[image: Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina
*Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for
the week of Wednesday, September 20, 2017*
This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny
Handiham Program <https://handiham.org>, serving people with disabilities
in Amateur Radio since 1967.
Our contact information is at the end.
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Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version here.
*Welcome to Handiham World.*
*In this edition: *
*A note from the coordinator*
*A New Way of Seeing *
*Building a Car for Drivers Who Are Blind*
*Discovering A New Normal *
*Down memory lane…*
*Check into our nets!*
*A note from the coordinator...*
The natural disasters just keep coming. After several hurricanes, news
of another earthquake in Mexico broke as I was penning this E-letter. What
does that have to do with amateur radio? As hams, all of us should be ready
to help or at least stand by and keep the frequencies that are involved in
disaster communications free for those who are participating in the
response. If you are interested in helping, some reputable disaster
services organizations that you can check out include ARES/RACES, SATERN,
and the Red Cross. Keep in mind that all organizations will require an
application that includes a background check. Additionally, you will have
to complete several training courses. One thing you can do is complete the
IS 100, 200, 700, and 800 courses offered through FEMA that are required by
nearly all disaster service organizations. You can find a link to the
online courses here: https://training.fema.gov/IS/
The Handiham Headquarters is short-staffed this week and next. Nancy is
on vacation, so if you need something done right way, please be sure to
call or email me.
In the E-Letter this week there are links to a couple interesting TED
talks. There is a story phoned in by a Handiham member that relates the
impact Sister Alverna had on him during an especially difficult time in his
life. Finally, there are two articles from Handiham World that were
originally published in 2009.
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.
*A New Way of Seeing*
What would a city designed for the blind be like? Chris Downey is an
architect who went suddenly blind in 2008; he contrasts life in his beloved
San Francisco before and after -- and shows how the thoughtful designs that
enhance his life now might actually make everyone's life better, sighted or
Check out this TED talk at
*Building a Car for Drivers Who Are Blind*
Using robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS and smart feedback tools, Dennis
Hong is building a car for drivers who are blind. It's not a "self-driving"
car, he's careful to note, but a car in which a non-sighted driver can
determine speed, proximity and route -- and drive independently. The TED
talk can be found at
*Discovering A New Normal*
from Dennis Opoka, KA8WII
Dennis received his amateur radio license in 1986 using the materials
from the Handiham Program that were provided on cassette tape. At the time,
his son was nearly two years old, and his first wife had recently passed
away. Sister Alverna was a wonderful friend to him, spending hours talking
to him via the telephone, helping him get through the difficult time of
adjustment. She even sent him a light detector so he could know when his
son left the lights on, because Dennis was blind.
So, After Dennis earned his Novice license, he borrowed equipment from
the Handiham Program that had rivets to mark the dial. He had to count to
make certain he was in the Novice portion of the band. One time, he got a
QSL from the FCC, telling him that he was transmitting out of band. He
wrote them back, explaining that it was an error and why. He said the FCC
was satisfied with his explanation.
Dennis got his Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University with a
history and political science major and an economics minor. He chose
substitute teaching after college, believing that a school would give him a
job if they observed his work. The schools did not hire him, however. After
two years and some 3,000 applications, Dennis applied at the US Department
of Labor. He was told they had never hired a blind person before, but
Dennis challenged them that since they set the rules, they should also set
an example and not discriminate against an employee based on a disability.
As a result of his persistence, Dennis became the first blind person
hired by the US Department of Labor. He worked for Veterans Reemployment
Rights, a program that helped vets reclaim the job they left when they
entered the military. The program also handled job placement and training
for veterans who were not employed before they entered the military. Dennis
worked there for 33 years before he retired.
He credits his parents for his success in life. They enrolled him in a
special education program that mainstreamed him, allowing him to learn to
function within a sighted world. He states that his father never knew the
meaning of “can’t.” His parents knew to let him find his way in life rather
than over-protect him.
Now, Dennis is remarried. He enjoys canning, wood working, and hunting.
Hunting? With the help of a partner, he got his first doe a few years ago.
He has also bagged four turkeys. He also puts up hundreds of jars of canned
goods each year, and he has excelled at word working. He shared that the
iPhone has changed his life. Two of his favorite apps are Seeing AI and
The final thing Dennis shared in our conversation? “Either you want to
become part of life, or you let it pass you by.” Those are challenging
words to all of us!
Editor’s note: Dennis relayed this in a conversation earlier this week
and graciously allowed his story to be included in this week’s E-Letter.
Welcome once again to my humble QTH:
Earlier this week, someone asked me about shortwave listening (SWL) and
where to find a certain shortwave broadcast service, the BBC. According to
the information I found in a web search, the BBC had stopped broadcasts to
North America in 2001. I had no idea. Where was I all this time?
On the ham bands only, I guess. It had been a very long time since I had
tuned around the shortwave bands, listening to all those neat stations like
the BBC, Radio Moscow, Radio Australia, HCJB and many others. I would get
the International news by listening to several of these stations on my
Hallicrafters S-40B receiver. It was not too surprising to find very
different points of view on the same news event. If I needed to get the
time or check the frequency of my receiver's dial I would use either WWV on
5, 10, or 15 MHz here in the United States or 7.335 MHz, CHU in Canada.
Since I was just a few hundred miles from the border, CHU was very easy to
Now I see that even that CHU frequency has changed to 7.850 MHz.
According to Wikipedia, "While no one knows the exact number of SWLs,
most estimates place the number in the millions. In 2002, according to the
National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters, for estimated numbers of
households with at least one shortwave set in working order, Asia led with
a large majority, followed by Europe, Sub Saharan Africa, and the former
Soviet Union, respectively. The total estimated number of households
worldwide with at least one shortwave set in working order was said to be
600,000,000. SWLs range from teenagers to retired persons to David
Letterman, who has mentioned on several occasions how much he enjoys
listening to shortwave, particularly broadcasts by the British Broadcasting
What you will hear on a frequency depends on whether it is day or night
and what season it is. What part of the world you are in makes a difference
too, as broadcasts are beamed to specific audiences in different geographic
locations. A very important factor is what kind of antenna you are using.
The right antenna will make a very big difference in what you will be able
On a summer day in the USA, you will hear a lot of noise on many of the
bands just above the broadcast AM bands. At night there will be many
stations on those same frequency bands that were so noisy with static just
a few hours earlier. If you listen in the wintertime in North America, most
of the shortwave bands will have stations. Many of what used to be mainstay
stations have gone off the air because of the internet and all the new
digital technology. Most of the stations leaving the air can still be heard
on the internet. Many people listen on their computers or HD radio.
Some of the things you may hear besides the broadcast stations are
military communications, pirate stations, number stations, ships and
aircraft to name a few. Yes, as some people have said, you have the world
at your fingertips.
One of the more popular SWL monthly magazines is "Popular
Communications" (a sister publication of "CQ" Magazine), which contains all
the current most up-to-date information on SWL'ing. They list what stations
are on at what time and on what frequencies. Whether or not they are in
English and, if not, what language is being used are other items listed.
Also, they have stories on different aspects of radio broadcasting, many
times giving the history of a station or activity. Pictures of QSL cards
are sometimes shown as well.
If you are a licensed radio amateur, SWL'ing can still be fun and even
let you know a little about the propagation. If you are hearing a shortwave
station in Asia, it would be a good bet that as a ham you would be able to
contact that part of the world. Or, if Radio Australia was heard, then
getting into Australia via amateur radio would be a very good possibility.
So until next time,
73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery
Editor’s note: This article was found in the March 4, 2009 issue of
*Down memory lane...*
In honor of the celebration of 50 years of the Handiham Program, here is
a story from the November 11, 2009 issue of Handiham World.
* PICONET get-together celebrates friendship, community*
Long before I ever got involved with the Handiham System, I was a real
fan of the 75 m band. Sure, I enjoyed chasing a little DX on the 10, 15,
and 20 m bands, especially when I first got started in amateur radio in
1967. At that time, phone equipment was simply out of the question. Novices
did not have phone privileges and were expected to work as much CW as
possible in order to build up their Morse code speed to pass the General
class license exam in front of a stern-faced FCC examiner within one year.
If you didn't pass the license exam within a year, you were off the air. If
you ask me, that was real incentive licensing!
When I did get my General Class license in 1968, I quickly made plans to
get on the air with amplitude modulated phone. My old Knight-Kit T-60
transmitter used a screen modulation circuit to produce a feeble and
ineffective phone signal, so I still managed to work more CW than phone. I
saved my money, which wasn't all that easy when I was in college and had
plenty of other expenses for tuition and books, and finally saved up enough
to get a real SSB transceiver, a Heathkit HW-100. Believe it or not, that
complicated kit containing 20 vacuum tubes worked the first time. I had
carefully laid out all of the parts on our family's ping-pong table and
followed the detailed directions in the Heathkit manual very carefully.
Since I was finally able to get on single side band phone, I quickly
discovered the fun to be had on daily regional HF nets. When I learned
about the PICONET, I quickly made it a regular part of my day whenever my
busy college schedule allowed. The PICONET is a long-time affiliate of the
Handiham System, and it has proven over the decades to be a wonderful place
to make friends and build a community on the air, goals consistent with the
values of the Handiham Program. The net meets daily except Sunday on a 75 m
frequency, 3.925 MHz. Its theme is operation in the "public interest,
convenience, or necessity", from which its name is derived. Traffic is
passed regularly, but most of the net time is given over to small talk and
informal visiting. In short, it is a great place to simply meet your
friends and be part of a larger community. Since the 75 m band is reliable
throughout the 11 year sunspot cycle, it has been possible to maintain the
net on a regular basis, which is important to keep regular participation
year in and year out.
Sometimes friends like to see each other in person, so the PICONET
members arrange an annual get-together. This year it was in a small town in
northern Minnesota, Perham. Although I couldn't attend myself, I was
pleased to see plenty of photos and even some video with sound available on
the PICONET website. One of my favorites was Harold, KB0ROB, who has been a
long-time volunteer examiner at the Courage North Handiham radio camps,
playing the fiddle and singing with a group of other ham radio operators at
the annual PICONET luncheon. Be sure to pay a visit to the Facebook page to
hear Harold and "The Old Friends" singing "Back on the PICONET Again" and
The PICONET Facebook group can be found at
You can find the PICONET website at www.piconet3925.com
Editor’s Note: There is a musical clip from "Back on the PICONET Again"
in audio podcast edition.
*What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is
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
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
[image: Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one
wheelchair user among them.]
Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who
wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CDT (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific),
as well as Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CDT (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!*
Handiham annual membership dues are $12.00. The lifetime membership
rate is $120.00.
MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
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.
*Postal Mail: *
*Courage Kenny Handiham Program 3915 Golden Valley Road MR#78446 Golden
Valley, MN 55422*
*E-Mail: **Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx* <Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx>
*Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291 Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM
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
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 Nancy.Meydell@xxxxxxxxxx
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