Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the
week of Wednesday, 9 August 2017
This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny Handiham
Program, serving people with disabilities in Amateur Radio since 1967.
Our contact information is at the end.
Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version here.
Welcome to Handiham World.
In this edition:
. A note from the coordinator
. Life of a 'Semi-Retired' Ham
. Gary Gordon on the History of Computers
. STEM extension program report
. Accessible Solar Eclipse
. Things technical Part 1-Why radials??
. Avery's QTH
. A message from the president.
. Down memory lane.
. Check into our nets!
. ...And more!
A note from the coordinator...
What do you think about the future of Amateur Radio? Do you see yourself as a
lone operator, or do you see yourself as part of a larger group? Here is an
interesting article from our former coordinator, Pat Tice, WA0TDA, writing in
the Fall 1992 issue of Handiham World, where he considered that very subject.
Where are we going, and with whom?
Think about this: Where is amateur radio headed? For that matter, what is
amateur radio anymore? These are questions that might well be asked because our
hobby seems to have gone into fast forward over the past few years, and rapid
change has become, well, normal!
Twenty-five years ago, when Ned Carmen, W0ZSW, brought the Handiham Program
into the world, life in the radio spectrum was simpler. There were the bands
themselves. Harmonically related, they were easily understood and put to use
with elegantly simple wire antennas. There were only five of them in the H.F.
range, and no one had to remember much about where this or that band segment
began and ended because only Novices had limited privileges and Technicians
stayed up on the "bird bands"! Few folks could afford fancy towers or rotary
arrays, which was a pity, because no one had dreamed up restrictive covenants
yet, and most neighbors wouldn't have minded a few antennas anyway. The rigs
had only a few buttons and knobs, one of which controlled the VFO. The VFO
often lived up to its name, because it drifted (by today's standards) like a
rowboat in a hurricane. There was really nothing about it that would prevent an
inexperienced op from straying out of the band and picking up a "QSL" from the
FCC! And speaking of the FCC, that was the agency that tested us for licenses
back then. A steely-eyed examiner sat across the table from you while you held
the pencil in your sweaty hand and scribbled the test message on a piece of
paper as the CW rocketed out of the speaker. But everyone knew that you needed
to know CW because that was one of the two modes that you had to choose from,
the other being phone. Of course, there was some RTTY, but the gear was noisy
and took up half your basement. SSB was a new wrinkle, and those with lousy
VFO's had a terrible time keeping signals tuned.
Yeah, things have changed! Our stations are almost cybernetic now, doing things
for themselves. There are more bands, more hams to fill them, new license
classes, volunteer examiners, and even new modes of operation. The changes over
the past quarter century have been breathtaking, and the pace of change grows
Through all of this, there has been a steadfast friend at our side, sometimes
gently guiding us when we needed help understanding some unfamiliar technology,
sometimes prodding us along so that we would be operating properly, and always
keeping us informed about what others of our number were doing and about what
was happening around the world in amateur radio. I am talking, of course, about
the American Radio Relay League, a representative organization of Amateur radio
operators and others interested in amateur radio.
The League has been around a lot longer than the Handiham Program, but there
are still some of us who don't realize the full potential of this good friend.
The ARRL, like the Handiham Program, is a teacher through its many
publications. The Handbook, published annually, is a compendium of what every
ham should know about radio history, theory, regulations, operations, and much
more. QST keeps us up-to-date and provides for the publication of a wide
variety of articles ranging from fiction to construction. The League's study
guides are at the ready should you wish to upgrade, and W1AW provides code
practice and timely bulletins over the air. Individual help is available from
"HQ", or League headquarters, when we run afoul of local ordinances restricting
antennas or when we are trying to sort out interference complaints. The
League's "Band Plans" are widely recognized and appreciated for their help in
getting the most out of our limited spectrum. The ARRL has been generous in its
support of the Handiham Program through the years of growth and change,
allowing us to reproduce educational and other materials on tape, assisting us
with donations, and even sending a representative to Radio Camp to help us
introduce newcomers to the wonderful hobby that we enjoy so much!
Are you helping to represent Amateur Radio, to assist other Hams, to spread the
word, to make your voice heard on policy issues? Are you a member of the
Twenty-five years after this article was penned, we can still ask the same
questions. Where are you going with amateur radio? Are you going alone? Do you
contact your elected officials to let them know how legislation impacts your
ham radio activities? Having a partner that helps promote and defend our hobby
Do you have a story to share about your ham radio related activities? Please
send your articles and stories via email to Lucinda.Moody@xxxxxxxxxx or by
calling me at 612-775-2290.
Life of a 'Semi-Retired' Ham
Editor's note: Do you ever think about what your future will be like? Where
does ham radio fit into the picture? Maybe you imagine finally having your
dream station and antenna farm, or maybe you think that the future is when you
will finally have time to chase that elusive low-power distant station that has
been dodging you all these years! The following is an article by Eddie
Thornson, N0YL, first published in the Summer 1979 issue of Handiham World:
Work I have lots of and visitors and friends come often-but a variety of people
I find only via amateur radio.
When we moved to Grand Meadow, in southeastern Minnesota, I finally had room
for a station. While still in the moving process, I wrote to a friend, Bob
Russ, K0GKI, and asked how to become a ham. He told Ned Carmen, W0ZSW, who
stopped in, strung up a dipole, and gave me my first look at ham radio. He came
back with a stack of books a yard high, code tapes, and what had to be the
world's biggest tape recorder!
That was in January, 1967, and by April, Ned came with the 610 form for my
Novice test, and we got the show on the road. In June, he put up my dipole and
set up my first transmitter. What a delight to see the station take form; what
a thrill to turn the switch on; how horrifying to see the black smoke pour out
of the transmitter!
Ned didn't give up easily, so, in a couple of days, he was back with another
transmitter; and this time WN0RRA made her first contact and uttered the
immortal words, "Would you believe this is my first contact?" When he came
back, the guy said, "Yes, I would." Oh, well.
About this time, the idea born in Ned's mind of providing handicapped people
with the tools to become hams had begun to take form as the Handiham System. As
Ned collected donated gear, he often brought things to me to try out. In six
months as a Novice, I used nine transmitters! I would have become a ham without
Ned's help, but it would have been much harder to do.
In 1968, my General license arrived, setting off six months of feverish SSB
activity. Fortunately, sanity returned, and I headed back to the CW bands! Good
friend Dex Henschel, then WA0DOT, now W0DH, Albert Lea, decided I needed the
Advanced. There was no peace on the subject until 1969, when he brought over
the test, and I did that bit. There was little glory in the Advanced, 'cuz by
then, Dex had his Extra-so in 1970, I did my best to prove the equality of the
Under "glories past," we find 16 months as a route manager of a slow speed
Novice net; a year as assistance SCM in charge of the CW nets, during which we
had four Novices inducted into the Brass Pounder's League (whew!); and a year
as manager of MSN, the Minnesota Section CW net. I was net control hundreds of
times, Minnesota rep to the Transcontinental Eastern Net hundreds of times, and
shuttled more traffic between the CW and phone nets than I care to remember. In
a sad yet delicious moment in 1977, good ole WA0RRA yielded to temptation and
became N0YL, a change I do not regret.
Now, I am "semi-retired," as antique doll repairing and doll making take most
of my time. In a quiet moment, it's great to work some CW, maybe a li'l DX on
15, or as NCS for an occasional hour on PICO Net. Ham radio waits patiently,
and when I have more time, it will be there.
I am now working hard to become an original doll artist, which is what makers
of original dolls are called. Believe me, it ain't easy! Some of my gnome dolls
are inspired by the "GNOME" book I received last Christmas from Carl Searing,
W9NW, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. So, when I'm too busy to be on the air, blame
Carl! It's all his fault!
Gary Gordon on the History of Computers
This week, the Handiham Program heard from Gary Gordon, one of our volunteers
who was a dedicated radio camp instructor. He built numerous hands-on learning
aids that many of our members remember using to learn different concepts as
they were studying for their license exams. Recently, Gary was interviewed for
the Computer History Museum, in part because one of his 80 patents offered the
first description of the optical mouse. His interview can be found at the
following link: https://youtu.be/TxxoWhCzIeU
STEM extension program
Ken KB3LLA submitted the following report: The Pennsylvania Summer Academy STEM
extension program for blind and visually impaired students took place from
Saturday, July 29, 2017, through Thursday, August 3, 2017, at the Penn State
campus. Participating institutions were Penn State University, the Pennsylvania
Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services (BBVS), and NASA. I co-taught, with Prof.
Stephen Van Hook and Prof. Angela Bishop, labs on electricity (series circuits,
parallel circuits, LEDs, transistors, inductors, capacitors, motors, generators
and alternators, solar cells, wind turbines, battery chemistry, and integrated
circuits). The students had to take their own measurements with the Talking
Labquest 2 http://www.independencescience.com/ and do their own mathematical
calculations with talking scientific calculators and/or in Braille. Worksheets
were provided in Braille and in large print.
Accessible Solar Eclipse
Zach, N0KZD, sent in the following link:
I received this link on a local ham radio mailing list for a project that makes
the solar eclipse accessible for those with visual impairments or unable to
view the eclipse for any other reason. http://eclipsesoundscapes.org/
Things technical Part 1-Why radials?
From the Summer 1992 issue of Handiham World, editor Pat Tice, WA0TDA, shares
the following introduction.
Finally.The straight up-and-down story about vertical antennas and radials!
Do vertical antennas really work? Don't they need zillions of radials? What
about those "half-wave" designs that claim that they don't need radials.and, by
the way, how can they be "half-wave" antennas when they are only 16 feet tall?
I thought a half-wave on 20 meters was about twice that length! Won't a ground
rod be a good substitute for a radial system if the soil conductivity is good
or if I live near water?
Associate member Don Newcomb, W0DN, answers these questions and more in this
series of articles devoted to "Things Technical," Don is an antenna designer by
trade, an expert CW-QRP op, and a really, really fine technical writer. Read
closely, and you may end up considering a vertical antenna for your station!
Reprinted with permission from DX Engineering / Butternut
There are few subjects in amateur radio that are so clouded in mystery as
radials and ground systems for vertical antennas. That this should be so is
itself something of a mystery, for countless books and articles have examined
this subject in considerable detail over the last 50 years. The basic points
are quite well known by now, except, it seems, among the amateur community.
Why so much confusion? Some people will tell you that vertical antennas require
them for effective operation or even for low SWR, but you'll see ads stating
(a) that a particular vertical antenna works like a bomb with no radials at
all, (b) that another doesn't need any radials because it's a "half-wave" tall
on one or another band and remotely tuned, another (c) that their antenna can
get by with a greatly abbreviated radial system because its feedpoint is a few
feet above ground, and our favorite (d) is the one that claims that only a few
14 foot radials will allow it to deliver maximum operating efficiency.
The ARRL Antenna Book tells us that more than 100 much longer radials would be
needed for that kind of efficiency on most amateur bands, even though the
advertisements say otherwise! And what is meant by "ground" anyway? Much of the
misunderstanding can be laid at the door of over-zealous dream merchants who
prefer to gloss over unpleasant truths. Let's review the basics and try to
separate the facts from the hype.
What is a ground? It can be a connection to the earth itself and often is. At
power frequencies, the earth is usually a good conductor, and most electrical
codes dictate a copper-plated steel rod driven into the earth to a depth of six
feet or more. Unfortunately, such a ground connection is next to worthless at
radio frequencies, although it's useful in preventing shocks. Too many amateurs
have been electrocuted when they contacted the "ground" side of a feedline
connected to ungrounded (or poorly grounded) station equipment while standing
on damp earth! Be especially leery of old two conductor house wiring, and don't
count on the newer three-conductor wiring to take the place of a good earth
ground to all station equipment that plugs into the power outlets in the shack!
An ungrounded chassis can be lethal whether the unit is switched on or not, so
drive that copper-plated steel rod into the flower bed and connect a heavy wire
between it and all station equipment while everything is still unplugged.
But why should a ground connection that serves quite well at 60 Hz not also
suffice into the megahertz range? And why do we even worry about it? Consider a
vertical radiator installed at ground level and fed through the usual coaxial
feedline, the braided outer conductor connected to the inevitable copper-plated
ground stake. What is not so obvious is that the "business" end of a vertical
antenna is also "connected" to the earth through the capacitance of the
vertical radiator to the earth itself. True, this capacitance won't be very
great, but it'll be great enough to cause current to flow in or along the earth
all around the antenna out to a distance greater than the length of the
vertical radiator. These "return" currents make their way back to the feedpoint
to complete the circuit and can be seriously attenuated if they must pass along
or through lossy earth. Even the most conductive earth is fairly lossy at radio
frequencies, and the "return" losses can be severe unless an extensive radial
system is used to provide a number of low-loss paths back to the feedpoint.
But what kind of losses are we talking about in the average case? The ARRL
Antenna Book (any edition) suggests that 120 radials equally spaced and each a
halfwave long would make an essentially lossless ground system at R.F., and the
FCC mandates such ambitious systems for stations operating in the AM broadcast
band. A lossless ground system means that all power applied to a vertical
antenna part from conductor and loading losses (usually only a few percent)
will be radiated instead of being lost in the earth as heat.
Amateurs must usually make do with much shorter and many fewer radials,
particularly on the lower frequencies, but one can often reduce the length of
radials and their number considerably without incurring significant loss.
Still, the Antenna Book observes that with only two 1/8 wavelength radials
(about 17 feet on 40 meters) overall efficiency is not likely to exceed 25%, in
which case the difference between a bare-minimum ground system and an "ideal"
one might amount to a whopping six decibels or more. Much depends on the
natural conductivity of local soil. Sandy, arid regions are probably the worst,
but the best is none too good compared to seawater. It's worth noting that what
matters is conductivity at or near the surface of the earth. If your R.F. has
to fight its way through several feet of high resistance sand or rock to find a
low-resistance path back to the antenna feedpoint, you've probably lost the
battle already. Sub-surface mineral deposits and high water tables don't help
much either, for these are usually too far down to do much good. Fresh water,
by the way, is not a very good conductor at R.F., so don't look for any great
benefit from nearby lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, or swimming pools!
Some people imagine that they have a wonderful ground system because they're
connected to a well casing that goes down several hundred feet. Not so, alas!
Remember that your return currents will be flowing all around the antenna on or
slightly under the surface, so even a six-inch casing won't provide much
surface area along which current can flow. In other words, your well casing
could go down 15 foot or 1500 feet without doing much to reduce your earth
losses in the HF range.
Next time: Should you copper-plate your lawn? Don discusses some practical
aspects of ground systems.
Welcome once again to my humble QTH:
Editor's note: Avery, K0HLA, sent us the following article this week, one that
he wrote when he worked at the Handiham Program years ago.
I just had a minor panic session here. You see, I was in the process of
attempting to answer some emails I received after joining Facebook.
The problem was I could not find my password for Facebook. Seems to me I had
this same problem with Skype, the Handiham remote base and several other
applications. I was told by several computer knowledgeable people that it is
not a very good idea to use the same password for every application. That sure
seems like a sensible idea to me, because someone would be able to get into all
a person's accounts with just finding out the one password.
I had been keeping all my passwords in a pocket-sized notebook about a half
inch thick (which worked out quite well until recently) when I was going into
too many new places on the web and just putting the password down on any piece
of paper that was handy with the good intentions of transferring them to my
little password book. Lesson learned. Do it right away. Don't wait until later.
It's too easy to misplace the paper and forget the password. Also, make a
backup just in case something happens to the original password book.
Because it is made of paper, it could have many things happen that would make
it unusable. Oh No! Don't keep passwords in a secret file on your computer. It
is too easy for a hacker to find if they break into it. Anyway, after going
through every scrap of paper I could find several times-still no password.
Well, I thought most web sites have a place to get back a password if something
like this happens, so I will check it out. Sure enough, they did have a way to
get a new password if the other one is lost or forgotten. Oh boy! That would
mean going though most of the process all over again and waiting for the new
password to come. I didn't really want to wait since I had a "ton" of messages
to respond to. I shut down everything and really gave some thought to the
possible solutions. What might I have used as a password for this? I was very
lucky in that all of a sudden it registered with me like a lightning flash out
of the blue. I had it, and now I could answer all my emails. You better believe
I have brought my password books up-to-date. Some people may use a tape
recorder or some new-fangled digital device to record their passwords instead
of notebooks, which is fine as long as no one else has access to them.
Now why did I mention this security thing with the passwords?
Two words: Homeland Security.
Did you know that President Bush signed into law a bill that made all amateur
radio operators part of Homeland Security? (It doesn't matter what class of
license a person holds). The reason is because of Katrina and 9-11. Amateur
radio got the information passed when all else failed. There are many things we
can do to help with Homeland Security. Some are for our own protection. A good
one is not to mention on the air that you will be out of town before you go or
you could come back to a cleaned out home. After you are back it is too late
for someone to take advantage of you. Look out for anything abnormal going on
around you. Is that person out at 2:00 in the morning really delivering the
early edition of the newspaper or are they scouting the neighborhood to find
easy places to break into? Take part in as many of the emergency classes and
emergency training exercises as possible. Learn how to run a net under very
stressful circumstances. An emergency is not time to find out you don't have
the skills to handle it.
Please, please know that it is often times more important to just be listening
and to be there if you are called. You are only wasting time and tying up the
frequency if you don't have the necessary information net control is looking
Summer is a good time to get experience because there are many city and town
festivals where amateurs take part. Not only are they fun, but the learning
experience is different every time.
What? A contest to find out who checks into the most web sites and has the most
passwords? Naw! I don't think so. In so doing, we could be giving away some
information that might make it easier for some hacker.
So, until next time
73 es DX de K0HLA Avery
A message from the president.
August 8, 2017
Dear ARRL Member:
Based on feedback I've received, it seems to me that some members still don't
fully understand certain features of the Amateur Radio Parity Act (ARPA) and
what it is meant to do. To make things clearer, we have developed an FAQ in the
format of questions and answers. Please take a few minutes and read the FAQ to
learn more about the ARPA.
Here is the direct link:
Here is another link with additional information:
Thanks to those of you who have written your Senators in support of the ARPA.
If you have not done so, please do so by clicking on the link below. It only
takes a minute.
Thanks. Let's keep the effort moving!
Rick Roderick, K5UR
ARRL - The national association for Amateur Radio®
Down memory lane...
And in honor of the celebration of 50 years of the Handiham Program, here are
two articles about Dr. Tom Linde, KZ0T, the first from the Fall 1979 issue of
Handiham World, and the second from the Fall 1983 issue.
He talks to anybody, anywhere
Have you ever made radio contact with a sheepherder in the outback of New
Tom Linde, KB0JQ, from Knoxville, Iowa, did, nearly two hours' worth. The New
Zealander was transmitting from a portable rig on a mountain, while surveying
Tom, (formerly WB0FOQ) passed his Advanced class exam at Radio Camp this year.
Not so surprising when you learn of his background and accomplishments.
Born with cerebral palsy, Tom has severe physical and verbal impairments. His
determination to excel, however, appeared early in life. Once, as an
eight-year-old, he met a ham who could "talk to anybody, anywhere, at any
time," Tom said. Exactly what Tom wanted to do.
He had to wait, however, until 1965 when he enrolled in a Novice class in
Milwaukee. His capacity for learning had already been demonstrated in 1961,
when he received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Illinois.
Tom earned his Novice ticket, and, not to be denied, he immediately began to
work for the General class. In 1971, he moved to Knoxville where he joined the
staff of the Veterans Hospital as a clinical psychologist.
"Dr. Tom" learned about the Courage Handiham System through our fundraising
appeal sent to hams in eight states earlier this year. He joined and soon
applied for Radio Camp. There he passed the Advanced test-and even more
important, the 20 WPM code test for the Amateur Extra! He passed the written
test at the Midwest American Radio Relay League convention in October.
Tom is a family man. His wife, Ann, and two sons, Peter, 12, and Matthew, 10,
take much of his time. Yet he continues to find enjoyment on the air.such as
shooting the breeze with a sheepherder on his mountain top.
Handiham Member Receives Phillips Award
Dr. Thomas Linde, KZ0T of Knoxville, Iowa, was named one of five winners of the
20th annual Rose and Jay Phillips Awards presented by Courage Center. Linde is
a clinical psychologist with the Veterans Administration Medical Center in
The Phillips Awards honor individuals who have achieved vocational success
despite a severe physical disability. Linde, who has cerebral palsy, received
the award at a public ceremony at Courage Center on September 23.
Besides his work counseling severely mentally disturbed patients at the VA
Medical Center, Linde is an experienced ham radio operator who holds an Extra
class license and is active in the Courage Handiham System.
In accepting the award, Linde said, "Over 100 years ago Bismark, the German
statesman, said, 'Politics is the art of the possible.' For tonight, let me
suggest that rehabilitation is the art and the science of the possible. It is
an art because it requires humane imagination to create the opportunity for
growth and productive living, at home or on the job. It is a science because it
demands the best of caring ingenuity to create strategies and technologies to
compliment and supplement limited human abilities.
"All of this is given dimension, is given meaning by the courage of those who
work to become more able, and those who assist in this important quest."
Editor's note: You can still find used copies of Dr. Tom Linde's book,I Am Not
What I Am: A Psychologist's Memoir: Notes on Managing Personal Misfortune, via
What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome!
How to find the Handiham Net:
. The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492. Connect via your iPhone, Android
phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your area.
The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control station
on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air get-together.
Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who wishes
to participate at 11:00 hours CST (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as well as
Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CST (7 PM). If you calculate GMT, the time
difference is that GMT is five hours ahead of Minnesota time during the summer.
Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday evening
session, so check in early if you want to take a guess. The answer to the
trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark. A big
THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to our Handiham Club Net
Manager, James, KD0AES.
. You can pay your Handiham dues and certain other program fees on line. Simply
follow the link to our secure payment site, then enter your information and
submit the payment. It's easy and secure!
o Handiham annual membership dues are $12.00. The lifetime membership rate is
MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
o If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation
website. The instructions are at the following link:
DONATION LINK http://www.handiham.org/drupal2/node/8
How to contact us
There are several ways to contact us.
Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road MR#78446
Golden Valley, MN 55422
Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291
Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)
Note: Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM United States
Central Time are the best times to contact us.
You may also call Handiham Program Coordinator Lucinda Moody, AB8WF, at:
73, and I hope to hear you on the air soon!
For Handiham World, this is Lucinda Moody, AB8WF
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