Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 19 July 2017

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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 19 July 2017

This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny Handiham Program, serving people with disabilities in Amateur Radio since 1967. 

Our contact information is at the end.

Subscribe or change your subscription to the E-mail version here.

Welcome to Handiham World.

In this edition: 

  • A note from the coordinator

  • A story from Bill K9BV

  • Down memory lane…

  • Check into our nets!

  • ...And more!

A note from the coordinator...

As the Handiham Program sets goals for the next phase of its existence, it is important to remember how the program began, why it is important, and who is impacted by its existence. This week, we will continue our look back at past Handiham World letters, from when they were still printed and mailed to members. In the Fall/Winter 1982 Issue of Handiham World, the following article was found:

Per Holking, SM0HEP, from Stockholm, Sweden, got a lesson in what the Handiham System is all about when he met a DX contact face-to-face. Per, age 27, has been a ham since 1976. He got started on 2-meters, but upgraded pretty fast and got his CW ticket in 1978. Since then, he’s been active mostly on CW and SSB on the low bands.

Per is an electronic technician for Stockholm Radio, an organization which handles emergency traffic and phone patches for ships in the Baltic Sea and aircraft companies in the area.

While Per was in Sweden, he made a CW contact with Handiham member James Beck, KA0FXA, Virginia, Minnesota. While he was visiting in this part of the country, he decided to look up Jim and was surprised to learn that Jim uses a Puff-and-Sip keyer. “Here I thought he was sending the usual way,” Per said. Per tried his skill on the Puff-and-Sip demonstrator during a visit to Handiham headquarters and was impressed by what an equalizer the device is on the airways.

What was true some thirty-five years ago remains true today. Through the use of assistive technology, amateur radio is a hobby that functions as an equalizer, allowing persons to be identified, not by their disability, but by their call sign.

Do you have a story to share? Please feel free to send your articles and stories via email at or by calling me at 612-775-2290.

A story from Bill K9BV…

Had an awesome evening sail last nite, sailing into the slip in very light wind with my Mac26d.....

Gave a KB-2 SailNow Lesson, ending at 8pm, and we finished up close to the Marina entrance....ghosting along and zero boat traffic.....

The 1 + knot of wind was out of the West and we sailed in on a run with full main and rolled up Genoa.....

As we approached the dock (3?) with the LARGE cruising sailboat, we began to hear their "cruising music..."

Suddenly, we got a 180 degree wind shift and we still managed - ever so slowly - to switch into pointing mode and were able to glide by the cruiser with 3 feet of clearance.....chatting with the surprised couple as we passed.....what fun..!!

Continuing our "ghosting along," we made a slow U-turn and continued....nudging gently into our Dock 5 slip....

It was one of those "magical moments" that sailing provides......


Bill - K9BV

Editor’s Note: For all those who have had the privilege of sailing with Bill at radio camp, this story brings fond memories of relaxing hours on the water during good sailing weather.

Down memory lane...

In honor of the celebration of 50 years of the Handiham Program, Diane Scalzi, WI8K, gave us permission to use her article from the Summer 1992 edition of Handiham World...

I must say I was surprised while talking with Sister Alverna at the 1991 ARRL National Convention when she asked me to write a story about my amateur radio career. After all, I didn’t think it was anything spectacular. But I was excited and flattered that she would ask me, and on the chance that it might inspire others, I decided to give it a try.

I have been totally blind since birth. I probably became interested in our hobby sometimes in 1985. My friend and coworker, Jerry, KA8STP, would often bring his hand-held radio to lunch, and we would listen to the repeaters. One time he used an auto patch to call his sister. The ability to make phone calls seemed like a worthy goal. Little did I know that amateur radio would have so much more to offer.

I found that out when, on urging from Jerry, I read a book called Amateur Radio! Super Hobby! I had borrowed it from the Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It was through that book that I learned about Handihams. Several months later, I contacted Courage Center, and the tapes of Tune In the World with Ham Radio were soon in my possession. They also lent me a Drake Receiver, and I was able to hear enough CW to spark my interest. I started learning the code in January, 1986, because I thought that would be the easier part. I knew all the characters within a couple weeks, and worked on my speed while I began to tackle the hard stuff. Actually, though, it turned out to be easier than expected. Tony, W0KVO, explained the theory so well that I felt he was tutoring me. If there was something I didn’t understand, Jerry filled in the blanks.

Sometime during the summer, I finally decided to try the Novice exam. Jerry and I took a couple hours leave, and we found a quiet place in the office to work on it. This was in the days when you only needed one examiner for a Novice test. Jerry sent a code message, which I recited as he sent it, and then he read the questions, which I answered in Braille. Fortunately, Jerry is also visually impaired, so correcting my paper was not a problems. The verdict was favorable, and the Form 610 was soon on its way. All I had to do was to wait for the ticket to come through. Could I wait? Not really, but I had to. Besides, lots of others before me had survived the same ordeal.

My license arrived early in September, 1986. I would be known to other hams as KB8AHL. It had as nice rhythm in CW. It was just as well that I enjoyed the code so much; CW was the only mode I could use as a Novice then.

I met Bill, N8BRG, and Doug, KG8F, several weeks later. They adjusted my vertical antenna, and gave me further information on how to operate the ICOM IC751 transceiver that I had purchased several months earlier. Bill also took me to my first club meeting. I joined the L’Anse Creuse Amateur Radio Club that same night. Several members suggested that I check into the club’s 15-meter CW net, as it would provide valuable practice. One night I did, and have been doing it ever since. Now, I run that net once a month, and I get particularly excited when I can welcome a first-time check-in. I definitely agree with those who say that making contacts is the best way to increase your speed, which is useful if you want to upgrade.

I began working toward my General class license the following year. Again, the folks at Handihams came through with the most current study materials. I continued to make CW contacts, listened to tapes, and copied W1AW religiously for several months. When exam day came, I discovered that I had left my calculator at work, and had to use Braille to work the formulas. It was time-consuming, but not impossible. For the code test, I used a Versa-Braille, a paperless Braille device manufactured by Telesensory Systems, Inc. This equipment had the advantages of a quitter, more sensitive keyboard, editing capabilities, and a bugger that could hold up to 1,000 characters. There was no need to change lines, as with a standard Braille writer. I thank my employer for exposing me to this system. Everything worked great, and again, I made it.

Well, I’m not sure why, but I waited until August to buy my first 2-meter HT. After all, I wanted so much to use it to make phone calls. Soon after that, I discovered public service and traffic handling. I also began running several nets. Using a head set with a locking PTT switch is very helpful when you want your hands free to read and write Braille. Also, these activities don’t have to involve a lot of mobility, which is fortunate for me.

At that point, thanks to the help and encouragement of many local hams, things had happened rather easily for me. I was enjoying myself immensely, and I had even joined another radio club. But somehow my mind was ready for further stimulation. In the winter of 1988, an epidemic of upgrade fever swept our area, and I caught it. I had remembered telling my examiners that I would probably remain a General. But, when you catch a fever, you have to do something to make it go away, so I contacted Handihams and received the tapes for the Advanced Class License Manual. It soon became apparent that things might not go as smoothly this time. Tony started reading this stuff about cosines. Here I thought I had seen the last of those in high school. Fortunately, I was able to borrow a table of trigonometric functions from the Regional Library and could use that when necessary. Unfortunately, I didn‘t know how to handle the fact that some of the computation were too big for my calculator. Eventually I was able to work around that problem, too. Meanwhile, I continued working on my code speed in preparation for the 20-word exam.

On March 3, 1988, I successfully passed both elements. There was no doubt that taking extra time to prepare was important.

On June 1, 1988, I took and passed the Extra class written exam. Again, Handihams got me through. My current call, WI8K, arrived in July.

The next challenge of my ham radio career began in the fall of 1989, when the L’Anse Creuse Club organized a kit-building project in honor of its 25th anniversary. I really wanted to try my hand, figuring it would be a great way to examine some real components and to reinforce the information that I had learned previously. I also wondered how much independence I could achieve. I decided to build the Heathkit regulated power supply on the assurance that it would be fairly easy. Dave, N8HUL, agreed to help me, and we started the project early in March, 1990. I must say, the soldering iron was rather intimidating, and I almost managed to snip the wrong wire on several occasions. It turned out that Dave had to provide extensive assistance, especially with the soldering. But, on the plus side, I enjoyed the opportunity to review some of the theory I had learned, and now have a nice power supply for my hand-held.

I became manager of the Southeastern Michigan Traffic Net, a local NTS net, in April, 1991. As part of my responsibility, I compile the monthly net report for the Section Traffic Manager using Lotus 1-2-3 and an IBM PC/AT clone with a speech synthesizer. I also run the net once a week, handle as many messages as I can, and provide training for the net. My favorite part of the job is assisting newcomers in the fine art of handling traffic.

And now that I have written all of this down, I’m glad to report that my amateur radio career has been fulfilling and rather eventful. But there is so much left to do. I hope to be operating packet soon.

None of what I have done would have been possible without the support of the Handiham staff and all of those in Michigan who have given me so much assistance. I also thank my husband, Joe, and the rest of the family, who have put up with a lot. I hope all of you who read this will enjoy amateur radio as least as much as I have. The challenges are endless. Ours is a most special hobby.

What are you waiting for? Check into our Handiham nets... Everyone is welcome! 

How to find the Handiham Net: 

  • The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492.  Connect via your iPhone, Android phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your area.

  • The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control station on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air get-together.  

    Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one wheelchair user among them.

    Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CST (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as well as Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CST (7 PM).  If you calculate GMT, the time difference is that GMT is five hours ahead of Minnesota time during the summer.

    Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday evening session, so check in early if you want to take a guess.   The answer to the trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark.  A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations and to our Handiham Club Net Manager, James, KD0AES.

    How to contact us

    There are several ways to contact us.

    Postal Mail:

    Courage Kenny Handiham Program
    3915 Golden Valley Road
    Golden Valley, MN 55422


    Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291
    Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)

    Note: Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM United States Central Time are the best times to contact us.

    You may also call Handiham Program Coordinator Lucinda Moody, AB8WF, at: 612-775-2290.

    73, and I hope to hear you on the air soon! 

    For Handiham World, this is Lucinda Moody, AB8WF

    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  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.

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