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 To read this newsletter in HTML with pictures, go to: http://www.handiham.org/node/652 You can also listen to the content online: MP3 audio stream: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the 64 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player: http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 Get this issue as an audio podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham 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 mailing. 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 schedule. 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: http://www.satern.org/net.html. 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" automatically! 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: http://www.handiham.org/files/hhw_winter_2010_final.pdf January 2010 QST & Worldradio audio digests are available for our blind members. Get the Handiham World Year-End Edition in audio, read by Bob Zeida, N1BLF: http://handiham.org/files/hhw_print_winter_2009_2010.mp3 Volunteer reader Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the Winter 2009-10 QCWA Digest. 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 hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Pat can be reached by email any time, including nights and weekends, at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 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 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 1-866-426-3442. Volunteers: 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 hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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) Where: 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: https://couragecenter.us/SSLPage.aspx?pid=294&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 2010. Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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 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 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: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at www.handiham.org: Beginner General Extra Operating Skills That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System! Pat, WA0TDA Manager, Courage Handiham System Reach me by email at: patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 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.