[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 June 2011

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 16:13:08 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center Handiham
System. Our contact information is at the end
<unsaved://Untitled_1.htm#Contact> , or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. 

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Welcome to Handiham World!  

Before I mention anything else, I want to thank all of you who expressed
sympathy or had suggestions for me and my broken computer.  Things are
looking up this week, and most everything is back to normal.  I did have
everything properly backed up.  In our radio club, this is called the "belt
& suspenders theory".  You wear both to make sure that if one fails, the
other will still hold your pants up!  It does pay to back up your data,
since you just never know when something will quit working, whether hardware
or software, in a system as complex as a computer.  The idea of having
backups extends to other parts of your ham shack, too. Having more than one
radio can be a real relief when another has to be repaired at a factory
service center a thousand miles away.  Having a spare HT battery during a
public service event is just plain smart. Engineers call this concept
"redundancy", and there is certainly good reason for it when you need to
protect a high-stakes system like the communications system in an airliner
or the brakes in a car. Since you have a lot at stake with your personal
computer's many files, you have an interest in protecting it with regular

Description: Echolink screenshot showing connection during today's Handiham

Turning to Field Day, we have an email from Ken, W6KHS, who came up with the
idea of holding our own version of Field Day on the HANDIHAM Echolink

You probably know by now that Field Day operations using the Handiham
conference server was a total success. As this entity becomes more and more
popular, repeaters and radio links using it will be more likely to receive
emergency or life or death messages from situations when cell service is not
available. I recommend that there be a twenty second break between
transmissions so that there is room for emergency traffic to enter. If this
information comes from you, it will be carved in stone, rather than from me.
Thanks again for just being there. 

73, Ken Schwartz W6KHS

Yes, Ken, you are right about that!  Occasional longer pauses are in order
considering that we are using a worldwide resource. Susi, WA0DKS, who worked
behind the scenes to manage the Field Day event on the HANDIHAM conference
and put in considerable time as net control station during the overnight
hours, commented on the event, calling it a "rousing success".  Podcast
listeners will hear Susi tell them about it herself!  Our thanks to Jim,
WB4LBM and the other net control stations and participants who made this
first-time event possible.  In talking with Susi after the event, we
concluded that the HANDIHAM conference really gained a lot of exposure
worldwide.  I just happened to tune in later in the day on Saturday and
heard a YL who had been at a local Field Day station here in the eastern
Twin Cities Metro area.  She was driving back home and heard our net on the
N0BVE repeater system.  (Thanks, Don!)  As I have said many times before,
having Echolink or IRLP on a repeater really enhances its value to the
community, and will make the difference between a dead, unused system and a
vital, much-appreciated community resource.

Even though the contacts made on our system don't count for points, the
whole idea of building our operating skills, making friends, showcasing
amateur radio and technology, and building a stronger community while HAVING
FUN just somehow seemed more important to me.  I'll bet it did to you, too. 

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


Letters - New website offers practice exams for Canadian and New Zealand

Description: Dog barking at mailman. Jasper loves our mail carrier - she
gives him a treat when she stops by!

KD0FNR writes:

I just saw the COURAGE HANDIHAM SYSTEM ARC on the ARRL web site and I
noticed that you offer help for newcomers. I've written a set of free online
FCC ham radio license exam practice tests at
http://copaseticflows.appspot.com/hamtest that I'm hoping hams will find
useful. There are randomly generated practice exams for all three license
classes in the U.S. as well as for the Canadian and New Zealand ham radio

Online help topics are provided for many of the exam questions. The list of
help topics is constantly growing as I get time to add to it. 

Users can track their test scores, as well as a count of how many of the
question pool questions they've practiced over time. In addition to random
practice exams, users can automatically practice exams with questions they
haven't seen yet in each subelement group, or questions they haven't gotten
correct in each subelement group. There are also embeddable versions of the
practice exams that you can add to your club's own web pages. These are
available at:


Please let me know if you find it handy, or if you think of any ways to make
it better. Also, if you think it's useful, please feel free to add a link to
the practice exams at your site. Thanks!

73 de KD0FNR Hamilton Carter


I have already contacted Hamilton about creating a "no figures" option for
the exams, so there is no need to address that issue.  I do find it exciting
that this new resource offers exams for the New Zealand and Canadian pools.
How cool is that?!!  Check Hamilton's site out and let me know what you
think at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx 


Troubleshooting 101: Antenna won't tune!

Description: Small tools and wire

If you have one of the many new HF transceivers with a built-in antenna
tuner, you might have experienced the frustration of having the automatic
antenna tuner fail to reach a proper match while trying to tune a multiband
antenna. The symptoms might include tuning for an extended time and then
being given a warning alert because the tuner cannot match the antenna to
whatever the preset limits include, say 1.5:1 SWR.  This is a fairly typical
problem with antennas like the 102 foot version of the G5RV. 

The thing with the G5RV is that it is a compromise design.  Heck, all
multiband antennas are compromises so please don't think I have it "in" for
the G5RV.  We use such antennas because we cannot put up ideal, separate
antenna systems for each amateur radio band. Usually the constraints of
having to fit the antenna into a city lot or a tight budget are important
considerations.  Few of the other hams I have known over the years have had
the resources to build extensive "antenna farms".  

So there you are with your TS-480SAT and G5RV antenna. It tunes on some
bands but not others, even though the instructions given for the G5RV design
suggest that the antenna will work on 80 through 10 meters, with the
exception of 30 meters.  What should you do?

1.    Start by documenting which bands are tunable and which are not.  If
you find that the antenna tunes in the CW band on 80 meters don't assume
that it will also tune in the phone portion of the band. Go through all of
the bands between 80 and 10 meters and log the results.

2.    If the SWR is high on all bands, consider the possibility of a shorted
or open feedline and troubleshoot accordingly as we have suggested in the
past. If a bad feedline is found, correct the problem and run the tests

3.    I have found that having an extra length of coax with PL connectors
and a barrel connector can be a great diagnostic tool.  Connect this extra
length of coax (say 25 feet or more) into the feedline and check the bands
again.  Often times simply adding some coax can change the reactance of the
system enough to allow the internal antenna tuner to match the antenna.
Avoid adding hundreds of feet of extra feedline, though.  That will simply
create too much loss in the system to be worthwhile. 

4.    Does the system tune acceptably now that you have added the extra
feedline?  If so, confirm that the antenna is working by listening across
multiple bands.  Keep in mind that conditions may favor some bands over
others given the time of day and other HF propagation factors.

5.    If the problem cannot be resolved on all bands by adding the extra
coax, you might want to bypass the internal tuner and use an outboard one.
External antenna tuners, especially good-quality manual tuners, offer a much
wider tuning range than internal tuners.  

6.    If the external tuner does the trick, you might want to consider an
automatic external antenna tuner. In order to overcome difficult matching
conditions at both Handiham remote base stations, we use LDG autotuners.
They offer the advantage of tuning instantly when RF is applied once a
frequency is in the tuner's memory.

Enjoy the bands - all of them!

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager

Memo to Volunteers Regarding Potential State Government Shutdown

June 27, 2011

TO: Courage Center Volunteers
FROM: Gail Peterson, Director, Volunteer Services
RE: Planning for a Potential Government Shutdown

The purpose of this memo is to provide information and direction for you, as
a volunteer of Courage Center, in the event that the state government shuts
down on July 1 (due to the current budget impasse).

If a government shutdown occurs, Courage Center will continue to carry out
its mission and serve its clients without interruption through July. If the
government shutdown continues into August or beyond, we will need to assess
and determine "essential" services and how we may need to decrease our
operations. One-third of Courage Center's revenues are generated by clients
with state health benefits, such as Medical Assistance.

At this time, volunteers will report to their current scheduled shifts at
all sites. If the status of your area changes, you will be notified by your
staff supervisor or the Coordinator of Volunteers for your area. If this
shutdown is drawn-out, I may ask you to consider redirecting your talents to
identified critical areas of need, i.e. assisting with phones, filing, etc.

This situation will probably change several times over the next few days and
weeks. The Volunteer Services Department will make every effort to keep you

This memo will be posted internally in key areas, be sent out electronically
and posted on  <http://www.couragecenter.org/> www.couragecenter.org. Thank
you in advance for all your good work and support for Courage Center.

This memo may be read on Couragecenter.org:


A dip in the pool

Description: circuit board

Today we are heading back to the new General pool.  The old pool will be
history on July 1.

G9D11 asks us: Which of the following is a disadvantage of multiband
Possible answers are:
A. They present low impedance on all design frequencies
B. They must be used with an antenna tuner
C. They must be fed with open wire line
D. They have poor harmonic rejection
The correct answer is D, they have poor harmonic rejection. For example, a
40 meter dipole will work well without an antenna tuner on both 40 and 15
but could inadvertently radiate on 15 meters while you are trying to operate
on 40 meters.

Field Day comment of the day:

"This was my first Field Day and I had a great time."

When I heard that I was certain that a new ham would enjoy many Field Days
in the years ahead. Share your Field Day stories!


 <unsaved://Sunrise%20&%20clouds%20at%20Courage%20North/> Description:

Where can I find a weather spotter's guide?

Early summer is severe weather season!  There is a weather spotter's guide
available on line, directly from the National Weather Service. It is in
accessible PDF format, which includes embedded text that may be read by
screen reading software.

Find the Basic Spotters' Field Guide at:


When you are ready for the next level, check out the Advanced Spotters'
Field Guide:



Remote Base Health Report for 29 June 2011

Description: Remote Base Update

Both stations are operational. 

W0EQO is on line. W0ZSW is on line.

There is a major new development to report.  Following the upgrade to an
external USB sound card on the W0ZSW machine, we have been able to use the
sound client built in to the W4MQ software. This is called "IRB Sound" and
it is selected in the setup menu on the main page when you open the W4MQ
software interface. You may now select IRB Sound instead of SKYPE, but ONLY
on the W0ZSW station.  If IRB Sound is selected on the other station, W0EQO,
you will get reports of choppy audio, so you must continue to use SKYPE with

I prefer to use IRB Sound with W0ZSW because it works smoothly and there are
virtually no runtime errors, as sometimes occur when using SKYPE.  If you
use IRB Sound you do not need to run SKYPE at all.

You can read the complete status page at:

We did have an issue with the RF gain control being set way down on W0EQO.
Please, if you are going to change these controls, be thoughtful and return
them to their normal settings when you are finished with the station. 


This week @ HQ

*       Listen on the HANDIHAM conference server, node 494492 anytime.
There are new users who have discovered the node during our Field Day
*       The QST audio digest for July has some special operating events
detailed.  Find the audio digest for our blind members in the members only
*       Reminder: New General Pool: Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed his
recording of the new General Class Question Pool with only the correct
answers. It is available in the members only section and is divided into
subelements, with each subelement in MP3 format. The link page describes
what is covered in each subelement so that you can easily go to the sections
you want to hear by topic. 
*       The new General Audio lecture series is underway.  
*       The old General class audio will be pulled off the server this
Friday, July 1. It is your LAST CHANCE to save any of it!
*       The audio magazine digest:  Worldradio, CQ, QST, and AMSAT Journal
audio is available for our blind members.  July audio is  posted for
Worldradio and QST.  
*       Handiham membership has gone up slightly from $10 to $12.  We have
not increased dues in many years. 
*       Radio Camp will be from Monday 8 August to Saturday 13 August, 2011.

*       Handiham Radio Camp to feature Wouxun radios for our new
Description: Wouxun HT
Come to Radio Camp, get your first license, and go home with a new radio. If
you are a Handiham member and are studying for your Technician level amateur
radio license, you should consider attending Handiham Radio Camp, which will
be a wonderful opportunity for you to review what you have studied and take
the exam in a completely accessible environment. Our campers who earn their
Technician Class Amateur Radio licenses at camp will be presented with
brand-new dual-band handheld radios, thanks to the support of a generous
donor. The radios are by Wouxun, and operate on the 2 m and 70 cm bands,
which are the most popular repeater bands. Since these radios also include
voice prompts in plain English, they are especially preferred by blind

Wouldn't it be wonderful to attend Radio Camp and then go home with a
brand-new radio? 

We sure think so! If you are not a Handiham member and are interested in
joining us, here is a link to request a membership application:

If you are already a Handiham member and would like a radio camp
application, call toll-free 1-866-426-3442 and request a camper application.
You may also download the application package or contact us by email to ask
a question or request a camper application:

*        <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mn_camp_2011_cover.pdf> Download
the camp cover letter in PDF 
*        <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.exe> Download a
self-extracting zip file with the complete radio camp application package,
*        <http://handiham.org/files/camp/mncamp2011.zip> Download a zip file
with the complete radio camp application package. 

*       If your email program does not display links, go to our website:
Although you may not live nearby Camp Courage, we do pick up campers at the
Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. Campers come from anywhere and
everywhere, so even if you live far from camp you will have the opportunity
to join us for this fun and unique session. All campus buildings are modern
- although we are a camp, no one sleeps in a tent or has to eat beans out of
a tin can! Our facilities are modern and include wireless Internet access
and modern construction. All facilities are wheelchair-accessible.

Handiham Radio Camp 2011 is at Camp Courage - Woodland Campus - August 8-13,
2011 and serves Handiham members ages 16 and older. 

Enjoy an experience of Ham radio fun and learning. Make new friends while
building an on-air community that continues after you leave Radio Camp. Get
a first Ham radio license or upgrade a current one, or learn new operating
skills. Keep abreast of the latest technology, including assistive
technology. Wireless internet access is available. Instructors are
experienced amateur radio operators from throughout the nation. Trained
staff members provide personal care assistance. And, we leave plenty of time
to take a break from studying and enjoy traditional camp activities.

.         Tonight is EchoLink net night.  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net
is at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to +5 hours, or
00:30 GMT Thursday morning. 

o    EchoLink nodes:

*       KA0PQW-R, node 267582
*       N0BVE-R, node 89680
*       HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity

o    Other ways to connect:

*       IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)
WIRES system number 1427

*       Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone
number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in
touch with you. You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  or
call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact


Supporting Handihams - 2011. 

Description: graphic showing figure using wheelchair holding hand of
standing figure

Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage
Center's secure website.

It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you need to use the pull-down
menu to designate your gift to the Handiham program.

.         Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website:
<https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&srcid=344> &srcid=344

.         Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down
Designation menu to select "Handi-Hams".

.         Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift
is a tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information.
This would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example.

We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year
due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure
that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and
we plan to continue doing just that in 2011.


Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Reminder: Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or
join, as we need you to keep our program strong!

You will have several choices when you renew:

.         Join at the usual $12 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 $36.

.         Lifetime membership is $120.

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

.         Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our

.         Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible.

Your support is critical! Please help.

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532 or
email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club
program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio
Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities.
Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free.1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new
hams on the air.

Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date with
ham radio news. 

You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org
<http://www.handiham.org/> .

Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at
www.handiham.org <http://www.handiham.org/> :

.         Beginner

.         General

.         Extra

.         Operating Skills

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!


Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


Description: ARRL Diamond logo

ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide. Please
contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you
fill out the paperwork!

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is
available to everyone free of charge. Please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for
changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and
your new address.

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

 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  



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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 June 2011 - Patrick Tice