[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 December 2009

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2009 12:08:26 -0600

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

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Welcome to Handiham World!

As you know, this is your last issue of the Handiham World for 2009. I'm
supposed to be on vacation, but I'm sneaking one final e-letter in. The
audio for our year-end print edition follows the audio from this short
holiday week newsletter. Today's test HTML editing program is Open Office
Writer, which saves documents in HTML format. Last week's edition was done
with Microsoft Expression Web, and I ran into publishing problems when The
list server would not pass the HTML code. Thus far, I have not been able to
determine exactly what caused this problem. Although last week's edition was
published on time on Wednesday, the listserv never actually sent out the

I had to reformat into plain text and send again on Thursday, which of
course meant that you did not receive your weekly e-letter on time unless
you read it online or subscribe to the podcast, both of which were available
as usual last Wednesday. I have been using Microsoft Expression Web for the
final HTML “cleanup” for well over a year, so I'm not sure exactly what the
problem is. Clearly, something in the HTML was non-compliant with the
Freelists.org system that does our mailings. This may come down to something
as simple as a single unacceptable character, but whatever it was turned out
to be enough to jam up the system, for which I apologize. There is no
evidence that Microsoft Expression Web added any characters that were
noncompliant, but in order to get this newsletter out on time, I don't want
to take any chances.

In your mailbox this week, if you are on our postal mailing list, you will
receive a print edition of our annual year end Handiham World newsletter.
Inside the four-page print edition is an annual giving envelope. You may use
this envelope to support the Handiham system so that we can continue our
good work into the coming year. Sometimes Handiham members will set the
envelope aside because it is a postage-paid envelope. Then they will use the
envelope to order study materials or pay their membership dues.
Unfortunately,, this is not a good idea because instead of saving postage on
your membership renewal or study material order, anything in the envelope
will be processed as a donation. The reason is that the bar code on the
envelope directs it to a processing center for donations, not to the
Handiham office. The bar code also assures that donations placed inside the
envelope are credited to the Handiham program. If you can support us with a
gift, which is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law, we would
really, really appreciate it.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 

Another new sunspot group means it is time to bring back the SSB HF nets: 

The major topic I wish to throw out to you this week is the one about the
virtually dead Handiham SSB HF nets. The relentlessly long sunspot minimum
at the end of cycle 23 has taken its toll. The last holdout net was the 20 m
Monday net, but even that failed when conditions went on month after month
and year after year being so poor as to limit the stations checking in to
only a few. Finally, our last net control station threw in the towel and
gave up. The only HF net to survive the sunspot minimum is the 40 m CW net.
As you know, the 40 m band is little affected by solar minimum conditions
and thus remained reliable over the years while 20, 15, and 10 m band
conditions deteriorated.

Last week a Handiham member who had not been on the air for a while asked me
about HF nets, because he was eager to get on the air with his General Class
license. I was sorry to have to tell him that the HF nets on single side
band have fallen into disuse. That is why we need to resolve – and this is
the time of the year for resolutions – that we will bring the HF SSB nets
back to life. We will continue to encourage our members to check into the 40
m CW net as well, but 40 m is not always open across the continent and world
the way 20, 15, and 10 m will be as the new solar cycle 24 starts to heat
up. Although I'm going to propose some changes to the HF nets, I want to
start by giving you the old net schedule. We can either go back to the
schedule or design something completely new. Let me know your thoughts on
the matter once you have gone over the list. Remember, when frequencies are
not used on a regular basis, it should not be surprising to learn that other
nets may have taken our place on the bands. Therefore, this old net schedule
is only a starting point from which we will build our new HF SSB net

Monday SSB nets:

14.265 MHz SSB, 09:30 - 10:00 United States Central Time Mondays: Our most
reliable net frequency, but remember that we stand down for the Salvation
Army Emergency Net (SATERN) during their emergency operations on this same
frequency. During the winter months, the 14.265 net will begin at 15:30 GMT
on Mondays.

28.390 MHz SSB, 10:00 - 10:30 United States Central Time Mondays: This
frequency may be open, especially on the north-south path. Listen following
the 20-meter net. During the winter months, the 28.390 net will begin at
16:00 GMT on Mondays.

21.442 MHz SSB, 10:30 - 11:00 United States Central Time Mondays: This
frequency may be open, especially on the north-south path, and may be a bit
more reliable than 10 meters during lower sunspot activity. Listen following
the 10-meter net. During the winter months, the 21.442 net will begin at
16:30 GMT on Mondays.

7.272 MHz SSB, 14:30 - 15:00 United States Central Time Mondays: This
frequency is a good bet in North America during the quiet atmospheric
conditions of winter, but not so much in summer. During the winter months,
the 7.272 net will begin at 20:30 GMT on Mondays.

Okay, so that is the old net schedule that is still listed on our website.
As I said, all of these nets have fallen into disuse. The one that lasted
the longest, the 20 m net, had the additional problem of dealing with the
Salvation Army net, which could sometimes start early or run late. Details
on the SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) net are on the
SATERN website at:

To save you the trouble of following the link, they state that when there is
no emergency, the SATERN net is on 14.265 MHz SSB 15:00 GMT Monday through
Friday. Do you see the problem here? If the Salvation Army net runs long,
anyone wishing to check into the Handiham net may be confused and think that
the net has already begun when the Salvation Army net has not yet finished.
Furthermore, we may lose potential check-ins who have little time to spend
on the air waiting. A perennial problem is the change between Daylight Time
and Standard Time, which makes the juxtaposition of the two nets even more
confusing since the Salvation Army does not shift their net according to
local time. It may very well be time to consider an entirely new 20 m
frequency and time. Since 20 m is the band with the most potential to stay
useful through the sunspot cycle for these long-range contacts, I think we
should resolve the problem of 20 m before 15 and 10. Besides, 15 and 10 m
will begin to get better after 20 m as the sunspot cycle proceeds. That does
not mean that we should not have 15 and 10 m nets planned, it just means
that 20 m is the most valuable frequency spectrum and the one band most
likely of the three to be open at any given time. Nothing kills the net
quicker than dead band conditions.

Here is a radical proposal for you to consider: What if we had a 20 m net
for Advanced and Extra Class licensees only? I'm not saying that we should
completely abandon the General Class portion of the 20 m band. What I am
saying is that in order to find a clear frequency, we may wish to consider
these more restricted, less populated parts of the band. It seems unlikely
that there would be any need for a Handiham Extra Class net on the other
bands, as there is more available frequency spectrum on 15 and 10 m.

Since we are starting a completely new discussion on SSB HF nets, we might
as well be open to taking a look at the 75 m band. During the night, 75 m is
open over a large part of North America. A Handiham net in the Extra or
Advanced portion of the 75 m band might go over well with Handiham members
who have upgraded their licenses and who have time in the evening instead of
during the day.

The Echolink net and the 40 m CW net have saved us from sinking into
oblivion over the sunspot minimum of the past few years. Now it is time to
take advantage of cycle 24 and the growing capability of the HF bands to
sustain regular Handiham nets. I would like to see members of the Handiham
Radio Club and our readers and listeners take up this topic and help us to
move forward into the next solar cycle. How should we discuss this issue and
how should we make decisions? Please let me know your thoughts.

This week at Headquarters:

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"

Handiham office has holiday hours this week : The office will be open
through Wednesday, December 30, then close for the New Year's holiday
weekend on Thursday, December 31 and Friday, January 1 2010. We wish you all
a wonderful New Year! Breaking news will appear throughout the week and
weekend on www.handiham.org, whether the office is open or closed.

Get the four-page year-end Handiham World print edition in audio read by
N1BLF, or in PDF, available right now as a download. 

Get the Handiham World PDF download: 

January 2010 QST & Worldradio audio digests are available for our blind

Get the Handiham World Year-End Edition in audio, read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF: 

Volunteer reader Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the Winter 2009-10 QCWA

Log in to the member section of the Handiham website and find the magazine
digests in the Library.

Our Contact information is the same, but keep watching this space for
changes: Email addresses will not change.

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

Our email address (for Nancy's office) is

Pat can be reached by email any time, including nights and weekends, at

Minnesota Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage:

Arrive Friday, May 21. 
Class days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
VE Exam Day: Thursday. Volunteer Examiners arrive in the morning to visit
with campers and eat breakfast together with campers, volunteers, and staff.
Depart Friday, May 28.

Cost of Radio Camp: The cost of Radio Camp depends on your ability to pay,
so anyone can afford to attend. Ask for an application.

Camp Courage is west of Minneapolis. The address is 8046 83rd St NW, Maple
Lake, MN‎ 55358.

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

If you want to receive a Camp Courage summer camp schedule, you may call for

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


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 user name 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. 

Volunteers, get your hours in through VOLLI. You may also submit volunteer
hours to Nancy at

Remote Base Status

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

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. 

Echolink net news

Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net is on the air. Please join us
and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit. Since we are looking
forward to the New Year's holiday, we have at least two days when the
daytime Echolink net may or may not be on the air. Finding net controls for
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will be a challenge. I would like to
encourage the nets to go on normally those days, and if there is no net
control station, please just feel free to hang out on frequency and have an
informal chat and wish each other a happy holiday season, whichever holiday
you are celebrating!

We are on the air Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM)
or GMT: Thursday morning at 01:30 Z.

Daily except Sunday at 11:00 hours Minnesota time (17:00 GMT)


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.

Supporting Handihams

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 2010.

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 $10 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 $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 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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: 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 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: 

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
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, 30 December 2009 - Patrick Tice