[handiham-world] Handiham World for the week of 9 July 2008

  • From: "Patrick Tice" <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 15:45:58 -0500

Courage Center's Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of 9 July 2008

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

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Toll-Free: 1-866-426-3442
Email: hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxx  

Website: http://handiham.org <http://handiham.org/> 


Welcome to Handiham World! 

Breaking news! We are on freelists.org! That's why you are getting this
mailing from a new address. Now on with the newsletter, as published: 

Hopefully everyone is getting their issue of Handiham World this week.  We
are offering a couple of alternatives for delivery.  For a number of years,
we have had a "handiham" group on Yahoo.  Although this requires a Yahoo
login, it is a good way to get delivery of our Wednesday newsletter.  I have
decided to make sure that we keep the Yahoo Groups mailer up-to-date each
Wednesday.  It is up to users to maintain and administer their own Yahoo
Group settings.  If any of you are interested in checking this out, here is
a link:

 <http://groups.yahoo.com/> http://groups.yahoo.com/

What you do is go to the URL above, find the search field, and type in the
word handiham.  You should find the list pretty quickly. Note that the name
of the list is simply "handiham", not "handihamstudy".

Not everyone will be interested in joining Yahoo in order to get the weekly
newsletter.  In that case, you will want to stick with our standard delivery
system.  Yes, I know... it has been a real mess over the past few weeks and
technical support from our service provider has still not untangled the
problem completely.  That is why we are looking at moving the Mailer once
again to a different provider, one that specializes in mailing lists and
that has been used successfully by another amateur radio group, TIPSnet.
The name of the service is Freelists.org, and we think it will provide
consistent, reliable service while providing the ability of users to adjust
their own settings.  Believe me, I am certainly anxious to put all of these
mailing lists problems behind me so that I can concentrate on providing
better content for the newsletter as well as improving the quality of our
Friday audio lecture series. I have a request in to the Freelists

And speaking of the Friday audio lecture series, I was informed by a couple
of members that some of the Technician class audio was actually missing!
When I checked it, I found that beginning with lecture 47 all of the audio
was missing from the server.  This apparently occurred because our file
transfer session when changing servers was interrupted.  I have corrected
this problem, thanks to alert handiham members who informed me.

 NM1K QSL card <http://handiham.org/images/nm1k_qsl.gif> Now, back to our
vintage QSL card series.  Today we have a card from Rusty, NM1K. Guess what?
I'll bet you can still get one of these cards from Rusty, who sends out many
NTS birthday messages to handiham members and friends.  Work Rusty on the
air and QSL to get one of these beauties.  Thanks, of course, to Rusty for
all of his good work with NTS, the National Traffic System.

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 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.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager


Field Day stories, anyone?

Do you have a field day story to share with us?  Let Avery 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 Avery at


Avery's QTH: The days of soldering aren't gone quite yet.

 Avery checks out a solder joint using a large magnifier. What a big nose
you have, Avery. <http://handiham.org/images/avery_mag2.jpg> Welcome once
again to my humble QTH:

We had a whole week off for the Fourth of July. Boy! in my younger years, I
would have taken advantage of that to build up some ham equipment either
from scratch or in kit form. If it was from scratch, it meant hunting around
for parts with the correct values. So some were purchased new if really
necessary but most were scrounged from either the "junk" box or from
hamfests, trading parts with friends, or what have you. 

I remember a VFO I built to work with my then crystal-controlled
transmitter. I took the diagram and parts list out of one of the popular ham
radio magazines of the day. I proceeded to find some aluminum for a chassis
and got my trusty drill and chassis punches to punch the holes for mounting
the tube sockets. Some other holes were needed for some other parts too. I
knew little about constructing the physical part of the metal chassis.
Shielding and placement of parts was very important as I was about to find
out. Anyway, I connected up all the parts and went about soldering them all
together at their contact points. OH! the smell of solder and flux was not
considered hazardous back then. The tin/lead ratio of 60/40 hollow core
filed with resin flux was selling for about $3.35 a pound, so you could just
melt a little to be sure the soldering iron was "tinned", or coated with
solder, right before using it. 

Speaking of soldering irons, I had three. One big huge iron that would be
used for PL-259 shells, a soldering gun, and a pencil iron which I used for
the few smaller parts. Well, the VFO was soon completed, and hooked up to
power from the transmitter. With the cable to the crystal switch in place, I
was ready to turn it on. Well, it did work almost just fine on 40 meters
where I was planning to use it. I could now tune around the phone & CW band
and work stations I couldn't before. There was just one little catch. There
was tremendous hand capacity effect, so bringing my hand near the VFO tuning
knob would cause it to change frequency. after awhile I figured out how to
compensate for that, but no matter what I did physically in attempts to
resolve the problem, nothing seemed to help. So I ended up purchasing a
fully-constructed one all ready to go. Yes! It was quite a learning
experience for me, one I will never forget.

If it was a kit I was building, all the parts were there and just had to be
sorted out by values so they could be placed in the proper places at the
correct time in the building process. In must cases the directions for kit
building were quite good and the chassis was punched, drilled, and bent so
nothing had to be done with it except for the minor assembly after the
wiring was done. In most cases I would start after dinner, planning on
working until my normal bedtime, but time would get away from me sometimes
and first thing I knew the sun was coming up and I had worked right through
the night. The kit building directions would take a person step by step
right through until the end. I thought I was smarter than the instruction
book a couple times so I hooked up parts and soldered them according to the
picture diagrams but found I had outsmarted myself because (oops) another
wire had to go there later on and be soldered at that time so I would have
to unsolder the connection, feed the new wire on the terminal along with the
wires already there, and then re-solder everything back on again. Most often
the kit would work the first time, but if not there were directions on what
to look for and what steps to take to get it working. If all else failed,
you could send it back to the factory and they would go through the kit and
fix whatever needed to be fixed, for a fee of course. Also, with the
instructions there was a complete explanation of how and why things worked
so that was quite a learning process building up that electronics kit.

Today not so many people will build things up from scratch but many are
still building kits. There are a few ham transceiver kits that many claim to
be better than commercially manufactured transceivers. There are some very
simple transmitters and receivers people have built into used tin cans which
also work quite well. Some of these are QRP rigs and are nice and easy to
carry when back packing. One kit is 200 watts if ordered with the extra
parts. OH! you don't want to build the kit? well, there are companies and
individuals who will build up the kit for you for a fee. Sure, you may make
a mistake and the item you built may not work, but the real learning comes
in figuring out why is isn't working and how to fix the problem. At the end
of the instruction manual there are: Problem, cause, and how-to-fix sections
that most often with will resolve the problem and guess what? You are
learning just as I did with the VFO I attempted to build! How about the that
feeling of going to Field Day or working a rare DX station with a rig you
built yourself?

So, until next time 73 & DX from K0HLA, Avery.

You can reach me at: 
763-520-0515  <mailto:avery.finn@xxxxxxxxxxx> 


ARRL Atlantic Division offers webinars in July

 ARRL Atlantic Division offers webinars in July

The ARRL Atlantic Division Web Site, http://www.atldiv.org/training.htm,
offers several "webinars" during the month of July. The website states:

The ARRL Atlantic Division leadership has learned of a need by division
members for learning about various topics of interest to amateur radio
operators and amateur radio clubs. Recognizing that amateur radios clubs are
constantly looking for interesting meeting topics, looking for ways to spark
more interest in their meetings, the division leadership felt that the first
priorities should be topics that might be presented members of amateur radio
clubs or amateur radio organizations such as local ARES or RACES groups.
Special topics relating to club management would likewise be given
importance for presentations to current club management or those wishing to
learn more about those issues.

What is covered in a webinar? Well, if you are interested in APRS, try this:

Bob Bruninga WB4APR, developer of APRS will be presenting a multi-session
presentation of APRS - Automated Packet Reporting System. This
webinar/teleconference is for anyone interested in APRS. This is a free
online presentation and teleconference. (The audio feed is available both by
telephone and VOIP. VOIP will come through your computer speakers, however a
telephone call to the conference center may be a toll call.)

There will be a question and answer period after the presentation.

Register at:


 <http://www.handiham.org/node/140> Resource: Lightning safety

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/140> Resource: Lightning safety 

Struck By Lightning.org is an organization promoting lightning safety and
education. Based on Cape Cod, MA, it provides speakers on lightning safety
and education and motivational topics. The founder's personal story is a
remarkable feat of human survival that will inspire and teach the importance
of lightning safety to everyone.

Lightning safety should always be on the minds of ham radio operators, who
work with antennas and participate in outdoor events where awareness and
preparedness are vital to health and welfare.



This week at Headquarters

Daisy Project status: Extra Class Pool will be available, probably later
this week.  Beta testers are needed!

As many of you already know, we have been working on an upgrade to the way
we deliver accessible study materials and other ham radio related
information to our members who cannot read regular print. The new Extra
Class Pool will be our first offering as DAISY text and audio. 

*       When "reading" a DAISY book, the user hears excellent, clear spoken
word audio, thanks to Neospeech <http://www.neospeech.com/>  computer
voices. The user can slow down or speed up the playback, search for specific
terms in the text and go right to that part of the book, and much more. 

*       DAISY players or personal computers can play DAISY books. 

*       Our DAISY materials will be available to members from the web,
through the use of a simple, easy to use free utility from IRTI. 

George, N0SBU, has modified the Extra Class pool to conform with our
requirements for Daisy production.  I will be placing this pool on the
website shortly in text format, so that it will be available for our Friday
audio lecture series.  Grateful thanks to George for all of his hard work on
this project.  As most of you know, the Extra pool is again very large, and
going through all of those questions takes quite a lot of time.  You may be
interested in the way the pool needs to be modified.  As we took a look at
the new pool and the way the questions have traditionally been presented, we
decided that it would be easier for most people if the right answer would be
stated following the question and all of the possible answers.  The way the
questions are currently structured in the original release is that you get a
question number followed by a correct answer, then the relevant FCC part
number.  This tends to be quite confusing, especially to screen reader
users.  We decided that the FCC part number could be eliminated, thus
preventing at least some confusion related to all of those numbers and
letters.  Anyone who needs the original FCC reference can go back to the
original release of the pool and search by question number.  We will have
both versions available on the website, should this be necessary to anyone
using our pools for their study.  Another change is that we eliminated the
correct answer that immediately followed the question number.  Of course you
need to know what the correct answer is, so we replaced just the letter of
the correct answer with a more user-friendly phrase like, "the correct
answer is D: 3 kHz below the upper band edge." We think that this system
will provide a more understandable information flow whether the user is
sighted or blind, studying with or without a screen reading program, or
listening to a tape or Daisy book.


 <http://www.handiham.org/node/139> July Events from N1YXU

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/139> ARRL Field Day Locator 

July Events

I hope that each of you who participated in Field Day this year had a great
time. Our local club in North Carolina operated under the callsign, W4EZ.
Perhaps you heard us. We endured very hot and humid days and, fortunately,
did not receive any rain until after we had completed tear down and were
already home.

As we enter the lazy days of summer, perhaps you'll find solace (and air
conditioning) in your ham shack. Have a great July, and I hope you find some
events this month that will inspire you to continue to Ride the Waves!!

Laurie Meier, N1YXU

Read more <http://www.handiham.org/node/139>  at:


New in Manuals Section: Tutorials from Scott, N7ZIB, on the Motorola GP300
VHF or UHF HT. You can read reviews of this radio on eHam:
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2635, or log in to members only and go to
the manuals link, then the Motorola folder. You will also find Scott's first
tutorial on the Motorola MaxTrac radio in the same folder. Scott is a
frequent checker-inner on the Handiham Echolink net
<http://www.handiham.org/node/1> , and is located in Margie, MN, way up in
far northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border, eh. 


There are still 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.  


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.  


 cartoon guy writing letter <http://handiham.org/images/bd06142_.gif> 


Hello Everyone,

A legally blind friend of mine, Blair-KA9SEQ of Iowa & his mom were on the
way to their vacation home in PA, on Monday, 23 June 2008 when their
vehicle's transmission went out, on East bound I80/94 towing a locked cargo
trailer. They called AAA for a tow truck that got them off the expressway.
They convinced the tow truck driver to tow the trailer also, but AAA
wouldn't pay to tow the trailer back to Chicago like they did the car. They
left the trailer in Hammond, IN and had the car towed back to a shop in
Chicago for repairs. When they returned to Hammond to pick up their trailer
& resume their trip, they discovered that their trailer was broken into &
all of its contents were stolen.

I believe that all of Blair's radio gear that he took on the trip was in the
trailer, so he didn't have even a portable to use when they broke down. I am
sure that they were upset & distracted because of the breakdown & having to
have their rig towed off the expressway, so it probably never occurred to
them to get anything out of the trailer.

Blair hosts a radio show on the Internet & a satellite network. He also
reads copy for Hap Holley's "RAIN Report".

Duane, N9SSN and Blair are good friends going back to the early days of TVRO
& C-band satellite. They would meet on the network where they would call
into each others' radio shows, have eyeball QSOs, and do shows together or
attend hamfests together. I met Blair through Duane. Blair is a whiz bang
electronics tech who excels at digital. He had a small home brew 220
repeater at home in Oak Park when he was living at home. When Capital
Electronics moved to Iowa, Blair moved with them.

I realize that this is late in coming & that the chance of recovering
anything that was stolen is diminishing with every second that passes, but
this is the first time that I had access to the list of the stolen items,
which is listed here:

We all would appreciate anything that anybody does to help. Please keep an
eye open for the items on the list and if you spot anything, please call the
Hammond, Indiana Police Department. The Hammond police report number for
this incident is 08-50293. Their number is (219) 852-2906.

Thank you very much for your help.

73 de ka9jwx, Paul 


George, N0SBU, spotted a neat story in his local newspaper: "Storm Spotting
A Lifelong Dream For Hugo Man - Volunteers Are Eyes And Ears Of Weather
Service".  Best of all, you can read it online at the following link: 


The story is about a young fellow who is interested in storm spotting and
who has not let cystic fibrosis deter him from reaching his goal.  Of course
he had to get his amateur radio license, so we know that he is well on his
way to a lifetime of amateur radio fun and service to his community.  You
know what?  I think we could use more good stories like this in amateur
radio, don't you?  Thanks to George, N0SBU, "good news spotter", for this


 plugged-in robot <http://www.handiham.org/images/bd05047_.gif> 

RekkyTec Links

 <http://www.handiham.org/node/138> Resources: GW Micro Script Central

GW Micro Script Central is a place to find and post scripts for the
screenreading software Window-Eyes, which is manufactured by GW Micro. As of
early July, there was no script listed for the popular ham radio VoIP
application EchoLink. However, we did find scripts for SKYPE, a VoIP audio
and video application used by many ham radio operators around the world. At
Handiham headquarters, SKYPE is used to port audio from the K0LR remote
receiver. Check out "Script Central" here:

Radio Shack power supply recall

 Radio Shack power supply recall

RadioShack Recalls Power Supplies Due to Electrocution and Fire Hazards

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC),
RadioShack Corp., of Fort Worth, Texas, is voluntarily recalling about
160,000 13.8V DC Power Supplies. The recalled power supplies are wired
incorrectly, posing electrocution and fire hazards.

*       Name of Product: 13.8V DC Power Supplies 

*       Units: About 160,000 

*       Importer: RadioShack Corp., of Fort Worth, Texas 

*       Hazard: The recalled power supplies are wired incorrectly, posing
electrocution and fire hazards. 

*       Incidents/Injuries: None reported. 

*       Description: The recall involves RadioShack 13.8V DC Power Supplies,
catalog numbers 22-507 and 22-508 with date codes from 08A04 through 01A08.
Date code format is MMAYY where MM is the month and YY is the year. The
catalog number and date code are located on the back of the power supply.
Power Supplies with a green dot on the product and the product's packaging
have already been repaired and are not included in the recall. 

*       Sold at: RadioShack stores nationwide from October 2004 through
January 2008 for between $50 and $85. 

*       Manufactured in: China 

*       Remedy: Consumers should unplug the recalled power supply
immediately and take it to any RadioShack store for a free repair.
Registered owners of the recalled power supplies will be mailed a notice. 

*       Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact RadioShack at
(800) 843-7422 anytime, or visit the firm's website at:

*       More:


Innovative Research Technology (IRTI), producer of eClipseWriter:

Neospeech voices, used in many accessibility products (and other products)
where very clear, easy to understand computer speech is needed:

QCWA, the Quarter Century Wireless Association, open to those who have been
licensed at least 25 years:  <http://www.qcwa.org/> 

Free screenreader via the web:  <http://www.accessibilityisaright.org/> 

KNFB Reader:  <http://www.knfbreader.com/products-mobile.php> 


 Cartoon guy with toolkit <http://handiham.org/images/bd06227_.gif> 



Elmer is off this week, probably recovering from Field Day.

You can write to Elmer with your questions: <mailto: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

*       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 <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 wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for
changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and
your new address.


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