[handiham-world] Handiham World for 2 June 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 16:46:11 -0500


Courage Center  <http://handiham.org> Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the
week of Wednesday, 2 June 2010

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!

June is here, and that means Field Day planning

ARRL 2010 round Field Day logo says: 2010 ARRL Field Day - Explore the
world. Globe of the world with ARRL diamond logo.

As you know, we have been at Handiham radio camp last week, and because the
camp session ended just as the long Memorial Day holiday weekend began,
today is our first day back for routine office duties. We hope you had a
pleasant and thoughtful Memorial Day weekend and were able to set some time
aside to remember those who have gone before us, serving to protect our

Memorial Day seems to be the unofficial start to the summer season here in
North America. Yes, I know that the official beginning of the season begins
later this month at the summer solstice on June 21. In fact, in the Northern
Hemisphere, summer solstice begins on Jun 21 2010 at 7:28 AM EDT.
Nonetheless, nothing flips the switch to summer quite as well as a long
holiday weekend, and once people get into the mood of summer, they tend to
forget about spending time with indoor activities and look to the great
outdoors for fun in the sun.

That doesn't mean that ham radio will not be an important part of the
summer. To the contrary, June is an excellent month for ham radio. Amateur
Radio Field Day is coming up on the first full weekend in June, as it always
does. ARRL Field Day is June 26-27, 2010. If you have never operated during
a Field Day, you are in for a pleasant surprise: Field Day is the largest
on-the-air operating event in Amateur Radio. Combining elements of a contest
with setting up portable stations is a brilliant strategy. Field Day
provides an opportunity to practice setting up for emergency situations,
learning new and better operating skills, participating in a competitive
event as a group or as an individual operator, really learning how your
equipment works, and -- in the case of a radio club Field Day event -- being
able to socialize with your friends and just have a lot of fun sharing this
operating event. Some radio clubs have a family picnic to make sure that
spouses and children can share in the fun. Others are in it for the contest
and run stations day and night, focusing on that all-important point count.

If you are a person with a disability, you can participate in Field Day, but
you may have to do just a little advance planning to make sure that you are
able to operate effectively and safely, either as an individual or in a
group. Here are some things to consider:

Field Day has many different options. You can operate from your home station
without setting up any portable antennas and portable radios. You do not
need to operate using power from a generator or batteries. In fact, you can
operate your existing station just as you always do and still participate
and have a great deal of fun on Field Day. The object of the exercise is to
work as many stations as possible on any amateur radio band except 60, 30,
17, and 12 m. If your disability requires that you stick close to home, you
may want to simply participate using your own station.

You don't have to operate during the entire Field Day exercise. Even if you
participate for a couple of hours, you can have fun and gain experience. So,
even if your disability makes it inconvenient to be away from home for long
periods of time, you will be welcome at most radio club Field Day sites
during the time it is practical for you to be part of the group effort.

Check out the Field Day site in advance for accessibility, especially if you
are using a wheelchair or electric scooter to get around. Some sites are
truly rugged and not accessible. Others may be the ultimate in
accessibility, with wheelchair ramps and accessible restrooms. Since several
radio clubs in your area may be participating in Field Day, now is the time
to start shopping around for an accessible site. Don't be afraid to call the
contact person listed on the club website and discuss accessibility. It is
better to find out in advance what is and what is not available.

Sometimes special needs can be accommodated at the operating positions of a
club Field Day site. For example, if it is known in advance that a blind
operator will be participating, a radio or radios equipped with voice
frequency output might be made available. Again, this is something that
needs to be planned in advance, so now is the time to speak up.

If you are a ham radio operator with a disability, I certainly hope that you
are part of a local radio club already. But if you aren't, a club Field Day
is sometimes the perfect opportunity to meet club members and find out if a
particular club will meet your needs. Don't forget that as a club member you
will be expected to participate and take on some club duties as well.

Sometimes we concentrate on accessible radios and wheelchair ramps when we
think about Field Day, forgetting that it will be necessary to take care of
life's normal requirements. Since the contest goes on for at least 24 hours,
if you expect to stay at the Field Day site for long periods of time or even
for the entire length of the contest, you will have to consider whether the
restrooms are accessible, if the food and beverages meet your dietary needs,
whether it will be possible for you to stay on your medication schedule if
you must take medicine on a daily basis, and what kind of shelter is
available on site in the event of inclement weather.

If you stay overnight, you will need to determine where you will sleep and
how you will stay warm since it can get quite cool in the night and early
morning. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable with camping and already
do so on a regular basis, you will have no problem managing a Field Day
where the crew is "roughing it". On the other hand, if you would rather fill
out 100 tax forms than go camping, you should look for a club that has its
Field Day indoors with lots of amenities. Either one will be a great
experience, but you have to be sure you pick the right one for you!

Field Day rules change a bit from year to year as new ideas take shape and
technology changes. If you have never been to a Field Day or if you have
been away from Field Day for a number of years, take some time to check out
the ARRL website and find out more about this excellent operating event.

My radio club, the Handiham-affiliated Stillwater Amateur Radio Association,
is holding its Field Day indoors in a completely accessible modern city park
building. SARA goes the extra mile to serve Handiham members and is an ARRL
Special Service Club.

I hope to hear you on the air during Field Day 2010.

Patrick Tice, Handiham Manager





Remote Base station W0EQO returns to service


The Handiham Remote Base station W0EQO has returned to service. Our thanks
to Bill, N0CIC, Lyle, K0LR, and Tom KB0FWQ, for their help in resolving the

The station had been off the air for over 10 days, thanks to a thunderstorm
that interrupted the power and internet service to the station's router and
computer. You have no doubt heard of "Murphy's Law" - well, things happened
at just exactly the wrong time, when all of us were busy with Radio Camp
four hours drive to the south. The station is located at Courage North,
while we are at Camp Courage far to the south.

Although we do have an uninterruptible power supply at the station, some of
the network equipment upstream is not so protected. We hope to resolve this
in due course.

Thank you to all of our users for their patience and understanding. We are
glad to be back on the air.


Access problem with certain text-based browsers & devices

Look for this "Show mobile website" link to view handiham.org in a simpler
format without so many links.

The Handiham website uses the open-source content management system Drupal.
It produces an excellent W3C-compliant result, making for a good user
experience for anyone, including our blind users who access the content with
text-based browsers like Lynx.

Until lately, that is.

Recently we upgraded the site with WURFL to include better access for users
of mobile devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and smart phones or handheld
devices like the Blackberry. The WURFL module helps in detecting the device
capabilities of the mobile device visiting our website. The result? A blind
user accessing the site with an iPhone will be greeted instantly with a
simpler, easier to read version of Handiham.org without having to listen
through many links in the normal website. The simpler navigation structure
is far more accessible to blind and low vision users, and to any mobile
device user in general.

Unfortunately, we have run into an unexpected problem. Some users are
reporting that the site now returns an error. These users are trying to
access Handiham.org with either portable Braille devices or the Lynx or
another text browser.

We are working to find a resolution to this problem. This is a case where
technology is not always completely backward-compatible. On one hand,
programmers should be aware of accessibility issues and make an effort to
make new software compatible with existing hardware and software. On the
other hand, there does come a time when technology marches on and older
systems cease to be supported. If the user base is significant enough, older
systems can find a comfortable compromise for some period of time, during
which workarounds may suffice to keep things running. Eventually, the older
systems give way to the new, as is happening with cassette tapes and their
digital replacements.

But the thing is, there may be users of text-based browser systems and
Braille hardware who have no alternative. We want to hear from you, and from
anyone who programs Drupal to see if we can figure out this issue. Everyone
should have access to our site!

One side note: We also suspect the WURFL module of breaking the site's RSS
feed system. If this is tied to the problem with text-based browser access,
we may be on to a clue in this detective story. If you have any insight into
a possible solution, please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx


This week @ HQ

*       We are closed this coming Friday, June 4.
*       Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the June 2010 CQ & Worldradio audio
digests for our blind members.  Thanks, Bob!
*       We have also finished reading the June, 2010 QST audio digest and
Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, has completed the June 2010 Doctor column from QST for
our blind members. Thanks, Ken! 
*       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. 

.         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. 

Wednesday Echolink net news - Net time is new for GMT, now that we are on
Daylight Time.

Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net is on the air. Please join us
and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit. We are on the air
Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM) or GMT: Thursday
morning at 00:30 Z.



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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