[handiham-world] Handiham World for 13 October 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2010 15:28:45 -0500

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. 

 


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  _____  


Welcome to Handiham World!  


It's time for a new HF net.

Description: 20 meter beam from our old camp location in Malibu, California

When was the last time you thought about getting on 20 m and being part of
the Handiham net? Don't be embarrassed to admit that you haven't thought
about it for a long time. Neither have I, as a matter of fact, so you are
not alone. The 20 m net died several years ago when our last regular net
control volunteer Mike Knox, WA0KKE, finally had to throw in the towel.

What happened?

Like many things in our technologically-driven existence, there was no
single cause for the demise of the Handiham net. A prime suspect certainly
had to be the relentless, never-ending sunspot minimum that we are trying to
claw our way out of with limited success, even now in 2010 when the sun
should be really perking up. As most of you know, the higher solar activity
associated with more sunspots creates ionospheric conditions that favor
really good high-frequency radio propagation. In a really good solar
maximum, the HF bands crackle with strong DX signals and one can "work the
world" with just a few watts of power on bands like 10 and 15 m. Sad to say,
it has been so long since we have seen those conditions that many operators
have simply drifted away from regular HF operation, especially if they did
not have room for wire antennas that would allow them to tune 160 through 40
m, bands that remain usable even during solar minimum conditions.

The 20 m band sits astride the critical part of the HF spectrum that just
barely remains inside the "always useful" zone.  At sunspot minimum, it is
generally crowded with DX seekers and anyone else simply looking for an open
band with capability of working stations at some distance during daylight
hours. Even then, 20 isn't always reliable when solar storms wipe out the
bands.  So what happened was that the conditions on 20 simply didn't favor
continued scheduled net activities. The net control station would be faced
with terrible band conditions and fewer and fewer check-ins. In spite of my
efforts to find another net control station, no one was interested, and I
guess I don't blame them. Who wants to preside over a net with no stations
checking in?

But we can't ignore other factors that came into play during the
deterioration of the HF bands during the sunspot minimum. The rise of the
Internet followed by the spread of broadband connectivity made EchoLink much
more practical and reliable than HF communications. The VHF and UHF repeater
systems with EchoLink capability came into their own as HF activity
deteriorated. More and more people made the move to EchoLink. The Internet
is also a huge factor in siphoning away people from ham radio - and most
other leisure time activities. It's not that the Internet is good or bad per
se, it's just that people only have so much time for all of the competing
leisure time activities, and ham radio is simply finding a new "normal" in
this very different world.

Another factor is that a daytime 20 m HF net is simply too hard to conduct
when more and more people with disabilities are going to school and work,
instead of the "bad old days" situation in which people with disabilities
simply sat around housebound. We are glad that those days are gone, but
Handiham members who work and go to school cannot be expected to have the
time to check into a daytime net on any regular basis. You simply can't
count on enough folks having a day off from work or a school holiday to keep
a critical mass of net participants.

So what to do?

I would suggest a change in net frequency and timing.  We need at least
consider moving our HF net to 160, 75, or 40 meters, and those bands are
likely to be most useful in the evening.  Because 160 requires a very long
antenna, it is impractical for many users. 40 can get crowded, but requires
the shortest antenna of the three. Of course we can consider reviving our 17
meter "non-net roundtable", which was originally started by Alan, K2WS, but
the sun will have to spit out a few more spots for that band to get where it
needs to be.  So what do you think? 160?  75?  40?  Or something else?  And
what about the time and day? 

I hope to hear from you about this suggestion soon. Please drop me an email,
and I'll share your thoughts with our readers and listeners.

73,

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager  <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx  

  _____  


New at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair: Wouxun KG-UV920R


Description: Wouxun KG-UV920R dual band mobile radio

The Hong Kong Electronics Fair opened today, October 13, and runs through
October 16.

Amateur radio is about to be introduced to a brand-new entry in the mobile
dual-band radio category, the Wouxun KG-UV920R. Although at this time we
have little in the way of product specs, the Wouxun dual-band handheld radio
that was demonstrated at Handiham Radio Camp early this year created quite a
lot of interest because of its built-in speech frequency readout for blind
users. The KG-UV920R features dual-frequency display and cross-band repeater
capability. It comes with more than a thousand memory channels. It also
includes an unusual receiver that covers the short-wave bands! We are
waiting for a more detailed specification document so that we can tell if
speech frequency readout will be a feature - and we sure hope that it is! At
this time, no pricing is available. The USA dealer http://www.wouxun.us says
on its website that the rig is "coming soon". The KG-UV2D HT is featured on
that website.

If anyone has more information or complete specs, please email me at
wa0tda@xxxxxxxx so that we can update this story.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager

  _____  


A dip in the pool


No one told you there was going to be a quiz, right? I thought it would be
fun to pick a question out of the question pool and see how many of us can
remember the right answer. Ready? Here we go:

G1A07  [97.301(d)] 
Which of the following frequencies is within the General class portion of
the 75 
meter phone band? 
A. 1875 kHz
B. 3750 kHz
C. 3900 kHz
D. 4005 kHz

Did you pick answer C, 3900 kHz? That's the right choice, and it might get
you started thinking about where we could meet for a Handiham net on the 75
meter band.

 

  _____  


How do you complain to the FCC about a ham radio violation?


Description: FCC Round Seal

We urge anyone considering a complaint to sit down and take a deep breath
before doing anything. Then consider how best to proceed:

1. Is it possible that the offending station simply made a mistake and would
change the illegal behavior if only he or she were politely informed of the
incident by phone, mail, or email?

2. Is the behavior actually in violation of the Part 97 rules, and has it
happened more than once? If there is little or no chance that it is likely
to happen again, it may be a waste of time and resources to report it. Past
enforcement action by the FCC has focused on stopping continuing bad
behavior.

3. Have you documented everything, including callsigns, frequencies, modes,
and times and dates that the alleged violations took place? Have you
included recordings or other documentation in your file?

If you do wish to proceed, here is what the FCC says:

Amateur radio complaints should be as specific as possible, citing dates,
times, and frequencies on which alleged violations occurred. Complaints
should also include a name and telephone number where the complainant can be
reached for further details, if necessary. Complaints should be sent via
e-mail to fccham@xxxxxxx or by mail to the address below. Parties are
encouraged to send standard cassette recordings or CDs in support of their
complaints. Recordings should be mailed to:

Federal Communications Commission
Enforcement Bureau, Amateur Radio
1270 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Parties desiring further information may call: (717) 338-2577.

  _____  

Beam direction indicator

We have added a PDF of our old beam direction indicator schematic along with
basic instructions. The PDF is an image and does not contain embedded text
because of its age. The original was typed on a typewriter! We no longer
build or support this unit, but the file is now available for reference:
<http://handiham.org/files/beam_direction_indicator.pdf> 
http://handiham.org/files/beam_direction_indicator.pdf

These units were built by volunteers for decades, but supported only
CDE-style rotor control boxes and eventually simply fell out of favor,
probably because better solutions were available. For example, many of the
Yaesu rotor controllers have a removable plastic bezel on the front,
allowing a blind user to feel the position of the directional pointing
needle on the control box. 

Nonetheless, someone may be interested in building the old design, or
possibly updating it, so putting the schematic on line might help.

  _____  

This was the good old days

Description: wooden homemade code practice oscillator with J-38 key

Ah, yes. The good old days. Everything was so much better back then, wasn't
it? Well, not really. Take, for example, this old wooden Morse code practice
oscillator with a J 38 key attached. Obviously a homebrew project, the round
speaker hole and odd mint-green house paint sure make it look like some of
the projects I made when I was a teenaged ham radio op. Today we have every
kind of digital code training device imaginable, and ironically the code is
no longer required. Still, one can enjoy learning and using the code in ways
that make it much more enjoyable and easier than it ever was with the old
green box!

  _____  

Remote base progress report: 13 October 2010 

Description: Kenwood TS-570

The antenna inspection was carried out at W0ZSW last Thursday and the system
is working well. George, N0SBU, picked up some of the radio equipment for me
last Saturday and we are thus moving toward setting up the newest equipment.
We expect to begin computer configuration later this week, for which Lyle,
K0LR, will take the leadership role.  

Would you like to try the station right now? 

If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to listen to the
radio, you can search for W0ZSW-L, node 524906, and connect. Entering a
frequency and pressing the enter key will allow you to change the radio's
receive frequency from the EchoLink text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper
sideband, Lower sideband, or AM, respectively. One thing to remember is that
EchoLink control only works on receive, not transmit, and it is only
available if there is no control operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base
software. 

Don't forget about our station at Courage North, in far northern Minnesota's
lake country. If you would like to connect to the station via EchoLink to
listen to the radio, you can search for W0EQO-L, node 261171, and connect.
Just as with the other station, entering a frequency and pressing the enter
key will allow you to change the radio's receive frequency from the EchoLink
text box. Enter U, L, or A for Upper sideband, Lower sideband, or AM,
respectively. One thing to remember is that EchoLink control only works on
receive, not transmit, and it is only available if there is no control
operator logged in to the W4MQ remote base software. 

  _____  


October Events by N1YXU


Description: Events by N1YXU

It certainly has been a hot summer here in North Carolina. As the page of
the calendar is turned to October, the cooler temperatures are certainly
going to be welcomed.
 
October also welcomes the busiest ham radio part of the year at our QTH as
my husband is getting ready for the upcoming contest season. He has several
projects lined up to make sure the antennas, radios, and other gear are set
for the various contests this fall and winter.
 
As you look through this month's events, I'm confident that you will find
several that will spark your interest.
 
Until next month..
 
Regards,
- Laurie Meier, N1YXU
n1yxu@xxxxxxxx

Read more about October's events at:
http://www.handiham.org/node/936

  _____  


This week @ HQ


*       Nancy is back in the office, so we are catching up with membership
updates and applications. We thank you for your patience at different times
during the past month, when we have been taking vacation time.
*       I will be at the headquarters station location at Camp Courage on
Thursday.   
*       This week's Friday Technician audio lecture will be on the subject
of digital communications. 
*       A big thank you to our net control stations  for "saying yes" and
volunteering for this leadership role. We really appreciate your help and
everyone has noticed that the nets are running more smoothly than ever. 

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 145.450.  If there is
no designated Net Control, there will be a simple roundtable net. 

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 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 - Year-end is a critical time. 


Description: 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
<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
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 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:
hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

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!

Pat, WA0TDA

Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at: 
patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Nancy, Handiham Secretary: 
hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Radio Camp email: 
radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

  _____  

Description: 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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