[handiham-world] Handiham World for 8 October 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2008 16:17:32 -0500

Handiham World for 8 October 2008


Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 8 October

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center's
Handiham System <http://handiham.org> . Please do not reply to this message.
Use the contact information at the end, or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxx Listen in MP3 audio:
http://www.handiham.org/audio/handiham.m3u or get this issue as an audio


Welcome to Handiham World!

Remote base update: The Kenwood software is out; W4MQ is in

Screenshot: W4MQ remote base

The Handiham Remote Base station beta testing is continuing at a good pace,
and we are certainly getting educated on why it is necessary to have a
testing period before going "live" as a member service!

Let's bring you up to date.

We started out in late August with the installation, taking advantage of the
already-scheduled Handiham Radio Camp, when Lyle, K0LR, and I would already
be at the station location Courage North. The radio, computer, and all
associated equipment were funded by a generous gift from Kerry Flavours
(thanks to K2OMQ for his help), and we were able to coordinate the purchase
and delivery of the equipment in such a way that Lyle, K0LR, could
pre-install some of the necessary software and get things working as much as
possible before the trip to Courage North. Since the station would be a
considerable distance from a metropolitan area, we had to made sure that we
had planned for as many contingencies as possible. There isn't a Radio Shack
store just down the block when you are far into the north, in Minnesota's
woods and lake country! On the other hand, the location chosen for the
station has the necessities that will make it work for us:

1. It is in a very quiet location, far from overhead power lines. All power
lines in the area are underground. All wiring at the camp itself is

2. Courage North has a T-1 Internet line, capable of high bandwidth use.

3. Courage North is the site of our Handiham Radio Camp, which allows us to
use the station as a teaching tool. Since its location at camp is pretty far
from the other antennas, the remote base can operate with less interference
to and from the other stations at camp.

4. Tom, KB0FWQ, lives at Courage North year-round.

5. Bill, N0CIC, who helped us with the station installation, lives close by.

6. We have an excellent location for the station in the attic of the camp's
dining hall, which will ultimately be the location for the entire T-1 line

Since everything seemed to be coming together nicely, Lyle proceeded to
introduce the radio campers to the new radio and the computer interface
prior to the actual installation in the dining hall. Later on in the week,
we recruited Handiham volunteer Bill, N0CIC, to help us with the
installation of the G5RV antenna. The computer was set up along with the
radio, rig interface, LDG tuner, and feedline with a gas-discharge lightning
arrestor. Lyle had to configure the system to be able to "handshake" with
the Internet system, with all that entails. Thankfully we have a static IP
address with the T-1 line. And even more thankfully, Lyle understands how to
make this stuff work. Our volunteers are quite simply the best!

Following Radio Camp, we entered the beta test phase. Lyle and I are able to
access the station computer by remote control, making it possible to
configure the software and add users, administrate computer updates, and so
forth. We began with the assumption that the Kenwood rig control software
would most likely serve our needs. We had tested the user interface software
by Kenwood, which is called ARCP-480. It seemed to be very accessible to
screen reader users and the interface was easy to understand. On the remote
base control computer the Kenwood program called ARHP-10 had to be running
so that users could log on.

So far, so good. We proceeded to recruit and add beta testers, and we were
getting some good feedback about the station from them. Then something
unexpected happened. We had 10 users and could not add an eleventh user. It
turned out that the Kenwood control software running on the remote base
computer would only accept a maximum of 10 users, something that did not
appear to be documented anywhere in the help file. An e-mail exchange with
Kenwood confirmed the limitation. Clearly, this software would not serve as
our final installation, because we could not confine the user base to only

Fortunately, Stan, W4MQ, has written some excellent rig control software for
remote base use. Even better, Stan's software can be configured for users
with different privileges based on license class. This can help us
administrate the station to stay within FCC rules, as well as helping users
to stay within their license class privileges. We had to make the shift to
the W4MQ software, which we did last week. Beta testers were informed of the
change, and this week we have posted some new instructions on the handiham
members only website under the remote base link.

We will be refining these pages as time goes on, but handiham members are
encouraged to go ahead and take a look at the remote base pages and download
the software so that they will be ready when we get out of beta test phase.
In the meantime, if you want to take a look at Google Earth and see exactly
where the station is located, here is a link to the Google Earth location:


You must have Google Earth installed on your computer for this file to work.

I know this whole business of a remote base controlled by the Internet
sounds complicated and confusing to some of you, but we are working hard to
get the bugs out of the system and make it more user-friendly. I hope that
by early 2009 we will be able to have the station available in several
different ways for members to enjoy. Thanks to our donors, who support the
work that we do, our volunteers whose patience and dedication to helping
handiham members get on the air to make the program work, and to our members
who continue to amaze me with their kindness and willingness to help us in
every way possible.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager


Avery's QTH

Avery's QTH

Welcome once again to my Humble QTH:

. How do I do this?

. Where do I find that?

. How can I get help with this?

. I am new to this amateur radio hobby and I need to know. (Fill in the

These are typical questions we get from people calling us.

As smart and humble as we are here at Handiham headquarters, we do not have
all the answers to each and every question. Many times we can find the
answer with some simple research. What is our secret? Well, we use Google a
lot. There is a lot of information about ham radio on the Internet and
Google is a good way to find it.

We also use web sites like ARRL.org. For example, you can find a listing of
VE sessions in your zip code area as well as a list of nearby clubs. Joining
a ham club is a great way to make some new friends and get help with your
amateur radio projects, and most of these clubs have their own websites. The
Handiham website has all kinds of amateur radio information like the rules
and regulations (FCC Part 97), a list of our nets, my own interesting QTH
articles, and other good stuff. Of course the FCC has a website if you need
to look something up about your license or FCC news.

It just happens that I drive a Saturn. If I need information on something
involving my Saturn, do I go to a Ford dealer, or a Toyota dealer, or a
Dodge dealer?

No! I go back to my Saturn dealer. Well, it is the same thing with getting
information on EchoLink. There are so many possibilities unique to your own
computer and network that it is nearly impossible for us to be able to talk
you through it over the phone. If you have a question on EchoLink, you want
to contact EchoLink, not us. In some cases you have to work with both your
provider and EchoLink people to get things set up correctly. If you have a
question on SKYPE, you contact SKYPE, not us. If you have a question
involving the ARRL, you contact them, not us.

For ham gear that you can't figure out, the best bet is to read the manual,
or check out the tutorials of the Handiham website. There may be one in
there for your rig. Otherwise, you might have to go back to the manufacturer
or someone authorized to handle that brand and get the answers from them.

Of course we can help our members out when they get stuck navigating the
Handiham website or with accessibility issues. We can even help our members
to locate resources on the web or change something with the FCC.

Still, much of this is just common sense and you should be able to find the
answers on your own by contacting the proper people. Maybe you heard this
before, but once you get your license the learning is just beginning.

Well, everything does not have to be on the Internet. How do I know what is
going on in the amateur radio community around where I am located?

In most of the more highly-populated parts of the country there are
repeaters which normally have a pretty good range. In many cases there are
one or more nets on these repeaters. The nets are a very good place to find
out things like when and where the local clubs are meeting. Some nets even
run national and international amateur radio news. Looking for a ride to an
event? Well, get on the local net and perhaps someone near you can stop and
pick you up on the way. Need help with an antenna project or a computer
programming issue? Perhaps someone listening to the repeater is familiar
with the problem and can help you resolve it.

The information is out there. After you have done some searching, most often
you will be able to find the answer on your own. In so doing, you have
learned a lesson and next time it will be even easier. As the expression
goes, "Experience is a tough teacher because you get the test first and the
lesson later."

Until next time
73 es DX de K0HLA Avery

You can locate me at


Or call me at:


And, please remember our new hours.


 <http://www.handiham.org/node/214> Events by N1YXU

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/214> Events by N1YXU

October Events

I often remark about how quickly time is passing. Perhaps, my age is
beginning to show even more. It is amazing that we are already in the month
of October!

I hope each of you is doing well and enjoying spending time on the radio.
There are several special events that are scheduled during the month of
October. Be sure to take some time to read through them. There is one that
will be held on October 31 in Frankenstein, MO that caught my attention.

Until next month.

- Laurie Meier, N1YXU

.        Read more on the Handiham website.


iPod gets accessible

I read a variety of accessible technology postings, and this little gem
popped up yesterday: 

"I just noticed that there are some new accessibility features on the new
Nano (4th generation). Talking menus, and larger sized font, among other
things. (I just want the talking menus so I can locate stuff safely on my
iPod while I'm driving.)"


It's great to learn that consumer gear is accessible right out of the box.
An iPod can be used to listen to Handiham audio, as well as to a huge
variety of podcasts on every imaginable topic. For low vision users, the
Nano also offers a larger font size!

If you have other accessible technology news, let me know.  (Please don't
send me forwarded newsletters, though - I have too much to read already and
appreciate email being right to the point.)

Patrick Tice <mailto:wa0tda@xxxxxxxx> 



Podlinez podcasts not always up to date

Recently a member called us and said that our podcasts were not being
updated.  Naturally this caused quite a concern, as our podcast system
seemed to be working normally on Wednesdays, when the audio is updated each
week. Thinking that perhaps we had made some mistake in the filename, we
checked the server and the podcast audio was there as always. We have not
changed anything about how we post the audio. However, I called the member
back and found that he does not have a computer and uses the telephone
podcast service called "Podlinez".  You call a podcast-specific number and
listen to the podcast for that week.

As I said, we have no problems on our end. Our feed is up to date and we
have no control over how often (or whether) Podlinez does updates. 


If he were using iTunes or Juice for his podcasts via computer, he would
have current audio. We hope Podlinez will fix this problem. If you want to
test it, 1 (360) 526-6243 is the number. 


This week at Headquarters

Our antenna and tower at Courage St. Croix

*       A FREE General Class Course is in progress at Courage Center St.
Croix in Stillwater, MN, continuing this Thursday evening. Class begins at
7:00 PM. The class is free to everyone, and is held in a completely
wheelchair accessible environment. It is team-taught by members of the
Stillwater Amateur Radio Association. The textbook is the ARRL General Class
License Manual, 6th edition. If you live in the eastern Twin Cities metro
area or nearby western Wisconsin and want to upgrade from Technician, this
is a great opportunity!  Find out more at http://www.radioham.org or simply
email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx  
*       The October CQ audio digest has arrived for our blind members. Login
to members only and go to Library, magazines. 
*       QST, QCWA Journal, & WORLDRADIO audio digests are available for our
members. Login <http://handiham.org/user>  to the member section of the
Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The October
QST and Worldradio magazine digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF.  
*       The audio tape digest is in the mail thanks to George, N0SBU and
Avery, K0HLA. 
*       The remote base beta test continues, and we invite potential beta
testers with Advanced licenses to email us at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx if you think
you can figure out how to run the station without too much tech support. As
one member correctly noted, Advanced class holders are likely to have the
experience necessary to operate the station, so they should be on a par with
Extra licensees! It's certainly true that Advanced ticket holders have
passed exams at least as difficult as Extras, and have done so long enough
ago to have garnered a fair amount of on the air operating experience. The
basic information on the remote base is available in the members only
section of the website. 
*       We have 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. This
page is updated on Fridays. 

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@xxxxxxxxxxx or call her
toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to contact us. 


Huge alligator grabbing Pat, WA0TDAReminder:  Handiham renewals are now on a
monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we need you to keep our program

Image: Meet our new dues collection agent! A huge alligator grabs Pat,
WA0TDA.  "Sure wish I'd renewed my Handiham dues sooner." 

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
*       Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our
*       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> 

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


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 www.handiham.org
<http://www.handiham.org/> .  
Email us to subscribe:  <mailto:hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at
www.handiham.org <http://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 Handi-ham System
Reach me by email at:  <mailto:patt@xxxxxxxxxxx> 

*       Nancy, Handiham Secretary: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx
*       Jerry, N0VOE, Student Coordinator: jerry.kloss@xxxxxxxxxxx
*       Avery, K0HLA, Educational Coordinator: avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx 
*       Pat, WA0TDA, Manager, patt@xxxxxxxxxxx
*       Radio Camp email: radiocamp@xxxxxxxxxxx 


ARRL </p />
<p>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.


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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