[handiham-world] Handiham World for 23 July 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 14:22:54 -0500

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 

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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.

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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World for 23 July 2008