This is a free weekly news & information update from <http://handiham.org/> Courage Center's Handiham System. Please do not reply to this message. Use the contact information below, or simply email <mailto:handiham@xxxxxxxxxxx> handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxx Listen in MP3 audio: ipod <http://www.handiham.org/images/ipod.jpg> Streaming MP3: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u Download the e-letter via accessible MP3: <http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3> http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 The Handiham podcast is at: <http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handiham Contact us at: Courage Center - Handiham System 3915 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, MN 55422 Toll-Free: 1-866-426-3442 Email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx Website: <http://handiham.org/> http://handiham.org _____ Welcome to Handiham World! Photo: Will, KC0LJL, holds up a sign that says "Courage Center Handiham System" at Dayton. This is the place to find out about any and every interest in amateur radio, but not every ham radio club can do it all. Should your club be a "special interest" amateur radio club? Or should it be a general-purpose club with no special concentration on a given type of operating or purpose? Will, KC0LJL, holds up Handiham sign <http://handiham.org/images/hamvention08/kc0ljl-08.jpg> If you have been an amateur radio operator for quite a long time, you know that there is an ebb and flow to ham radio activities and interests. There is a clear seasonal difference between summertime amateur radio and wintertime amateur radio. As a teenager, I was extremely busy during the summertime, because I enjoyed experimenting with antennas. Conditions might not have been the best for long-distance communications on the lower HF frequency bands, but that didn't matter to me. Other amateur radio operators simply hung up their headphones until the cool, crisp days of autumn brought them back into their ham shacks. During the hottest weeks of summer, even antenna work was problematic for me. The local ham radio club suspended meetings during the summer anyway, so it was truly the "dog days of summer". Even today, decades later, many radio clubs still follow the same pattern of taking the summer off. People want to get outdoors and enjoy summer activities, band conditions are generally poor, aside from sporadic E-skip, and (even worse) we are stuck at the very bottom of the sunspot cycle with new cycle 24 taking its sweet time getting started. As usual, my main amateur radio activity during the summer has been operating VHF mobile, checking into some regional HF nets, and doing a bit of antenna maintenance in the backyard -- hardly a frenzy of amateur radio operation! I didn't expect the e-mail I got from our local club president seeking the opinion of each and every club member about what kind of activities we would like to see in the upcoming "ham radio season". The e-mail asked, "what kind of a club would you like us to be?" Now, that sort of took me by surprise. What kind of club did I want to be in? Would it be an amateur radio club that is primarily a social organization, where I meet friends face-to-face on a monthly basis and participate in on the air social nets? Would it be a club that is more focused on competition and contesting, perhaps sponsoring its own contests and offering awards? Maybe a club that is dedicated to technical and engineering excellence, including building and experimentation, would be more fun and might be more attractive to newcomers interested in learning about electronics and engineering. We wouldn't want to forget about public service, either. The club would probably be interested in supporting SKYWARN training, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, participating in public service communications for non-emergency events like parades and bicycle races, and working with government organizations and public utilities in shared training programs. Maybe the club would want to direct its efforts toward specific parts of the spectrum and modes of operation, such as VHF and UHF. Or perhaps DX should be a main focus. There is no doubt that a successful amateur radio club is able to define its scope and purpose to meet the needs of its membership. This e-mail just appeared in my inbox, so I am still thinking about it. While I enjoy all of the aspects of a social club, I realize that simply visiting and enjoying a cup of coffee with other club members is not going to be enough for those who are interested in serious amateur radio competition on the air or members who are interested in building equipment or designing antennas. The question then becomes, "What is the right mix of amateur radio activities for MY club?" Here is the thing you have to understand about specialization versus generalization: In an environment like a large urban area with high tech industries and a robust economy, there are likely to be more specialized activities, and I don't just mean in amateur radio. In the San Francisco Bay area, for example, you will find your choice of specialized food stores and coffee shops, just as you will amateur radio clubs with specialized goals and interests. If you live in Podunk, you are probably going to have to buy your cup of coffee at the gas station on the corner of Elm Street and the main highway, and the nearest radio club will be 10 miles away in a somewhat larger city, and the population of amateur radio operators in the area will be too small to make up a group that is anything but a general-interest amateur radio club. The forces of demographics will not be denied! Furthermore, even in an urban area where there is a choice of perhaps six to eight amateur radio clubs, over half of them may be general-interest, rather than having any sort of specialized purpose. If there is a club in your urban area that is specialized, chances are that its geographic reach is much larger than the city limits, and it may be statewide or regional, or even national in its reach for membership. These are the thoughts that are swirling around in my head as I wonder about how to answer our club president's e-mail. I enjoy more than one amateur radio activity and would hate to see the club get too specialized. On the other hand, my QTH is in the greater Twin Cities area, which has a variety of clubs from which to choose. I wouldn't want to stubbornly stand in the way of a club changing its focus, when clearly there are other members who might be energized by such a change. I guess I'll continue to think about this before weighing in on the subject. In the meantime, I wonder if your local ham radio club ever does this sort of polling of its members to see if interests are being served, if the club is on the right track, or if there might be something that needs to be changed. Summertime, the ham radio doldrums, may not be the best time to get on the air, but I'm pretty sure that you can still sit on the patio with a glass of lemonade and contemplate what should happen in your radio club after summer vacation. Patrick Tice <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx Handiham Manager _____ Now, back to our vintage QSL card series. <http://handiham.org/images/qmqsl.jpg> This beautiful QSL card, which is probably 50% wider than the typical card, is printed in full color and shows the ocean liner Queen Mary steaming along through the ocean, her bow cutting through the water and making the spray fly! W6RO is the station callsign, and the card is marked "Aboard the Queen Mary, Club Station of the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach, Inc." There is a full-color inset showing a well-appointed amateur radio station along with a check list of equipment, making it easier for the operator to identify which equipment was used in a given contact. This particular card was sent to station WB6VUB in November, 2000. Interestingly enough, the contact was on 2 m simplex. We will bet that you have vintage QSL cards, too. If you can send a scan or photo of your vintage QSL cards, we will feature them here. What the heck - the HF bands are still pretty poor, so we might as well keep ourselves busy with vintage cards! Please send the images to <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx along with a few words, if you wish, explaining the card or perhaps recalling those days when you were sending lots of these out. We will also feature your comments and callsign in the story. _____ Avery's QTH: Field Day stories, anyone? Welcome once again to my humble QTH. Well, as promised, here is one of the responses I have received about ARRL Field Day stories. I hope you enjoy it. Hi Avery, Pat said you were looking for interesting Field Day stories. Well, for years, I have worked 20 meter phone. When I started, I worked in a QRP club, and learned all the QRP phone tricks from Randy, KB7VI, Elmer par excellence! When I became more experienced myself, I helped new members in our ARES group's field day, and was the person in charge of HF communications for the event. I had all the strong able-bodied men put up the antennas, and I'd set up my own portable table, umbrella, laptop with logging software, and of course my rig, a Kenwood TS-440. I was the only girl in the club, and for a while, as an advanced the only active member who could actually use the HF bands. I got sort of bored with this one year, so I decided to liven up the event with a Girl thing. Because field day involves showing the community that we are prepared for emergencies, I decided to feed the crowd without using electricity or fuel at all -- in other words, I found a way to prepare dinner for the troops that would have worked even if you couldn't get charcoal for your barbecue. I went to <http://www.solarcooking.org/> http://www.solarcooking.org and learned all about how to build and use a solar cooker. I practiced in my backyard until I knew how to "operate" a solar cooking setup. Then using a cooker made literally out of cardboard, foil and plastic bags, I whipped up a huge batch of solar chili at the field day site. I also hung laminated posters in the trees describing solar cooking and telling the public where to go for more information. Knowing how to build and utilize a solar cooker should be a central part of any emergency preparedness plan. Solar cookers can pasteurize water in situations where it must be boiled to be safe to drink. They have been successfully used in northern Canada and will work anywhere in the U.S., even if the sun occasionally slips behind clouds. The box cookers are safe even for young children because only the food and not the cooker, gets hot. Since they use the renewable energy of the sun, they are the greenest way to prepare meals. Solar cookers are a little like crock pots -- they take a while to simmer the stew, but the results are delicious. As a blind female ham, I was proud that I could demonstrate a new skill that the able-bodied men in my club were wholly unfamiliar with. I know that even in an emergency, I will be able to feed hungry communicators! --Debee Norling KF6BKR Do you have a field day story to share with us? Let me know about your Field Day adventures (or misadventures), and let us know if it is okay to use your callsign and name if we print your story. You may e-mail me at <mailto:avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx> avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxxx _____ Letters <http://handiham.org/images/avery_paper.jpg> Dear Handihams, The article on antenna safety was very good. I feel compelled to add one comment. I am a person who loves habits and routines, doing the same thing the same way and I have many of the traits that make for a good obsessive compulsive but I still manage to forget things. In this case, I feel that good habits are great but a check list can't hurt. I have a friend who is a pilot and has built and designed ham radio gear for his own use and finally built his own small plane. He used a check list before I flew with him. If it's good enough for pilots, it's good enough for me. Bruce Noblick, KB8WNS Pat says: Bruce is right! A checklist is also important if the antenna work is going to be done at another location, away from your home QTH. You will not be familiar with those new surroundings, so a safety check list could save your bacon! (And that's important to hams.) Of course on the home front, the checklist is still important because your surroundings are so familiar to you that you may forget to even look up before raising that antenna. It is amazing how a power line that has always been in plain sight can still be invisible to someone who is just not in the habit of looking up... in fact, some people may be hard pressed to even say which side of the house has the electrical connection. Pilots use a check list because the ground beneath them is pretty hard and unforgiving. You don't want to make dangerous mistakes when you are flying or when you are putting up antennas. Dear Handihams, Here is a link from the WGBH Media Access Group that may be of help to Handiham members in dealing with the digital TV transition as it relates to accessibility. <http://ncam.wgbh.org/dtv/> http://ncam.wgbh.org/dtv/ Ken Silberman, KB3LLA Dear Handihams, I found out this morning that I passed the VE exam. The ARRL confirms me in their system and states that my credentials are on their way. Dan, KC9NCF, Chicago Pat says: Congrats to Dan! The Volunteer Examiners perform a vital service for the amateur radio community. _____ Net announcement: QST, QST, QST, This is a special announcement to invite all amateur radio operators and the listening public to join us for a special series of presentations that will be given during the Cabot Nightflyers EchoLink Net over the next several weeks. Special guest speaker Scott Berry (N7ZIB) will be discussing the way technology has had a positive impact on the lives and operating abilities of many amateur radio operators. Scott will give a slightly different perspective on the relationship between technology and amateur radio and everyone will take away something great from his presentation. Scott will be taking questions over the air from amateurs who have checked in to the net and will also be addressing questions from non-amateurs and the listening public via e-mail. Any questions for Scott can be sent to <mailto:questions@xxxxxxxxxxx> questions@xxxxxxxxxxxx Callsign: KE5ELU-L Net Description: Cabot Nightflyers Net Echolink Node: 260617 UTC Time: 0430 UTC Monday, from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March; 0330 UTC Monday from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. Comments: The ''Cabot Nightflyers Net'', from Cabot, Arkansas...a participatory net with check-ins, a presentation, and a ''question/comment of the week'', related to amateur radio. It also meets on the 147.570 and 446.7 simplex frequencies in central Arkansas. 73 and we hope to hear you on the net! Scott Berry, N7ZIB _____ Webinar announcement: Dear Victor Reader Stream Friends: Some of you have contacted HumanWare regarding the new plug-in for Microsoft Word that allows you to save Word documents in DAISY DTBook XML format. This XML output can be played on the Stream or converted to a full DAISY book using additional tools. For those interested, the following is an announcement of an EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) online webinar on this topic. When: Thursday August 7 at 2 PM Eastern, 7pm UTC Presenter: George Kerscher from the DAISY Consortium The new "Save as DAISY XML" add-in, designed for Microsoft Office Word 2007, Word 2003, and Word XP, will allow users to save Open XML-based text files into DAISY XML navigable books. It can be downloaded by Office Word users for free at: <http://www.openxmlcommunity.org/daisy> http://www.openxmlcommunity.org/daisy. This XML output can then be processed through the DAISY Pipeline, a free downloadable transformation suite that supports the seamless conversion of DAISY XML into DAISY Digital Talking Book (DTB) format. Together these technologies provide a comprehensive solution for converting text documents into accessible formats for people with print disabilities. Users can download the DAISY Pipeline from the DAISY Project page at: <http://www.daisy.org/projects/pipeline/> http://www.daisy.org/projects/pipeline/ You can read more about this Webinar and register at: <http://easi.cc/clinic.htm> http://easi.cc/clinic.htm To learn more about EASI webinars visit <http://www.easi.cc/> http://www.easi.cc. Thank you, The HumanWare Team _____ The Handiham EchoLink net is on daily except Sundays. All licensed operators are welcome. The net is controlled but informal, and there is no need to be a Handiham member to participate. Sometimes the net control station will throw out a discussion topic to liven things up! Listen in a few times if you are shy, and then take the plunge and throw out your callsign. Days: Monday through Saturday, and Sunday if anyone wants to take an informal session. Times: 11:00 hours United States Central Time M-S and a second Monday session at 19:00 Central Time. Frequency in the local Minnesota repeater coverage zone: 145.45 FM, negative offset with no tone in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota. EchoLink nodes: KA0PQW-R, node 267582 WA0TDA-L, node 302454 N0BVE-R, node 89680 The Monday evening EchoLink net is at 19:00 United States Central Standard time, which translates to 00:00 GMT Tuesday morning during North American Daylight Time. In the winter, the GMT schedule shifts one hour to 01:00 GMT. Connect from any Internet-enabled computer in the world, and come out on Twin Cities repeater N0BVE on 145.450. _____ This week at Headquarters The August QST audio digest is available for our members. <http://handiham.org/user> Login to the member section of the Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. We have also added an "audio this week" link at the top of the member page once you log in. This is a good place to find out what audio is new on our website each week, including magazine digests and audio lectures. Bob Zeida, N1BLF, will be reading several CQ Magazine articles into an additional digest each month. Worldradio is a bit late this month, but keep checking the members page for updates. *** Handiham World: This is our weekly e-letter, which is also available as an audio podcast. It is published Wednesdays on <http://handiham.org/> http://handiham.org and is also available in streaming audio on that website. This newsletter is available via Freelists.org, which hosts our mailing list. Go to <http://www.freelists.org/list/handiham-world> http://www.freelists.org/list/handiham-world and create an account. This list is open to everyone, regardless of Handiham membership. The list does not accept member posts, as it is only used to send out the Handiham World on Wednesdays. *** Avery's schedule changes: Avery is now out of the office on Tuesdays. This helps save transportation costs and energy! *** One week to register! 3 spots available. There are still 3 places open for campers at Minnesota Radio Camp! Handiham members who pass their Technician license exams at Radio Camp this summer will receive new handheld radios. If you know a person with a disability who would enjoy ham radio, please send them our way. We want to get those new hams on the air! Camp begins on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 and finishes on Wednesday, August 27. Both Wednesdays are travel days. We now think we have a pretty good chance of a camp van being able to make the trip from the Twin Cities up to Courage North. Be sure to let us know if you are interested in the camp van. It would be much less than taking a commuter airline flight, but space is limited so it is first come, first served. *** 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 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx or call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact us. _____ Perkins Brailler found! Remember when we said we had a member seeking a Perkins Brailler? Well, one of our readers has stepped up to the plate and come up with one, so our member is now one happy camper. Thank you, kind reader. You have made it possible for another ham radio operator to increase his Braille reading skill and keep up his amateur radio logbook in the Braille format. _____ plugged-in robot <http://www.handiham.org/images/bd05047_.gif> RekkyTec Links Free screenreader via the web: <http://www.accessibilityisaright.org/> http://www.accessibilityisaright.org/ KNFB Reader: <http://www.knfbreader.com/products-mobile.php> http://www.knfbreader.com/products-mobile.php _____ Cartoon guy with toolkit <http://handiham.org/images/bd06227_.gif> Elmer has started a blog! You can find it at: <http://www.handiham.org/node/123> http://www.handiham.org/node/123 You can write to Elmer with your questions: <mailto:elmer@xxxxxxxxxxxx> elmer@xxxxxxxxxxxx _____ Huge alligator grabbing Pat, WA0TDA <http://handiham.org/images/alligator.jpg> Reminder: Handiham renewals are now on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we need you to keep our program strong! Image: Meet our new dues collection agent! A huge alligator grabs Pat, WA0TDA. "Sure wish I'd renewed my Handiham dues sooner." For years Handiham membership renewals were done each July. This year, we are going to a monthly system. If you renew in March, your membership goes until the following March, for example. You will have several choices when you renew: * Join at the usual $10 annual dues level 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. There is a postage paid envelope provided, and you won't get a visit from you-know-who. 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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or email: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx 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. DONATE USED HAM GEAR 1-866-426-3442 toll-free Help us get new hams on the air. FREE! 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 <http://www.handiham.org/> www.handiham.org. Email us to subscribe: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx 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 Handi-ham System Reach me by email at: <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxx> patt@xxxxxxxxxxx * Nancy, Handiham Secretary: <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx * Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: <mailto:jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxx> jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxx * Avery, K0HLA, Educational Coordinator: <mailto:avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx> avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx * Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxx> patt@xxxxxxxxxxx * Radio Camp email: <mailto:radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxx> radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxx ARRL </p /> <p>diamond logo <http://www.handiham.org/images/arrllogo.gif> 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 <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.