly I would change the length of the
feed line by adding a short jumper cable. There is, however, something
specific to the TS-2000, menu item 26 TX hold when AT completes the tuning.
This defaults to off. When it is turned on and you activate the auto tuner,
the transmitter remains on in the CW mode after the tuner completes tuning.
I tried it and the rig did remain in transmit. The only problem was I
couldn't get the rig out of transmit short of turning off the power. I can't
figure out why this feature exists. The manual didn't say anything about it.
Menu 27 allows the antenna tuner to be used in front of the receiver. So, it
is quite possible to turn on item 26 by mistake."

*Bill, K9BV, says: *"My guess is RF feedback is keeping the VOX circuit in
the TX mode. Or, VOX settings can be wrong -- I've had a VOX stay in TX with
some settings of the delay and sensitivity controls. They seem to interact
enough that changing one setting affects the necessary setting of the
other-- or, at least that was true on my EFJ Viking Valiant!"

*Matt, KA0PQW, zeroed in the menu settings: *What has happened in what Mike
is talking about is that the Kenwood has a menu option that will make the
radio stay in transmit when you hit the tuner. I am not sure why you would
ever want to turn it on! It is menu 26, and when it is on and then you exit
the menus and then hit the autotuner it will then stay in transmit after the
antenna tuner is tuned.  All you have to do is go in to the menus and go to
menu 26 and turn it off. That will fix the problem on the TS-2000.  Menu 25
when turned on will disable the autotuner. I ran in to that very same
problem with a Handiham member who had a brand new TS-2000 and he went ahead
and turned on every menu option.  I'm not sure why he did that, but it was a
real time-consuming thing to help him get it working right.  I finally had
to just have him reset the thing.  If you run into that problem where the
radio stays in transmit, you need to turn off menu 26 and also hit the send
button to get the thing out of transmit. If you don't hit the send button,
even with menu 26 off it will still stay in transmit.

*So what did Mike say about the problem?  Here's his answer:*

   - I unplugged my desk microphone thinking that would fix it. No dice.
   - I checked to see if the VOX button was on. It was off.
   - I checked to make sure the LOCK was not pushed in on the desk mic. It
   - Finally I checked the switches on the microphone itself. On my MC-60
   there's a T/R switch and a switch that changes the modulated sound, some
   kind of amplification. Somehow I had inadvertently put the T/R switch in the
   transmit position and so once tuning was done, the rig went into transmit.

Pat says:  Okay, I get the part about the microphone switch because I
remember making that mistake myself with a different rig.  But why wouldn't
the rig go out of transmit mode if the desk microphone was unplugged, seeing
as how the microphone switch was the problem? So I guess there is still a
bit of a mystery here for me, but thanks to Mike's question and the answers
that were given, I have learned more about diagnosing this problem!

Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager
Cassette tapes take another hit

The venerable cassette tape is going away, and another sure sign of that is
a notice that our bulk tape supplier Long's Electronics, is going out of
business. That isn't too big a deal since we have some tapes in stock and
have not ordered any new ones for quite some time. I'm sure if and when we
decide to order more cassettes we will be able to find them, but it does
serve as a reminder that tapes are really and truly going away.  I think
there are still consumers out there, but the user base has been steadily
shrinking.  Some users are churches that still record sermons on tapes for
their members who are unable to attend services or who are hard of hearing.
Even so, newer technologies are steadily taking over and will push the
cassette out of the picture in the next year or two. Our own tape production
system is really at the end of its service life and we will not be investing
anything in it, because that would not be a good use of limited funds. We
hope that users of the tapes will consider getting the digital files from
our website instead.
Remote Base Health Report for 28 September 2011

[image: Kenwood TS-480 transceiver, used in both remote base stations.]

*Big news: We will be taking over the hosting and updates for the W4MQ
software, thanks to Stan, W4MQ, who has generously offered his software code
and assistance. We will be updating the remote base pages accordingly. *


   *W0ZSW is on line. The internet connection for W0ZSW failed at camp
   around mid-morning, right during the PICONET, when W0JBX was net control.
   He was able to then log on to W0EQO. As of this afternoon, W0ZSW has
   returned to service. *

   *W0EQO is on line. *

We attempt to post a current status report each day, but if you notice a
change in either station that makes it unusable, please email us immediately
so that we can update the status and look into the problem:
wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxx the best address to use.  Please do not call by
phone to report a station
outage unless it is an emergency. Email is checked more frequently than the
phone mail in any case.

W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line as of this publication date.  Users may
choose IRB Sound on the W0ZSW station if they prefer it over SKYPE. The
W0EQO station does require SKYPE, however.  IRB Sound on W0EQO has been
noticed to have dropouts on transmit.

You can view the status page at:
This week @ HQ

[image: Handiham headquarters at Camp Courage, Maple Lake Minnesota]

   - *Our web hosting service will be doing maintenance that will result in
   a short outage for handiham.org.  The remote base operations are not
   Maintenance Details:
   Start Date & Time (MDT): Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:00 p.m.
   End Date & Time (MDT): Friday, September 30, 2011 2:00 a.m.

   Description of Work:
   Network engineers will be upgrading all switches that provide direct link
   access to hosting and infrastructure servers as part of a proactive
   maintenance schedule.
   - *Thanks to all who responded to my call for suggestions about Echolink
   help. The reality is that each caller's setup is likely to be unique, so I
   appreciate all of the ideas!
   - *Dates for Radio Camp 2012* are Saturday, June 2 - Friday, June 8,
   2012. This will be earlier than usual so that we can test for Extra under
   the existing question pool, which expires at the end of the last day of
   - *QST digest audio for our members who do not read regular print is now
   available.  George, N0SBU, is also ready to send the digest tapes.
   - *Matt, KA0PQW, has completed a fourth Wouxun audio tutorial.  This
   latest one talks about the charger and some other side notes.  *The
   series is here:
   1. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/01-wouxun_ht.mp3 *
      2. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/02-wouxun_ht.mp3   *
      3. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/03-wouxun_ht.mp3 *
      4. *http://handiham.org/manuals/Wouxun/KG-UVD1P/04-wouxun_ht.mp3

   *Tonight is EchoLink net night.*  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is
   at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to 00:30 GMT Thursday

   *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 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.

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:

   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 $12 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal date
   is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for one

   Join for three years at $36.

   Lifetime membership is $120.

   If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable sponsored

   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.

Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at





   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:


[image: 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.

*Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

*hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  *

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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 28 September 2011 - Patrick Tice