[handiham-world] Handiham World for 6 January 2010

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 20:33:50 -0600

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/386> News

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 06
January 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!

Pat, WA0TDA, with handiham coffee mug.

This week is a busy one with back to back meetings all day Wednesday and
Thursday, so that accounts for this late (and shorter) edition of your
weekly Handiham World.

I hope you all had a pleasant holiday season and are ready to get back into
the routine of getting on the air every day. 

I did want to let you know that Santa was good to me this year, because a
brand-new Icom IC-7200 was under the tree on Christmas morning. I plan to
learn a bit more about the 7200, then I'll write a more thorough review from
the our particular Handiham perspective. The best points about the rig so

*       Front-firing speaker 
*       Easy to use numeric keypad 
*       Built-in speech for blind users, no extra module needed 
*       USB interface on the back panel 
*       Easy to read display 
*       Great receiver 

So how's that for starters? I'll put together some more detailed thoughts
later on, but I have to say that the new IC-7200 is really a step up from
the IC-706 Mark 2 G that I had been using for HF. And I'm thrilled that
manufacturers are finally including voice frequency readout that doesn't
cost extra!

Now, stay tuned for two new year's resolutions. That means you!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, wa0tda@xxxxxxxx



New year's resolutions

Resolution 1: Revise the nets. 

This is a big one that we mentioned last week: That we will bring the HF SSB
nets back to life.  We asked you for your ideas, but we did not get many
responses because of the holidays, so I'm going to bring it up again. We did
get a suggestion from Linda, N7HVF,  who said, "Maybe we could use 14.305
MHz.  There used to be a Council of the Blind net on that frequency." Linda
thought that Monday would still be a good net day and that we might benefit
by discussing this as a topic on the Echolink net.

We will continue to encourage our members to check into the 40 m CW net as
well, but 40 m is not always open across the continent and world the way 20,
15, and 10 m will be as the new solar cycle 24 starts to heat up. Although
I'm going to propose some changes to the HF nets, I want to start by giving
you the old net schedule. We can either go back to the schedule or design
something completely new. Let me know your thoughts on the matter once you
have gone over the list. Remember, when frequencies are not used on a
regular basis, it should not be surprising to learn that other nets may have
taken our place on the bands. Therefore, this old net schedule is only a
starting point from which we will build our new HF SSB net schedule:

Old net schedule: http://www.handiham.org/node/1

Okay, so that is the old net schedule that is still listed on our website.
As I said, all of these nets have fallen into disuse. The one that lasted
the longest, the 20 m net, had the additional problem of dealing with the
Salvation Army net, which could sometimes start early or run late. Details
on the SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) net are on the
SATERN website at:
http://www.satern.org/net.html. <http://www.satern.org/net.html> 

Here is a radical proposal for you to consider: What if we had a 20 m net
for Advanced and Extra Class licensees only? I'm not saying that we should
completely abandon the General Class portion of the 20 m band. What I am
saying is that in order to find a clear frequency, we may wish to consider
these more restricted, less populated parts of the band. It seems unlikely
that there would be any need for a Handiham Extra Class net on the other
bands, as there is more available frequency spectrum on 15 and 10 m. Since
we are starting a completely new discussion on SSB HF nets, we might as well
be open to taking a look at the 75 m band. During the night, 75 m is open
over a large part of North America. A Handiham net in the Extra or Advanced
portion of the 75 m band might go over well with Handiham members who have
upgraded their licenses and who have time in the evening instead of during
the day.

The Echolink net and the 40 m CW net have saved us from sinking into
oblivion over the sunspot minimum of the past few years. Now it is time to
take advantage of cycle 24 and the growing capability of the HF bands to
sustain regular Handiham nets. I would like to see members of the Handiham
Radio Club and our readers and listeners take up this topic and help us to
move forward into the next solar cycle. How should we discuss this issue and
how should we make decisions? Please let me know your thoughts. We would
like to get this resolved as soon as we can so that we can set up a new

Resolution 2: DOTA. 

My next resolution, and I hope this will be one of yours as well, is to get
on the air sometime, on some band, each day.  I call this "DOTA", or Daily
On The Air.  The way it works is that I have to get one contact made each
day.  It doesn't matter if the contact is made on VHF or HF, CW or SSB,
through a repeater or simplex. I don't care whether it is made from the car
while I am driving or if it is as simple as a quick check in to an HF net.
It can be made from my main ham shack in my basement or from a handheld
radio while I take a walk. In other words, the important thing about this
resolution is that I am getting on the air somehow each day. The benefits of
getting on the air each day are definitely worth my while. 

*       I will be more likely to remember how to use more of the features of
my equipment if I use it every day.  
*       If a problem crops up, I will be more likely to find out about it
rather than be stuck with a dead radio in an emergency. 
*       I will be much more likely to stay in practice with good operating
procedures if I get on the air every day. 
*       I will be more likely to hear news about amateur radio
infrastructure, such as my local repeater system, or find out what others
are thinking if I am on the air each day. 
*       I will be building a stronger Amateur Radio Service by promoting
daily on the air activity. Remember, our spectrum is valuable.  Use it or
lose it! 
*       I will make new friends if I spend some time on the air each day.
Even talking with folks I've known for years is fun, then a new station
breaks in and both of us get a chance to make a new friend. 
*       I will be able to help others, especially if I spend some time
monitoring the frequencies and making contacts throughout the day. You never
know when someone will need you to make a phone call or give them
directions, or just tell them what the weather is like. 

In short, there are many reasons for getting on the air every day.  You will
not only be doing something that is fun and good for yourself, but you are
also keeping the Amateur Radio Service healthy!



After being diagnosed with a debilitating back disease, Patrick Griffith
could have easily slipped into a life of isolation and loneliness. Instead,
the Monessen (PA) resident restored his faith in God, began volunteering and
pursued a lifelong goal -- becoming an amateur radio operator.

"It's just something I always wanted to do, but never had the time to do
it," Griffith said.

Congratulations to Patrick, KB3SGU, for getting this great press, in which
he tells his story and how amateur radio can really be a worthwhile life
goal. Patrick has earned his General ticket.

You can read the entire article on the Pittsburgh Live website:


Happy New Year message from Handiham Radio Club President Ken, KB3LLA:

We had a great 2009, getting our club affiliated with the ARRL and having
club representation at the Handiham booth at the Dayton Hamvention. We also
had a super radio camp with a lot of educational seminars such as the ones
on accessible tools for the Handiham shack and on Digital Accessible
Information SYstem (DAISY) books. Let's not forget the productive and
inspirational club meeting, too.

While we're sad to be leaving Courage North, we're looking forward to our
new home at Camp Courage Maple Lake this year. We'll be at Dayton once again
and at radio camp this May. May we all have a happy and successful 2010.





Dear Elmer:

Just wondering if you know of any ways for blind hams to use PSK-31 with a
screen reader?

Elmer says:

Check out the DigiPan and DigiTalk versions of Skip Teller's (KH6TY)
software for PSK-31:



Actually, it will work with a screenreader, but it is pretty much
self-voicing. The self voicing feature knows more pronunciations peculiar to
ham radio text than Eloquence. Be sure to read the next story before you
dive into DigiTalk with both feet!


Update: DigiTalk is a no-go with Windows 7 

By Patrick Tice wa0tda@xxxxxxxx 

DigiTalk was written by Skip Teller, KH6TY, as a PSK31 program for users who
are not able to see the computer screen. You likely remember Skip as the
author of the widely-used DigiPan PSK31 software, which is available at
http://www.digipan.net . PSK31 has gain a following on the air because of
its extraordinary ability to pull signals out of nearly dead air to produce
text that scrolls across the computer screen. My experience is that even
Morse code signals cannot get through as well as PSK31.

With the recent upgrade of my computer system to Windows 7, I decided to see
if DigiTalk would run on a new operating system. The software was written
when XP was the current version of Windows, so it seemed reasonable to see
what would happen. I went to the download page for DigiTalk, which is not
the same one as DigiPan. If you want DigiTalk, you need to head for
http://www.qsl.net/kh6ty/digitalk.htm.  Once you are there, read everything
carefully. You will note that older versions of Windows, like 98, are also
supported. There is no mention on the DigiTalk page about Windows Vista or
Windows 7.

Once DigiTalk was downloaded, I went ahead with the installation.
Unfortunately, even though the program installed, it would not run and
quickly brought up a dialog that took me down a crooked path of
incompatibility! I'll same you the grief by just letting you know that
DigiTalk depends on a program called Microsoft Agent in order to run.

Microsoft explains that "This problem occurs because Microsoft has decided
to stop the development of Microsoft Agent technologies. Therefore,
Microsoft Agent is not included in Windows 7, and it will not be included in
any later versions of the Windows operating system."

There is a hotfix, but it is certainly not guaranteed to work.

The bottom line: DigiTalk will not work on computers running Windows 7 or
future versions of Windows. A blind Windows 7 user is better off either
running DigiTalk on an older computer with XP, or else in a virtual XP
machine, provided the computer is capable of running one.

Although most blind Handiham members have not made the move to Windows 7 or
Windows Vista, eventually the DigiTalk software will fall out of use because
it is not compatible with the newest version of Windows. If you have a
Windows XP machine, stick with it for a PSK31 ham shack computer.


DigiTalk setup: http://www.qsl.net/kh6ty/Setup.exe 

Download the TruVoice speech engine, tv_enua.exe:

If you are running Windows 95, 98 or 98SE, download MSagent, MSagent.exe:

If you are running Windows XP, download the Microsoft SAPI 4.0 runtime
support: http://activex.microsoft.com/activex/controls/sapi/spchapi.exe 

After downloading, run the downloaded programs.

The Run command for DigiTalk is \program files\digitalk\digitalk.exe . 

Please send bug reports to KH6TY: kh6ty@xxxxxxx 

Tip: Save and restore your Windows audio mixer settings with QuickMix, which
I will warn you right now, only works in XP: http://www.msaxon.com/quickmix/

Part of the above was compiled from the DigiTalk website:

Comments related to the accessibility of PSK31 software are welcome. Please
email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx if you have discovered an accessible alternative to
DigiTalk, or if you are now using DigiTalk and wish to share your thoughts
with our readers and listeners.


This week at Headquarters:

·         Welcome to two new repeater systems carrying the Handiham daily

KG0BP-R is in Rochester, Minnesota on 444.575 MHz with a  tone of 110.9 Hz.

KD0BQK-R is the Fort Dodge, Iowa repeater system, on  444.950 MHz with a
tone of 110.9 Hz. 

·         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" automatically!

·         Ken Padgitt has completed the January 2010 Doctor Is In column
from QST for our blind members. This audio is posted today!

·         Get the four-page year-end Handiham World print edition in audio
read by N1BLF, or in PDF, available right now as a download.

·         Get the Handiham World PDF download: 

·         January 2010 QST & Worldradio audio digests are available for our
blind members.

·         Get the Handiham World Year-End Edition in audio, read by Bob
Zeida, N1BLF: 

·         Volunteer reader Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed the Winter
2009-10 QCWA Digest.

·         Log in to the member section of the Handiham website and find the
magazine digests in the Library.

·         Our Contact information is the same, but keep watching this space
for changes: Email addresses will not change.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
763-520-0512 (Nancy)
763-520-0511 (Pat)

Our email address (for Nancy's office) is

Pat can be reached by email any time, including nights and weekends, at

Minnesota Radio Camp dates for 2010, Camp Courage:

Arrive Friday, May 21. 
Class days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
VE Exam Day: Thursday. Volunteer Examiners arrive in the morning to visit
with campers and eat breakfast together with campers, volunteers, and staff.
Depart Friday, May 28.

Cost of Radio Camp: The cost of Radio Camp depends on your ability to pay,
so anyone can afford to attend. Ask for an application.

·         Camp Courage is west of Minneapolis. The address is 8046 83rd St
NW, Maple Lake, MN‎ 55358.

·         The phone number of the Camp Courage office is (320) 963-3121‎.

·         If you want to receive a Camp Courage summer camp schedule, you
may call for one.

·         The camp schedule includes information about Handiham Radio Camp.

·         If you need specific information about the radio camp or want to
be on the radio camp mailing list, you may call Nancy in the Handiham office
at 1-866-426-3442.


VOLLI is now in service. It stands for VOLunteer Log In, and is a way for
our Handiham volunteers to register and then enter their volunteer hours
without having to fool around with paper records. We encourage volunteers to
create a user name and password, then submit their hours spent recording
audio, doing club presentations for us, and so on. Volunteer hours are
important, because United Way funding depends in part on volunteer hours. If
you are a volunteer and need a link to VOLLI, please email me at
wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx Our special thanks to my son Will, KC0LJL, who wrote the
Java code for VOLLI.

Volunteers, get your hours in through VOLLI. You may also submit volunteer
hours to Nancy at
 <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Remote Base Status

The Remote Base at Courage North is in service. Please feel free to use this
wonderful member resource.

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. 

Echolink net news

Wednesday evenings the Handiham Echolink net is on the air. Please join us
and check in or simply listen in, as you see fit. Since we are looking
forward to the New Year's holiday, we have at least two days when the
daytime Echolink net may or may not be on the air. Finding net controls for
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will be a challenge. I would like to
encourage the nets to go on normally those days, and if there is no net
control station, please just feel free to hang out on frequency and have an
informal chat and wish each other a happy holiday season, whichever holiday
you are celebrating!

We are on the air Wednesday evenings at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM)
or GMT: Thursday morning at 01:30 Z.

Daily except Sunday at 11:00 hours Minnesota time (17:00 GMT)


·         145.450 MHz N0BVE repeater (Minneapolis-St. Paul)

·         Node 89680 (Echolink worldwide)

·         IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)

·         WIRES system number 1427

Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member, and the net is relaxed,
friendly, and informal.

By the way, our Net Manager Howard, KE7KNN, reminds us that we need net
control stations for the Wednesday evening net and for the Monday through
Saturday morning net. If you are in the Twin Cities, all you need is a radio
that can get on the 145.45 N0BVE repeater, and if you live outside the RF
area, you can still be net control via Echolink, IRLP, or WIRES.

Supporting Handihams

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 Nancy at: 1-866-426-3442 or
email: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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 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.


·         By wa0tda at 01/07/2010 - 01:48 

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Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422
E-Mail: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442) 

FAX:(763) 520-0577 Be sure to put "Handihams" in the FAX address! 

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


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