[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 29 May 2013

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 May 2013 13:53:09 -0500

*Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday,
29 May 2013*

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
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 stream:

Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:

Get this podcast in iTunes:

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.*This is the last edition of the "Courage Center
*Handiham World Weekly E-Letter" - but don't worry, we are not going away. *

*[image: Black & white photo of Pat Tice, WA0TDA, in the Handiham shack in
Image: Pat, WA0TDA, in 1991 when he first joined Courage Center staff as
Handiham manager.   This was scanned from an old black and white photo!
Yes, that is an old ASCII computer terminal in the background. *

Yes, we all know things change. It is obvious if you can see all of the
dark hair I have on my head in that photo! Things have changed a lot over
the years, but one thing that has not changed is the organization I worked
for: Courage Center.  Now that is about to change, and we are excited
about  new opportunities a merger with Allina Sister Kenny Rehabilitation
Institute, another non-profit organization dedicated to serving people with
disabilities, will bring to our Handiham members.  You need not be alarmed
about our headline, because there will be an e-letter next week.  It will
have a new title as we transition over into the new world of a merged
Courage Center and Allina Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. You will
notice some new things over the coming months, such as a new brand identity
for our parent organization.  We are still the Handiham System, though. Our
services are still concentrated on promoting amateur radio and amateur
radio education.  Nancy and I will still be running the program, and our
weekly services will continue as you might expect.

At least for now (during this busy transition period) Nancy and I will be
very busy with other activities related to this change in our parent
organization.  That means it will be necessary to make some changes in our
Extra Class audio lecture schedule, placing it on the back burner for a
while.  We will try to keep up with everything else, but don't be concerned
if things are sometimes delayed just a bit.  I am hoping to get the DAISY
digest out in cartridge format later this week, and the DAISY downloads are
ready right now, so we are on schedule with those.  My goal is to always
get the upcoming month's digest out by the end of the preceding month, so
that means that our blind members can enjoy the June audio for at least two
of the journals.

Now, why is this labeled the last edition?

It's because our name will no longer be "Courage Center Handiham System" as
of June 1, 2013.  Next week we will have a new name, so stay tuned for that
exciting news!  I will be working for a different non-profit organization
and will have a different job title. How can you not tune in now that we
have piqued your curiosity?

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager (for now)
When Mother Nature sneaks up on you, bad things can happen.

[image: 75 ohm coaxial cable buried in ground but brought up and stretched
by growing tree root.]
*Image:  This buried 75-ohm TV cable carries our internet and TV service.
It was buried just a few inches beneath the surface of the lawn, traveling
from the junction box in the front yard to the foundation of the garage,
where it emerged and made its way up to a hole in the wall and a junction
box inside the garage, where it interfaces with our cable distribution
system.  You can see from the photo that the cable has been pushed up into
view at the surface by a growing tree root.  If you look closely, you can
see how the tree root is putting so much upward pressure on the cable that
it is beginning to stretch and deform it, a sure sign that it will short
out if nothing is done. *

We always hear about the destructive wrath of Mother Nature when big
storms, floods, earthquakes, or plagues of locusts bear down on some
unfortunate part of our planet. But Mother Nature can be sneaky, too.
Sometimes the damage can be so tiny - and happen over such a long period of
time - that we don't even notice it.  That was the case when my wife Susie
called my attention to the TV cable feed that had poked up through the sod
and was obviously not going to stay intact much longer.  The Linden
(Basswood) tree between the cable interface near the boulevard and the
garage (where the cable entered the house) had grown considerably over the
years since the cable was first buried by the Comcast installer, and a root
had grown under the cable and had pushed it up to the surface, putting
severe stress on the wire and compressing the outer jacket and internal
dielectric.  It would clearly fail soon - and I hadn't even noticed it
happening!   Unlike a catastrophic storm, lightning strike, or the time the
lawn sprinkler company cut through the cable, this attack was sneaky and
incremental, happening over many years. Had the internet gone out, I would
have had no idea what happened and certainly wouldn't have thought of a
tree root as the culprit.

[image: View of cable stretched over root after surrounding soil was
partially removed.]
*Image: The cable is stretched over the offending root after surrounding
soil was partially removed.  It is clear that the cable is stretched almost
to the point where it will short the center conductor to the shield. *

The fix?  That took a bit of planning.  First, I dug out the turf and soil
surrounding the root, and I had to be pretty careful so as to avoid nicking
the cable.  After that, I chose a battery-operated portable drill and the
largest bit it would accept to drill multiple holes through the root
underneath the cable.  I was able to use a sharp prying tool to further
remove soil and to widen the holes I had drilled.  Eventually I was able to
remove an entire section of the root, allowing the cable to be tucked back
down under the turf.  The root was now cut entirely through so as to avoid
regrowth.  The final step was to add new soil and grass seed over the top,
making sure that the cable was nested underground and well out of the way
of the lawn mower blade.

What did I learn from this encounter with Mother Nature?  I guess the most
useful lesson is that every system needs inspection and regular
maintenance, so one cannot assume that buried cables are "out of sight, out
of mind".  This goes for antenna coax, rotor cables, and every other
connecting system related to our stations. Water seals that have been good
for years can fail gradually and one day the cable is waterlogged.
Critters sometimes take a fancy to the taste of wiring.  Corrosion can
gradually eat away at hardware and supports. Spiders can build nests in
antenna traps. Wind can flex aluminum antenna elements so many times over
the years that hairline cracks can develop.  All of these things are slow
and incremental, creeping up on us so slowly that we are shocked when
something actually fails suddenly after giving no hint of any kind of
problem for years!

That is why we do regular inspections, especially of our outside systems
like antennas and feedlines.  Summer is approaching, and that should give
us a good shot at identifying potential problems while the weather is good
and repairs are more easily completed.

Better safe than sorry, right?  Do an antenna inspection this summer.
Bulletin Board

[image: cartoon robot with pencil]
May I use the remote base stations to operate on ARRL Field Day?

   - That was a question from a remote base user, and the answer is yes -
   but there are a few qualifications.  You have to review and follow the
   Field Day rules. The rules are available on the ARRL website in
   - Another consideration is that you will need to identify your location
   as "Minnesota" since both W0ZSW and W0EQO are located there, no matter
   where you are operating from as control operator.
   - You will need to identify using both your callsign and the callsign of
   the remote base station, as usual.
   - Field Day is the fourth full weekend in June, which makes it June
   22-23, 2013.
   - The remote base stations are a shared resource, so remember that
   others may want to get on as well.
   - If you just want to listen to the Field Day action, you can use the
   Echolink application to listen to either remote base station. You will find
   details on Echolink operation at:

Power outage?  I'm a little more ready this week, but there's still more to

Last week I mentioned that I'd experienced a power outage.  In the
meantime, I have replaced a bad battery in an uninterruptible power supply,
so now my ham shack won't go completely dark in an outage and my computers
can be shut down carefully should an outage occur.  But there was one
fail:  I couldn't get my gasoline generator started, so that will need some

Plan ahead to be ready for a summer emergency!
Free timer app for Android:

For those who use Android, there is an excellent free timer app in the Play
Store. It is called "Ovo", and for anyone who needs a simple timer, it is
very easy to use. You touch the app's icon and it brings up an intuitive
graphical interface that requires little tactile skill. You can touch a
microphone and simply tell it "15 minutes" and it will begin counting down.
The alert is customizable with a choice of sounds and the vibration
function. It could be useful for reminders, kitchen tasks, and other simple
daily living activities where timing could keep the day moving along.  An
obvious use in the ham shack is as a 10 minute identification reminder!
"How about a 20 meter net?", says W1MWB:

I was scanning through 20 meters and was surprised to hear Mark, NZ9Y, from
Minneapolis MN. I gave him a call and we chatted for a couple minutes.
While talking I had the idea that it would be nice to have an HF roundup of
Handiham members. Not a regular daily or even weekly net, but perhaps once
or twice a month. If VoIP systems go down in an emergency situation, it
would be nice to know which Handiham member stations we can contact on the
HF bands. Mark suggested 40 meters would be good so as to allow stations in
the Twin Cities to be able to hear each other and participate. 20 and above
would also be good for longer range contacts. Pat, you had mentioned the
idea of a Handiham WAS type contest using HF as well as Echolink/IRLP. I
think we should do something along this line from time to time. Something
that doesn't require someone to commit to being NCS every day or week, but
just an occasional roundup or QSO party of sorts. What do you think?

73 from Mike W1MWB

   - *WA0TDA says: I think it's a great idea. Not only does it promote on
   the air activity, it also moves us out to the HF bands and a solid
   alternative to internet-dependent communications.  This could be a way to
   be better prepared for emergencies.*
   - *KA0PQW says: I like your idea of doing something like this. I think
   some of us should get together and figure out what we want to do. Maybe we
   could come up with some kind of award or something. Maybe we could do more
   than just one band. Who knows, but great idea. Thanks & 73 - Matt, ka0pqw

Handiham Nets are on on the air.

Thanks to Mike, W1MWB, for taking today's 11:00 AM Handiham Net!

[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!  *

*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 Extra Class pool and examine two questions about operating
on SSB:*

E1A01 asks, "When using a transceiver that displays the carrier frequency
of phone signals, which of the following displayed frequencies represents
the highest frequency at which a properly adjusted USB emission will be
totally within the band?"

Possible answers are:

A. The exact upper band edge

B. 300 Hz below the upper band edge

C. 1 kHz below the upper band edge

D. 3 kHz below the upper band edge

Our next question, E1A02, asks, "When using a transceiver that displays the
carrier frequency of phone signals, which of the following displayed
frequencies represents the lowest frequency at which a properly adjusted
LSB emission will be totally within the band?"

Possible answers are:

A. The exact lower band edge

B. 300 Hz above the lower band edge

C. 1 kHz above the lower band edge

D. 3 kHz above the lower band edge

The reason these two questions are important is that they relate to keeping
our transmitted signals inside the allotted band space. When operating SSB,
remember that you are transmitting only one sideband.  The displayed
frequency is a carrier frequency.  That is all well and good, but a radio
signal is not a single point source.  It has width, and extends across a
portion of the band.  This is much like the way a house on a city block has
an address, but actually sits atop a residential lot that has some physical
width.  When you transmit near the top edge of a band with USB (upper
sideband), you must remember that a portion of the signal will actually be
higher in frequency than the display on your radio indicates.  That means
that you have to stay several KHz below the upper band edge, so answer D, 3
kHz below the upper band edge, is the correct one for the first question.
Similarly, you have to be careful when using LSB (lower sideband) near the
bottom of a band segment. Your transmitted signal will extend lower than
the radio's indicated frequency, so you must stay several KHz above the
lower band edge, making D, 3 kHz above the lower band edge, the correct

Please e-mail handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to comment.
This week @ HQ***
*Did you know that our parent organization, Courage Center, is merging with
Allina Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute this Spring?  Of course you
did, you read it here:

   - The formal merger will take place next Saturday on June 1, so we have
   been busy preparing.  This has included planning meetings, special training
   in new systems, and working together with our colleagues to make sure that
   everything proceeds as smoothly as possible. I will update you on some of
   the changes in upcoming newsletters. There will be differences in how you
   pay your Handiham membership dues, for example. We are excited about the
   new partnership between these two respected non-profits that will help us
   serve our communities and Handiham members better.
   - Our phone numbers and email addresses will still work after June 1.
   - Our website will still be on line as usual.
   - Be prepared for the phone to go to voice mail a bit more as we are
   busy with meetings and training.

*The June 2013 
for our blind members is ready for use, and...

   - Our thanks to Bob, N1BLF, Jim, KJ3P, and Ken, W9MJY, for reading this
   month.  Look for these DAISY materials in the members section.

*Radio Camp application packets are still available.  *

2013 camp dates call for arrival on July 28 and departure on August 2.  We
have confirmed that we will offer our campers who pass Technician at camp
brand-new handheld radios. Radio camp will emphasize ham radio fun and
getting on the air.

*We will feature:*

   - Technician beginner small group class - Get your first license and get
   on the air!
   - General Class study group for those who need a quick review before
   taking the General exam.
   - Extra Class study group for those who need a quick review before
   taking the Extra exam.
   - VE session conducted by SARA, the Stillwater (MN) Amateur Radio
   Association, on Thursday, August 1, at 1:30 PM.
   - Operating Skills small group get on the air sessions and discussions
   - ARRL update - What's new at ARRL.
   - Extra Class seminar for those with Extra Class licenses who want to
   participate in more advanced technical projects and discussions
   - Several stations to operate, including maritime mobile on the camp
   pontoon boat with Cap'n Bill, N0CIC
   - Sailing with Skipper Bill, K9BV
   - Handiham Radio Club meeting and elections
   - Dining in the nearby newly-remodeled Woodland dining hall.
   - Fun in the sun during Minnesota's excellent summer season - at Camp
   Courage on beautiful Cedar Lake!

For a Radio Camp application, email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or
call her at 763-520-0512.

*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 callsign 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:

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital

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

Handiham Manager Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone at 763-520-0511.

Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us.

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.

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:

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:

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
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc.
Include your old email address and your new address.
Return to Handiham.org <http://handiham.org/>

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