[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 7 July 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2010 15:31:22 -0500

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!

A volunteer summer

Will Tice, KC0LJL, does some soldering.

Will Tice, KC0LJL, solders some PL-259 plugs onto random wire receiving

Handiham volunteer Will Tice, KC0LJL, helped out at Camp Courage by
soldering some PL-259's to random wire receiving antennas. Will learned to
solder when he took an electronics class in high school.  Now that he is
heading into his senior year at university, he helps us with other jobs as
well, including computer-related stuff. 

"Look at these nice, shiny solder joints", he says.

And speaking of volunteers, Bob Garwood, W0BV, has a first draft of the
Summer Handiham World print edition ready. Bob is an experienced newsletter
editor, and knows how to cut my sometimes too-long articles down to size.
Look for the print edition (with a giving envelope) to show up later this

Handiham volunteers Lyle Koehler, K0LR, and Eliot Ricciardelli, KE0N, will
be working with me on the W0ZSW Remote Base HF station. We expected to work
on the project soon after radio camp, and several important pieces of the
project are now in place.  We have completed our office move and have
configured the office and ham shack space at Camp Courage. We have drilled
holes through the concrete walls for feedlines, and our antenna team of Dave
Glas, W0OXB, and John Harvard, KC0UHY, have installed an excellent 300 foot
center-fed dipole fed with 450 Ohm open wire line and a current balun. The
parts were donated by the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association, and a tuner
was donated by Eliot, KE0N. 

We are so grateful for the time and talent that all of our volunteers share
with us.  Thank you! 

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice


Remote base station W0EQO returns to service

Kenwood TS-480SAT, used in the W0EQO remote base station

The Handiham remote base station W0EQO was down early this week following a
thunderstorm and possible lightning strike that took out the Internet
service at Courage North. We have now restored the station to normal use.
Although outages like this are unavoidable, we think that the overall record
of in-service time has been pretty good for the remote base station. When
you think about it, a station like the W0EQO remote is much more "brittle"
in terms of reliability than a traditional ham radio station where the
control operator sits right at the radio. For one thing, in remote operation
the control operator is located at some distance away from the actual
station. That means that if something fails, even if it is as simple as a
breaker tripping, the station could be off the air for a significant time.
After all, a real live person will have to reset that circuit breaker before
the station can return to service.

When engineers talk about a technology being "brittle", they are describing
systems that are interconnected and interdependent, often where everything
must be working perfectly for the main system to function at all. So when I
call remote base technology brittle, it is with the understanding that it is
more complicated and interdependent than a traditional station. Just to name
a few conditions that must be met, we can list these:

1.      The internet connection to Courage North must be up and running. 
2.      The various routers and networking systems must be handshaking with
each other and with the Lenovo rig control computer. 
3.      The power must be on - there may be no one available to switch to
any kind of emergency power, and even if there were, the computer network
would still need power. 
4.      The rig control computer must be running and all of the necessary
applications must be running, including the W4MQ host software, Echolink,
and SKYPE.  
5.      The radio and power supply must be working. 
6.      The temperature in the ham shack must be within operational limits
(We're hedging our bets and keeping our fingers crossed on this one, since
we don't heat the shack in the Minnesota winter!) 
7.      The antenna and feedline must be in operating order. 

And there are probably a few more that I haven't even thought of yet. Of
course the equipment in any ham station can fail at any time, but when there
is a failure at a manned station, the operator can quickly figure out a
workaround, whether it be switching to emergency power, changing radios, or
using a different antenna. A lost internet connection is no reason to go off
the air for me, as long as I am using my home station and sitting right at
the radio. 

Lyle, K0LR, and I always appreciate hearing when the remote station is not
working properly. Once we hear about a problem from our users we can go
ahead and begin the diagnostic process. Sometimes we can fix a problem
remotely, by computer. Other times (like the time one leg of the G5RV
antenna fell down) we need a pair of hands on site at the station. 

As we prepare to install a second remote base, we are taking to heart
another practice engineers know about: redundancy. If a system must be
brittle, it can certainly fail from time to time, but if we have a second,
completely independent station available, it can take the place of the
failed system for a period of time. We think this is a good plan, and we
hope our remote base users will agree.  When the new station comes on line,
users will find that their W0EQO passwords will work just fine, as we are
planning to copy them all over from the existing database. 


QSL cards

Since it is strictly "slow news" for ham radio this time of year, how about
telling us about some favorite QSL cards you have either sent or received
over the years?  A photo or scan would be helpful, if you have one.

I wish I had saved a copy of my old QSL from back in the 1970's.  It
featured a panoramic view of the Minnesota River Valley and each one was
printed in my own photo darkroom, in the days when you had to use chemicals
to print photos. Needless to say, it was black and white, but it was sure

Just to whet your appetite for old QSL cards, here's one that was printed as
a promotion by Hamm's Beer Company.  Of course the name of the beer and
"ham" radio sort of went together, which I'm sure was the reason for the
cards. These showed a full color photo of a north woods Minnesota water
scene with pine forest, a river & waterfall, and some clueless guy canoeing
too close to the edges of the falls. Funny how I never thought that was a
stupid thing to do when I first saw these nifty cards. Anyway, there was a
place to write in your own callsign on the front, and the back was printed
with more or less standard QSO information blanks to be filled in.

Hamms beer QSL card, front & back, with water scene

So what do you have?  Send it to wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your comments. 


Out there

Found by Dick Garey, WB0CAF: The excellent NFB Technology Resource List.
This is a must-visit for anyone looking for blindness-related technology. 




cartoon dog barking at postal carrier

Chris, KG0BP, writes:

We just went over to see Sister Alverna, WA0SGJ, and to set up her Kenwood
TM-V7A. When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised to be met by Janet,
K0JE, and Janice, K0JA. We were able to get Sister's radio programmed to use
my 444.575 repeater, which is connected to the Handiham EchoLink conference
server, so she'll be able to check into the Handiham nets from time to time.

Howard, KE7KNN, writes:

Well, I found out that I am going back to school again, but to help teach.
My job will be to help 2nd, 3rd, 5th, & 6th grade students. I will be
helping out in the classroom with special education, including some math and
reading.  I will have a chance to run a ham radio net from time to time as
well. I credit our ham radio net at radio camp time with getting this going!


July Events by N1YXU

Events by N1YXU

I hope each of you was able to participate in a local Field Day event. Our
club here in North Carolina had a 10A operation and quite a lot of folks who
operated and visited. We are already talking about next year's Field Day!
There are many activities that are going on in amateur radio in the month of
July. Be sure to look through the events. I'm sure you'll find at least one
activity that will catch your attention.
Until next month..
- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read more: 


This week @ HQ

*       Tonight is net night!  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at
19:30 United States Central Daylight time, which translates to +5 hours, or
00:30 GMT Thursday morning during North American Daylight Time. In the
winter, the GMT schedule is +6 hours. Connect from any Internet-enabled
computer in the world, and come out on Twin Cities repeater N0BVE on

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

*       Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the July Worldradio & CQ audio
digests for our blind members. Bob has also just completed the Summer QCWA
Journal digest, so you have lots of summer listening! 
*       We have finished reading the July, 2010 QST audio digest. Ken
Padgitt, W9MJY, has completed the June 2010 Doctor column from QST for our
blind members, but the July edition of the Doctor column will be delayed.
Handiham members who use adapted audio can log in to members only for the
digest. If you qualify for National Library Service audio books, you can get
the entire issue of QST, once the issue is read and cataloged. 
*       The new Technician pool is online at Handiham.org, as modified for
Handiham use. Find it in the Manuals section.

.         Shipping address for Handihams: Our shipping address is different
than our mailing address, though we can still get packages and mail at
either address. The thing is, it is much, much easier if packages, such as
equipment donations, are sent directly to our headquarters office. This is
the same address where Radio Camp will be held. 


Camp Courage
Handiham System
8046 83rd Street Northwest
Maple Lake, MN 55358-2454 

Please don't call the Camp Courage number to reach Handihams. The phone at
the main Camp Courage office for all departments is (320) 963-3121. However,
we do not always get phone messages left at that number in a timely manner,
so if you wish to leave a phone message, be sure to call:  

Pat: 763-520-0511

Nancy: 763-520-0512 

Nancy and I will get your calls or voicemails at those numbers no matter
where we are working. 

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"

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. 



Supporting Handihams

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 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 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

.         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
<http://www.handiham.org/> 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: 



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.


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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, 7 July 2010 - Patrick Tice