[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 November 2011

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 14:15:56 -0600

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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[image: Subscribe in iTunes]

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------------------------------
 Welcome to Handiham World!

[image: Cartoon couple driving a car]

*Ho, ho, ho, away your radio will go.*

Yes, it is the holiday season again, and many of us (or our spouses) are
thinking about shopping for gifts, stocking up on the special foods and
treats and decorations and all the rest that goes along with this time of
year.

But do you know what else goes hand in hand with the holiday shopping
season?  It's the people who do their shopping without paying - the folks
who steal.

The reason I bring this up in the context of amateur radio is that many of
us operate mobile, either VHF/UHF or HF or both.  Thousands of dollars
worth of radio equipment may be in the car, and you certainly don't want to
lose it to thieves. As a former policeman myself, I can tell you - and the
experts will back me up on this - that the holiday season is an especially
bad time of the year for thefts from vehicles.  The standard advice for
anyone who drives a car and parks it in a public space is to keep packages
and expensive accessories out of sight.  The car should be as plain and
uninviting to thieves as possible.  Here are a few of the things I
recommend:

   -

   If you own more than one vehicle, consider doing your Christmas shopping
   with the one that does not have the amateur radio equipment installed in
   it. This makes it much easier to turn that car into a "plain Jane" that
   will not attract any attention in the parking lot.
   -

   If you have accessories like transceivers or a GPS, get them out of
   sight. The GPS can probably fit comfortably in the glove box, but I
   recommend taking the transceiver out altogether and either leaving it at
   home or locking it securely in the trunk of the car while you are at home,
   not in plain sight in the parking lot of some shopping center where the bad
   guys can see that you are putting valuables in the trunk. I prefer using
   magnetic mount antennas that can quickly be pulled off the roof of the car
   and tossed in the trunk.
   -

   I have become somewhat of an expert in hiding wires under the passenger
   side floor mat. After taking out the radio and throwing it into the trunk,
   I can easily disguise the antenna feed line by simply coiling it up and
   placing it under the floor mat where it is completely out of sight. Any
   accessory plugs or wires for the GPS can also go under the floor mat or in
   the glove box prior to my leaving my own property.
   -

   Any time you purchase gifts, the time to place them in the trunk of the
   car is immediately upon leaving the store. Never place them on the
   passenger seat or anywhere else in the passenger compartment where they can
   be seen by anyone pretending to park their car nearby. It takes only a few
   seconds to break into a car and transfer these packages into an adjacent
   vehicle. Again, the idea is to make your car look as plain and uninviting
   as possible.
   -

   Never, ever return to the car and put packages in the trunk or anywhere
   else in the car and then leave the car in the same place and return to your
   shopping. The only time you should place packages in the car at all is when
   you're getting ready to leave. Anyone can see you putting packages in the
   car and break into the car, including the trunk, as soon as you are out of
   sight. If you must unload because you have just too much to carry and it is
   necessary to make a stop at the car to put packages in the trunk, I
   recommend that you do so and then drive the car to another part of the
   parking lot or a different floor on the parking ramp, park it again, and
   return to your shopping. That lessens the possibility of someone seeing you
   fill the car with packages and then leave, giving them time to break in.
   -

   Even if you have placed your antennas out of sight, don't be tempted to
   leave radios installed in the front of the car where they can be seen
   through the windows. Thieves may not know what they are taking, but they
   probably figure that whatever they get can be sold for a few bucks for drug
   money. You can't simply depend on a thief not wanting an amateur radio
   transceiver because they don't know what it is!
   -

   I have heard other amateur radio operators suggest that callsign license
   plates on a vehicle can attract thieves, but I have never found this to be
   the case. In fact, I think the general public probably thinks of them more
   as vanity license plates and I have even run into police officers who
   aren't familiar with call letter license plates. Maybe amateur radio
   operators are such good drivers that they never get pulled over!
   -

   Generally thieves who break into cars want to be able to do so quickly
   without being noticed. You can improve your odds of avoiding car break-ins
   by locating your car in a well lighted, busy part of the parking lot. I
   don't like parking next to blank walls or trucks or vans that hide the
   vehicle enough for someone to break in while remaining out of sight.
   -

   The name of the game is to avoid drawing attention to your vehicle with
   anything that looks expensive, flashy, or easy to steal. I can't emphasize
   enough how leaving packages or expensive radio equipment in plain sight can
   attract thieves at this time of year. They are out there looking for easy
   money, so you really have to be careful to make sure that your vehicle
   doesn't stand out as an easy mark.
   -

   Even when you park your car in your own driveway your radio equipment
   can be at risk. I recommend parking cars with radio equipment that you want
   to leave installed in a secured garage. Don't depend on car alarms to
   protect your expensive radio equipment. A car parked in the driveway can be
   burglarized in minutes while you sleep. If you have limited parking space,
   the car with the radio equipment should be parked inside and the car that
   must be parked in the driveway should be the "plain Jane" with nothing to
   attract thieves left in plain sight.
   -

   Of course no matter how careful you are, you can fall victim to thieves.
   You may want to consider insurance coverage for your radio equipment. Your
   existing automobile insurance may provide some coverage, but supplemental
   insurance is always available. This is a matter to discuss with your
   insurance agent. Sometimes relatively inexpensive transceivers, such as 2 m
   only mobile units, may not be worth paying an extra insurance premium. On
   the other hand, if you have a truck load of expensive radios that operate
   on multiple bands and that are difficult to remove from the vehicle when
   you go Christmas shopping, you may want to consider that extra insurance
   coverage!
   -

   As they used to say on the old Hill Street Blues TV series, "Let's be
   safe out there."  Timely advice for the holidays!

 For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx
Handiham Manager
------------------------------
Early Winter Reading: Becoming a Ham (Part 11)
[image: code key]

Becoming a Ham - Part 11

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

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 W3DD recalls more about satellites in the early days and his experience
with a Senate investigation.

*The Teletype Episode*

We were a very active part of NASA tracking for a couple of years and the
teletype was our means of receiving messages about launchings. One night I
stayed in the trailer all night because there was to be a launch about five
A.M. We had fitted out the front part of the trailer with a couch, a
hot-plate, coffee pot and other things for comfort. I was awakened about
three in the morning by the teletypewriter coming on and typing something.
Of course, I didn't know what it had written. Perhaps the message required
a reply. If so, I would have to use the phone and find out what it was.
After thinking about it for a few seconds, I got up, sat down at the
machine and wrote, "If what you just sent requires a reply, ring the bell
three times. If no reply is required, ring the bell twice." After a few
seconds, the bell went ding ding. I went back to bed until five o'clock. A
couple of days later, a man walked into my lab and said, "The office in
Philadelphia sent me out here to find out what that monkey business the
other night was all about." "What monkey business?" "That business about
ringing the bell three or two times." When I explained it to him, he got a
huge bang out of it saying "Gosh, wait until I get back and tell them
that!" and he left. "Voices of the Satellites" got additions made to it
during this period. We got the recording of Eisenhower's Christmas message
broadcast from a satellite at Christmas 1959, telemetering signals from
many satellites, John Glenn's flight in which he talked about the ice
crystals, Russians talking back and forth between two space vehicles. As a
matter of fact, the news people were out several times with cameras and
recorders to watch and listen to the signals as we picked them up. We were
not able to pick up satellite signals until they got above the horizon, so
there was a delay of about two minutes after launch until the satellite was
about 100 miles high before we made contact. In about 1963 we were
monitoring a launch. We waited for the two minutes and then began to look
for the signal. Several minutes passed with no contact so I went to the
teletype machine and asked what happened. In two or three minutes the
teletype machine wrote a very short message. I asked someone to read it.
All it said was "splash." One time when I thought we would be able to hear
the Russian astronauts talking from one ship to another, I invited a member
of the University of Pennsylvania Russian Department to come listen. He did
and we got a very good signal. Unfortunately, all they talked about was
trivia about temperatures in the cabins, how their food was holding out,
and such like. But it was interesting to us and he seemed to get a big kick
out of it. An interesting but small contribution to the Space effort was
made by Ham radio back in 1959. I mentioned that President Eisenhower
provided a recorded Christmas message just before December 25th that year.
The story has it that the message had not arrived in time for the launch.
The vehicle was closed and launch was a few minutes away. A Ham, identity
not known, rushed up with a recorder and equipment and said, "Hold it! let
me radio the message to the receiver in the "bird". He set things up and
sent the taped message to be stored aboard. I recorded the result when it
was transmitted some time later.

*The Summons*

A rather amusing incident took place early in the satellite project. During
the first couple of years, there was much conversation about the fact that
the Russians had launched before we did. The project for launching was well
under way in this country. Werner Von Braun, the German Physicist who was
responsible for the development of the V1 and V2 rockets in Germany, was
brought to this country at the end of the war and was making good progress
organizing rocket development down in Alabama, but the red tape and time
spent arguing delayed our program so that the Russians got ahead of us.
There was much talk in the US Senate about why we were behind. There was an
article published in one of the popular magazines telling what a good job
Russia was doing. A Senate Committee was convened to investigate matters.
The author of the article and I were subpoenaed to appear before the
Committee. I got a small recorder and a few tapes to take with me to
demonstrate what I had been recording and asked Corlies to accompany me. We
were shown into the committee room and the other fellow was called first.
They gave him a hard time and he did not present his information very
coherently. The tenor of his remarks was that the Russians were way ahead
of us, that he had been there and seen for himself.

Senator Brooks, the chairman said something like, "Well, you certainly have
been given a snow job and what you have said does not seem to mean much."
Then I was called to the witness table and the chairman said in a sarcastic
tone of voice, "Now, what's your story?"

"I don't have a story, as you put it, sir. You summoned me so I'm here.
What do you want of me?"

His attitude changed immediately. He said, "We've heard that you have been
very active in tracking satellites. We'd like to hear some of your
recordings and ask a few questions. Please give us a summary of your
activities."

Things proceeded peacefully and pleasantly after that. I played a few
samples of the satellite signals and explained what they meant and the
information that could be derived from them, both US and Russian vehicles.
They seemed to enjoy what I played and were friendly and interested.

Next week: Moonbounce.

*To be continued...*
------------------------------
Letters

[image: dog barking at cartoon mail carrier]

Avery, K0HLA, writes:

I'm looking for a fusible resistor. Do you know anyone in the metro area
that still carries them? They were used a lot in RCA TV's The one I need is
red in color and 450 micro amps. I have tried 2 Radio Shack stores and they
have no idea what they are... Also: called 2 TV repair shops and they know
what they are but have not used them for very long time.

How about it, readers & listeners?  Do you know of any source, online,
even, that might have fusible resistors?  You may email me, Pat,
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx, with tips or sources for this part.
------------------------------
Troubleshooting 101: Icom IC-706M2G shuts off unexpectedly

[image: Pat and giant alligator]

A few weeks ago, my Icom IC-706M2G transceiver started to behave a little
strangely.  I noticed one morning that the radio had simply turned off on
its own.  I pushed the button to power it up again, and didn't think much
more about it.  A little later in the morning, the same thing happened
again! Now this was starting to get my attention. What was going on here? I
powered the radio up and watched it for a while. Everything seemed normal
and I more or less forgot about it. I will typically turn the radio on in
the morning and leave it on all day long monitoring the 145.45 MHz repeater
here in the Twin Cities. Before I go to bed I will check e-mail and switch
all of the radios off for the night, and I followed that procedure as usual.

Guess what happened the next day? The quirky behavior was still there. I
turned on the radio, and it turned itself off after a minute or two. I
turned it on again and the same thing happened in short order. I have two
different power supplies, so I checked the connections and even switched
power supplies. The same thing happened.

To cut to the chase on this, the problem has been going on for a couple of
weeks now and it can be a matter of trying a half-dozen times or more
powering the radio up again and again before it finally settles down and
gives me no further problems for the rest of the day. Once the radio has
decided to keep running beyond a few minutes, it will stay powered up as
one would normally expect for as long as the power supply is supplying 12
V. You would never know that there is anything wrong.

Okay, now here's the deal: this is an actual real life situation that is
going on right now with my radio, and I don't have the answer. So I'm
throwing it out to my fellow amateur radio operators to come up with
suggestions as to what to try next. It certainly is a problem I haven't
encountered before. Maybe it's something like the CMOS battery, but I'd
sure like to get some concrete suggestions, hopefully from someone who has
had a similar problem with that radio, as to what to do next before just
trying different things at random.

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

Patrick Tice
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx
Handiham Manager
------------------------------

A dip in the pool

[image: Guy studying license manual.]

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the question
pool, that is!

Today we are taking a question from the General Class pool. In fact, this
part of the pool will soon be addressed in an upcoming General Class audio
lecture for our members who are studying with us.

G2E10 asks: What is a major advantage of MFSK16 compared to other digital
modes?

Your possible answers are:

A. It is much higher speed than RTTY

B. It is much narrower bandwidth than most digital modes

C. It has built-in error correction

D. It offers good performance in weak signal environments without error
correction

So, what do you think?  If you picked answer D, It offers good performance
in weak signal environments without error correction, you were correct.  In
recent question pools, the digital modes are emphasized much more than they
have been in the past. This reflects the evolution of really robust and
effective modes of communication that are proving useful in ways that we
have not previously thought possible.  I still think it is pretty amazing
to tune a digital mode HF frequency and have my digital mode software
decode signals that I can hardly even hear.  It used to be said that CW
could get through where nothing else would - but now, that honor must go to
several of these very effective digital modes like MFSK16.
------------------------------
Remote Base Health Report for 30 November 2011

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

   -

   *W0ZSW is on line. *
   -

   *W0EQO is on line. *

* IRB Sound Client Update: *

Here we see a screenshot of the W4MQ software interface with IRB Sound
client in use.  The software shows that WA0TDA is using the W0ZSW station
on 3.925 MHz. The separate smaller application below the W4MQ screen is the
IRB Sound client that is built in to the W4MQ software.  Registered 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.

We are now almost ready to make an operational technical note for use of
IRB Sound as opposed to Skype, which has caused some errors that cause the
W4MQ software to crash. We have observed that if IRB Sound is selected as
the preferred sound client instead of Skype, the fatal "Runtime 6" error
does not occur.  The IRB Sound Client, however, does not work as well on
the W0EQO station for the delivery of smooth, consistent audio as Skype
does.  As we have already pointed out, IRB Sound works very well on W0ZSW.
If you have been using Skype with the remotes and have experienced Runtime
6 errors, you may want to consider switching to IRB Sound.

To effectively use W0EQO, start the W4MQ software with IRB Sound enabled as
your preferred sound source.  If you only want to listen, you can continue
to use IRB Sound and not worry about Skype.  If you want to transmit on
W0EQO, we recommend that you close ONLY the IRB Sound client after logging
on.  Then use Skype to call the Handiham Remote Base from your Skype
contact list.  Skype will now connect without the Runtime 6 error (we
hope!)  The main thing to remember is that you must manually hang up the
Skype call when you are through using the station.  Simply logging off the
W4MQ software will not automatically disconnect you on Skype.  If you fail
to hang up the Skype call, you will tie up the station so that others
cannot use it, so please be sure that Skype has disconnected the call.

Tech users: The feedback has been positive to date regarding giving access
to our Technician Class Handiham members, so we are doing so. Because we
don't have time to do a lot of technical support, we do ask that users have
better than average computer skills.  Setup isn't that difficult, but it
would probably be a bit confusing for a person who doesn't have much
computer experience.  Feel free to visit the link to the station
information and setup and do some reading to get an idea about what is
involved.  Both stations are equipped with Kenwood VGS1 speech modules for
blind accessibility.  The W4MQ software is pretty good for accessibility
because it has many keyboard commands. The software runs on Windows® only,
and has been tested with XP and Windows 7, both 32 and 64 bit
installations. The Kenwood TS-480 radios are blind-friendly.  Joe, N3AIN,
has done six MP3 audio tutorials:
http://handiham.org/manuals/Kenwood/TS480/ts480_n3ain/

You can view the status page at:
http://www.handiham.org/node/1005
------------------------------
 This week @ HQ

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

   - Bob Zeida, N1BLF, is working on the December Worldradio digest for our
   blind members.  It will be posted in the member section by Friday.
   - Pat, WA0TDA, will be out of the office all day Thursday for meetings.
   - Pat, WA0TDA, has completed AMSAT Journal digest audio and QST December
   digest audio for our blind members.  A big thanks to Ken Padgitt, W9MJY,
   for his reading of the monthly Doctor column.  Our blind members appreciate
   that availability of this audio.
   - 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 June.


   -

   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
   morning.

   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.  [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.

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
address:

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:
wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx

Thank you so much for your support!

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 2011.

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 $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 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:
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


------------------------------

[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
763-520-0512

* hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  *

Other related posts:

  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 November 2011 - Patrick Tice