[handiham-world] Handiham World for the week of 29 October 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 11:17:14 -0500

Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 29 October

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center's
<http://handiham.org>  Handiham System. Please do not reply to this message.
Use the contact information at the end, or simply email

Listen to an MP3 audio stream:
Download the MP3 audio to your portable player:
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Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat, WA0TDA, with headset microphone
Image: Pat takes part in a SKYPE audio conference as we move forward on the
Handiham Remote Base project.

It's time for another Handiham remote base update! As our regular readers
and listeners know, the remote base HF station is up and running in beta
test mode. We remain on schedule to begin regular member access in early

For those of you just learning about this station for the first time, it
consists of a Kenwood TS-480SAT, an LDG AT-100 automatic antenna tuner that
activates as soon as it senses RF, a G5RV wire antenna, and a Lenovo
computer running Windows Vista. The interface to the rig is via a West
Mountain Radio RigBlaster.

The station is strategically located in the center of the North American
continent at Camp Courage North, where we run our annual Handiham Minnesota
Radio Camp. The location is exceptionally RF-quiet, as all power lines in
the area are underground. The camp's high-speed Internet connection is more
than adequate for all of our control and audio needs.

Last Friday, Handiham volunteers Lyle, K0LR, and Joe, N3AIN, joined me in a
conference call with Stan, W4MQ, author of the rig control software that we
have installed at the remote base. The purpose of the conference was to
address a few small changes to the W4MQ remote base software that will allow
easier access by blind users running screenreading software.

Joe, N3AIN, is a blind beta tester who has an excellent understanding of the
JAWS screenreader, so his input on how the software interface appears via
screenreader access is vital. Some of you will remember that Joe also owns a
Kenwood TS-480 himself, and has produced our TS-480 audio tutorials.

Lyle, K0LR, has taken the reins of this project and has installed the
station hardware and software. He has been in charge of setting up usernames
and passwords for beta testers, and checks the station status daily.

Stan, W4MQ, has kindly taken the time to listen to our comments and will be
helping us out in the coming month with some tweaks to the W4MQ software.

The conference took about an hour. We will keep you posted on our progress,
but I wanted to make sure you know that we are working for you behind the
scenes. Isn't it great when hams get together to help other hams on projects
like this one?

It makes me feel good about ham radio! For your Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Center Handiham Manager


Website username creation feature removed

Cartoon guy shaking fist at cranky computer

As most of our members know by now, Handiham.org went through a complete
design change in 2008, taking a quantum leap to a new content management
system called Drupal. The change has gone well overall, but has not been
completely without its bumps in the road. As we designed the new website, we
had to tell Drupal which features we wanted. Some of the default features,
such as the way the site was laid out, were modified to suit our users, many
of whom are blind or use assistive technology to access the web.

Other features, such as the ability of users to create their own usernames
and passwords, could not simply be left as "default", so we modified that
feature to allow the creation of usernames and passwords, but each account
would have to be approved by an administrator. That meant that virtually
anyone with a computer and Internet access could visit Handiham.org and
create a username and password, which, if approved, would allow members-only

Since the members-only access is intended only for our members who have
joined Courage Center's Handiham System, we provided some boilerplate text
explaining that fact.

Well, you can guess what happened. I have been inundated daily with multiple
requests to give administrative approval to all sorts of odd usernames, many
of which originated in Russia. Others were ham radio operators who obviously
didn't read the text stating that they had to join us first to use the
members-only services, including the member login on Handiham.org. I expect
that many of the odd usernames were associated with spammers seeking yet
another platform from which to launch their worldwide garbage. Of course
they have never been approved and their accounts were deleted each day, so
this never happened.

Although we occasionally have gotten a genuine member request for
administrative approval, by and large most of the user-generated requests
simply waste my time every morning and again in the late afternoon. I
decided that it was time to act to cut down on this time-consuming
administrative chore, so I have removed the "Create a new account" feature.

The change will not affect registered users, and Handiham members who are
not yet registered with usernames and passwords may simply email me at
patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to request web access. Also, users who forget their
passwords will still be able to use the "Request new password" link:

This link appears on the Handiham.org main page.

I hope you will not find this change to be an inconvenience. I check my
email often, so there is generally very little delay in setup and approval
of website accounts. Thank you for your understanding.


Avery's spooky QTH

Avery's spooky QTH - cartoon freaky guy with HT and pumpkin

Welcome once again to my humble QTH:

Pumpkins, October, Halloween and the Spook Patrol. Gosh! I can remember just
like it was yesterday. About 25 - 30 years ago I was living in a city with a
very small but active amateur radio club. Our meetings were in an old school
building that has long since been torn down. We had a meeting room and ham
station set up there. Many of the members were also in the local police
reserve unit and helped out the police with things like directing traffic
and crowd control at the Friday night Football games and other events.

Every Halloween a "Spook Patrol" was formed. The Police Reserve club members
(2 people per unit, one to drive and the other to work the radio, read
street signs, etc.) armed with official-looking magnetic signs placed on the
sides of their personal vehicles and E. F. Johnson 5-channel CB's converted
to the ten meter ham band installed were dispatched to different sections of
the town by the net control station.

One of the club members with a ten meter rig (the net control station) was
placed at the City Hall Police Station alongside the police dispatcher with
their radios, so there was direct communication between the Police Reserve
and the Police. The city had more hills and valleys than most, and there
were several spots where a mobile ten meter rig could not reach another one
which meant that sometimes a message had to be relayed from one car to
another before getting back to net control. Two meters and repeaters as we
know them today just did not exist back in those days. It was the function
of the Reserve to drive around the city and be additional eyes and ears for
the regular Police Officers who couldn't be everywhere all at once. If
anything was spotted that seemed wrong or out of the ordinary the reserve
person would call it in and a regular squad car was dispatched to check it

In the 4 or 5 years I took part in this operation not much very exciting
ever happened. Things were very quiet around town for a Halloween evening.
We all liked to think that all was quiet was a good thing and that it was
because of the "Spook Patrol". So, until next time...

73 es DX de K0HLA, Avery

You can reach me Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at:
763-520-0515 or via email at:

*       Login
t-form>  to post comments


Fractal fans, here's something for you:

Avery in the ham shack

Dear E-letter readers,

Last night the PBS program Nova had a very good program on fractals -- a
very new form of Geometry which can be used to measure all sorts of things
like the shoreline of a country or the amount of CO2 given off by a forest.
Wouldn't you know one of the astronomy people who studied fractals is a ham
radio operator and came up with some very small, very good antennas for both
amateur and commercial use? (Cell phones are one example.)

Here are some helpful links:




And here is a link to the PBS program NOVA:

 <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/> http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/


Avery, K0HLA


Handiham Members join eQSL for free

Handiham Logo

Hello, Pat and thank you very much for your response and interest in eQSL.

I had a hunch that Handiham members would be interested in a partnership
with eQSL and we applaud your members' use of eQSL, so please pass the word
to have them sign up for a FREE REGULAR MEMBERSHIP.

Simply go to:

Hit: Register

Complete the simple form and SPECIFY N3DG in LINE 1 as REFERRER for the FREE

That is it. Thank you very much and we look forward to working with you.




Digital Dark Age Looming? Could be...

Digital Dark Age Looming? Could be...

Pictured: Antique Allied Knight-Kit computer from the summer, 1962 Allied
Radio catalog

What stands a better chance of surviving 50 years from now, a framed
photograph or a 10-megabyte digital photo file on your computer's hard
drive? The framed photograph will inevitably fade and yellow over time, but
the digital photo file may be unreadable to future computers - an unintended
consequence of our rapidly digitizing world that may ultimately lead to a
"digital dark age," says Jerome P. McDonough, assistant professor in the
Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This story appears in its entirety on the www.PHYSORG.com website:

What intrigues us is the way ham radio operators, who are embracing digital
storage for things like logbooks, may come face to face with obsolete log
data files sooner than they know! Do you have stories about data lost to
obsolescence? Let us know:


 <http://www.handiham.org/node/231> Split Rock Lighthouse Edmund Fitzgerald
special event

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/231> Split Rock Lighthouse Edmund Fitzgerald
special event

It's time for the SARA "Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald" Split Rock
Lighthouse Special Event October 31 - November 2, 2008. SARA, the Stillwater
Amateur Radio Association, is a Handiham-affiliated club. 

*        <http://www.handiham.org/node/231> Read more at Http://radioham.org


This week at Headquarters

Handiham Server Maintenance

Handiham Server Maintenance - guy with toolkit

AN Hosting, our hosting company, has written the following notice to us:

"I'm writing you today to announce that we will be performing a migration of
all accounts to
a new, state of the art data center within the next 90 days. Why are we
doing this? We're doing this to increase the level of stability,
reliability, and service we can provide for you. The new datacenter,
SoftLayer in Seattle, WA, is a N+1 facility, boasting 2000 amps 480v Power,
4x500Kva UPS Battery Backup Units, 2000Kwa Diesel Generators, Seven inbound
telecom connection, and Redundant Liebert 30 Ton HVAC Units. We're also
moving to state of the art 8-core 2.66Ghz, 12GB RAM, 4TB HDD servers which
will allow us to dramatically increase the stability of our services."

It sounds like a pretty decent upgrade, so we hope that all goes well and
that AN Hosting will keep Handiham.org online during the change.

*       We are still getting questions about 2009 Radio Camps.  We are not
planning a California Camp in 2009, due to budget concerns. Minnesota Radio
Camp dates are tentatively set at Sunday August 16 to Sunday August 23,
2009. Both Sundays are travel days. The change to an earlier week in August
will allow us to have the entire camp week before schools and universities
start classes. This will help us recruit camp staff and school age campers.
Another benefit is that travel to Bemidji, Minnesota by economical scheduled
bus service on Sunday is an option. 
*       Jerry, N0VOE, is volunteering in the office on Tuesdays and
Thursdays. Look for him on the Handiham EchoLink net from callsign W0ZSW on
those days.
*       Pat, WA0TDA, is taking vacation day on Friday, but will still send
out a weekly education letter, so look for that.
*       Tony Tretter's popular Extra Class Math tips audio tape is often
requested. Now it is available online in MP3 format in the members section.
Look in Education and then Op Skills, but I will provide a direct link in
the Friday education letter.
*       QST, CQ, QCWA Journal, & WORLDRADIO audio digests are available for
our members. Login to the member section of the <http://handiham.org/user>
Handiham website and find the magazine digests in the Library. The November
QST and Worldradio magazine digests have been read by Bob, N1BLF. He will
soon start the November CQ digest.
*       The remote base was offline this past weekend after an Internet
failure. The station has now returned to service and beta testing continues.
*       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.  


This morning's media hits from Google News - Wednesday, 29 October 2008

17c-36599121b096> Ham radio makes contact in space
Ottawa Citizen - Oct 26, 2008
Murray Crandon was one of several ham radio operators around the country who
took their hobby to new heights last week, by making contact with the
International Space Station as it passed over Canada.
1025/20081026?hub=Canada>  man calls International Space Station CTV.ca
Call out of
<http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2008/10/25/7201481-sun.html>  this
world Edmonton Sun
 <http://news.google.com/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn&ncl=1263280599> all 8 news
articles >

the-International-Space-Station-on-old-radio> Canadian man contacts the
International Space Station on old radio
The Tech Herald - 22 hours ago
More pointedly, Murray Crandon of Saskatchewan has become somewhat of a
minor celebrity after establishing contact with the orbiting station using
little more than an old-fashioned ham radio. Speaking with Canadian
broadcaster CTV this past weekend, ... 

682',%20'n');> http://news.google.com/images/zippy_plus_sm.gifVideo:
682',%20'n');>  American Space Tourist Returns to Earth Associated Press 

Adventures' Client, Private Astronaut Richard Garriott ... MarketWatch
-earth-after-trip-to-international-space-station/>  - InformationWeek
- eFluxMedia

 <http://www.wataugademocrat.com/2008/1027/1029gettingataste.php> Getting a
Watauga Democrat - 19 hours ago
The course will meet weekly for participants to learn operation techniques
and regulations on radio communication. Ham radio gained popularity in the
wake of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans. The storm knocked
out electrical service, ... 


 <http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2008/10/28/10410/> Oct 28 North Fulton
Amateur Radio League Field Day 2008 -- A ...
ARRL - 21 hours ago
That article covered ham radio and Field Day in even more detail and
resulted in several inquiries from people in the area interested in coming
to Field Day. 


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 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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